By Mike Mackenzie
When the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS (US$599.99) arrived, I was eager to put it to work. After all, a compact camera with a 20x optically stabilized zoom lens and RAW capture is enticing.
The SX1 IS includes full HD video capture (1920×1080 at 30fps), 25 shooting modes, and a host of other features, but the obvious star of this camera is the f/2.8–5.7, 20x zoom lens (28–560mm equivalent). Zoom operation is smooth, it’s quick to focus, and photos are sharp with nice color. The not-so-obvious star (but the scene-stealer for many) is the ability to capture RAW files. More compact cameras should include RAW capture, so thank you, Canon (http://www.usa.canon.com).
This camera is easy to use thanks to the thoughtful ergonomics, straightforward menu, and flexibility of the lens. Users can compose shots on the vari-angle 230,000-dot, 2.8″ LCD, which holds up quite well in bright light, or with the electronic viewfinder. The quality of the viewfinder was so marginal that I didn’t use it.
The 10-megapixel SX1 IS is billed as a serious camera. It’s the first PowerShot to incorporate Canon’s CMOS sensor, something previously reserved for their EOS cameras. It also uses the DIGIC 4 Image Processor with Face Detection Technology, Intelligent Contrast Correction, and Red-eye Correction. Photos are well exposed and contrast is excellent. So I have to ask why is noise evident at ISO 200 and prevalent at ISO 400? I wouldn’t use this camera above ISO 200.
One other problem is that with all these high-end features, and the high-end price, Canon made the power source four AA batteries. This camera deserves better, and the price demands it. Shoot at a low ISO and pack plenty of spares.
Macsimum rating: 6 out of 10
This review is brought to your courtesy of “Layers Magazine” (http://www.layersmagazine.com).