Canon Powershot SX1 IS Review

Review Date: January 14th 2009
Author: Gavin Stoker

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Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10M Superfine mode, which gives an average image size of around 4-5Mb.

Images from the Canon Powershot SX1 IS reveal a good degree of sharpness, and, being blessed with blue skies during our test period, we didn't feel so pressed to switch from the Canon's default colour setting to the likes of 'vivid' from among the My Colours options. Colours do, otherwise, have an occasional wishy-washiness to them and highlight detail can burn out under strong sunlight. As with the SX10 IS, pixel fringing is keep well under control, even when faced with contrasty scenes, and though there is occasional softness when shooting handheld at the 560mm equivalent end of the zoom, it can be forgiven as, when conditions are good, sharp results are delivered without the aid of a tripod. Again, like the SX10 IS, image noise doesn't reach unattractive levels until ISO 1600, and even this is comparable to results at ISO 800 from lesser models. Avoid the ISO 3200 equivalent setting though, unless you're aiming for an image that resembles a painting left out in the rain. This leads us to conclude that in fairness the change of chip from CCD to CMOS (the latter of which historically always used to be the poorer relation), hasn't really made much noticeable difference positively or negatively to image quality, meaning that you can't, or shouldn't, choose between the SX10 IS and SX1 IS on that feature alone.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Canon Powershot SX1 IS which you can select at any time if the camera is in any of the creative shooting modes. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default setting ideally and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes via the My Colors menu option.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon Powershot SX1 IS handled chromatic aberrations well during the review. There's some purple and cyan fringing between areas of high contrast, but it's only noticeable on really close inspection, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)
Example 2 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Canon Powershot SX1 IS offers a Super Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is just 1cm away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

Macro Shot (100% Crop)

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon Powershot SX1 IS are Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Sync Speed and Red-eye Reduction. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64
ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (560mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (560mm)
ISO 64
ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. Neither the Auto setting and the Red-eye reduction modes caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Flash - Red-eye Flash

Flash - Red-eye Flash (100% Crop)

Night Shot

The Canon Powershot SX1 IS's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/6 second, f/3.2 at ISO 400. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)
Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

DIWAPhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Canon Powershot SX1 IS have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.

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