Canon PowerShot SX1 IS – first look

In preparation for my first trip overseas, I decided that it was time to demote my Sony DSC-P100 (I have the fast red model) to party/fun camera, and upgrade to something a little more powerful.

Trying to decide what camera to replace it with was a world of hurt with so many makes and models and features to choose from. I wanted the ability to shoot video, SD memory card support, lots of control (shutter speed and aperture priority, among other things) and it had to cost me less than $1000.

What I quickly realised was that I was after a certain type of digital camera – a bridge digital camera.

After some research, I narrowed down my choice to the Panasonic DMC-FZ28 and the Canon SX1 IS. I won’t compare the two for you – plenty of other sites do that already, but because of the better (and stereo) microphones and the longer zoom, the Canon won the battle.

Canon PowerShot SX1 IS (image courtesy canon.com.au)
Canon PowerShot SX1 IS (image courtesy canon.com.au)

The Canon PowerShot SX1 IS

The SX1 IS packs a 10 mega pixel CMOS sensor, 20x optical zoom lens, and records movies at the full high definition resolution of 1920×1080 pixels.

It features optical image stabilisation, a 2.8″ articulated LCD (‘vari-angle’ – the LCD swings out and can be rotated), RAW image capture out of the box (the firmware update for RAW support is already applied), face and motion detection and the Dig!C 4 image processor.

In the box comes the camera, lens cap, neck strap, lens hood, 4 AA alkaline batteries, RCA stereo video cable, USB cable (USB A to USB mini), a wireless remote control and the usual software CD and printed manual.

I also purchased an Inca battery charger and 4 AA rechargeable NI-MH battery pack, and an additional spare set of the same batteries.

Using the camera is pretty straight forward, at least when using the Auto mode. It is just like any other digital camera – point and click. The optical zoom is very impressive, and as you hone in on something in the distance, you wonder when it will stop. Once you reach 20x zoom, the 4x digital zoom takes over, and then it doesn’t stop until 80x.

However the Auto mode is not the reason why I brought this camera. After following some of the excellent workshops over at dslrtips.com, I was able to leave Auto mode, and by adjusting things like the aperture priority and shutter speed I have been able to achieve some pretty cool effects.

Whilst I still have plenty to learn when it comes to all the different features and settings of this camera (and the basics of photography for that matter), the SX1 can still be used by anyone to take great photos. The zoom really impresses me, and the ability to shoot full HD video is great.

Once I have had a chance to take some better than average photos I will post them up, and once I am off around the world there will be plenty of shots for all to see.

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