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149 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on May 1, 2009
Quick summary:

1. I really like this camera, especially being able to take HD video and optically zoom while recording. I also really like taking 4 fps of continuous shooting.

2. You really need to read (at least skim) through the instructions. Some of the ease of use benefits of a point-and-shoot were compromised to give you some of the versatility of a digital SLR. I'm not too crazy about the "Control Dial" to select menu options. Over all, the software seems a bit less intuitive than other Powershots I've used in the past.

3. Using Quicktime on Windows to view the HD video might result in jerky motion. HD video is smooth in Quicktime on a Mac. This is a Quicktime/Windows issue, not a camera problem.

4. The camera is solidly built, but it's a bit heavy. It's not ergonomically designed for extended video recording.

5. Consider reading and viewing a video demo by a professional at [...]

Long version:

I was very eagerly anticipating this camera. The key feature in the Canon SX1IS is the CMOS sensor used in the SLR product lines. I got really excited about a single camera with HD video, 20x optical zoom, 4 frames per second of continuous shooting, articulated screen, and standard AA batteries. I've owned several Canon Powershot models, and I've been very satisfied with them. I'm also an experienced 35mm SLR person. I thought that the SX1IS was going to be my perfect camera... or actually the perfect gift for my wife.

I am an amateur photographer whose primary subjects are my children playing sports. Since I work a lot, my wife actually ends up taking a majority of the photos. I was planning to get a digital SLR for her when I came upon the specs for the SX1IS. It seems as if Canon product managers have listened to everything I wanted in a digital camera. The biggest deals for me were

1. HD video with optical zoom enabled while you're filming
2. 4 frames per second of continuous shooting
3. 20x optical zoom
4. Ease of use of a point-and-shoot

Here are my series of reactions:

1. After the first set of photos and videos, I couldn't help but feel as if Canon has under-delivered on the promise of a nearly perfect camera for amateurs or perhaps my camera was defective. This was my review of the first batch of photos and videos: (please read on to the next section since my initial disappointment resulted more from ignorance and unfair expectations)

a. I wasn't getting anywhere near 4 frames per second.

b. In the AUTO mode, the photos seem to come out at a lower quality than my much cheaper Powershot A710 in AUTO mode. By lower quality, I mean that the color, contrast, and details appear not as good.

c. It is very cool to be able to zoom in and out while you are taking video, but the HD video footages came out jerky enough to be really annoying.

2. This didn't seem right, so I actually read the instructions and spent a few minutes googling for info. It quickly became clear that you really have to read the manual to use this camera effectively. The manual is not written especially well, but it contains the info you need. (FYI, I've NEVER read instructions on any of my other digital point-and-shoot cameras before, and I have been very happy with the thousands of photos I've taken.)

a. Getting 4 frames per second: I learned that you cannot shoot 4 frames per second in AUTO mode or SPORTS mode. SPORTS mode can only take continuous AutoFocus photos which is about 1 frame per second. Most of the other modes support fast 4 frames per second continuous shooting. In the 4 fps continuous shooting, only the first shoot will be in focus, the others will be out of focus if the subject moves towards or away from your camera.

b. Comparing photos from SX1IS with A710: I realized that I was taking photos at high zoom that the Powershot A710 was not even able to get, so this was not a fair comparison. For apples-to-apples outdoor photos, SX1IS does take superior photos, but indoor photos does seem grainier at similar zoom levels. However, the difference is really minor, and there are many many adjustments on the SX1IS that can more than compensate.

c. Jerky HD video playback: This is a really a problem with Quicktime on my Windows Vista (on 2.5GHz Quadcore CPU with 4GB of RAM & ATI Radeon 512MB graphics card, so not a hardware issue). I saw similar jerky playback with Quicktime on Windows XP. However, the videos play smooth and perfectly in Quicktime on a Mac OS X. By reading this review, I hope you don't get upset when your first HD video looks really bad because of the jerky motion. I'm sure that this is a temporary problem: either Apple will improve Quicktime playback on Windows, a better MOV player will be available, or software will be available to convert the MOV to another format that works better on Windows.

d. Further note: To make changes to a bunch of settings via the menu options, you have to use this ring on the function button (called the "Control Dial"). It's the knurled outermost concentric ring surrounding the FUNC. SET button. You rotate this to select the menu options you want. Well, maybe I'll get used to it, but right now, this ring sucks. It's easy to miss the your menu item because you rotate this ring with just enough force, but if you press a bit too much, you end up with different options. This will probably suck to another plateau when I'm in bright sunlight looking through the viewfinder.

Here are 3 other things you might want to consider before purchasing this camera:

1. The camera feels very solid, but this also means that it is a bit heavy.

2. The form factor is for taking photographs, so if you plan to use this primarily for the HD video, your hands/arms will tire out. It is a bit awkward to keep the camera steady for extended video. HD camcorder will probably be better for you if your primary motivation is to take HD videos.

3. See a professional review with a video demo at [...]

I'm now having a great time taking lots of photos and videos with this camera. The 20x zoom, HD video, and 4 fps is worth the cost premium.
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96 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on April 22, 2009
Verified Purchase
There is a lot to love about the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS. Being able to take photographs or shoot 1080p video (get a big memory card for video!) is the main attraction for this camera, and this camera delivers. The 20x zoom lens is FANTASTIC. Zooming in and out is painless, quick, and silent. You'll love the freedom this gives you. I love that this camera takes 4 AA batteries. These kind of batteries are available everywhere so you don't have to worry about running out of power like you do in cameras with a proprietary battery pack. The video screen on this camera is relatively big, bright, and clear.

But the camera is not without a few problems. Coming from a Canon D-SLR, the image quality leaves a little to be desired. At 100% magnification, the images are a little noisy. However, most people don't look at pictures at this zoom-level, and at normal print sizes, the images are sharp and noise is not really noticeable in real-world shooting. I personally don't like the neck strap. Maybe I just need to wear it in, but at its current stiffness, it sometimes gets in the way of the camera controls. The video looks a little wobbly sometimes due to the design of CMOS sensors (Google "rolling shutter effect"). However, I only notice it when moving the camera quickly (such as panning). The battery compartment doesn't open the way you might expect (look in the manual before attempting it). The on-screen menu is a pretty good but could be better. The viewfinder is electronic and the colors on it appear washed out, but it gets the job done. Finally, there are no threads on the front of the lens to mount filters on, but there are third-party adapters that will let you do this (Lensmate makes one).

However, I'm still very satisfied with my purchase and would not hesitate to recommend the camera to others looking for this kind of hybrid camera. I'm going on a trip in June and it'll be the only camera I take.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2009
I've been waiting for the HD-video-capable replacement for the SX10IS for awhile, and I'm glad I waited. There is a lot of legitimate discussion whether this, the successor to the SX10IS, is a worthwhile replacement, and the answer is contingent on what you want to do with a camera and how experienced you are with photography.

First, this camera has an incredible zoom range. I stood from several blocks away and photographed an entire seven-story building in NYC using the SX1IS's widest zoom setting. From the distance I stood I could barely see that the top three floors featured terraces. I took another photo at maximum zoom and could not only see the terraces but see with reasonable detail that someone with a yellow short-sleeve shirt was having breakfast on their terrace. Needless to say, if you have a need for a fast, high-zoom-capable lens, the SX1IS has it.

In terms of speed, the camera feels very responsive. The lens itself zooms and retracts quickly with little noise (even while shooting video) and I was pleased with the overall responsiveness. The focus settings need to be played with somewhat, but overall the camera feels quick as opposed to sluggish or slow. Also, this (over the SX10IS) is rated at 4fps, which is mighty quick.

Picture quality, overall, is very good. There is definitely fringing on the edges of a shot where the barrel effect of a big, zoomed-out lens appears, but overall I'm happy with the results. There are some issues if you are taking a shot that will wind up on the side of a bus in an ad, but even 8x10 shots will come out wonderfully.

The camera is a bit heavy, but given the lens and the technology stuffed into this thing, I didn't feel like I needed a massage after working with it for a few hours. It's lots heavier than my snapshot go-to camera, the Canon 880IS, but that's like suggesting a Maybach is a lot heavier than a Kawasaki Ninja. Apples and oranges.

Overall, I think this is a good camera. It is a great tool for people who really know what they're doing -- which frankly isn't me. However, I have a general idea of what I want to accomplish and I'm willing -- and going to -- take the time to learn how to get more out of this camera. It's fine as an automatic point and shoot -- a bit complicated, perhaps -- but it will definitely save me the trouble and bother of going the dSLR route. Unless the lens on this camera is damaged, there should be no need to upgrade because the wide angle is great and the zoom is incredible. The lens could be a bit better at high zoom, but I'm satisfied with the results.

The main thing that this camera offers over the SX10IS is the capability to do RAW images and HD Video. The former is for serious users -- I haven't installed my packaged Canon software yet and haven't even explored taking RAW images or how to edit them with Photoshop on the PC -- but the HD video results are pretty amazing. I'm not sure how often I'll use this to do HD video but I can say without a doubt that I'd kick myself in six months' time if I wanted to use it to take some video and had to rely on 480p or 720p instead of full HD video. The quality is stunning and accurate, and with stereo mics the SX10IS does better at video than some fully-dedicated video cameras from several years ago.

A word to the wise: if you are willing to take the time to learn how to use this camera or are very experienced, you will enjoy using this camera. It's a bit pricey but I think it's a great piece of equipment. If however you are looking at this as an improvement on a little snapshot camera like the aforementioned 880IS and all you want to do is take portraits and the like, don't spend the extra money, get a snapshot digicam.

I'd recommend this to people who are either experienced or have a decent knowledge and understanding of photography, and also for people who would like to explore the mechanics of taking a photo beyond just hitting a button. It does produce some great photos, but it can really be frustrating. Bottom line: between the expense, the size of the cam itself and the tweaking necessary, if convenience is first and quality is second on your wishlist, this is not the right camera for you. You should go check out the Canon G10. If quality and the art of photography are the two highest items on your digicam wishlist, buy it and happy shooting.

Four stars and not five because of the lens fringe, the manual pop-up flash and the focus issues I originally experienced before I read through the manual. I'd have given this bad boy an extra star for RAW recording but I also deducted a star because you need to install proprietary Canon 'ware (both an app and a codec) before you can manipulate RAW images in Photoshop or elsewhere.

Overall, one hell of a camera.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2009
Verified Purchase
Let me preface my review by saying this is the perfect super zoom compact for me (on paper). I love everything about this camera but its reliability.

I've been really pleased with the HD video performance; sharp videos with good out of the camera color rendition, with some CMOS "wobble" on fast pans (more a function of bad videography technique however). Was pleasantly surprised with how still images capture in such an extreme 20x zoom lens. Is it a little soft at extreme aperatures? yeah. Is there chromatic aberation in the corners? sure. But this is a compact camera we're talking about here. ISO 400 is about the limit for me in regards to noise, but this is about par for the course as I've never been happy above 200 in all other compacts i've owned. The articulating screen is awesome and battery life has not been an issue due to rechargeable AA accesibility. For a traveller, this is a huge plus. Those who don't travel may not understand or appreciate this feature.

Where this camera fails in epic proportion is durabilty. My first SX1 lasted 3 weeks before it gave me the following error: "lens error, restart camera". This was after 30 or so pictures, and 4 movies; we're talking about 1 hour of total use, tops. Camera was never dropped or mishandled. Upon investigating online and forums, this seems to be an issue with both Japanese and US versions of this camera.

Perhaps I am just very, very unfortunate to get this twice. Getting burned twice makes me shy about trying it one more time and I hope you have better luck than I did.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2009
Verified Purchase
I just returned (last night) from a 12 day MIT alumni safari trip in Tanzania. I've been a serious amateur photographer for 50+ years, and had planned to take my Rebel xsi and two zoom lenses. I bought the sx1 3 months ago to evaluate it, and after many hours of using it, shooting test shots vs. the xsi, and traveling with it, I decided to take only the sx1 to Tanzania. Four people in our group had quality DSLRs and big lenses; one had an HD DVR. I am VERY happy that I chose to take the sx1. I got many more very good stills and HD videos than any one else. The DSLR people did get some exceptional stills that are better than anything the sx1 could do, but I knew that would be the case. My sx1 was always with me, always a second or two away from taking a quick shot, and even mixing stills and HD video simultaneously. I love that you can zoom while shooting video. I used Energizer "ultimate lithium" non-rechargeable AA batteries. I got 800 stills and 45 minutes of video on the first set before the "low battery" warning.

For me, reviews that point out that the sx1 image quality is not quite as good as a DSLR+lens that are 4x bigger and heavier are not helpful. It is true, and should be obvious. The big lenses are also better in dim light. In good light and mid-distance scenes, I can't tell the difference in 8x10 images from my best DSLR and my pocket Canon SD970.

I had a choice of taking the sx1 on safari, with a total weight of 1.47 pounds including batteries, or the xsi plus a canon 17-85 and a sigma 50-500 zoom, total weight 7.05 pounds without cases and charger. The sx1 was more than worth the image quality tradeoff, and the ability to shoot HD video was a real bonus. I'm fairly new to video, but using PowerDirector I'm integrating stills and video, all 1080 HD quality, into a really attractive presentation.

I found that the Tamrac 5230 case was best for the sx1 on safari. I wore it on my belt, with the top unzipped (it has velcro and snap closures as well as the zipper). I put the spare batteries, lens cleaner, etc. in a big zip-lock bag and folded that in the bottom of the Tamrac, under the camera. The Tamrac would fit into the zip-lock bag in a downpour. I got an adapter (LensMate, I think), and kept a 58mm skylight filter on the lens, with no lens cap. I could wipe the filter clean quickly without worrying about scratching the lens. I kept a tiny tripod in the outer pouch of the Tamrac, and I was ready for anything.

If you are considering a camera in this size and price range, and you want the 20x zoom and HD video, you will love the sx1.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2009
Verified Purchase
I've liked Canon cameras for a long time. I went from an SD40 to an SX3IS and then to this SX1IS. I'm not at all disappointed. I think you can and should find more complete reviews on dpreview and cameralabs, which has a good HD video sample. That said, I'm not going to try to post a complete technical review, just my likes/dislikes, pros/cons, and helpful info. If you get nothing else from my whole review, at least try this tip: Stop shooting with your camera set to Auto. You're missing out on features!

Where to start? This camera uses 4 AA batteries. I really, really, really like using rechargable AA batteries instead of proprietary LION packs. I have used 2500 mAh Energizers with no problems, but recently switched to Eneloops over worries about self-discharge between charges. Yes, my flash can take longer to recycle as the batteries reach half-way, but it sure beats spending $100 on a couple new LION packs in a couple years. I'd rather carry 4 extra AA's to switch to AND have the ability to use any available AA's (100 shots on alkalines vs over 400 on 2500mAh rechargables) in a pinch. At worst, buying batteries at retail or vacation-spot prices would be upsetting, but a dead LION pack means no pictures period. After using someone's camera that tries to work on 2 AA batteries, ugh, I'd never buy one of those and for small cameras you can't beat quick flash recycle times from LION packs. But with 4 AA's you have all the power you need to shoot just as well as LION packs, at least for the first half of the batteries. If I notice my flash starting to take too long to show ready, and I need to maintain quicker flash shots, I just swap to my spare set and know it's time to recharge the other ones.

With my other cameras, I always kept them on P (Program) mode on the dial, but starting with this one I now keep it on C (Custom) because I can store all my favorite settings, including "continuous shutter without focus" for very very fast shooting, and have it always come on that way at power-on, ready to hold down the button and bloat my memory card with 8 shots of the same thing for my wife to later complain about as she goes through the pictures :-) The few settings I might mess with frequently like servo focus, I put in the favorites menu, and then have that menu come up first when pushing Menu. Very helpful. I do still twirl the dial around for specific things like Night shot, and if you like the results of Portrait (tries to use aperture to blur the background, keeping the face in focus) by all means use that as needed.

After several months now, the only annoyance for me is having to switch between Wide and 4:3 to shoot Video and Pictures. I wish Canon would add an option to "Always Record Video in HD/Wide", so when you push the dedicated Record button it always switches to wide, and then back to 4:3 (if that's what it was before) when you stop recording. I bought an SX1 because I wanted to record HD video, right? Otherwise I would have bought an SX10! The best Picture resolution is in 4:3, otherwise you're shooting wide pictures that are "Cropped" in pixels compared to full 4:3. I suppose someday all the film places might switch to wide but for now 4x6 is the default picture standard. The 4:3 shots out of the camera are actually 4.5x6 so Costco will happily auto-crop people's heads off for you if you don't process your pictures ahead of time, but my wife is good at that now. Ok, sorry, I'll try to stop reviewing my wife and focus on the camera. I don't use the camera's built in red-eye or other processing it can do, so I can't comment on that.

I'm not really unhappy with the noise or ISO. It's certainly no worse than my other Canon's and it is unfair to compare the SX1 with an SLR. Of course you get less noise and higher ISO with an SLR! This is a superzoom, not an SLR. I don't have to carry a huge telephoto lens around with me or switch back and forth to wide angle. As it is, this camera is really pushing the limit on a belt-carry camera. I've never even tried, although I found a case at Walmart that does have a belt clip I still just use the shoulder strap. I could wear my SX3 but just barely... Anyway, if you need to get noise out of a picture, I can't recommend enough that you invest in Neat Image. I notice noise more in desktop backgrounds than prints, but by the same logic I also see the noise more when processing/cropping pictures in preparation for making prints.. Neat Image is very flexible and also has some presets like "sharpen a strongly out of focus picture" that can turn a mis-focused "just throw it away" shot into a "well at least you can see something" print. There is a free version but I use the 32 and 64-bit Photoshop plug-ins so I've paid for those. While that's outside the scope of the camera review, I think the information is helpful to others and so I've mentioned Neat Image.

Video... Well with a 16GB card I get an average of 47 minutes in HD, less whatever pictures I take. The video compression will vary depending on the subject, so it's hard to say precisely, but 3 minutes per Gig is a good estimate to go by. I've only had to switch to a standby 8GB card once because the 16GB filled up. You can snap pictures (without flash) while recording video, it just sort of puts a pause-like freeze in the video for a moment though the sound continues to record. The video you get in low light is nowhere near what you can get with a real camcorder. There's no lamp built-in. Turn on lights or plan to supplement by carrying a lamp, or if you go to a school play or something bring a real camcorder. I like not having to carry a second thing around. I stopped carrying my camcorder when I got my SX3, and now HD video is bonus extra-sweet icing on the cake.

The face detection doesn't work as often as I hoped it would. It needs larger faces than I tend to shoot in real life, because I don't zoom in on faces so much. If you frame with up to perhaps 3 or 4 people standing close, getting their hair and just below the shoulders, sure it face-detects unless they turn sideways, but it's hard to get it to face detect when taking head-to-toe shots with scenery. When it doesn't find a face, I don't have any problem bracketing a shot with center focusing and then shifting the camera to frame the shot how I want. For that reason, I leave servo focus turned off by default, because otherwise moving the camera to frame a shot can also throw the focus to the background and blur the subjects. I thought Servo Focus would be great for those times when the toddler just won't stop walking towards you while you are waiting to snap a picture, but after ruining a precious shot with the blurring I described from framing the shot, I moved the setting to easily-accessible in the menu and defaulted it to off.

If you are used to flashes that automatically pop-up, you might hate this camera. I really started to like the way this flash works when I had my SX3, so I am already used to it. In Program or Custom mode (stop using Auto!), you can set the flash to Always ON when the flash is flipped up. Even at the beach at noon in Summer, I recently took a lot of shots with the flash up. Why? Because the lake was in sunlight but the baby was under the shade canopy playing in the sand. I wanted scenic shots but I wanted to be sure the baby was well lit. With this camera it is hard, but not impossible, to blow-out a subject too white with the flash. It is still good to step back and zoom in to avoid it, rather than step close as your instincts probably tell you to do, but this camera is far better at taking a very quick pre-flash exposure measurement and not blowing out someone's face to near white uselessness the way my SX3 could easily do. Want another tip? Indoor shots including trains, ships, etc, you may want a picture of people but also to see the view out the window. If you point at the people, the window usually comes out mostly just white. Flip up the flash, forcing it to fire. Keeping focus in mind, point so the center is at the edge of the window so it focuses on the distance to the Window (not the outside), press half-way, then move the camera to your people and depress the rest of the way. You should now have a picture exposed that shows the pretty (hopefully) outdoors through the window, but also the flash lights up your people and they appear nicely instead of as dark outlines of their hair.

Well anyway, if you need a pocket camera, look elsewhere -- the G10 is a great full-featured camera and much smaller, but "only" 5x zoom. If you like carrying more lenses than camera and turn your nose up at low ISO noisy consumer cameras, go buy an SLR and good luck to you -- your chiropractor is probably getting rich off you. If you can carry a camera this big and you need a real 20x zoom (and a real 40x with no fake digital zooming in HD video mode!) with a decent wide-angle as well, you can't go wrong with the SX10IS. But, if you need HD video, then you want the SX1IS. The SX10IS is almost half the price, so the only reason to get the SX1IS is for HD video, and the review sites I first mentioned will explain this far better than I could. Remember the best thing about the SX series cameras is the dedicated Video-Record button. No matter what your dial is set to, one button starts and stops video recording.

Update: October 2012. I am still using this camera. Life for our family is such that carrying a camera this large is not often practical, in fact we left it behind entirely when we went to Disney World Orlando and used only our iPhone 4S' and the in-park photographers PhotoPass system. I wish there was a combination of 1. compact, with 2. a large sensor, and 3. a good optical zoom, but nothing currently fits the bill; there are a few 3x zoom choices and one 4x zoom choice, the Canon G1 X 14.3 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 4x Wide-Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom Lens Full 1080p HD Video and 3.0-Inch Vari-Angle LCD. A family member has purchased a Sony DSC-RX100 20.2 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor Digital Camera with 3.6x Zoom which has a huge 1" sensor, and 3.6x zoom. It is pocketable which is a huge difference in having a camera vs leaving it behind, and I am planning to borrow it enough to evaluate whether I need a superzoom or if I can instead just crop images from the RX100 when more "zoom" is needed. I fully realize that there is no comparison to a quality lens on a DSLR body, but if the SX1IS is often "too big" then a DSLR is completely out now isn't it? My family needs a good Compact camera, not a wedding/sports photographer's kit. I only hope we continue to see more larger sensor and longer zooms in the Compact category.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2009
The Canon SX1 is a great all around camera for advanced amateurs who are willing to sacrifice some quality for the convenience of having a lot of features in one (relatively) small package. It is great for travelers who want to take some quality photographs plus occasional video clips without having to lug a lot of different gadgets plus accessories.

Note that while it offers a good balance between the convenience of a point & shoot and the image quality of a DSLR, it's not going to beat either at the things each is specifically good at. Jack of all trades, master of none, but does pretty well if you know its limitations. I have samples of photos and a video using this camera on my website. The address is listed at the end of this review.

As with any camera, the major factor in taking good photographs is you and your skills. You'll also benefit from reading the manual. This camera has a lot of advanced photography features normally found on DSLRs that, if you make full use of them, will get you excellent results.

What's Good (not in any particular order):
1. Wide angle plus 20x zoom without swapping lenses. I hate carrying too much stuff around, which is why I don't use a DSLR. You can shoot landscapes and close ups of wildlife without wasting valuable time to put on the appropriate lens. Plus the weight can really add up when you're backpacking or out on an extended day hike.

2. Vari-angle display. Great for taking shots at odd angles like ground level, above your head, over the cliff or self-portraits. I don't think I'll buy another camera without this feature. You will get amazing shots with ease that you can't with other cameras that don't have this feature.

3. Can add filters. With a lensmate adapter (google lensmate), you can add a wide variety of filters like a circular polarizer, UV, infrared, neutral density, etc. You can add a lot to the quality of your photographs with filters.

4. Does HD video at 1080p. You can get some pretty cool clips from this camera without needing to have a camcorder.

5. Has a lot of advanced features: autobracketing for high dynamic range photos, raw and raw + jpeg, exposure compensation, aperture and shutter priority, etc.

6. Has a lot of convenience features such as the scene modes for different types of photography you may be doing.

7. Hot shoe for external flash. Only way to go for flash photography.

8. Can be vastly expanded using CHDK firmware. Not approved by Canon but loading up this firmware allows this camera to do a lot more. For example, long shutter is normally limited to 15 seconds, which doesn't allow you to take night shots very well. With CHDK you can open your shutter for minutes to get amazing night shots of the sky or the skyline. You'll also be able to do time lapse photography, go beyond the 4gb video file limit and much more.

9. Uses standard AA batteries. With custom rechargeables you are SOL when you run out of juice. With AA, you can run into any convenience store to get more batteries. On my recent trip to Yosemite I took 4 sets of rechargeables thinking it was more than enough juice for my 5 day trip. Sometimes things don't go according to plan and I was glad this thing takes AAs when I ran out of juice on the 4th day. Would have otherwise missed some very beautiful shots on my last day.

So what are the Cons?
1. Poor low light shots. Not anything worse that most point and shoots. But don't expect it to be as good as DSLRs. Yes it has a CMOS sensor but it is small. Beyond 200 ISO you're going to see a lot of noise. Having good lighting is crucial for this camera. A tripod will also help immensely.

2. Size and weight. Yeah it would be nice if it was the size and weight of my iPhone. But hey, this hybrid is a compromise.

If you want to get an idea of what this camera can do, check out the photos and video I posted on my website. [...]

Highly recommended but not for everyone.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2009
Verified Purchase
I have wanted for a long time a camera that could do true HD (1080i or 1080p) video. The Powershot SX1 IS is that camera.

PROS: excellent pics, and excellent HD video (as presented on our Sony 47" 1080p LCD). Very fast reads/writes using a Ultra II 16 GB card.

CONS: a bit heavy (factor if you take in on a hike); I keep pushing the buttons on the top left side when I hold it; and I keep forgetting to turn the screen around when I turn it off (should beep at me before it shuts off so I don't scratch the lcd screen).

Overall, the perfect hybrid camera I have been waiting for. has an excellent review of this camera. If you want great amateur pics and super HD video, this is it.

Please note a subtle finding though with the HD video size. A 5 minute 1080p video produced a 2.2 GB video file. When editing it on my MacBook Pro using iMovie, the rendering to an HD QT file would take about 5 to 11 hours. So great that I can capture HD content, but I did not realize that I need a good backup strategy (e.g. many external drives for redundant copies) and possibly a Mac Pro (e.g. quad Xeons). I am still experimenting with different rendering options (e.g. output to iPod) but if I want to make a 1 hour HD movie, I need a lot of storage and a lot of time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2009
I have loved my Canon S3 IS for the past few years and my wife will continue to enjoy it for years to come. The new Canon SX1 IS continues the tradition of taking an extended zoom high end point and shoot to a new level. Its best points so far are:
1) Great picture quality from the CMOS sensor.
2) Converting from Cinema 16:9 size to standard size 4:3 from a separate button
3) Standard AA batteries - Get rechargeables as this camera seems to chew through batteries
4) The large swivel LCD monitor allows you to shoot holding the camera over your head or putting the camera close to or even on the ground. To get a stable camera position, I like to use the LCD monitor facing upwards with the camera body held against my body. Great feature!
5) The full HD videos are impressive and can be used on a Mac Mini Core2 Duo 2.0 GHz computer with 2 GB Memory
6) And finally, the zoom! On my S3, the digital zoom gave noticeable deterioration after the 12X optical was surpassed. I took my first SX1 pictures with the digital zoom disabled. Turn it on and test it out! I took a series of pictures in 16:9 at 1X, 20X, 40X and 80X, with a distant house and a couple of geese as targets. Surprisingly good photos at 80X even hand held! This camera is a small telescope! That goes for the full HD video too. I took some rowing competition video and was surprised at the detail at high zoom levels on a 23" Dell HD monitor.

I have not been disappointed in this recent purchase!
Canon PowerShot SX1IS 10 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 20x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.8-inch LCD
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2009
The SX1 IS is a very good camera in its price range, but make sure that you're going to use its features, and be aware of its drawbacks. As a high-end point and shoot, it generates pictures better than just about any compact and quite a few older DSLRs, but it is no substitute for even a modern budget DSLR like the Nikon D40 and at high resolution it has noticible noise at all but the slowest ISO settings. Its superfine JPEGs are very sharp, but people who expect full control over RAW will be disappointed at how comparatively little adjustment is possible (white balance, colour, and not much else). If you primarily shoot in 16:9 (as I do), then you will adore the widescreen LCD, but if you primarily shoot in 4:3 then you will find it vibrant but cropped. Video, especially in HD mode, is crystal clear and sharp with exceptional audio but difficult to play on all but very high end systems (PowerPC Macs need not apply) and you will want a big card. Plus, the camera is rather exhausting to hold through long video sessions. However, it is almost as good as my trusty Vixia HV-30.

If you're getting the idea that virtually every plus of this camera comes with a corresponding caveat (except for the AA batteries: it uses AA batteries instead of stupid custom charge paks, and it's very powerthrifty, so this is a big plus), you're right. I bought this camera *specifically* for its 16:9 capabilities and the ability to quickly frame widescreen panoramas, which put it in a very small group of cameras, and I do actually make use of its HD video capability from time to time. Thus, for my specific purposes, it performs admirably. People using it for professional print photography, however, will be disappointed by the image noise and the relatively few prosumer features. If you are primarily doing 4:3 or 3:2 images and you don't need (good) video, you would be better served by something else, and for those tasks I still use my Nikon SLR.

As a high-end amateur point and shoot, and a professional camera for certain niche uses such as my widescreen requirements, it is an exceptional camera in its class. Just remember to use program mode and ISO 80 for shots requiring high quality, and use a tripod. However, people who need the capability and low film noise of a DSLR, particularly for large prints, should look elsewhere unless you absolutely need HD video or 16:9; a Nikon D40x may serve you better.
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