Canon PowerShot SX1 IS Review
Cosmetically the SX1 IS is very similar to the S5 IS, with the two obvious differences being the new larger LCD and the new lens (which is both larger in diameter and extends out farther at the longest zoom setting). The SX1 IS is slightly heavier and larger all round, but despite these increases, external construction is still mostly plastic with the hot-shoe, tripod mount, and a part of the lens barrel the only bits of metal. The deep hand grip and larger lens makes the SX1 IS feel even more 'miniature SLR' in design than its predecessor. This impression has been reinforced by moving the buttons around so that the camera is easier to control with one hand, along with the addition of the rear scroll wheel (a feature on many EOS SLR cameras) and the darker finish. Overall the build feels solid despite the plastic construction, with the one exception of the hand grip which flexes a little under pressure.
We criticized the S5 IS for having a control layout that wasn't as intuitive as it could have been. This has improved on the SX1 IS, with the buttons now grouped (mostly) in a logical layout. One example of this is the new rear multi-controller, which provides direct access to the most used photographic controls, with the center FUNC button giving access to those which don't have a dedicated external control button. In the menus the multi controller is also used for navigation.
Most of the buttons on the camera are slightly recessed so that they're not easy to accidentally press (with the exception of the new multi controller on the back), and the top mode dial is satisfyingly 'clicky'. While there are settings that you will have to delve into the menu system to configure, for the most part the SX1 IS looks and operates more like a real camera than a computer with a lens bolted onto the front.
In your hand
The handgrip is very good, with all the important image parameter controls situated around the right side of the camera for easy one handed use. Even though the construction is almost all plastic, the camera feels solid, and weighting is helped by situating the batteries in the hand grip. And despite being one of the heaviest cameras in its class, the SX1 IS is well balanced in your hand and comfortable to use for long periods of time.
Mar 27, 2009
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