Generally, photo quality tends to be the weakest aspect of superzooms, but the SX1's pictures are among the best in its class. While its colours aren't quite as good as the SX10's -- oranges, yellows, reds and purples are slightly off, although you probably couldn't tell without a side-by-side comparison -- it has a better tonal range with less contouring in shadow areas.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
The SX1 also has a better noise profile, with lower noise at all ISO levels, and without the blue channel artefacts we noticed in the SX10's photos. But, as with most models at this level, detail becomes visibly degraded at ISO 400 and beyond. The SX1 is pretty sharp, but it's not as sharp as the SX10. We attribute this to some visible haloing in the blue channel that we saw in our test charts.
The camera retains the separated stereo mics of its ancestors and can zoom -- pretty quietly -- during recording. The video quality is quite good. It's relatively sharp and saturated, with fast refocusing and exposure adjustment, especially when played back on a large TV.
Priced like a cheap dSLR and roughly the same size, the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS delivers similar performance, plus a 20x zoom lens and HD video, which dSLRs can't provide. While it's relatively expensive for its class and has some interface quirks, it's one of the best superzooms we've seen so far.
Additional editing by Charles Kloet