Two weeks ago I reviewed the PowerShot SX10 IS, one of a pair of new super-zoom bridge cameras that have replaced the popular S5 IS in Canon's digital camera range. Today I'm taking a look at the SX10's slightly smarter sibling, the SX1 IS. Like the SX10 it is a 10-megapixel super-zoom camera featuring a 20x wide-angle zoom lens, but it improves on the cheaper model's specification in two important ways. First, it has a faster CMOS sensor, giving it a faster continuous shooting speed, and second, it can shoot video in full 1080p HD format.
Naturally these extra features push the price up somewhat. The SX1 is currently available for about £370 from discount online sellers, although you're more likely to see it for around £400. That's a lot of money for a compact camera; in fact it's one of the most expensive non-SLR cameras on the market, costing around £30 more than the PowerShot G10, and about £50 more than the Panasonic LX3. It's also more expensive than most entry-level digital SLRs, so the obvious question is whether or not it's worth the money.
Not only is the SX1 priced like an SLR, it's built like one too. The body is almost identical to that of the SX10, which in turn is very similar to its predecessor the S5 IS. It's a large and surprisingly heavy camera, measuring 127.5 x 88.3 x 87.7 mm and weighing approximately 585g, slightly wider, taller and heavier than the SX10. For comparison, an EOS 450D digital SLR weighs 475g (body only).
Build quality is, as you might expect for that sort of price, very good. The body is tough plastic with a curvy shape that is inherently strong, and the lens surround is aluminium. The camera is solidly made and feels like it could take a bit of rough treatment without complaining too much. All the controls are securely mounted and the battery and card hatches have strong metal hinges.