Canon SX1 IS Review

 
Camera Reviews / Canon Cameras i Review

Canon SX1 IS Performance


Timing and Performance

Above average performance overall.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

2.2 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy and capture a picture.

Shutdown

1.7 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

4 seconds
(After 14 L/SF JPEGs
5 RAW or
4 RAW+ F JPEG frames)

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

Better than average times for a long-zoom here. Buffer clearing was fairly fast and consistent, no matter the image quality mode.

 

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

1.7 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

1.9 seconds

Time to display a large/super fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

1.2 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching times are on the slow side of average.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.591 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide-angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.668 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Full Autofocus Wide
Flash enabled

1.03 seconds

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position, with flash enabled.

Prefocused

0.065 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Continuous AF

0.528 second

This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.

Manual Focus
0.361 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused."

Shutter response is about average at wide-angle, and faster than average at telephoto for a long-zoom, at 0.59s and 0.67s respectively. Enabling the flash nearly doubles shutter lag to 1.03s., which isn't unusual. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a lag time of 0.065 second. This is very fast, albeit not as quick as some digicams.

 

Cycle Time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large SuperFine JPEG
1.52 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW

1.95 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW + Fine JPEG

2.02 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large SuperFine JPEG

0.26 second (3.81 frames per second);
14 frames total;
4 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 14-shot buffer length. NOTE that first/second shot interval is 0.31 second, then others are about 0.26

Continuous mode
Large SuperFine JPEG
AF enabled

0.90 second (1.11 frames per second);
20+ frames total

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots. Shot to shot time varies more than usual, about +/- 7%

Continuous mode
RAW

0.63 second (1.59 frames per second);
5 frames total;
4 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 5-shot buffer length. NOTE that first/second shot interval is 0.87 second, then others are about 0.55

Continuous mode
RAW + Fine JPEG

0.73 second (1.38 frames per second);
4 frames total;
4 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over 4-shot buffer length. NOTE that first/second shot interval is 0.96 second, then others are about 0.61

Flash recycling

10.2 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are good, at about 1.52 seconds for large/superfine JPEGs, 1.95 seconds for RAW and 2.02 seconds for RAW + LF JPEG, and the camera seems to capture frames indefinitely at this rate. (That is, given a fast enough memory card, it doesn't have to pause every few frames to wait for the card to catch up.) Continuous modes speeds and buffer depths are also quite good, at 3.81 frames-per-second for 14 large/superfine JPEGs. That rate drops significantly for RAW mode, at 1.59 frames-per-second for 5 RAW files, or 1.38 frames-per-second for 4 RAW+JPEG frames. Still, this is quite fast for an all-in-one digicam. (Note that the Canon SX1 IS has the trait we've observed in some other digicams from time to time, whereby the delay between the first and second shots of a continuous-mode series is longer than between subsequent shots. Times mentioned just now are overall averages for the bursts; see the table above for more detail.) Enabling tracking AF during continuous mode drops the frame rate to 1.11 frames-per-second when shooting JPEGs. The flash takes about 10.2 seconds to recycle, which is longer than average, especially for a model that uses 4 AA batteries.

 

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

4,935 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are very good.


Overall, the Canon SX1 IS performs better than most all-in-ones in terms of timing. Autofocus speed is good, and cycle-times are faster than average, giving it the ability to capture shots in most shooting situations, including sporting events. The only disappointing result was the over 10-second full-power flash recycling time, however the Canon SX1 does have a hot-shoe, so a faster, more powerful external flash can be used if needed.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Average battery life for AA alkalines, though much better runtimes with NiMH rechargeables.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
4 x AA Alkaline Batteries
(LCD on, based on CIPA standard)
160
4 x AA Alkaline Batteries
(EVF on, based on CIPA standard)
180
4 x AA NiMH Batteries (2500 mAh),
(LCD on, based on CIPA standard)
420
4 x AA NiMH Batteries (2500 mAh),
(EVF on, based on CIPA standard)
430

The Canon SX1 IS uses four AA-type batteries for power, and ships with a set of ordinary alkaline cells. We strongly recommend you pick up a couple sets of rechargeable NiMH batteries and a good quality charger, as they'll save you many times their cost over the life of the camera.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on Canon's standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Canon SX1 IS accepts SDHC/SD/MMC memory cards, and doesn't include a card in the bundle.

Image Capacity with
1GB Memory Card
SuperFine Fine Normal
3,648 x 2,736
Images
227
382
794
File Size
4.5 MB
2.7 MB
1.3 MB
2,816 x 2,112
Images
361
601
1,238
File Size
2.8 MB
1.7 MB
827 KB
2,272 x 1,704
Images
487
872
1,721
File Size
2.1 MB
1.2 MB
595 KB
1,600 x 1,200
Images
967
1,721
3,261
File Size
1.1 MB
595 KB
314 KB
640 x 480
Images
3,645
5,633
8,853
File Size
281 KB
182 KB
116 KB

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/SDHC memory card. (These days, 2 to 4GB is a good trade-off between cost and capacity.) You might consider larger if you plan on shooting lots of RAW images or HD video. Also, be sure to buy a Class 6 or higher speed-rated card, to avoid pauses during HD movie recording.

 

Print the perform page for the Canon PowerShot SX1 IS digital camera reviewPrint this Page

Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

Follow Imaging Resource

Purchase memory card for Canon PowerShot SX1 IS digital camera
Enter this month to win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate