Canon TX1 Review

 
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Canon PowerShot TX1 Optics

Rather hidden from prominence on the Canon PowerShot TX1 is its 10x zoom, made possible by the unusual orientation of the camera's lens. Measuring 39-390mm at 35mm equivalence, the f/3.5 to f/5.6 lens is a little slow for indoor shooting, especially at telephoto; but considering the camera's overall size, it's a necessary compromise. The lens zooms smoothly across the range with its zoom toggle mounted on the back. There's a pause to transfer to digital zoom, which offers an additional 4x magnification. When powered on, the Canon TX1's lens protrudes .47 inches (12mm). It does not move from this position as the lens zooms. There is no optical viewfinder on the Canon PowerShot TX1, quite common on long zoom digital cameras. Again, the very small form of the Canon TX1 would make adding an EVF (electronic viewfinder) difficult.

Lens

Zoom
Good performance with the 10x optically stabilized zoom lens. Digital zoom also performs fairly well.

39mm 390mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Canon PowerShot TX1's optical zoom covers the equivalent of a 39-390mm range, which is much greater than most average digital cameras, but it would have been nice if it started at a shorter ("wider angle") focal length. Overall performance is quite good, with good detail and sharpness at both wide angle and telephoto, although there is noticeable chromatic aberration in the corners and edges at both ends of the zoom range. The camera's 4x digital zoom also performs pretty well, with better results than we usually associate with digital zoom, although still not nearly as sharp or detailed as optical zoom.

Macro
A below average macro area but with excellent detail and high resolution. Flash exposure was not usable up close.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Canon TX1's macro setting was below average, capturing a fairly large minimum area of 3.97 x 2.97 inches (101 x 76 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both excellent however, with only minimal softening in the extreme corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The flash had trouble throttling down and blew out most of the exposure, so plan on using external lighting for the best results with the TX1's macro setting. We did not test Super Macro mode in the lab, so see the Gallery shots for more. In Super Macro mode, the Canon TX1 can photograph objects actually touching the surface of the lens.

Distortion
Moderate barrel distortion, though low pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 39mm is 0.8%
Pincushion at 390mm is less than 0.2%

The Canon PowerShot TX1's 0.8% barrel distortion at wide angle is about average among the cameras we've tested, and just slightly noticeable in some of its images. At the telephoto end, the TX1's pincushion distortion was a bit lower than average at less than 0.2%, and had little effect. This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic aberration
Significant, with noticeable effect on images at edges.

Wide: High and bright,
lower left @ 200%
Wide: High and bright,
lower right @ 200%
Tele: High, but not quite as bright,
lower left @200%
Tele: High, but not quite as bright,
lower right @200%

Chromatic aberration was moderately high at wide angle, showing about 6-7 pixels of bright coloration on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) At full telephoto, chromatic aberration was also high, but not quite as bright. Overall, the effect is noticeable in a few of our test shots.

Corner Sharpness
Slight blurring in the corners of the frame at wide angle and telephoto.

Wide: Slightly soft in the
corners (lower right).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Slightly soft in the
corners (lower left)
Tele: Sharper at center.

The Canon PowerShot TX1 produced slightly soft results in the corners of the frame at full wide angle. At full telephoto, there's also slight blurring in the corners of the frame, but with very little effect on resulting images. This is pretty good performance overall, especially for a very small 10x optical zoom.

Viewfinder

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor. The TX1 does not have an optical viewfinder.

39mm eq., LCD 390mm eq., LCD

The Canon PowerShot TX1's LCD monitor showed about 102% coverage at wide angle, and was about 100% accurate at telephoto.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Canon PowerShot TX1 Photo Gallery.

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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.

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