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By Andrew Gould 7 January 2009

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Canon has just given its PowerShot compact camera range a serious shot of adrenalin, straight to the heart, with the new 10 megapixel PowerShot SX1 IS, which replaces the PowerShot S5 IS. The SX1 is the very first Canon compact to include a 10 megapixel CMOS sensor, 4 frames per second continuous shooting, full HD video and Canon’s new DIGIC 4 processor.

The SX1 has a 28mm lens with 20x optical zoom, so you can take photos in a variety of conditions, from action shots at the cricket, to capturing wildebeest ­sweeping majestically across the African plains. The Canon’s lens zooms and focuses in near silence thanks to Canon’s Ultrasonic Motor (USM) technology. The SX1 gives the photographer great confidence to take photos with high magnification as Canon’s optical stabiliser keeps the whole picture very still.

The 10 megapixel CMOS sensor lets you take shots that can be blown up to poster size, without losing all the detail you want. The SX1 also lets you shoot in full 30 fps HD video that you can play back on your HD TV via the built-in HDMI connection. The SX1 is also the first in Canon’s compact range to include the DIGIC 4 processor that was previously only found in Canon’s SLR range of cameras. The DIGIC 4 drives a number of memory-intensive features, like facial recognition and the FaceSelf-timer.

We really like that fact that you can also use the Canon as a full manual zoom and focus camera, so you can get exactly the shot you want. On the downside we were not too impressed with the Canon’s flip-open display, that is just too flimsy and the fact that the flash doesn’t pop up automatically, like in Canon SLRs, but overall the SX1 sets the bar very high for the new generation of compact cameras.

PROS
Full HD video recording, 20x zoom, built-in HDMI connection, DIGIC 4.
CONS
Not much but it is quite bulky
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