The SX1's noise supression profile is pretty typical: sharpness remains OK through ISO 200 followed by some detail degradation at ISO 400 and general mushiness at ISO 800 and above. However, like most Canons, color noise remains very low across the range.
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Color: SX1 vs. SX10
We rarely get the chance to do an apples-to-apples comparison of different sensors in the same camera as we do with the SX1 and SX10. And it came as quite a surprise that the SX10's color is actually slightly better than the SX1's: the differences in the oranges, yellows, and purples are especially striking.
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Though it's not quite as accurate at the SX10's the SX1's colors are still very good and nicely saturated.
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Like most fixed-lens cameras, the SX1 is sharpest in its supermacro mode. In general, however, even its telephoto shots are pretty sharp, at least in the center.
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At its widest angle, 28mm equivalent, the SX1 displays some asymmetrical barrel distortion, most noticeably on the left side. This is pretty typical of fixed-lens cameras, though.
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This type of shot is where we typically see fringing, and the SX1 holds up pretty well everywhere but near the edges of the frame, where lens distortion is worst.
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Fringing was more of a problem on color borders like these where there seems to be some blooming in the blue channel.