Digital Outback Photo
- Photography using Digital SLRs


Canon PowerShot Pro1 Experience Report

A review diary by Uwe Steinmueller @Digital Outback Photo

Also photos by Bettina Steinmueller




This review will be written again in the form of a diary. Most recent findings on top.
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Note: This review is written from the perspective of a long time digital SLR user.

Note on image processing:

With digicams like the Canon PowerShot Pro1 we work mostly using JPGs and sometimes raw (here Canon CRW files) and use a preview version of Camera Raw 2.2 for Photoshop CS:

"A beta version of Adobe's Camera Raw version 2.2 plug-in. Since this is a beta version, the results are still subject to change."

Note: This version of ACR is not public available.

Most images are also sharpened using Simple Sharpening.


4/7/2004 Michael Reichmann's Pro1 Review

Always read more than one review. We seem to be close to Michael's findings.

We reviewed so far the Canon Pro1, Nikon 8700 and Sony F828.

Here is our subjective rating so far:

Image Quality

1. Nikon 8700 and Canon Pro1

2. Sony F828


1. Sony F828 (though way bigger than the other cameras)

2. Canon Pro 1

3. Nikon 8700

Our personal pick would be

1. Any DSLR :-) (because of EVF issues of the small digicams)

2. Canon Pro 1 (because the Sony F828 images cause to much trouble with purple fringing)

3. Nikon 8700 or Sony F828

It is not clear to us whether we will review the other two 8MP digicams: Konica-Minolta A2 and Olympus 8080 (most likely not). Why?

  • If a camera is out for a while in the market all the users have more experience than any reviewer and our review is not really needed
  • Digital SLRs are more the focus of this site. We looked into these digicams only as many users may decide between a DSLR (Canon Rebel or Nikon D70) and one of these digicams. Actually a Sony F828 with less purple fringing and better EVF could be a serious challenge for any entry level DSLR.

4/4/2004 Los Gatos tests and ISO check
Today we only used the Pro1 on our standard Los Gatos tour. If you only use the EVF and not directly compare to a DSLR the EVF feels much more useable.

Ristorante in Los Gatos

Crop at 100% magnification


These shots are JPEGs that we sharpened and corrected for perspective. Automatic white balance works very well and the colors are very good.

Antique shop in Los Gatos

Crop at 100% magnification

Again the Pro1 did a nice job to resolve the shadow details.

Using Raw files

Raw files are much more useable than with the Sony F828 and the Nikon 8700. Here is why:

  • Raw files are better packed/compressed at 7-9.5MB. (8700 == 12.3MB, F828 == 16.9MB)
  • The camera is much faster ready for the next shot

No Live Histogram

We miss the live histogram from the Sony F828 but the Pro1's preview histogram is available right after the shot (no wait and no button to press)


Noise Check

ISO 50

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

Pretty good results from a camera with a small sensor at 8MP. Even at ISO 400 you can get useable results.


The grip of the Pro1 has a nice feeling and we can handle the camera now very well.

Whether you like the Pro1 or not really depends on the following issues:

  • Get along with the EVF or not
  • Need higher ISO like the DSLRs provide
  • Like the small form factor or not

Otherwise it seems to us as a very capable small digicam.


4/3/2004 Canon PowerShot Pro1 in a first test

On a trip to San Francisco we used the Pro1 a first time. As mentioned above this review diary is written from the perspective of a long time DSLR user.

Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)

This is the single most negative difference to any DSLR we have used so far. The optical viewfinder is so much more clear than any EVF we have used. The Pro1 is no exception here.


The Pro1 is a lot of camera for it's size. We like to handle larger cameras as they feel better in our hands (our hands are pretty small). The Sony F828 is much bigger and we tend to see this as a plus. But if you want a small camera the Pro1 may be for you.


The handling of the Pro1 is easy to learn and is pretty good for such a small camera. We hardly will get used to the slow handling of these types of cameras:

  • AF is slow
  • The camera is not instantly ready for the next shot


We are not sure about the camera's feedback on autofocus. There were situations where the autofocus seemed not to lock in. There is also a danger that you may push incidentally the button for manual focus with your thumb. This is not a good ergonomic solution. We found the feedback from the Sony F828 a lot better.


Overall the images from our first session seem to be nice. There is only slight CA (chromatic aberration) or PF (purple fringing).

Mural in SF

crop at 100% magnification

Freshly painted Mural in SF

crop at 100% magnification

Iron Stairs in China Town

Overall the images are very nice and match the other 8MP cameras we have tested so far (Sony F828 and Nikon 8700). There is some CA but is is very low on these first pictures.

Black Wall in SF (ISO 100)

Crop at 100% magnification

This black wall test shows a slight trace of purple at a high contrast edge. Overall the Pro1 mastered this difficult black test very well.

More to come ....

Digital Outback Camera Evaluation Chart Canon PowerShot Pro1

Canon Pro1
View Finder
Quality of the electronic Viewfinder
marginally better
Swivel Viefinder The Konica Minolta has a nice Swivel Viewfinder
no no
Swivel LCD Swivel LCD can help viewing the LCD better
not need due to swivel body design yes
How much detail can be represented
Color Quality
How well are colors rendered
How well works the automatic white balance
Best detail does not help if you get too much noise. But we would not get noise neurotic either.
Chromatic aberration shown
sometimes severe
little (less than F828)
Purple Fringing
Extra purple fringing beyond CA
sometimes severe
not sure we have seen CA of PF
Lens Range
What range is covered by the zoom (in 35mm equivalent)
28-200mm (good range)
28-200mm (good range)
Manual Zoom Ring Manual zoom rings feel nicer than electronic controls
excellent yes (electronic conrol, could be smoother)

Manual Focus Ring

Manual focus rings feel nicer than electronic controls
yes (don't think the EVF is good for manual focussing though) yes (switch to use zoom ring for manual focus)
Live Histogram
Showing a live histogram. Featuring a live histogram for all 3 color channels would be even better.
good (luminance)
no (we miss it)
Raw recording
How well is the use of Raw supported
poor (8-10 secs for each file the camera is blocked)
Delay but much faster
Raw SW
Manufacturers Raw software. Many raw files can be opened by Adobe Camera Raw in Photoshop CS
poor (8bit only)
Yes, we are not a fan of Zoombrowser.
We are no experts on flash
not tested yet
Flash Synch If you work a lot with flash check the flash connectors and flash synch speed
not tested not tested
Does the sensor use the classic three color RGBG Bayer pattern or like the Sony F282 a new four color RGBE pattern
Sensor Sensor type and manufacturer
Sony 8MP CCD Sony 8MP CCD
Startup Time to power up the camera
ok ok
Shutterlag Delay from pressing the shutter till the picture is taken
significant significant due to slow AF
Autofocus Autofocus quality (low light, low contrast)
good ok (hard to judge whether it locked in)
AF Speed Autofocus speed
ok slow
Size Smaller does not mean better
excellent small, feels good in our hands
Handling How does the camera feel in use. This is very subjective.
good good
Lens hood Lens hood is critical for best lens performance
in the box in the box
1/3 f-stops Be able to control f-stops by 1/3 EV in manual mode
yes yes
1/3 shutter Be able to control shutter speed by 1/3 EV in manual mode
yes yes

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