Canon PowerShot Pro1. Review from reader Radozhiva

A review of the Canon Pro1 compact camera specially for Radozhiva was prepared by Sergey Ovchinnikov (blog on Yandex Zen; photohosting Flickr).

rice. 001 - Canon PowerShot Pro1 with L lens

rice. 001 - Canon PowerShot Pro1 with L lens. increase.

Canon PowerShot Pro1 is the most controversial retro camera of the early 2000s. Perhaps this is the only Canon compact camera with an L-lens. The name says “Pro” with the index “1”. We need to try to figure out what is unique about the camera, which was announced in 2004 - almost 18 years ago.

The photos for the article were taken with the Olympus C-4000 ZOOM retro camera in super-macro mode using the multi-metering function (multi-step measurement exposure).

Lots and at once

The perception problem of Pro1 is hidden in its positioning. I was forced to believe that this camera belongs to a separate product line of Canon cameras called PowerShot Pro. All those “Pro”, “ones” and red rim on the lens can give you false expectations from the camera.

In fact, the Pro1 should be seen as the next model in the acclaimed PowerShot G line, right after the G5. On the one hand, Pro1 could have come out instead of G6, or, a year later, instead of G7. On the other hand, by becoming a G-series camera, the Pro1 could seriously disrupt the milestone development strategy for this product line, making extremely high demands on all subsequent Gs. First of all - to lenses, their aperture ratio and range of focal lengths, the size of the matrices, maximum and minimum shutter speeds, and so on.

After analyzing the modifications of classic G-series cameras, I come to the conclusion that in 2004, together with Pro1, the user was given too much at once. Quite atypical for Canon.

rice. 002 - Canon G5 and Canon Pro1

rice. 002 - Canon G5 and Canon Pro1

200 mm (equivalent to 35 mm) users of the G-series cameras were “issued” only after two years (but without a wide angle). The monitor reached a resolution of 230.000 dots only after three years.

A wide angle was “allowed” only after four years (but lost 200 mm). Fast excerpts in 1/4000 of a second, the G-series cameras reached only four years after the announcement of the Pro1. Rotary display re-"allowed" only five years later. The G-series cameras were equipped with a large matrix eight years after the release of the Pro1.

The numbers speak for themselves... The camera could have been the killer of the G-series. That's why it was released in 2004 under the prefix Pro, already almost forgotten by that time. I remind you that there were two more cameras in this strange story: PowerShot Pro 70 (1998), PowerShot Pro 90 IS (2000). The last camera is with optical stabilizer. There is no stabilizer in Pro1.

Both early Pro cameras date back to a time when digital photography was still very much "experimental". Our hero - Pro1 - appears already when digital photography reached its maturity very quickly: not only compact digital cameras, but also SLRs became a mass product (in 2003 Canon EOS 300D was released).

Where does such “generosity” come from: lens, matrix, shutter characteristics. Everything is very simple. Sony launched new 8MP matrices on the market and all manufacturers (I think Konica Minolta was the first) began to plan 828MP prosumers. The Sony DSC-F8080 (leaked about it) left Canon no chance. It was necessary to urgently do something extraordinary, so as not to remain outsiders. Marketers loosened control over the engineers and helped paint the red stripe on the lens. The camera turned out to be extremely compact, with a good image for its time. Only the Olympus C-XNUMX Wide Zoom could surpass it in terms of image quality and speed, but it was larger and heavier.

Dear toy

The Canon Power Shot Pro1 was marketed as a DSLR replacement for enthusiast photographers. Enthusiast photographers were those amateur photographers who were willing to spend a lot more money on their hobby.

As of 2004, the Pro1 is the most expensive fixed lens toy that Canon sells. At the start of sales - $ 999 in the US and 1199 euros in Europe. This was very bold on the part of Canon, which less than a year ago rolled out a SLR camera with a whale lens for comparable money (EOS 300D). And at the time of the start of Pro1 sales, the Canon EOS 300D DSLR can be bought even cheaper!

rice. 003 - Canon EOS 300D and Canon Pro1

rice. 003 - Canon EOS 300D and Canon Pro1

Canon Pro1 belongs to the professional line of cameras, because at the beginning of February 2004 it surpasses not only all Power Shots, including the G5, but also Canon's entry-level DSLRs. It's not just about megapixels (Canon EOS 300D - 6MP; Pro1 - 8MP). It's also about advanced control options, which are severely curtailed in software in the EOS 300D. Imagine the Pro1 was more functional!

The cropped EOS 300D is a great example of planned obsolescence that Canon should be ashamed of. The camera was blocked from the ability to select the metering method in manual modes, adjust the intensity of the built-in flash, blocked the mirror pre-raise function, the two-second timer and the ability to set the ISO3200 sensitivity. Very, very useful features for the photographer. This was done so that the 300D would not compete with the EOS 10D. Later, alternative firmware appeared, where the functions listed above were unlocked.

Yes, the Canon EOS 300D SLR is pure high ISO. Let's not talk about interchangeable lenses now, as another advantage of the EOS 300D. Entry-level model - most run their entire lifespan with a kit lens. Those for whom consistency is really important or those who already have a fleet of lenses will pay attention to older models. There is only one significant advantage of the EOS 300D: matrix size and less noise at ISO above 200 units.

rice. 004 - Canon PowerShot Pro1

rice. 004 - Canon PowerShot Pro1

However, Canon Power Shot Pro1 also has something to offer for enthusiast photographers: smaller size and weight (almost like the Canon G5); a good installed non-replaceable lens (light 28-200mm against a dark 28-88mm whale to a DSLR - given in equiv. 35mm); monitor with many degrees of freedom (which, together with the live view mode, allows you to shoot from any angle).

L lens

If Adidas made lenses (which I'm sure someday could happen) their lenses would have three stripes. A lens with a single red stripe was invented by Canon and called the L-series lens. Wikipedia says that initially "L" meant - low dispersion (low dispersion), later - luxury (luxury).

The lens with the red line on the Canon Power Shot Pro 1 is aggressive marketing. The lens is not bad, but does not outperform its closest competitors: Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom and Sony DSC-F828. Marketing is marketing, but some of the "magic" of the Pro1 L-series lenses is missing. To calm our conscience, let's designate the details: an ultrasonic lens drive (most likely, only a zoom; focusing - with a conventional motor); Fluorite and UD (Extra-Low Dispersion) elements for sharpness. Of course, there is no excessive strength, as well as dust and moisture protection.

The lens is marked CANON ZOOM LENS 28-200 mm 1:2,4-3,5 L Ultrasonic and the focal length scale on the retractable tube. You can call this lens an analogue of the EF 28-200 mm f/3.5-5.6 USM lens for Canon system cameras. The compactness of the folded lens is amazing, because it has to work out a relatively large 2/3-inch sensor. Perhaps because of the need to stow the lens, the engineers settled on a solution with a motorized zoom ring.
rice. 005 - L-lens Canon Pro1

To combat excess light, the camera has a built-in neutral density filter, which is set via the menu (there is no separate button for it and is not needed).

The Pro1 lens is the healthy compromise between compactness and features. Compare the Pro1 lens to that of the impressive Panasonic LC1 or the wonderful Olympus E-20. Let's be honest - huge glasses add practically nothing to the quality of the picture, lenses are inconvenient in terms of focal lengths. The LC1 has a wide angle, but you have to get closer with your feet. The E-20, with gigantic dimensions and a weight of more than a kilogram, does not provide either a wide angle or 200 mm. The Konica Minolta A2 lens has similar focal and aperture characteristics, but has a significantly lower resolution.

Compare the Pro1 to the huge Sony F828, which uses a lens with a similar focal range. Yes, the F828 lens is faster, but on the forums, at one time, many were disappointed with this new Carl Zeiss T *. It turned out to be worse than the lens of its predecessors F707/F717. At the same time, Sony F828 is still a wonderful camera! But its size and design of controls leave much to be desired…

Canon has done a really great job of miniaturizing the 2 megapixel camera with a 3/28" sensor and a 200-1mm (equiv.) lens. Dimensions and weight Canon PowerShot Pro118 - 72x90x670mm, XNUMX grams. It's impressive!

rice. 006 - Canon EOS 1D and Canon Pro

rice. 006 - Canon EOS 1D and Canon Pro

With all the charm of the “L-lens”, I did not feel the advantages of the declared ultrasonic motor in practice. The rest is taste. Miracles do not happen here: a wide range of focal lengths is extremely convenient, but entails compromises in image quality. But I, like everyone else, vote for the focal range. For a compact, where there is no consistency, and the use of nozzles can be inconvenient - 28-200 mm is what the “doctor ordered”. Although, the "doctor" could recommend 28-300 mm with optical stabilization ... But here, it seems, in our desires, we will never stop. However, the monstrous additional optical attachment TC-DC58A and the adapter LA-DC58C will provide the camera with the coveted 300 mm without losing image quality. Without stabilization, of course.

It should be pointed out that the change in focal lengths on the lens occurs in steps (not smoothly) using a wide beautiful metal ring on the lens. This control is not directly connected to the lenses, works by wire and replaces not only the zoom ring, but also the manual focus ring. When shooting with manual focus, you can shoot a sequence of three frames with focus bracketing - a rare feature that is indispensable for macro photography.

Bracketing focus will only work when the camera is switched to manual focus. There is some strange logic in this, but without instructions, I think few people can figure out why bracketing autofocus does not work when enabled. At the same time, you can forget to turn off bracketing focusing, switch to shooting with autofocus, shoot normally, then return to manual focus and wonder why the camera takes three shots at a time and is godlessly dumb.

There is a separate button for macro photography. Super macro (4MP instead of 8MP) - only through the menu. To do this, press the buttons at least five times (if you scroll through the menu from the end). It would be possible to turn on super macro through the macro button: macro - super macro - off, or by long pressing the macro button. The reduction in picture quality in the super macro mode cannot please. The same Olympus C-4000Z offers a decent "super macro" without compromising image quality.

With auto focus on Pro1, not everything is smooth. Check the firmware version of the camera. The software needs to be updated to version The firmware files (the entire contents of the PowerShotPro1_f folder) can be dropped directly into the root directory on a memory card formatted in the camera. It is not necessary to upload files through a special application.

rice. 007 - Canon PowerShot Pro1

rice. 007 - Canon PowerShot Pro1

The Pro1 developers have gone to great lengths to prevent users from losing their camera lens caps and scratching the lenses. The front lens is quite strongly convex, poorly protected by the body and perfectly collects scratches. Of course, micro-scratches do not have a special effect on the image, but the very fact of their formation can be frustrating. I bought the camera already without a lens cap and made a very handy homemade one from the proprietary EOS 300 bayonet cap and a couple of miniature self-tapping screws. The new cap attaches to the lens like a lens hood.

8 MP on a CCD-matrix from Sony

The Pro1 carries on board enough for just 8 megapixels (3264 × 2448 pixel image on a Sony CCD matrix). It is possible to apply the recording format immediately after shooting. For example, when you see on the preview that the picture in jpeg format came out interesting, you can click on the button and save it in RAW format, but only in RAW - jpeg is no longer saved. At the same time, the best jpeg quality is very close to RAW (an excellent compression algorithm, with almost no loss of detail).

50ISO are smooth. 100ISO and 200ISO have acceptable noise levels. 400ISO gives a pronounced color noise - "Christmas lights" - can be used if necessary. On a 4MP image. By itself, the noise does not seem beautiful. It cannot be compared to film grain. This is typically digital noise. If you shoot in RAW and stretch the image in the shadows, you will find noise in these very shadows already at 50-100ISO. Light areas do not stretch well - be careful. Of course, there is no comparison with the system cameras of that time, for example, with the Canon EOS 300D, Pro1. The DSLRs have a large, low-noise matrix.

The key parameters of in-camera image processing (contrast, sharpness, color) are located not in the general camera menu, but in the quick menu (FUNC. button), “Effects” tab – “Custom Effect”. These settings have only three values ​​each: -1, 0, +1. Sadness. The Olympus C-4000Z, for example, has eleven steps for each setting. Three steps - not Pro at all. By choosing another “effect” (b/w photo, for example), you lose the ability to separately adjust the contrast and sharpness.

With the Pro1, I was trying to figure out the perfect recipe for creating JPEG files while practically ignoring RAW. Now I try to shoot only in RAW where it is possible and convenient.

I recorded my “perfect recipe” JPEG in the C1 preset on the shooting mode dial. In the Custom settings, I set the contrast to 0, sharpness -1, color +1 for bright shots with Canon Pro1. With preset lens 28mm and ISO 50ISO. In position C2, I recorded the photography settings with the effect of black and white film with a lens preset at 35mm and a light sensitivity of 400ISO. And here and there - spot metering exposure and aperture priority mode. In the Shooting menu, Spot AE Point is set to AF Point (AE point corresponds to AF point).

Setting custom modes C1 and C2 will allow you to quickly switch between RAW and JPEG. I left RAW for the main shooting modes (P, A, S, M). It's nice that the camera has such an opportunity! It is not possible to shoot RAW and JPEG at the same time.

The Pro1 also offers an Adobe RGB color space.

Ideal for photographing turtles

The viewfinder on the Pro1 is electronic, not optical. According to the instructions, it consumes the same amount of power as the main monitor. All information is displayed on monitors and read from them. As a result, the monochrome LCD display becomes an almost useless design element.

In the Panasonic LC5, the LCD plays an important role when shooting with the optical viewfinder and the monitor turned off, but, unfortunately, in this model it is not very informative. In the Canon Pro1, the LCD displays all the information you need, but with the electronic viewfinder or monitor on all the time, it doesn't offer any power savings.

The electronic viewfinder (as well as the main monitor) has a resolution of 235000 dots, while 2004 million dot viewfinders (Konica Minolta A1) are already known on the market in 2. 235.000 dot viewfinder on a $999 camera. Pro1 wears out the electronic viewfinder from Konica Minolta A1. Here it was necessary to put a viewfinder on a million points.

It's great that the main monitor is swivel, but it has disastrously small viewing angles. Holding the camera in the usual way - the monitor is folded and in front of the eyes - you no longer see the details of the frame in the shadows. Elevate the camera above eye level or tilt the monitor and adjust its angle to suit your needs.

The Pro1 is just as “fast” as the EOS-300D: both cameras show about the same speed when shooting bursts. There is a separate button to turn on the continuous feed (the same button starts the timer for 10 and 2 seconds). 4 frames in full resolution with minimal compression - about a second, then one frame per second, and so on for another 10-11 frames. At the end of the series - waiting 10 seconds. The camera takes pictures only when the shutter button is pressed.

There is a caveat: the Pro1 “freezes” the view in the viewfinder (monitor) during focusing, which makes it a very inconvenient camera for shooting anything that moves faster than a turtle. The Pro1 is certainly not suitable for the role of a reportage camera.

Upload with Pro1!

The corporation decided not to reinvent the wheel by creating the Pro1. Inside, by controls, by menu - Pro1 - a typical G-series camera. If you've worked with G-series cameras, you know what to expect from the Pro1. The Pro1 is slightly better than many of the classic G-series CCD cameras here and there, but it doesn't offer anything fundamentally new to its owner.

rice. 008 - Canon Pro1: battery and memory card

rice. 008 - Canon Pro1: battery and memory card

The Canon PowerShot Pro1 captivates with the fact that in a smaller, lighter and more pleasant body (compared to the DSLR of the time), it offers enough opportunities for its owner. Of course, during daylight hours.

The Pro1 takes some getting used to. It needs to be set up correctly and then the picture from the lens will delight you with its “filminess”.

The built-in lens of the Pro1 is quite good. It is 28-200mm (250-300mm with additional lens). You no longer need to think about the volume and weight of accessories and lenses. Of course, Pro1 is high noise at 400ISO. But, on the other hand, this is a fast lens that will allow you not to increase the ISO unless absolutely necessary and shoot at the widest apertures with sufficient depth of field due to the small matrix.

Pro1 will have to be configured through the quick or main menu. Turning on the camera, you have to look around the display with icons - it can always be turned off bracketing, amended exposure, timer shooting enabled, manual focus enabled, ND filter enabled, and much more. This can be confusing for a novice user.

In conclusion, I want to talk about personal settings on the professional Pro1. Here you are prompted to set the startup screen and beeps for power on, shutter release, button presses, and self-timer. And it would be okay - only a couple of items on the menu and a couple of simple sounds. There is a separate (!) menu tab for this. There are images and sounds from the realm of science fiction or the theme of animals (chirping birds, barking dogs). Shutter to barking dogs or science fiction sounds...
Load a couple of CompactFlash memory cards into the Canon PowerShot Pro1. You may like it!

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Comments: 20, on the topic: Canon PowerShot Pro1. Review from reader Radozhiva

  • Oleg

    Well, cool L lens on a soap dish.

  • Anton

    In 2008, there was a choice between this model and the d70, in the end Nikon won, which I don’t regret a bit. But for those years, pro1 was a very interesting specimen.

  • Basil

    Thanks a lot! Recently purchased to indulge. Like. I heard that he had the same disease with the matrix as the A series had. But then the manufacturer changed it under warranty and without it. Or is there another matrix?

    • sovch

      how much I read about it - I did not encounter a description of problems with the matrix)

  • Joe

    A fairly detailed English-language review of the camera from Gordon Laing:

  • Joe

    Camera information (with specifications) on the Canon Camera Museum website:

  • Oleg

    A very sensible review.

    My family had this camera from 2005 (my son chose between him and 300D) to 2018 (gave it to a photo school). For the money, this is a great machine. When you understand what to expect from it and use it accordingly. In general, he was pleased with them.

  • Eugene o

    Thanks to Japanese engineers for the progress in photographic equipment. I already forgot how poorly the pseudo-mirrors of the zeros were filmed ...

    • sovch

      Well, what are you saying))) it’s more like the photographer’s hands are crooked :D I think that any photo can be taken beautifully if you have experience and talent;)

      • Victor

        I don’t think any hands or plug-ins will pull out the quality of the picture))

        • sovch

          I remember that there was (is?) a show where famous photographers were given all sorts of super-old or even children's toy cameras and they had to shoot the plot. the creators of the program led to the fact that skill overcomes the imperfection of technology;)

        • Trueash

          >> I don’t think any hands or plug-ins will pull out the quality of the picture))

          • Victor

            Do not confuse the quality of the picture and what is shown on it.

            • sovch

              sorry, but the progress of computational photography disagrees with you)

              • Joe

                Sorry, but computational photography is yesterday.
                Now the Text-to-Image and Draw + Text-to-Image services are relevant.

              • Yuriy

                Ale and plіvka dosi іsnuє ta vikoristovuєtsya…

              • Basil

                Joe, what's the beauty of generating cartoon pictures instead of photos?

  • Dmitriy

    Wait, is he eating the same BP-511 that DSLRs 10d-50d and 5d also ate? Wow compact!

    • Alshbert

      Yes, it is at 511, but it also heats up like a stove in the area of ​​\uXNUMXb\uXNUMXbthe handle, so in winter you can warm your hands in the cold.

  • Nicholas

    Beautiful images and very film-like. Something nostalgic for sure!
    Thanks for the review :)

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