Canon Powershot Pro-1
Prosumer Class - below USD $1000
May 20th, 2004
Canon's new flagship prosumer camera is the Powershot Pro-1, and I want it. I have been shooting a Nikon Coolpix 950 for about 5 years, and this is the next camera I'm going to buy.

The obvious competitor is the Nikon CoolPix 8700 but for me, the Pro-1 wins hands down.

Highlights:
Canon Powershot Pro-1

Medium fast lens - Not as good as an f2.0, but the F2.4 to f3.5 lens is still faster than most of competitors. That extra 1/2 stop is worth a lot.

High quality wide angle lens - Although f2.4 is not as fast as I would like, the wide angle lens is great. Also, this camera features one of Canon's high quality redline L-series lenses.

Super macro - Finally a Canon with a good macro. The Pro-1 has a super-macro mode which is really good, but still can't beat Nikon's CoolPix 5700 and 4500 (or 950.. which I own).

Electronic viewfinder
An electronic viewfinder is not a true optical TTL viewfinder, but it's the next best thing. Being able to look through the viewfinder and see through the lens is a great feature, and this is one of the few cameras that offer it.

Canon quality and technology - I have used Canon EOS1's exclusively for commercial 35mm work, and have become spoiled. The Pro-1 embodies much of what I love about Canon: Usable design, superior *dependable* technology, fast snappy lenses and superb quality for price.

Time-Lapse Feature - This feature is finding its way into prosumer cameras - it allows you to shoot high quality time lapse movies.. Clouds billowing over the horizon, ships in the harbor, stuff like that.

Ergonomic - The Pro-1 is a much more ergonomic design that earlier Canon models. This is very important for me.

Small Size - This camera is much smaller than it looks and will fit in the palm of your hand.

Compact Flash - The Pro-1 uses compact flash storage which is an industry standard. Unlike Sony who requires you to buy proprietary Memory Sticks.

Quick Comparison
Canon Powershot Pro-1

Canon Powershot Pro-1 Vs. Nikon Coolpix 8700
Both cameras compete closely, and both are 8 megapixels. The Pro-1 has a slightly faster lens, and possibly better quality as well. The Pro-1's super macro mode comes very close to the Nikon's, but still nowhere near the range of the CoolPix 4500. The Pro-1 has a much wider lens than the 8700 which is a big deal. As usual, Nikon's auto-focus is dismal. I would fully recommend the Canon Pro-1 over the Nikon Coolpix 8700.

Canon Powershot Pro-1 Vs. Olympus C-8080 Wide
It's hard to beat the Olympus C-8080, especially on price/performance. The battery life is reportedly superb, and the lens is top notch. Lens speed is similar to the Canon Pro-1 (2.4 to 3.5) which isn't bad. Maximum zoom is only equivalent to a 140mm so the Pro-1 beats it there. There are a couple of things that were drawbacks for me. First, the C-8080 Wide apparently needs 80cm for minimum focus! I like to be able to shoot much closer than that. If it wasn't for the focus issue and the well earned trust I have in Canon technology, I might have bought the C-8080 over the Pro-1. Well worth a look, it's a beautiful camera and very well made.

 
Conclusion
Canon Powershot Pro-1

I have been shooting a Nikon Coolpix 950 for about 4 years, waiting for Canon to launch a prosumer camera that speaks to me. This is the one.

For those of you looking to buy a prosumer camera for yourself or as a gift, the Powershot Pro-1 should be high on your list, if not at the top. This is a camera for the photography enthusiast or professional. If you would like a camera you can grow into, this is perfect. For point-and-shoot only photographers, the Pro-1 is probably more camera than is required.