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Re: 30x total zoom
The IR-500 has a thin body with a folded light path lens unit, which packs the 2.8x optical zoom power into the camera's exceptionally thin body. This, along with the 11x digital zoom combine for a seamless 30x total zoom.
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I take it that you are using the same lens on the 500 all the time?? If that is the case then one of the interior lenses on the zoom lens are damaged. This, unfortunately, is not something you should tackle yourself. It is possible to open the lens up but you would probably not be able to buy the particular lens directly from the manufacturer and the risk of getting dust or moisture inside the zoom lens is quite high. Personally I'd take it along to a decent camera shop and ask them to give you a repair estimate so you can decide if it's worth fixing or as cheap to just replace it. Lens prices have come down a bit in the last few years so it's possible the repair and replacement would cost the same..
The SX1 has an amazing 20X optical zoom. The teleconverter will allow to get pictures if the camera zoom is not fully on 20X. It means that you can't get a full 40X zoom images, but a 30X maybe. I don't why canon has this problem.