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When last I visited with a Canon SD camera wearing a something number, it was the SD with a 10 megapixel sensor, 3x optical zoom and no stabilization. But there are other incremental changes in the to give it a bit more separation from theand the letters are only part of the story. Still, the question arises if the improvements are significant enough to cause folks who like the to trade up, or attractive enough to bring new believers to the flock.

The SD IS features a 3. The camera also receives a There are four primary shooting modes. For a detailed listing of specifications and features, please refer to the powerahot table found at the bottom of the review. The SD IS is an eminently light and shirt pocket-portable compact. The SD IS comes packaged in a handsome titanium clad body with chrome accents. As much as Manaul like composite materials, the titanium body of the SD IS just seems to exude a feeling of robust and quality construction.

The body has received some subtle contouring on its front in areas where the fingers of both hands fall naturally while holding the camera, but otherwise bears a striking resemblance to its predecessors. Despite the overall smooth finish of the body, one-handed holding of the SD IS seemed reasonably secure — some credit for this must go to that contoured xd950.

Although the camera back is dominated by the monitor, buttons and dials located here have ample spacing to ensure no unintended activations when using another control. One such button is the camon button, which allows the user to quickly jump between the shooting screen and image review. The “function set” button and surrounding touch control dial allow rapid flash, macro, continuous shooting settings, ISO and scene setting selection, depending on the overall shooting mode.

These SD IS external controls permit a good number of “shift on the fly” changes to image settings without resorting to internal menus. The SD IS features a 2. The monitor provides virtually percent image coverage, but even at the brightest settings can be difficult to use in direct light, particularly if smudged by fingerprints. There is an optical viewfinder that provides a live view for the optical range of the lens, but the view stays at the longest optical telephoto view once zooming enters the digital mode.

Viewfinder accuracy looks to be in the 70 to 80 percent range, so users should remember that images composed via the viewfinder may have extraneous subject matter around them. The SD IS offers reasonable speed and utility in its operations and is in general a pleasant camera to use from a casual shooting standpoint. Shutter lag with focus acquired averaged. Shutter lag without focus acquired ran about. Single shot-to-shot times shoot, write, re-acquire focus, and shoot ran about 2 seconds.

Continuous shooting produced five shots in about 2. There was no noticeable change in either single or mznual shooting mode times when using a high-speed SanDisk Extreme III SD card versus a SanDisk standard card, and in-camera write times did not seem to be influenced as well. There are seven stops between wide angle and telephoto, and each is best selected by a brief thumbing of the zoom lever.


There is a 4x digital zoom available, but image quality suffers. Inadvertent use of the digital zoom will require a fair amount of inattention on the part of the user. Center uses the center AF frame to establish focus; face detect permits the camera to detect the presence of a face and use that to establish focus; AiAF detects the subject and highlights the AF frame using any of nine AF amnual to establish focus.

I found center worked best for me. AiAF would be fine in a simple shot, but with multiple subjects or potential subjects the camera would not always select the “subject” I wished to use as the focal point.

Likewise, face detect is fine if you have faces, but it will drive you nuts if you inadvertently have it set and are trying to shoot a scene with no faces. It will seek out something in the frame that becomes the “face,” but if what it selects poqershot what you are looking to focus on coincide, chalk that up to a happy coincidence. Initially, I was having trouble getting macro shots to come out in proper focus.

Flash performance was good in the SD IS, with recycle times in average conditions running about 2. Users should be aware that under extreme conditions where a full flash discharge is triggered, recycle times exceeded 8 seconds I set the camera to manual mode in order to fix the ISO sensitivity at 80, and shot images in a closed and pitch-black garage at night. For its part, Canon will say only that recycle times are “less than 10 seconds. The camera illuminates an orange red-eye reduction lamp before firing the flash if red-eye reduction is enabled a default settingbut the feature may be disabled via internal menu.

Red-eye correction is available in the camera for manual use to correct defects should they occur. A much-welcomed feature, the SD IS employs optical stabilization via a moving lens element. Stabilization may be selected for continuous operation, when shooting only, or to dampen up and down motions when panning the camera.

Continuous is the default setting and a good choice for overall use. Canon rates the battery in the SD IS for about shots in typical use. In short, battery life is as advertised, but the gauge drops off quickly as the battery level drops. Carry a spare for all-day shooting sessions. Overall image quality is quite good, with pleasing sharpness and resolution. There is no way to alter the sharpening characteristics of the camera internally, but images can always be post processed should the user so desire.

As mentioned earlier, one of the advantages of that Evaluative metering is the default setting and does a good job overall of establishing exposure; there are center-weighted and spot metering options available. While it would still lose some highlights in extreme high contrast situations, the SD IS seemed to be biased a bit towards underexposure in most high contrast situations.

This is certainly preferable to the alternative — if the image retains highlights, shadow areas can often be post-processed to achieve a more pleasing overall image. Lost highlights, on the other hand, are best fixed by importing new data from another part of the image. The tendency to underexpose also has the effect of deepening color saturation, and was a trick often employed by folks shooting slide film to enhance its color.


The photo that follows appears as it came out of the camera, with a highlight-saving exposure, and after a one-button post-processing fix to bring out detail in the darker areas of the image. Default color on the SD IS a bit deeper and richer than it appears to the naked eye — the “neutral” setting in the “My Colors” menu more closely approximates real life in this regard. Here are examples of some of the color options available in the My Colors palette:.

The default auto white balance setting on the SD IS does a pretty good job with most natural light as well as the flash. Auto WB shoots a bit warm with incandescent light, but the tungsten setting handles incandescent nicely.

A custom WB option is available. Overall performance of the SD IS lens is quite good.

There is barrel distortion straight lines bow out from center of image present at wide angle, along with some image softness and a bit cnaon light falloff at the corners of the frame.

Lens performance at the telephoto end is good across the frame, with no indication of pin cushioning straight lines bow in toward center of frame. The shots that follow show barrel distortion in the photo of the block wall, and a couple of real world examples. Chromatic aberration purple fringing in high contrast boundary areas is present, although it requires a percent enlargement to become objectionable. ISO 80, and crops are largely indistinguishable, with real world photos even more so.

Noise grows progressively worse in the crops atandwith the largest apparent increase between and The real world shots, particularly at their smaller sizes, look better than their cropped counterparts would suggest, with being acceptable and usable in a pinch. The SD IS offers an interesting mix of features powegshot at times seem at odds with each other — a wonderfully compact and lightweight camera wielding a big Truth be told, Canon has improved this camera over its predecessor by the addition of image stabilization, as well as a higher resolution sensor with comparable noise performance.

Image and color quality remain first rate.

PowerShot SD IS

Focus acquisition and shutter lag are reasonably canno, and flash performance is good, with normal recycle times of only a few seconds. Outside of the big sensor, there may not be any particular category that the SD IS leads the pack in. Image stabilization and a 2. That should be enough for most folks. Visit our network of sites: All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.

Canon PowerShot SD IS Digital ELPH Manuals

Full Wide view large image. Full Telephoto view large image. Original view large image.

Cropped view large image. Post-Processed view large image. Default view large image. Neutral view large image. Vivid view large image. Positive Film view large image.

Canon PowerShot SD950 IS Review

Black and White view large image. Sepia view large image. ISO 80 view large image. ISO view large image.