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Helpfully, Canon has included a true optical image stabilization system in the SD IS, which combats blur from camera shake. As well as still images at resolutions up to 4, x 3, pixels, the Canon SD can record high definition p 1, x or standard definition movie clips at either VGA x or QVGA x resolution, with a rate of 30 frames per second in H. No manual control over the look of images is provided, with the Canon PowerShot SD instead providing a choice of Auto, Program Auto, and seventeen scene modes.
Seven white balance modes are available, including Auto, five presets, and manual. Power comes courtesy of a proprietary NB-4L lithium-ion rechargeable battery, rated as good for a battery life of shots. Nothing but curves and a You just frame the subject, tweak the composition with a little zooming in or out and press the Shutter button.
And you end up with a nice megapixel snapshot. Not a bad deal. Look and Feel. The Canon SD must be vegan. The smooth front surface of the Canon SD is another reason to use the wrist strap. It has no grip. Canon sent the black model for review, but it also comes in a silver shell. I liked the look of the black model, but it was difficult to read the icons. I was trying to open the battery compartment door on the bottom of the camera.
Oddly enough, I noticed a very large rubber flap. Is the Canon SD so slim, I wondered, that it only uses a gasket for the battery cover? I pulled the cover up and completely off.
Without opening the compartment, which merely slides out toward the right to open. The trick is first to take out the battery, then close the plastic door. Then bend the two flaps back so the post is pushed forward from its base.
That makes a nice handle as you twist the post into its hole on the compartment cover. Better is to not remove the flap at all. The body of the Canon SD is so slender that the usual Zoom lever was apparently out of the question. Canon resorted to a small switch next to the Shutter button, which works well. The tripod socket on the bottom panel is metal. That and the chrome Shutter button are the only shiny bright things on the black model.
The Canon SD has a tiny Power button midway across the top panel. It was functional, if barely so. The Zoom switch to the right of it has very little travel and protrudes insistently. That makes a lot of sense. The Mode switch covers the three Recording modes and the Playback button lets you instantly visit your shots or quickly return to Record mode. Otherwise it just returns you to Record.
The Right arrow toggles through Flash modes. The Down arrow goes through the self-timer modes in Record mode and deletes images in Playback.
And the Left button accesses focus modes like Macro, Normal, and Infinity. I often resorted to using a fingernail to fully depress an arrow key. Below the navigator are the Display and Menu buttons. The LCD itself is 2. It does pick up fingerprints on its antiglare surface but they cleaned up pretty quickly.
The 4x zoom of the Canon SD covers a 35mm equivalent range of 28mm to mm, a reasonable wide-angle to a moderate telephoto. But I found myself often shooting in the 4x digital zoom range, even for medium shots where the subject was just across the street. Telephoto results were much sharper in the corner with very little distortion. The Scene modes and Special Scene modes are much reduced and bundled under the Program setting. Finally, the Canon SD includes a high definition video mode.
Instead it evaluates the scene, setting the camera to one of 22 different presets, each of which is identified on the LCD with an icon and color scheme of its own. So, for example, if the camera detects people in the scene, it considers whether the people are backlit in bright sun or backlight with blue skies. The people icon, with or without a sun or moon, is displayed in three different colors depending on what conditions the camera discovered.
The same goes for landscapes which can include a fourth color and for close subjects. EV Compensation, Focus mode, and full Flash options are all active on the four-way navigator. From the Func. New menu style all vertical showing two Scene modes. Movie mode captures 1, x video at 30 frames per second for 10 minutes or 4GB per clip and x at 30 fps or x at 30 fps for up to 60 minutes or 4GB per clip.
You can use silent digital zoom and sound is recorded. SD Speed Class 4 or higher memory cards are recommended. But should not be confused with After you pick a Record mode, just hit the Function button to see your shooting options. Hit the Menu button for general camera setup options any time. Canon has traditionally used the left side of the screen for main options and the bottom of the screen for the submenu options, displayed horizontally. But on the Canon SD submenu options are shown on a second vertical menu adjacent to the one on the left side of the LCD.
That took a little getting used to, believe it or not. But it had the advantage of scrolling without interruption. On the SD, you have to press the Display button, for example, to see all the Scene mode options. On the Canon SD, you just keep scrolling. Class 4 cards or higher are recommended for video capture. A 4GB card will hold 1, high-resolution images at the highest quality level a 3,K file size.
At the highest video settings, a 4GB card can hold 21 minutes, 23 seconds of action. Airports, restaurants, the park, the museum, everywhere. No problem. It was so fast, I out-dueled an iPhone for a snapshot at a restaurant and was able to capture candids around the table before anyone knew what I was doing. That slim black case really does not scream, "Camera!
No problem either. And close-up shots were a lot of fun with the Canon SD, too. The gallery also has a few macro shots of flowers that almost look 3D. Check the print quality below to see whether the Canon SD will work well enough for you. The gallery shot of an SD card illustrates Fish-eye, which can be a fun distortion. Digital Zoom. Holds up well. Miniature, however, was not as easy to pull off. You need an appropriate subject in an appropriate setting.
The effect merely blurs the top and bottom of the frame, as if you were taking a macro shot of a miniature. The technique is often referred to as tilt-and-shift, but nothing like that is going on here. My best sample was of the band shell at Golden Gate Park. The shots in the park were taken in both Auto and Program modes.
I found it necessary to slip into Program to use EV Compensation to save the highlights on many of them. One example of the problem is the Verdi statue. The first shot is Auto.
The second is Program with I evaluated the results in Playback mode by looking at the histograms. The histogram for the Auto shot showed blown highlights they were even blinking in the preview but it also showed that none of the image had made it to black or near black.
It was as if the whole histogram had been shifted right, lightening the image. Auto v. Note the blown histogram for Auto top compared to Program with But I thought the camera could do better so I switched to Program mode and used EV Compensation to get a more evenly distributed histogram with no blown highlights.
I took a series of shots with varying degrees of EV Compensation, preferring There are two shots of the Dore Vase figurines, both taken from the same side of the sculpture at exactly the same time. While the first one blows out the asphalt street, it hangs onto the tone of the figurines well.
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