Canon SD1100 IS
The Canon SD1100 IS Digital ELPH includes an eight megapixel 1/2.5″ CCD imager and a Canon-branded 3x optical zoom lens with image stabilization, which covers a fairly standard range of 38-114mm equivalent — a moderate wide angle to a moderate telephoto.
Exposure is fully automatic, but the user can tweak it with 2.0EV of exposure compensation and four metering modes to handle difficult lighting, including a mode which ties metering to the camera’s face detection system.
Thirteen scene modes keep the camera approachable for beginners. A long-exposure mode in the Canon SD1100 IS ELPH lets you set exposure times as long as 15 seconds manually, and a 2.5″ LCD display plus an real-image optical zoom viewfinder — rather rare on digicams these days.
The Canon SD1100 IS sports a fairly wide ISO sensitivity range, from 80 to 1600. The PowerShot SD1100 IS is PictBridge compliant, and so is able to print to any printer that supports PictBridge directly, without the need for a computer in the middle. Images are stored on SD/SDHC/MMC memory cards with a not-so-generous 32MB card in the product bundle, and power comes from a proprietary NB-4L lithium-ion rechargeable battery.
Available from March 2008, the Canon SD1100IS Digital ELPH retails for under US$250. Five body colors are available: silver, gold, brown, blue and pink.
Canon SD1100 IS
by Tony Gomez
Canon’s new SD1100 IS has just about all the bells and whistles you could imagine for a camera that’s about the size of a pack of cards. To start, there’s a healthy 2.5-inch LCD monitor, built-in optical image stabilization (that’s the IS designation), Face Detection, a small, but still quite useful optical viewfinder, 8 megapixel still capture mode, an excellent 640 x 480, 30 frames per second movie mode, a 3X optical zoom (expandable by 1.6X and 2X), and a host of other cool features that we’ll get into later in this report.
Look and feel. The Canon SD1100 has a simple, yet supple feel. Corners taper softly, quite a change from the SD1000’s hard angular design. It’s actually a little thicker than the SD1000, perhaps to accommodate the new image stabilization system inside; but the controls are essentially unchanged. The shutter button is flat and easy to find, with the zoom toggle surrounding it. On the back you’ll find the 2.5-inch LCD and a selection of controls. The mode switch is on the upper right, with choices of Still Record, Movie Record, and Playback modes. The other buttons and the multi-controller are flush mounted, and a soft press activates them.
One feature in particular that I appreciate is the way you can reprogram the function of the Transfer button just right of the LCD screen. You can set it to one of a number of functions, including Face Select, EV compensation, White Balance, Custom White Balance, Red-Eye Correction, Digital Tele-converter, Display mode, Record Movie, Display Off, or Play Sound Effect. Because I often switch between Still and Movie mode, I chose Record Movie, which instantly drops me into Movie mode and starts recording.
An optical viewfinder also graces the SD1100. This is a rarity in digital cameras in this size category, and Canon is to be commended for keeping it in such a small digital camera. There are many scenarios in which having an optical viewfinder is huge benefit, such as in overly bright environments where you can’t see the LCD screen very well, or in very dark places where it’s hard to judge framing.
Of course, these viewfinders are seldom accurate, so be aware that you’re going to capture more than you see through the optical viewfinder. According to our tests, you see 84 percent of the view at wide angle, and only 82 percent at telephoto.
On the bottom of the Canon SD1100 is a nice surprise: a metal tripod socket that replaces the plastic one on the SD1000.
Lens. The zoom is a 3X optical zoom equivalent to a 38-114mm lens, with digital enhancements of 1.6X and 2X. This means that effectively the zoom is about 60mm on the wide end at 1.6X digital zoom, and 182mm on the telephoto end. From a practical standpoint, I’d keep the digital zoom at 1.6X maximum because digital artifacts start creeping in if you blow the images up significantly. Another problem is that using this digital zoom mode eliminates your wide angle photography ability, so it’s probably best to stick to the traditional digital zoom if you use it at all.
Canon pioneered Optical Image Stabilization many years ago in its camcorders and in special IS lenses made for its larger EOS digital SLRs. It’s a tribute to their genius that they have evolved the design of their image stabilization hardware to fit inside the Canon SD1100 IS, the smallest of their pocket digital cameras. Canon uses optical image stabilization, where the actual elements of the lens are shifted to stabilize any shaking. This form of image stabilization is arguably the better of the various forms of IS available today.