Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS Review

The Canon SD1100 IS Digital ELPH features a 1/2.5″ CCD imager with 8 megapixels as well as a Canon-branded 3x optical zoom lens with image stabilization. This lens covers a pretty common range of 38-114mm equivalent, which is comparable to a moderate wide-angle to a moderate telephoto.

Key Specs

  • 8 megapixel CCD sensor with a 1/2.5-inch size and a 3x optical zoom (38-114mm 35mm equivalent)
  • 4x digital zoom
  • A viewfinder that uses optics.
  • LCD screen measuring 2.5 inches and having 230,000 pixels
  • sensitivity ranging from 80 to 1,600 ISO.
  • Shutter speeds range from 1/5 hundred of a second to 15 seconds.
  • The largest aperture ranges from f/2.8 when shooting at wide-angle to f/4.9 when shooting at a telephoto.
  • Automatic exposure
  • Integrated flash with settings for reducing the appearance of red-eye and slowing the synchro rate
  • SD/SDHC compatible, and a 32MB card is included in the package.
  • connecting to a computer via USB 2.0 SuperSpeed
  • Countdown timer that may be set for 2 or 10 seconds
  • Powered by a battery that uses lithium-ion technology

The Canon SD1100 IS features an ISO sensitivity range that is pretty extensive, reaching all the way up to 1600. Because it is PictBridge-compliant, the PowerShot SD1100 IS is able to print directly to any printer that supports PictBridge. This eliminates the requirement for a computer to act as a go-between for the printing process.

The images are saved on SD/SDHC/MMC memory cards, and the product package includes a not-so-generous 32MB card. The power comes from a proprietary NB-4L lithium-ion rechargeable battery.

Special Features

  • Optical image stabilization
  • Automatic Face Detection that is enhanced for the sharpness of focus, depth of field, and brightness of the flash
  • Stitching assistance for panoramas with up to 26 images
  • Thirteen different scene settings
  • Long-exposure mode
  • Contrast, sharpness, saturation, red, green, and blue levels, as well as skin tones, may all be adjusted.
  • Programmable Clickable Print and Share Button
  • Correction of red-eye in-camera available in playback mode
  • Metering options include Evaluative, Center-Weighted, and Spot respectively.
  • Adjustment of the white balance (color), with seven different choices available, one of which is a manual setting
  • PictBridge printing compatibility and DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) are also supported.
  • Personalized and fully programmable self-timer
  • Various options for recording movies with sound, such as high frame rate and time-lapse recording

Body And Design

Look and feel

The Canon SD1100 offers a feel that is simple but pliable. In contrast to the sharp angles of the SD1000’s design, the corners on this model have a rounded appearance. It is actually a little thicker than the SD1000, possibly to accommodate the new image stabilization mechanism that is included therein; nonetheless, the controls remain practically the same.

The shutter button is a simple flat button that is easy to locate, and the zoom toggle is located all around it. The control panel and the 2.5-inch LCD screen are both located on the rear of the device. The mode switch may be found in the top right corner of the screen, and it offers three different options: playback, movie recording, and still image recording. The remaining buttons, as well as the multi-controller, are flush-mounted, and to activate them, you just need to give them a light press.

I particularly like how the purpose of the Transfer button that is located just to the right of the LCD screen can be reprogrammed since this is one of the features that is included.

You have the option of programming it to do any one of a variety of tasks, such as Face Select, EV adjustment, White Balance, Custom White Balance, Red-Eye Correction, Digital Teleconverter, Display mode, Record Movie, Display Off, or Play Sound Effect, among others.

Because I frequently transition between the Still and Movie modes, I decided to go with the Record Movie option, which places me directly into the Movie mode and begins recording immediately.

In addition, the SD1100 comes with an optical viewfinder. This feature is quite uncommon in digital cameras that fall into this size category; therefore, Canon deserves praise for managing to include it in such a little digital camera.

There are a lot of different situations in which having an optical viewfinder is a huge advantage. Some examples of these situations include being in very bright environments where it’s difficult to see the LCD screen very well, or being in very dark places where it’s difficult to determine how to frame a shot.

It goes without saying that these viewfinders are rarely accurate; thus, you should be aware that the camera will record more than what you can see via the optical viewfinder. According to the results of our experiments, you are able to see 84 percent of the view while using a wide-angle lens, but only 82 percent when using a telephoto lens.

Lens

The zoom has an optical magnification of 3X, which is the same as having a 38-114mm lens, and it also has digital upgrades of 1.6X and 2X. At a digital zoom factor of 1.6, this equates to an effective focal length range of around 60 mm on the broad end and 182 mm on the telephoto end of the zoom.

Because digital artifacts begin to appear when the photos are blown up to substantial levels, it is best to leave the digital zoom at its maximum setting of 1.6 times rather than increasing it further. Another issue is that switching to this method of digital zoom will prevent you from taking photographs with a wide field of view. Because of this, it is probably advisable to stick to the more conventional form of digital zoom if you ever use it at all.

In its camcorders and in the unique IS lenses that it created for its bigger EOS digital SLRs, Canon was a pioneer in the field of optical image stabilization (OIS) many years ago. It is a testament to their ingenuity that they were able to adapt the architecture of their image stabilization hardware to the point where it could be housed within the Canon SD1100 IS, which is the most compact of their pocket digital cameras.

Canon cameras are equipped with optical image stabilization, which involves physically repositioning parts of the lens in order to compensate for camera shake. It might be argued that this particular type of image stabilization is superior to the other kinds of IS that are accessible in today’s market.

Interface

Unless you have previous experience with Canon cameras, the menu layout of the Canon SD1100 might be a little bit challenging to navigate. Before you can become very proficient at setting up the camera for the various shooting settings you can experience, the Menu system is what you need to become familiar with and understand first.

There are two different menus, each with two different entry points. You need to hit the Func./Set button in order to access the Function menu. When you turn on the Canon SD1100, you will see that the controls for the device are established using a left column and a lower row that is provided to you. In the lower row, you will find the menu controls that allow you to choose between the Automatic and Manual modes.

There are also specialized Scene Modes for selecting different shooting settings, such as Portrait, Night Snapshot, and Kids and Pets, which can help you snap better photographs in those specific shooting conditions.

In the Manual mode, you have the ability to modify even more aspects of the image, including the JPEG resolution, which may be set to Superfine (for the least compression), Fine (for moderate compression), or Normal (the most compression). The size of the captured image may also be adjusted using the lower row.

It is recommended that photos be captured at a resolution of large or superfine for the best possible print quality. If you plan to ever enlarge your images, be sure to stick with the Large/Superfine resolution, as images shot at lower resolutions, or compressed too much, can never be upsampled. When sharing images on the internet, select Small/Normal for images that have a lower resolution, but are very quick to upload and download. However, if you ever plan to enlarge your images, be sure to stick with the Large/Superfine resolution.

You may also pick the type of metering that you want along the left column (Evaluative, Center-Weighted, or Spot). The metering mode that is set to Evaluative by default, however, the Spot option is fantastic for shooting in challenging lighting conditions.

In this menu, you may also adjust the white balance (Automatic, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Manual). Last but not least, manual exposure override may also be adjusted through a range of 12 distinct offsets that are measured in 1/3EV.

Quality of the Image

There are certain limitations that come along with using a digital camera that is as compact as the Canon SD1100 IS Digital ELPH. However, the nature of the image quality, which was outstanding, did not have many flaws, which is a cause for thankfulness on my part.

Even though the quality of the image naturally decreases with a rise in ISO, we discovered that the printed results were pretty acceptable. Even the ISO 1,600 image maintained enough quality for a respectable 4×6 print. Even though there was a little bit of blurring in the corners of the ISO 80 and 100 photos, they were still able to sustain print sizes of up to 13 by 19 inches.

There is some chromatic aberration visible in the wide-angle images; however, because it is not very bright, it is not particularly evident unless the image is blown up to a very big size or subjected to a very high level of magnification. Even though there is a tiny blurring in the corners when shooting with a wide-angle lens, the remainder of the picture is extremely crisp when using a telephoto lens.

In macro mode, the camera captured a very tiny area, which is ideal since it allows you to go closer to the subject of your photograph. However, the light did overpower the exposure system at this distance, which was not a surprising outcome. Macro mode was effective.

Optically, the lens has some average barrel distortion when shooting at wide-angle, but there is no apparent pincushion when shooting at telephoto, which indicates that it performs rather well for having such a compact construction.

The Canon SD1100 produces colors that are fairly realistic, with the exception of slightly oversaturated reds and cyans; the hue of the images produced by this camera is pleasingly true overall.

Shooting

I put the Canon SD1100 through its paces in a wide range of lighting conditions, from artificial incandescent and fluorescent light sources within to the glaring sunlight outside. I found that using the Manual mode gave me the most control over the ISO level, so that’s why I went with that one for the indoor situation.

In one such instance, I was photographing little pieces of jewelry inside of an antique shop in Palm Springs, California, so I decided to utilize an ISO setting of 800. Because I was shooting in macro mode while handholding the Canon SD1100 and using a slower shutter speed, I required the flexibility to shoot at faster shutter speeds in order to get clear pictures without the severe image blurring.

(Many thanks to Route 66 West Antique Shop in Palm Springs, California, and owner Matt Burkholz for providing me the use of their store to film the beautiful jewelry and art pieces.)

The majority of these macro photographs were taken with the lens wide open at an aperture of f/2.8; however, the shutter speed ranged from 1/130 to 1/400 of a second, depending on the illumination.

At an aperture of f/2.8, it is to be expected that many of the macro photographs that were produced will have a shallow depth of field. It would have been feasible for me to increase the range of focus if the Canon SD1100 allowed me to pick a higher f-number, such as f/5.6 or f/8. However, this is not an option with this camera. Even though it is labeled as Manual mode, the camera continues to have control over the aperture and shutter speed settings.

In this store, I made use of the Automatic White Balance feature, and I was pleased with the results it produced. When looking at the photographs of the jewelry more closely, you could see some digital noise, although having noise in your photos is normal when shooting at ISO 800. It was a reasonable concession to make in order to obtain photographs that were free from blur.

I used the Auto ISO setting while I was outside in natural settings. Near Yucca Valley in California is a ghost town named Pioneer City, which I had the opportunity to explore. The ISO was automatically adjusted to 80 due to the high sunlight that was present outside. That the image quality would be as free of noise as feasible was a direct result of this.

When I zoomed in on the collected photographs of the magnificent rocks, blossoming purple cactus, and other intriguing flora that were found in the region, I was able to verify this assertion. Large 13 x 19 blowups of these photographs that were shot at ISO 80 should be outstanding and should exhibit all of the information that is there in the originals.

Appraisal

The Canon SD1100 IS is a full-featured point-and-shoot digital camera that does an outstanding job at impressing. The camera has a resolution of 8 megapixels, image stabilization, face detection, widescreen/panorama stitching, movie mode, macro mode, and many other features, but it is only about the size of a deck of playing cards. Other features include:

The Canon SD1100 is an excellent choice if you value portability but don’t want to give up too much in the process. The “mere” 3x zoom is perhaps the only significant trade-off, given that some of Canon’s more costly models provide 3.8 and 4x zooms, respectively.

The following accessories are included in the package with your purchase of a Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS:

  • Digital camera Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS.
  • Strap for the wrist
  • Lithium-ion battery, together with its accompanying charger
  • USB cable
  • AV cable
  • 32MB MMC card
  • ImageBrowser, PhotoStitch, and EOS Utility are included on the software CD. ZoomBrowser EX, PhotoStitch, Camera TWAIN Driver, and EOS Utility are also included.

Performance

The majority of Canon’s more recent IXUS and SD models, including the SD1100, have a highly responsive feel to them. The imaging engine known as DIGIC III, which is also used in Canon’s lineup of DSLR cameras, has sufficient computational power to ensure that there is never any room for slack in the system. It takes the camera a little under a second to get ready for shooting after being turned on. That was extremely fast, and it ought to be of assistance to you in properly framing even the most spur-of-the-moment photograph.

The ability to focus comes rather quickly as well. When using the wide-angle end of the lens, focusing takes around 0.3 seconds, while using the telephoto end takes about 0.5 seconds. These times can go up to around 0.7 seconds and 1.0 seconds, respectively, when there is not enough light. There is also no cause to complain about the shutter lag; the norm is 0.1 seconds when using the LCD and somewhat less time when using the viewfinder.

Timing Notes

The timings listed are the averages of the results of three separate procedures. Unless otherwise specified, all timings were performed on a picture with a resolution of 3264 by 2448 pixels using Fine JPEG (approx. 3,300 KB per image). A Sandisk Extreme III card with 1 gigabyte of storage space was utilized as the test medium for these procedures.

Continuous drive mode

The SD1100 offers a single continuous shooting mode, just as the majority of other cameras in the SD and IXUS series. It provides around 1.3 frames per second regardless of the file size or quality option you choose. When shooting in burst mode, there is no preview available, but a quick review image is provided after each exposure for you to look over.

It would appear that there is no upper limit to the number of photographs that may be taken in rapid succession using a fast card (well, we gave up after 70 shots or so). It is likely that the majority of people who use this kind of camera will not have a need to record sequences of this kind, but knowing that you have the ability to do so is still useful.

In the past, we have witnessed greater frames per second rates, but it appears that this will be the price that we will have to pay for ever-increasing megapixel counts. The higher the megapixel count, the greater the file size, and the slower the shooting speed will normally be.

Performance in writing and playing back files

When saving a 3MB 8MP/Super Fine JPEG on the SD1100, the process takes around a second. Considering that the SD1100 is a point-and-shoot camera, that is not a terrible performance; nonetheless, utilizing faster memory cards is highly recommended. Image playback is a little bit slower than on the majority of other Canons that we have recently examined; nonetheless, 0.8 seconds is in no way any worse than the competition. Holding down the left or right arrow key will cause the SD1100 to scroll through low-resolution previews of the photographs stored on your card at a rate of around 10 per second. This feature is useful if you want to swiftly go through a large number of shots.

Battery capacity

Battery life, like most models in the SD range, is on the low side of average; approximately 240 shots per charge according to the CIPA standard is not particularly impressive. However, you should be able to significantly increase this number by turning off the screen and/or the continuous mode image stabilization.

Specifications

NamingSD 1100 IS Digital ELPH (US)
Digital IXUS 80 IS (EU)
Sensor• 1/2.5 ” Type CCD
• 8.0 million effective pixels
Image sizes(L) 3264 x 2448, (M1) 2592 x 1944, (M2) 2048 x 1536, (M3, Date Stamp) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480, (W) 3264 x 1832. Resize in playback (M3, S, 320 x 240)
Movie clips• (L)640 x 480, 30fps/60fps
• (LP) (M)320 x 240, 30fps
• (S)160 x 120, 15fps
• Time Lapse 640 x 480, 0.5/1fps (Playback 15fps)
File formats• JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
• AVI [Motion JPEG compression + WAVE (monaural)]
Lens• 3x optical zoom
• 6.2 – 18.6 mm (35mm equivalent: 38–114mm)
• F2.8 – 4.9
Image stabilizationYes (lens shift-type)
Conversion lensesNo
Digital zoomup to 4x
FocusTTL autofocus
AF area mode• AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point)
• 1-point AF (fixed to center or Face Select and Track)
AF assist lampYes
Focus distance• Normal: 12 in./30cm-infinity
• Macro: 1.2 in.-1.6 ft./3-50cm (W), 1.2 in.-1.6 ft./3-50cm (T)
• Digital Macro: 1.2-3.9 in./3-10cm (W)
Metering• Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame)
• Center-weighted average
• Spot (center)
ISO sensitivity• AUTO
• High ISO Auto (incorporating Motion Detection Technology)
• 80
• 100
• 200
• 400
• 800
• 1600
Exposure compensation+/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
Exposure bracketingNo
Shutter speed• 1/60 – 1/1500 sec (factory default)
• 15 – 1/1500 sec (total range – varies by shooting mode)
ApertureF2.8 – 4.9
Modes• Auto
• Manual
• Digital Macro
• Portrait
• Night Snapshot
• Color Accent
• Color Swap
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
Scene modes• Kids & Pets
• Indoor
• Sunset
• Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Aquarium
• Underwater
White balance• Auto (including Face Detection WB)
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom
Self timer2 or 10 sec, custom
Continuous shootingApprox. 1.3 fps (Large/Fine)
Image parametersMy Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)
Flash• Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow sync, Red-Eye Reduction
• Face Detection flash exposure compensation
• Flash exposure lock
• Range: 30cm – 3.5m (w), 2.0m (t)
ViewfinderReal-image zoom optical viewfinder
LCD monitor• 2.5-inch TFT
• 230,000 pixels
Connectivity• USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• AV out
Print compliance• Pictbridge
• DPOF v.1.1
• EXIF Print
Storage• SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus.
• 32MB memory card supplied
Power• NB-4L Li-ion battery
• Charger included
• Optional AC adapter
Optional accessories• Waterproof Case WP-DC22
• High-Power Flash HF-DC1
Weight (No batt)125 g (4.4 oz)
Dimensions86.8 x 54.8 x 22.0 mm (3.4 x 2.2 x 0.9 in)

Final Verdict

The Canon SD1100 is easily the best deal among pocket cameras since it offers everything you could want in a camera and more, including a tiny size, a sleek design, optical image stabilization, a decent lens, face identification, and custom modes in addition to a low price. Although it is an upgrade over last year’s immensely popular SD1000, the Canon SD1100 maintains remarkable image quality despite having a minor increase in resolution from 7.1 to 8.0 megapixels. This is the case despite the fact that the resolution has increased.

Although the Canon SD1100 has become somewhat more cumbersome to carry due to its increased thickness, which is most likely attributable to the incorporation of image stabilization, the device is still quite pleasant to use and discreetly fits into the majority of pockets.

The high ISO performance was satisfactory, with ISO 1,600 still producing a respectable 4×6-inch print; ISO 80 and 100 retained unexpectedly acceptable quality at 13×19 inches, and the maximum print size was 19 by 13 inches. The Canon SD1100 is an advance on an already remarkable camera that is deserving of being called a Dave’s Pick because of its overall quality.

Pros & Cons

Good For
  • DIGIC III image processor, the same one used by the professionals
  • Small, streamlined body design
  • Detection of the face for use in pictures and, thereafter, to verify any grins captured
Need Improvement
  • The chromatic distortion that is very slightly noticeable at broad angles
  • Extreme macro photography is rendered unusable by the flash.
  • With rounded-off edges at broad angles.
  • Strong contrast with unforgiving illumination

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