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Because Canon does not sacrifice image quality in its tiny cameras, these cameras are constantly among the most appealing options available on the market.
This consistent attention to photographic detail continues with the new PowerShot SD630 Digital ELPH, which features several minor upgrades yet is significantly beneficial. In particular, the SD630 addresses low-light photography, which is now one of the most contentious topics with digital cameras.
The Canon SD630 has adjustable ISO settings that go up to 800, which is an exceptionally high sensitivity rating that was previously only available on higher-end and professional cameras. This allows photographers to take pictures without a flash, even in low light.
Suppose you are less inclined to fiddle around with ISO while taking pictures. In that case, there is also a new High ISO Auto setting (in addition to the regular ISO Auto setting), which automatically sets exposure using the higher (400 and 800) ISO levels. Again, this setting is available in addition to the regular ISO Auto setting.
On the rear of the camera, next to the multi-controller, there is a separate button labeled “ISO” that allows direct access to these settings. Although enhancing low-light performance has the potential to usher in a new era for customers, the SD630 takes a more conservative approach in other aspects.
Canon PowerShot SD630 DIGIC System
It is almost too easy to take Canon’s DIGIC processors, now known as DIGIC II, for granted because they have become so well-acknowledged as the standard bearers of speed. However, if you have ever used a camera produced by a rival with a less powerful CPU, you will immediately be able to see the difference.
The Canon SD450, the model that came before the Canon SD630 and employed DIGIC II, has speed figures nearly the same as the current model, which powers up in 1.3 seconds (time to first shot).
If you prefocus the SD630, the shutter lag is relatively little, coming in at about 0.074 a second. The SD630 surpasses most cameras in its class shot for shot, clocking around 1.62 seconds for hefty/fine JPEGs and clearing the buffer promptly after each image.
In Continuous shooting mode, the SD630 can fire off a little more than two frames per second, which is typical for this class. However, because the buffer is cleared promptly, you are ready to start again much more quickly than you would be with most of the competition’s models.
The Digital ELPH series and their DIGIC II processors, working in concert with Canon’s nine-point AiAF focusing system, have consistently been an excellent antidote to sluggish snappers. This is particularly relevant given that consumers’ complaints about slowness are the most common regarding digital cameras.
Canon PowerShot SD630 Lowlight Performance
Most digital camera evaluations award tiny digital cameras excellent marks for their performance in outside daylight conditions but give them far lower marks for their performance in low light. The amount of “noise” that emerges in the photographs is where most entry-level digital cameras suffer when it comes to flashless shooting at high ISO. Some individuals have compared this “noise” to the “film graininess” seen in conventional photography.
I believe that comparing it to grain is very generous. For some reason, I’ve always thought of digital noise as similar to the annoying white fuzz that might appear on your television screen when switching stations. The accomplishment of modern digital single-lens reflex cameras made by Canon is that they can shoot at high ISOs with a relatively minimal amount of noise.
It would appear that Canon has been able to extend its expertise in low-noise and high-ISO photography to a non-professional audience with this new ELPHs, which is fantastic news for consumers. Most people are astonished when they see the results of taking pictures without using a flash in low light since they have become accustomed to using one.
You have good natural skin tones and detail of the space behind your subject, as opposed to blown-up features and backdrops that are entirely blacked out. Even while there is a more significant likelihood of blur when you photograph without a flash — even at the SD630’s rapid ISO 800 level — if your subject is relatively motionless, the photos with the Canon SD630 seem sharp. This is the case as long as the issue is not moving.
In addition to having the ability to choose an ISO setting between 80, 100, 200, 400, and 800, you also have the choice between two automated modes: ISO AUTO and ISO HI. After conducting some research, it has been determined that the AUTO and HI settings produce comparable results when the lighting conditions are expected; however, when the lighting conditions are dim, the HI setting will automatically increase the ISO to 800.
Canon claims the only other distinction between the two settings is that the HI ISO option will nearly always result in a faster shutter speed than the ISO Auto setting. This is the sole difference between the two settings. If you want to make the most of the SD630’s low-light capabilities, I recommend always using the HI ISO option. The advantages of doing so are far more significant.
On the other hand, you should go with Auto ISO if you want to prevent the increased level of noise. Because Canon has included a separate ISO button on the camera’s multi-selector, gaining access to these settings is simple.
Canon PowerShot SD630 Modes
Because the scene modes are buried within a few different menus, cameras in the ELPH series are not ideal for switching between scene modes in a hurry.
In addition to its Auto and Manual exposure mode options, the SD630 provides a variety of pre-set scene modes, such as Digital Macro, Portrait, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Underwater, Color Accent, and Color Swap. These scene modes can be accessed through the camera’s menu.
However, to access the different scene modes, you will first need to use the Function key, then navigate your way down to the shooting modes option, slide to the right until you reach “Kids & Pets,” and finally press the Menu button to access the remaining scene modes. The Canon SD630’s relatively basic user interface, which consists of a small number of knobs and buttons, does have certain drawbacks.
Canon’s My Color Modes help change settings to mimic various picture styles, such as sepia, black and white, or “positive film,” which makes reds, greens, and blues more intense. These settings are available, along with a host of other lighter, darker, and more vivid color settings. However, I’ve found using the unusual Color Accent and Color Swap features to be somewhat frustrating, as the results are mixed.
You can select a particular color using the LCD’s Color Accent feature, and that color will maintain its hue even while the rest of the scene is converted to black and white. In addition, you can change the colors of objects inside a location by using the Color Swap tool. For example, you could turn a green pullover become a red apple.
The Canon SD630 also features four movie modes, each of which may record sound, and it is capable of capturing video at a maximum resolution of 640 by 480 pixels at 30 frames per second. In addition, their option enables you to film with Color Accent or Color Swap, so if the My Colors modes are your thing, you can use that.
The SD630 can shoot still photos in a widescreen 16:9 format, which means they can be seen and played back on widescreen televisions. This is another particular feature that should be mentioned.
It would appear that this was carried over from Canon’s digital camcorders, which now include modes that are 16:9. It is not entirely clear why Canon chose to implement a 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio for its still photographs on the SD630 but did not do so for its motion pictures.
Canon PowerShot SD630 Exposure Control
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The navigation system is not overly complicated and has not seen significant modifications from earlier ELPH versions.
Do not be fooled by the M setting, which gives you limited control over things like exposure compensation, white balance, and various photo effects but not proper control over aperture or shutter speed.
Manual control is still somewhat limited, and you should also not be fooled by the M setting, which gives you manual control.
You should check out Canon’s A-Series cameras if you want more manual features. These cameras provide excellent creative choices but are not as compact or elegant as the ELPH models.
Canon PowerShot SD630 Specs
|Sensor||• 1/2.5 ” Type CCD|
• 6.0 million effective pixels
|Image sizes||• 2816 x 2112|
• 2816 x 1584
• 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
|Movie clips||• 640 x 480 @ 30 / 15fps|
• 320 x 240 @ 60 / 30 / 15fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15fps
• WAVE audio
|File formats||• Still: JPEG (Exif 2.2)|
• Movie: AVI (Motion JPEG compression)
|Lens||• 35-105mm equiv|
• 3x optical zoom
|Digital zoom||up to 4x|
• 9-point AiAF
• 1-point AF (Fixed Center)
|AF area modes||• Normal|
|AF assist lamp||Yes|
|Focus distance||Macro: 3cm|
• Center-weighted average
|ISO sensitivity||• Auto|
• High ISO Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
|Exposure compensation||• +/- 2EV|
• 1/3 stop increments
|Shutter speed||15-1/1500 sec|
• Digital Macro
• Night Snapshot
• Stitch Assist
|Scene modes||• Foliage|
• Kids & Pets
• Color Accent
• Color Swap
|White balance||• TTL|
• Fluorescent H
|Self-timer||• 2 or 10sec|
|Continuous shooting||approx. 2.1fps (until the card is full)|
|Image parameters||My Colors (Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, B&W, Lighter skin tone, Darker skin tone, Positive film, Custom color)|
• Manual Flash On/Off
• Slow synch
• Flash Exposure Lock
• Red-eye reduction
• Range: 50cm-3.5m (wide) / 2.0m (tele)
|LCD monitor||• 2.5-inch P-Si TFT|
• 173,000 pixels
• Adjustable Brightness
|• 3.0-inch P-Si TFT|
• 173,000 pixels
• Adjustable Brightness
|Connectivity||• USB 2.0 Hi-Speed|
• AV out
|Print compliance||• PictBridge|
• Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP printers only)
|Storage||• 16MB card supplied|
• SD / MMC compatible
|Power||• Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery NB-4L|
• Optional AC adapter
|Weight (no batt)||140 g||145 g|
|Dimensions||86 x 53.5 x 21.7 mm||90.3 x 56.8 x 20.2 mm|