Camera News
by Brad Soo on November 23 2009

canon-s90-flashclock

Probably one of the best kept secrets about Canon’s compact cameras is the built-in, animated clock. This bizarre feature has been around since the days of the Canon PowerShot SD550 Digital ELPH AKA Digital IXUS 750 in 2005 (that lovely camera of mine has since been stolen, unfortunately). The clock is a fancy, animated, flash-based feature that’s built right into many PowerShot/Digital ELPH/Digital IXUS cameras… and NO, it’s not a hack – in fact, it’s something Canon has been officially including in their compact cameras for years now, but apparently the feature was not publicized enough so not many people know of its existence.

You probably haven’t noticed it because it can’t be found anywhere in the camera menu or setup area – but the animated clock may just be in the camera YOU are using now. So where is it? Find out now…

First off, you gotta make sure the camera is ‘off’. Then start off by holding down the camera’s SET/FUNCTION button (center button on the navigation pad) followed by a press of the camera’s Power ON/Off button and poof, the animated clock will magically appear on your camera’s display. For older models, it seems the camera will automatically bootup into shooting mode after 7 seconds… but for newer models like the Canon PowerShot S90 I have here, the clock will display indefinitely until the preset auto power off (power saving) feature kicks in. Pretty neat, huh?

canon-s90-clocktilt

And wait, there’s more to it. The animated clock is able to take advantage of the camera’s accelerometer (a standard feature in all Canon cameras now, it seems) and automatically rotate based on camera position. In landscape mode, it shows only the time… but tilt the camera on its side and the clock will “slide” off the screen and a new time & date combo will appear. Canon’s implementation here is good with just the right amount of graphic effects to make things look pleasing (and they didn’t go overboard with shine, bling and gloss).

canon-s90-clockcolors

You can also change the background color of the animated clock by pressing the LEFT and RIGHT arrow keys on the navigation pad. There are usually five to seven colors to choose from.

The reason behind the animated clock remains a mystery but supposedly Canon wanted to make it as easy to check the date/time on their camera as people do with mobile phones. The camera doesn’t actually ‘bootup’ when you toggle on the clock (camera doesn’t extend its lens or anything), hence conserving power. So the next time you want to know the time, go ahead and use the built-in clock on your Canon compact.

Note: The clock feature seems to be available only on some post-2005 Canon PowerShot/Digital ELPH/Digital IXUS models. It won’t work on your EOS digital SLR!

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2 Comments

  1. Pete June 2, 2010 Reply

    hehe, I discovered this today by pure chance. Because of that I googled it to find out if others noticed too and found this page. 🙂

  2. Zack July 15, 2010 Reply

    I always just held the function button for a few seconds whenever I wanted to see the clock, rather than holding function and then the power button.

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