DPInterface Canon PowerShot SD1000
Digital ELPH Review (Digital Ixus 70/Ixy Digital 10)
Brad Soo - May 31st, 2007

The Canon PowerShot SD1000, which features Canon's latest retro design, replaces last year's SD600. And what a lot of changes there have been over the past year:

  • Higher resolution (7 versus 6 megapixels)
  • DIGIC III processor for better image quality, performance and efficiency
  • Face detection autofocus, autoexposure and red-eye removal software in-camera
  • 2.5 inch PureColor LCD has higher resolution and offers better protection to the panel,  improved color reproduction, outdoor viewing and resistance to fingerprints/dirt
  • Auto ISO Shift increases shutter speed with ISO and new shortcut button
  • Higher maximum ISO of 1600 (instead of 800 on the SD600)
  • Larger movie clip limit of 4 GB (versus 1 GB) and new time lapse photo mode
  • Improved battery life and support for SDHC cards (above 2 GB)

Apart from that, the Canon SD1000 still maintains its 3X optical zoom lens, simple operation and ultra-compact dimensions. The previous Digital ELPHs were good so does that make this one even better? Find out now.

PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH is the North American name of this camera while it's known as the Digital Ixus 70 in Europe and Asia and the Ixy Digital 10 in Japan. Another noteworthy thing is that Canon's naming system seems to have gone into a mess since the SD900 is the flagship Digital ELPH, not the SD1000 or SD800 IS (or 850 IS for that matter)!

Size and Weight

(168.0)  91.6 x 56.8 x 19.6 mm (130 g) - Canon PowerShot SD750 Digital ELPH
(158.9)  85.9 x 53.5 x 19.5 mm (125 g) - Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH
(172.2)  94.5 x 60.4 x 17.3 mm (127 g) - Casio Exilim S770
(172.5)  91.1 x 57.2 x 24.2 mm (125 g) - Casio Exilim Z1050
(177.2)  92.7 x 56.7 x 27.8 mm (155 g) - Fujifilm FinePix F31fd
(167.2)  92.8 x 55.0 x 19.4 mm (148 g) - Fujifilm FinePix Z5fd
(177.0)  93.0 x 61.0 x 23.0 mm (130 g) - HP Photosmart R827
(183.6)  96.0 x 62.0 x 25.6 mm (170 g) - HP Photosmart R967
(171.2)  101.0 x 49.8 x 20.4 mm (124 g) - Kodak EasyShare V705
(182.5)  103.0 x 54.5 x 25.0 mm (142 g) - Kodak EasyShare V803/V1003
(177.5)  97.5 x 59.0 x 21.0 mm (125 g) - Nikon Coolpix S50c
(166.5)  91.5 x 56.5 x 18.5 mm (125 g) - Nikon Coolpix S200
(177.4)  99.0 x 54.0 x 24.4 mm (120 g) - Olympus Stylus 760
(169.7)  94.1 x 51.4 x 24.2 mm (125 g) - Panasonic Lumix FX12
(168.8)  94.9 x 51.9 x 22.0 mm (132 g) - Panasonic Lumix FX30
(179.9)  97.7 x 57.1 x 25.1 mm (151 g) - Panasonic Lumix FX50
(170.5)  89.5 x 57.5 x 23.5 mm (130 g) - Pentax Optio A30
(171.0)  95.0 x 57.0 x 19.0 mm (120 g) - Pentax Optio T30
(169.0)  94.5 x 57.0 x 17.5 mm (142 g) - Samsung NV3
(168.2)  89.7 x 55.7 x 22.8 mm (127 g) - Sony Cyber-shot T20
(173.3)  91.8 x 59.2 x 22.3 mm (141 g) - Sony Cyber-shot T100
(172.0)  91.0 x 58.0 x 23.0 mm (124 g) - Sony Cyber-shot W80/W90

The Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH makes its appearance as the thinnest Digital ELPH yet and the smallest camera in its class. Need I say that you can and will be bringing this camera everywhere? And you won't even know it's there either weighing in at less than 150g loaded with the battery.

Open up the Box

The Canon PowerShot SD1000 has the standard Digital ELPH bundle:

  • 32 MB Secure Digital card
  • Rechargeable NB-4L lithium-ion battery
  • Battery charger
  • Wrist strap
  • USB cable
  • A/V cable
  • CD-ROM

Storage and Power

Pick up at least a 1 GB high-speed SD card with the SD1000 since Canon includes a paltry amount of memory. The camera takes advantage of high-speed cards with a noticeable performance increase. The SD1000 supports SDHC cards as well (above 2 GB).

210 shots - Canon PowerShot SD750 Digital ELPH
210 shots - Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH
200 shots - Casio Exilim S770
370 shots - Casio Exilim Z1050
580 shots - Fujifilm FinePix F31fd
200 shots - Fujifilm FinePix Z5fd
240 shots - HP Photosmart R827
160 shots - HP Photosmart R967
150 shots - Kodak EasyShare V705
200 shots - Kodak EasyShare V803/V1003
130 shots - Nikon Coolpix S50c
230 shots - Nikon Coolpix S200
220 shots - Olympus Stylus 760
350 shots - Panasonic Lumix FX12
280 shots - Panasonic Lumix FX30
300 shots - Panasonic Lumix FX50
150 shots - Pentax Optio A30
200 shots - Pentax Optio T30
200 shots - Samsung NV3
380 shots - Sony Cyber-shot T20
340 shots - Sony Cyber-shot T100
340 shots - Sony Cyber-shot W80

The SD1000 uses the newer and more efficient DIGIC III processor which gets more shots than the SD600 it replaces. However, the SD1000's rating of 210 shots per charge (CIPA Standard) is still below average. Might be worthwhile picking up an additional battery pack. It takes 90 minutes to fully charge the NB-4L battery. Those hoping for a battery indicator on a Canon compact (including me) can continue waiting with none in sight on the SD1000.

 

Extras

The little point-and-shoot SD1000 Digital ELPH offers few accessories: A waterproof case (rated up to 40 m underwater), an external slave flash and AC adapter.

Camera Tour

The Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH has a more boxy design than the more recent Digital ELPHs with curvy lines. The retro design of the SD1000 consists of the "box and circle" design of classic film ELPHs as well as a black rim around the lens. The rim comes in a silver trim as well, if you're not a fan of the retro look.

The camera doesn't feel particularly sturdy with its tiny size and light weight but there is no reason to believe that the SD1000 is too flimsy either. Adhering to the simplistic design concept, there are not too many buttons on the back and not much of a grip either.

The Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH features a 35 - 105 mm f2.8 - f4.9 lens. Well, it seems like just yesterday that we saw this lens on last year's SD600. The lens is a pretty standard issue 3X optical zoom one and though I could not see Canon stuffing in any more zoom, I do wish it had image stabilization.

To the upper right, there's the same ol' flash unit with a range of 50 cm to 3.5 m at wide-angle and up to 2.0 m at telephoto. The AF-assist/self-timer lamp and optical viewfinder are located to the left of the flash. There's a microphone to the bottom left of the camera lens. You can't really see it here but it's slightly below the word "Canon" on the lens.

The Canon SD1000 Digital ELPH has a 2.5 inch PureColor LCD with 230,000 pixels. High resolution? Yes; and it promises better color reproduction, outdoor viewing and resistance to fingerprints, dirt and scratches too! The LCD, as expected, has excellent low-light visibility and above average outdoor visibility. LCD viewing angle was excellent as well with its ability to be viewed from almost any angle.

Above the LCD, there's a tiny optical viewfinder with 2 status lights beside it. And it can come in handy when you're running low on batteries, otherwise, you'll find yourself using the LCD most of the time.

Towards the row of buttons is the camera's speaker used during playback of movie and sound clips. The SD1000's mode switch moves you around shooting, movie and playback modes.

 

The print button lights up when the camera is connected to the printer or computer and ready to print/transfer. In addition, the print button now acts as a shortcut button in shooting mode or in playback mode, brings you directly to the My Category feature.

The Auto ISO Shift feature also makes use of the print button. When the shutter button is pressed half-way, the light blinks if camera shake is a problem. By pressing the print button, the camera will boost ISO (and therefore shutter speed) for you to get a sharp photo, hopefully.

You can assign any one of these functions to the shortcut button: None, exposure compensation, white balance, custom white balance, digital teleconverter, LCD display, record a movie, LCD off or play sound effect. All are pretty straight forward except many people have been wondering what "play sound effect" does. Well, it makes a single dog bark sound for, according to Canon, the purpose of catching the attention of subjects you want to photograph. I'm not sure if that works though, as I tried it out on a few friends and received weird looks and 'what made that sound' rather than 'oh let's look at the camera and have our picture taken'.

Then there's the 5-way controller with the FUNCtion button bringing up a screen with almost all the settings you'll need (this is only for program mode - in auto or any scene mode, then most of the settings will be locked up):

  • Sub-mode (Auto, manual, digital macro, color accent, color swap, stitch assist)
  • Exposure compensation (2 in 1/3 increments)/Long shutter (1 to 15 seconds)
  • White balance (Auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent H, custom)
  • My Colors (Off, vivid, neutral, sepia, monochrome, positive film, lighter/darker skin tone, vivid red, vivid green, vivid blue, custom color)
  • Metering method (Evaluative, center weighted, spot)
  • Still image size and compression

The 'manual mode' isn't really manual as it just unlocks most of the menus; you can't directly adjust exposure. The custom color option allows you to change red, green, blue and skin tone values as well as sharpness, contrast and saturation. In menus, the FUNCtion button doubles as the SET or okay button.

Around the FUNC/SET button is the 4-way controller:

  • Up - ISO speed (Auto, high auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600)/Jump (Go ahead/back: 10 images, 100 images, next shot date, movie, folder, category)
  • Down - Drive (Single shot, continuous, self-timer)/Delete photo
  • Left - Focus setting (Normal, macro, infinity)
  • Right - Flash setting (Auto, on, slow-sync, off - redeye reduction turned on/off in the menu)

While holding the shutter button halfway down, hitting the up button will activate AE lock and the left button will activate AF lock. This allows you to reframe a scene with different exposure and/or focus.

The DISPlay button toggles the amount of information displayed when shooting or playing back and can turn the LCD off while shooting so you can use the viewfinder. Holding down that button will push LCD backlighting to its maximum setting. The MENU button brings up a menu with occasionally changed camera settings such as AF-assist beam, autofocus mode and date/time. You can exit the menu by pressing the MENU button again or pressing the shutter button half way down.

Up here, there's a power button and shutter button with a wrapped around zoom lever.

One side of the SD1000 is left blank. Since this side is blank and smooth, you can stand the camera vertically on its side.

On the other side, there's a USB 2.0 High Speed and an A/V Out port.

At the bottom of the SD1000, there's a plastic tripod mount (this used to be metal!) and battery/memory card compartment. As with the previous Digital ELPHs, the door is flimsy.

Shooting

The SD1000 displays all crucial shooting information on its display. In one of Canon's change for the better, they have also decided to display full exposure info on the SD1000; which means after 6 years of Digital ELPH and waiting, you finally get to see the shutter speed and aperture the camera has chosen (though not change). Unfortunately, Canon left out a live histogram.

 

The SD1000 has a face detection system for autofocus and autoexposure, thanks to the new DIGIC III processor - this tracks and locks onto up to 9 faces. If the camera can't detect any faces, it reverts to the standard 9-point AF system. The face detection system ensures that faces are in focus and are exposed properly when the picture is taken. Although it may sound like a gimmick (and it is on some other cameras), at least it does work on the Canon SD1000.

You can select a range of image resolutions from 7 megapixels (with a widescreen 16:9 option and 3:2 print option)to VGA plus three compression options - Superfine, Fine and Normal. I find that most users (not only me) normally use full resolution with Fine for everyday shooting and SuperFine only for very important shots.

The SD1000 has a 3 cm macro mode and via Digital Macro mode, lets you get closer with digital zoom. Other than the functions mentioned above, the SD1000 has no manual controls. However, there are lots of scene modes on the SD1000, which include portrait, foliage, snow, beach, fireworks, aquarium, underwater, indoor, kids & pets and night snapshot.

 

The Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH has a setting called the Digital Teleconverter, which just applies fixed digital zoom of 1.5X or 1.9X while Safety Zoom crops your photos at lower resolutions so image quality won't degrade (basically just for convenience; cropping can be done in computer software like Paint Shop Pro or Photoshop).

Recording

canon-sd1000-screen13

The Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH has the same great movie mode as the other Digital ELPHs. It takes VGA movies with sound at 30 FPS till the memory card fills up. Each movie clip is limited to 4 GB, about 33 minutes - up from the 1 GB on Canon cameras which use DIGIC II.

If you want to record more movies for less space, the frame rate is selectable with 30 FPS or 15 FPS. You can lower the resolution down to QVGA (320 x 240) as well. A 160 x 120 option records tiny movies for e-mail at 15 FPS up to 3 minutes.

The fast frame rate (QVGA at 60 FPS) mode is great for recording action clips though only up to one minute per clip. Why Canon couldn't have allowed unlimited recording for fast frame rate is beyond me.

The SD1000's time lapse feature captures single frames at your choice of every 1 or 2 seconds up to 2 hours and plays it back at 15 FPS - useful for shooting everchanging city landscapes/scenes or a flower blooming.

Exposure is automatically adjusted and digital zoom is useable while recording while focus is fixed. Movie quality was good as always.

Performance

The Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH starts up quickly in slightly under a second. The SD1000 normally takes about 1/8 to 1/3 second to focus; telephoto and low-light focusing didn't take any much longer. Shutter lag is not obvious at all except at telephoto in low-light.

Shot-to-shot speed - 1 shot every 1.0 seconds, above average
Flash recharge time using a fully charged battery - 4 seconds
Optical zoom from wide-angle to telephoto - 1.3 seconds, few stops between (only eight).

In continuous shooting, the Canon SD1000 Digital ELPH can shoot full resolution photos indefinitely at 1.5 FPS till the memory card fills up - provided you have a high-speed card. The LCD refreshes many times but only to show the last shot taken which makes it difficult to catch fast moving subjects.

The SD1000 powers down quickly within 1.6 seconds with the lens at telephoto. The SD1000 is a snappy performer and rarely, never with a fast memory card, keeps you waiting.

Image Quality

Time to take a look to see how the Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH fares in image quality:


ISO 80 (f2.8, 1/20 sec)


ISO 100 (f2.8, 1/25 sec)


ISO 200 (f2.8, 1/50 sec)


ISO 400 (f2.8, 1/100 sec)


ISO 800 (f2.8, 1/200 sec)


ISO 1600 (f2.8, 1/400 sec)

Photos shot at ISO 80, ISO 100 and ISO 200, show similar low noise qualities. ISO 400 noise goes up a little but still shouldn't be an issue. Noise goes up further after that so ISO 800 is useable for small prints and viewing while you'll really have to put in post-processing work to scavenge the ISO 1600 shot.

To my surprise, chromatic aberration (color fringing) levels were fairly low, considering the SD600 shares the same lens as this camera. Corner softness exists but is only an issue when viewing full-sized photos. Barrel distortion is noticeable, pincushion was not. Redeye was initially an issue but Canon's software removal built into the camera worked well and removed redeye from shots.

Overall image quality of the SD1000 Digital ELPH was above average; some effort was really put in to make photos better such as lower noise than the SD800 IS (Same sensor, different lens) and the new redeye removal tool.

Photo gallery

All photos viewable in the Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH photo gallery!

Playback

 

In playback, the Canon PowerShot SD1000 can playback stills and movies (With sound) as well as: Protect images, perform print marking, play slideshows, image rotation and My Colors post processing. You can also magnify still photos by 10x and take a look around using the 4 arrow buttons.

There's a simple movie trimming function, redeye removal tool and sound memo available too. The new sound recorder allows recording up to 2 hours of stereo sound at your choice of 11, 22 or 44 kHz.

Another thumbs up for Canon as the SD1000 Digital ELPH now shows everything about your photos, including a histogram, shutter speed and aperture values. The My Category feature  let's you sort through your photos by 4 preset or 3 custom categories. However, there's no way to give those custom categories a name.

 

Conclusion

The really tiny Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH features some of Canon's latest bells-and-whistles added into an already good camera. That means 7 megapixels, a sharp and coated 2.5 inch LCD and a speedy processor.

The SD1000's performance is above average with features that Canon is now known for: unlimited continuous shooting mode, great movie mode (now made better) and a face detection system that works. Missing things from previous Digital ELPHs such as full exposure information and a shortcut button now exist along with added fancy features in playback.

Battery life has gone up as well but the competition has improved as well, placing the SD1000  below average in terms of battery life. Build quality has gone slightly down since the tripod mount is now plastic (used to be metal) and the battery door is still very flimsy. The SD1000 has plenty (but not a ton) of scene modes but still doesn't have any manual controls.

Image quality was above average with fairly controlled noise, good color reproduction and corner softness not being much of an issue. The camera also has a built-in redeye removal tool which can be used in playback (I wish it was applied automatically though). Color fringing levels are low too.

In the end, despite some minor quirks on the Canon PowerShot SD1000 Digital ELPH, it still deserves my recommendation for being a very capable, very fast and really stylish ultra-compact camera. The SD1000 being loaded with features put other similarly priced competitors to shame.

Camera rating upon 10 (more about this): [Category: Ultra-compact]

  • 7.5 - Body/Exterior
  • 6.5 - Bundle, batteries and memory
  • 7.0 - Lens
  • 8.0 - Feature set
  • 7.5 - Controls and operation
  • 8.5 - Performance
  • 7.5 - Image quality
  • 7.5 - Overall rating

What's hot:

  • Ultra-compact retro design; includes an optical viewfinder
  • Face detection AF and AE that works
  • Large high-resolution LCD with good visibility, clarity and coating
  • Unlimited continuous shooting at full resolution
  • Very good performance
  • Shortcut/ISO shift button
  • Useful playback features: My Colors, redeye removal and sound recorder
  • Impressive movie mode; now with a time lapse feature
  • Good image quality with low noise till ISO 400

What's not:

  • No manual controls
  • No optical image stabilization
  • Below average battery life
  • Edge sharpness issues at full-sized screen viewing/large prints
  • No live histogram
  • No movie focus or optical zoom
  • Plastic components: battery/card slot door and tripod mount (used to be metal)

Recommended Accessories

  • 1 GB high-speed Secure Digital card
  • Extra NB-4L li-ion battery pack

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