Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS Digital ELPH
printer-friendly reviews are for non-commercial use only
The PowerShot SD1100 IS Digital ELPH ($249) is the long-awaited follow-up to Canon's PowerShot SD1000, which was one of the most popular ultra-compact cameras of the last few years. The SD1100 has several significant improvements over the SD1000, including:
The biggest feature on that list is definitely image stabilization. It's really the only thing the SD1000 was missing, and I think everyone's glad to see this new feature.
Canon has quite a few cameras in their Digital ELPH series, so I put together this chart to help you make sense of things:
If you're still confused about the SD-series after that chart then, well, I don't know what to tell you.
The PowerShot SD1000 was one of my favorite ultra-compact cameras last year. Does the SD1100 perform just as well? Find out now in our review!
The PowerShot SD1100 Digital ELPH is known as the Digital IXUS 80 IS in some countries.
What's in the Box?
The PowerShot SD1100 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
Canon is really the only camera manufacturer still bundling a memory card with their cameras -- everyone else just builds a paltry amount of memory into the camera itself. They include a 32MB Secure Digital card with the PowerShot SD1100, which holds just eight photos at the highest image quality setting. That means that you'll want to buy a larger memory card right away, unless you already have one sitting around. The SD1100 supports SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, and HC MMCplus cards, though I'd stick with the first two, which are less exotic. I'd recommend starting with a 1GB card, and while a high speed model is a good idea, you don't need to go overboard.
The SD1100 uses the NB-4L rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power. That's the same one that was used on the SD1000, but somehow Canon managed to squeeze more juice out of this 2.8 Wh battery:
First off, I have to say that making a list of comparable cameras is a lot more difficult now than it used to be a few years ago. Each manufacturer now has four-to-six compact cameras, where they used to have one or two. That said, the SD1100's battery life is just about average for the group. Sony and Panasonic continue to be leaders in this area.
I do want to mention the usual issues about the proprietary batteries used by the SD1100 and every camera on the above list. They're expensive (a spare will cost you at least $34), and you can't use an off-the-shelf battery in an emergency. However, that's all you'll find on cameras this small... it sort of comes with the territory.
As with all ultra-compact cameras, the SD1100 has a built-in lens cover, so there's no lens cap to deal with. Sorry about the reflections -- those mirrored surfaces don't make for very nice product photos!
There are just a couple of accessories available for the PowerShot SD1100, and I've compiled them into this chart:
A pretty standard list for an ultra-compact camera. Let's move on to software, now.
CameraWindow in Mac OS X
Canon includes version 33 of their Digital Camera Solution Disk with the PowerShot SD1100. The first part of the Browser software that you'll probably encounter is Camera Window (pictured above), which is used to download photos from your camera.
ImageBrowser in Mac OS X
Once that's done you'll find yourself in either ImageBrowser or ZoomBrowser, which are for Mac and Windows, respectively. The Mac version is Universal, allowing it to run at full speed on Intel-based systems. The "Browser twins" let you view, organize, e-mail, and print your photos. If you categorized any photos on the camera (more on this later) then that information is transferred over to the Browser software.
ImageBrowser edit window in Mac OS X
Double-click on a thumbnail and you'll bring up the edit window. Editing functions include trimming, redeye removal, and the ability to adjust levels, color, brightness, sharpness, and the tone curve. There's also an auto adjustment option for those who want a quick fix.
PhotoStitch in Mac OS X
A separate program called PhotoStitch can combine photos you've taken side-by-side into a single panorama. The Stitch Assist feature on the SD1100 can help you line up the photos so they come together well.
Canon retooled their documentation this year, combining the basic and advanced manuals into one. The 200+ page User Guide is quite detailed, and it will answer any question you may have about the camera or its accessories. It's not the easiest read, though it's still better than most camera manuals these days.
Look and Feel
Canon was shooting for retro with last year's PowerShot SD1000 -- it looked just like the original film-based ELPH. The SD1100 has returned to the rounder design of previous Digital ELPHs. The camera is super compact, and its metal body is both stylish and durable. The one exception is the usual one: the flimsy plastic door over the memory card/battery compartment.
The SD1100 is easy to hold and operate with one hand. It doesn't have too many buttons, though I'm not a fan of how they're flush against the body.
Images courtesy of Canon USA
While the SD1000 came in two "trims" (black and silver), Canon has gone all out with colors on the SD1100. It's available in gold, blue, pink, brown, and silver.
Now, here's a look at how the PowerShot SD1100 compares to other cameras in its class in terms of size and weight: