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Camera Reviews > Canon PowerShot SD700
Canon PowerShot SD700 IS Review
Date: Jul 1, 2006
The Canon PowerShot SD700 IS is a digital
camera targeted to point-and-shoot photographers.
It has 6.0 megapixel resolution on a 1/2.5 in.
CCD image sensor, and a 35-140mm (35 mm equivalent)
4x optical zoom lens, with an aperture range of
We find the overall image quality of the Canon
PowerShot SD700 IS to be very good to excellent,
with low noise at ISO 80 and images retaining
most of the details.
|4x Optical Zoom
(35mm, 35mm equivalent)
(140mm, 35mm equivalent)
The Canon SD700 provides 4x optical zoom. In
the above pictures, we show the coverage for 35mm
and then 140mm (35mm equivalent).
Besides Auto mode and easy-to-use Scene Modes,
the Canon SD700 also has "Manual" (really,
Programmed Auto) mode. There is no Program Shift
available in Manual mode.
The camera also provides exposure compensation
(no Auto Bracketing) and Custom (Manual) White
Balance. A Histogram can be displayed in Playback
mode only. Shutter speed ranges from 1-1/1,600
sec. in all modes (1.6 sec. in Fireworks scene
mode). Slow shutter speeds from 1 to 15 sec. (1,
1.3, 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3.2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15
sec.) can be manually selected [FUNC. - Exp. Comp.
- press MENU button to switch to Long Shutter
Speed - use RIGHT and LEFT ARROW to select a slow
shutter speed]. You are still able to set other
exposure settings such as ISO and WB when using
Long Shutter Speeds. Note that to be able to use
long shutter speeds, you must first enable it
in the Menu [MENU - Long Shutter = On].
5.8mm, Manual, Evaluative
2.5 sec., F2.8, ISO 80, Custom WB (manual)
The Canon SD700 IS lens allows you to focus as
close as 2cm (0.8 in.) at wide-angle. If you have
AiAF on [MENU - AiAF = On], the camera will select
one of nine AF frames. If you find that the Canon
SD700 IS is selecting to focus on a different
part of your macro subject than what you intended,
we suggest that you turn AiAF off [MENU - AiAF
= Off] and the camera will then use the center
AF frame to ensure focus locks in the center of
the frame. AF locks precisely and fast, even in
low-light [since the AF works on detecting contrast
changes, subjects with low contrast might be difficult
to get a focus lock in low-light], and the AF-assist
Beam [MENU - AF-assist Beam = On] is able to light
up close-up subjects. There is no AF FlexiZone
(i.e. you cannot manually move the AF Frame around
on the screen to where you want it to focus).
The AF frame turns green to indicate successful
focus; a yellow AF frame indicates focus has not
There are three metering modes: Evaluative (Multi-Pattern),
Center Weighted Average and Spot.
Unlike on many P&S digital cameras, you can
actually lock focus and exposure independently
of each other. With flash off, focus on subject,
depress shutter button halfway and press UP ARROW
key to lock the exposure (AEL displays on screen)
or LEFT ARROW key to lock focus (AFL displays
on screen). Likewise, when flash is set ON, you
can lock flash exposure by focusing on the subject,
depress the shutter button halfway and press UP
ARROW key to fire a pre-flash and lock flash exposure
(FEL displays on screen).
||WB = Custom
As the above pictures show, the auto white balance
is not quite accurate indoors under artificial
light [I have those special white light fluorescent].
Best results are obtained with Custom WB (accessed
thru the FUNC. button); being able to set White
Balance manually guarantees true colour reproduction
under artificial light. You won't find this feature
in most entry-level models. Outdoors, under natural
light, the AWB works extremely well.
You can set the ISO on the Canon SD700 IS from
80 to 800, plus a "HI" that is basically
ISO 800. The 100%
crops above (area delimited by the white square)
demonstrate that images at ISO 80 and 100 are
very clean and virtually noise-free. Noise starts
to be visible at ISO 200 but is under control.
ISO 400 can be quite usable especially in regular-sized
prints. At ISO 800, the presence of noise takes
the form of coloured splotches.
CA is minimal in everyday shots. In the high
contrast shot above, the corner delimited by the
red square at left, and reproduced at 100% crop
at bottom right, shows very slight fringing.
|5.8mm, Manual, Evaluative,
15 sec., F2.8, ISO 80
Custom WB, Macro ON, Self-Timer (2 sec.),
Tripod Used, 100% Crop
The Canon SD700 IS allows the use of a long shutter
speed of up to 15 sec. but only in Manual (M)
mode. This allows us to take some very nice night
shots. Generally, with CCD image sensors, noise
usually becomes more prominent at slow shutter
speeds. The Canon SD700 IS has special noise reduction
(NR) algorithms that automatically kicks in at
shutter speeds slower than 1.3 sec. and you'll
notice a slightly longer processing time before
the next picture can be taken.
To test this noise reduction algorithm, we take
a low-light indoors shot using a long shutter
speed of 15 sec. The NR works quite well. The
AF worked very well in low-light, and the AF-assist
Illuminator made for precise and fast focus lock
[again, depends on how contrasty your subject
The last feature we will mention is the histogram.
The histogram is in Playback Mode only. You can
see the histogram by rotating the Mode Dial to
Playback and then pressing the DISP. button until
the histogram displays. The histogram is invaluable
to give an indication of under- and over-exposure
(don't rely on the LCD/EVF since the brightness
is adjustable and may be misleading).
Overall, very good to excellent image quality
for a 6.0MP digital camera: sharp pictures, very
good image detail, vibrant colours, well-exposed.
The pictures in the Canon SD700 IS Photo Gallery
page provide a good sample of what the camera
is capable of. I have provided samples at 800x600
pixels (compressed to Quality 60/100 in Photoshop
Elements) as well as the original 2816×2112
You can safely assume that most macro shots
and slow shutter speed shots required the use
of a tripod. Any image that is adjusted for levels
in Photoshop has "_adjusted" appended
to the file name.
I have defaulted the image size to 800x600 pixels.
For those who have their monitor resolution set
to 1024x728 pixels, everything should snugly fit
and you should not have to scroll to see the whole
image. If your monitor is set to 800x600 pixels
resolution, start the slide show and then scroll
to the right to position the image within your
screen width. Then, press F11 (if you are using
Internet Explorer) to switch to full screen mode,
and the image should fill your screen nicely.
Press F11 again at any time to switch your monitor
display back to normal mode.
To return to this page from the Photo Gallery,
click on the animated graphics of the camera.
Please open and download the original size version
only if you need to and only once
to your hard drive -- and save me some precious