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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Canon PowerShot SD10

Canon Digital Cameras


Canon PowerShot SD10 Review

Review Date: Dec 22, 2003

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Canon PowerShot SD10 Digital ELPH - White colour
Photoxels Awards
JeansPocket Certified: Easily fits in the front pocket of a pair of jeans


User's Experience

Friday, Dec 5, 2003 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • PowerShot SD10 Digital ELPH (Colour: Black)
  • Soft Case
  • Wrist Strap
  • Li-Ion rechargeable battery (with cover) and Battery Charger
  • 32MB SecureDigital (SD) Memory Card (in case)
  • Interface Cables: A/V; USB
  • Documentation (English & French): User Guide; Software Starter Guide; Quick Start Guide; System Map
  • Software CDs: Digital Camera 14.0; ArcSoft Camera Suite 1.2

The Canon PowerShot SD10 Digital ELPH comes with everything you need to start taking pictures. Let's see: there's a Li-Ion rechargeable battery and battery charger, a 32MB SD memory card, and even a soft case. The camera's dimensions are: 90.3W x 47.0H x 18.5D mm / 3.56W x 1.85H x 0.73D in. and it weighs 100g / 3.5 oz without the battery and memory card. Even in its soft case, it is comfortably pocketable (the soft case also has a flap to hang it from a belt). As such, it is JeansPocket™ Certified.

The battery charger is the type that plugs directly into the wall outlet. The SecureDigital (SD) memory card is, of course, tiny when compared with the CompactFlash (CF) card used in most of the other Canon digital cameras.

Since I already installed the Zoom Browser and PhotoStitch when I reviewed the PowerShot A80, I do not need to reinstall the Digital Camera Solution CD. My PC runs Windows XP, so I don't need to install the USB driver.

Concerning the documentation, the handy Quick Start Guide is all I need to get the PowerShot SD10 up and ready for picture taking. Read this card first before you put in the battery and memory card.

The User Guide's small format makes it a bit difficult to keep the pages open. I would prefer the screen shots be a bit bigger because I find it difficult to see what exactly they are trying to illustrate. Otherwise, I find the User Guide well written and I was able to find all the information I needed to operate the camera.

You can download a softcopy of the manuals (English version only, sorry) from Canon Canada's site and view them in as large a font as you want on your own PC display monitor: Canon SD10 Manuals.

There is an Auto mode and (limited) Manual mode, so there are not too many settings to customize. I take the time to set the PowerShot SD10 to the way I would like to use it:

FUNC (Shooting mode):

  • Shooting mode = Auto (other available choices: Manual, Long Shutter, Macro, Stitch Assist)
  • Image Size = L 2272x1704 (other available choices: M1 1600x1200, M2 1024x768, S 640x480)
  • Image Quality = S Superfine (other available choices: Fine, Normal)

MENU (Rec. Menu tab):

  • Quick Shot = ON
  • Self-timer = 2 sec.
  • AF-assist Beam = ON
  • Digital Zoom = Off
  • Review = 10 sec.

MENU (Set up tab):

  • Mute = OFF
  • Volume = set up just loud enough to hear
  • Info Display: Shooting Info = ON, Review Info = ON, Replay Info = Detailed
  • LCD Brightness = set to your preference
  • Power Saving: Auto Power Down = Off; Display Off = 3 min.
  • Date and Time
  • Clock Display = 5 sec. (in Shooting mode, depress SET button for about 2 sec., to see the date and time displayed)
  • File No. Reset = Off

The included 32MB SecureDigital (SD) memory card holds about 14 SuperFine Large (2272x1704) images. I recommed you get a 256MB SD card, which would hold 100+ SuperFine Large pictures.

Krispy Kreme: 1/320 sec., F2.8 and ISO Auto
Krispy Kreme
6.4mm, Auto, Evaluative
1/320 sec., F2.8 and ISO Auto

First impressions

The PowerShot SD10 is without doubt a fashion statement. It's design is elegant in its simplicity and the availability in four different colours scream "individuality." It's surprisingly easy to hold the SD10 in your right hand only, but due to its ultra-compact size, you may prefer to use your left hand to stabilize it to prevent possible camera shake. It is well balanced and operation is quite fast. Start up time is about 2 sec. and shot-to-shot time is about 3 sec. (using flash). Shutter lag is negligible. A QuickShot mode optimizes focus (hence probably bypasses autofocus, saving time) and allows you to depress the shutter release button in one press to catch a candid shot.

The PowerShot SD10's 1.5 in. LCD has 78,000 pixels resolution and is fine to use to compose but not to review. For most everyday shots, and considering that this camera is probably going to be mostly used for snapshots, this should not matter at all. I was glad to see that coverage is pretty much 100%.

Transferring images from the PowerShot SD10 to my PC is just a matter of connecting the USB cable into the appropriate slots. Slide the Mode Switch to Playback Mode, and turn on the camera. At the computer screen prompt, I select Zoom Browser EX and the images are transferred. It takes about 4 sec. to transfer one image on my PC (Windows XP Home, 512MB, 1.6GHz P4). Once done, I just unplug the cable at both end, and I'm done. There is no need to turn off the computer at any time. I make sure all the images have been transferred successfully, and to erase the pictures from the camera, I switch to Playback Mode, go into MENU and select ERASE ALL.

In Shooting mode, the four way controller serves as dedicated function buttons for self-timer (2 or 10 sec.), flash and single-frame erase. Since a small camera is prone to camera shake, the self-timer set at 2 sec. is quite a convenient feature.

Most other functions are available through the FUNC. button. You can set the amount of time a captured shot remains on the LCD (after capture) for review from 2 to 10 sec., or OFF. A half-press of the shutter release button immediately sets the camera back into Shooting mode. So, even if you set review to 10 sec. you can still quickly get back to Shooting mode so you do not miss a snapshot opportunity.

In detailed Playback mode, a histogram displays and is a very good way to judge whether your image is under-, over- or correctly exposed. See Page 41 of your User Guide for a simple explanation of how to use the histogram on the SD10, or read our tutorial: Understanding the Histogram.

There is a limited Manual mode for adjusting exposure compensation (+/- 2EV in 1/3EV steps), White Balance (Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H), ISO (50, 100, 200, 400), Photo Effect (Vivid, Neutral, Low Sharpening, Sepia, B&W), and Light Metering Mode (Evaluative, Center-Weighted Average, Spot), though you cannot set shutter speed and aperture.

The Canon PowerShot SD10 Digital ELPH is point-and-shoot easy to use and has the image quality Canon is famous for. Its ultra-compact size as well as elegant design makes it an anywhere, anytime camera perfect for any occasion.

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