Canon Powershot SD790 IS Review

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Canon Powershot SD790 IS





Features & Controls



Canon Powershot SD790 IS Digital ELPH

The SD790 IS features a 3x (35-105mm in the 35mm format) f/2.8-4.9 all-glass aspherical zoom lens. When powered down, the lens is retracted inside of the body and a built in shutter closes to protect the lens.

With Canon's Optical Image Stabilization technology (OIS), users have the flexibility of actually shooting at shutter speeds 2-3 stops lower than would otherwise be possible. This camera features multi-mode Image Stabilization - users can choose between Continuous IS (always active), Panning IS (active when vertical camera shake is detected) and a "Shoot Only" IS mode (active when the shutter is pressed all the way.)

An advanced TTL AiAF 9-point autofocus system permits the camera to automatically select the primary subject even when off-center. Focusing range is 1.0 ft. (30cm) to infinity in normal mode and macro coverage is 1.2 in.- 1.6 ft./3-50cm (W), 1.0 - 1.6 ft./30-50cm (T). There's also a digital macro mode that covers 1.2-3.9in./3-10cm (W). The autofocus is light-assisted and works properly even in the dark.



Canon Powershot SD790 IS Digital ELPH

The built in flash offers Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Auto Red-eye Correction, Flash On, Flash Off (FE lock, Slow Synchro). Flash range is 12 in. - 11 ft./30cm - 3.5m (Wide angle), 12 in. - 6.6 ft./30cm - 2.0m (Telephoto) when sensitivity is set to ISO Auto. The focus-assist lamp also serves as the red-eye reduction lamp.


Canon Powershot SD790 IS Digital ELPH

On the back is a large 3.0-inch "PureColor LCD II" monitor which can be used for framing, review and changing settings. Advanced features include new multi-level coating that reduces glare, a protective layer which resists scratches, smudges and fingerprints as well as a "Quick-bright" function which switches the brightness to the highest setting by pressing the DISP button for 1 second. When shooting in dark lighting, the LCD is automatically brightened to make it easier to frame and focus on the subject.

The controls on the back of the SD790 IS are unique, as in most of the buttons are not protruding from the body, they are "cut" out of the metal exterior.


Canon Powershot SD790 IS Digital ELPH

Controls on the back: Mode Switch with positions for Movie, SCN, Camera. The Print/Share button allows you to easily print and transfer images to your computer (Windows users only). The Play button enters review or playback mode. The 4-way controller or "multi-control dial" is also unique. In record mode you press "Up" to change ISO sensitivity (rotate in playback), press "Right" to change flash modes, press "Down" to change the drive mode (image delete in playback) and press "Left" to change the focus mode. It is also a mode dial or "wheel" that allows you to quickly navigate the menu, stored images, and change exposure modes. When the Mode switch in set to the SCN position, rotating the 4-way controller wheel changes the selected scene mode, etc. In the center is the FUNC./SET button, which accepts menu selections as well as gives you access to the Function shortcut menu. The DISP button turns the color LCD on/off and controls the amount of data displayed on it. The MENU button calls up and dismisses the menus.



Canon Powershot SD790 IS Digital ELPH

On top you can see the power On/Off button and the shutter release button with the zoom controls mounted around it. The zoom lens control also functions as the magnify and index buttons in playback mode. You can also see the built-in microphone.



Canon Powershot SD790 IS Digital ELPH

On the side is a mini-B jack that handles both the AV Out and USB 2.0 (high-speed) connectivity. The AV Out handles the monaural audio and video signal which can be connected to your TV set with the supplied cables, while the high-speed USB 2.0 is used for image and movie download. The I/O port can also be used for direct printing to any PictBridge compatible photo printer.



Canon Powershot SD790 IS Digital ELPH

The Powershot SD790 IS is equipped with a card slot that supports use of SD, SDHC, MMC, MMC+ or HC (High Capacity) MMC+ cards, and comes with a 32MB SD. Shown here with a OCZ 4GB Class 6 SDHC card - see the tables below for the approximate storage capacity.


Number of Recordable Images

  Large (L) Medium 1 (M1) Medium 2 (M2)
SF F N SF F N SF F N
File Size (KB) 4,332 2,565 1,226 2,720 1,620 780 2,002 1,116 556
32MB 6 11 23 10 17 37 14 26 52
SDC-128M 28 47 99 45 75 156 61 109 217
SDC-512MSH 110 186 386 176 292 603 237 425 839

  Medium 3 (M3) Small (S) Widescreen (W)
SF F N SF F N SF F N
File Size (KB) 1,002 558 278 249 150 84 3,243 1,920 918
32MB 29 52 99 111 171 270 8 15 31
SDC-128M 121 217 411 460 711 1,118 37 64 132
SDC-512MSH 471 839 1,590 1,777 2,747 4,317 147 249 511


Time of Recordable Movies

  Standard, Color Accent, Color Swap Compact Time Lapse
640 x 480 320 x 240 160 x 120 640 x 480
30 fps 30 fps LP 30 fps 15 fps 1 fps 0.5 fps
Movie size (KB/sec.) 1,963 1,003 703 131 64 32
32MB 14 sec. 27 sec. 38 sec. 3 min. 09 sec. 7 min. 30 sec. 15 min. 00 sec.
SDC-128M 1 min. 01 sec. 1 min. 56 sec. 2 min. 42 sec. 13 min. 02 sec. 31 min. 45 sec. 1 hr. 3 min. 30 sec.
SDC-512MSH 3 min. 57 sec. 7 min. 30 sec. 10 min. 29 sec. 50 min. 21 sec. 2 hr. 3 min. 30 sec. 4 hr. 7 min. 00 sec.
Note: N=Normal F=Fine SF=SuperFine
Storage Capacity varies depending on camera settings. This data is estimated from Canon's standard shooting conditions. Figures for Movie Mode represent total capacity of the particular media.




Canon Powershot SD790 ISDigital ELPH

The SD790 IS comes with a Canon NB-5L 3.7v 1120mAh lithium rechargeable battery pack. Canon claims the NB-5L can power the SD790 for up to 330 shots or 420 min. of continuous playback on a single charge (suing CIPA Standard.) The supplied rapid charger plugs directly in the wall socket and charges the battery "out of the camera" which is very handy if you have a second battery (highly recommended!)



Canon Powershot SD790 ISDigital ELPH

The optional Waterproof Case WP-DC24 (WP-DC5 shown above) allows you to take the SD790 IS underwater up to a depth of 40 meters (~130 feet). It is also ideal for using your camera in any weather condition, at the beach or on the ski slopes.





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