Canon Powershot SD900 IS Review

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Canon Powershot SD900

Review posted 11/30/2006


Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Canon Powershot SD900 Digital ELPH
Click to take a QTVR tour of the SD900


The 10.0 megapixel PowerShot SD900 and the 7.1 megapixel PowerShot SD800 IS Digital ELPHs take the marriage of style and substance to a new level, by offering an array of user-friendly features along with faster response time and a new face detection autofocus system that keeps subjects in focus no matter where they appear in the frame.

The flagship of the Digital ELPH camera line, the 10-megapixel PowerShot SD900 Digital ELPH takes the attractive and comfortable feel of the "perpetual curve design" and for the first time ever, renders that body in durable, yet lightweight Titanium. The result is a high-res digital camera with smooth lines, an elegant satin finish. About the size of a deck of playing cards, the SD900 Digital ELPH camera measures fractionally more than an inch thick with its 3x (37-111 mm equivalent) optical zoom lens retracted safely into the case; a mere 2.35 inches high and less than 3.6 inches long.

The SD900 also features a brilliantly enhanced, 2.5- inch, 230,000-pixel, color TFT LCD screen with a wide viewing angle making images easier to preview and review, camera menus easier to read in a wide range of lighting conditions. And, for those who wish to shoot higher resolution video sequences, the camera's XGA (1024x768) 15fps movie mode is just the ticket. When combined with the new optionally available high capacity 4GB SDHC memory cards, this digital dynamo can capture action for up to 33 minutes per clip.

These models feature DIGIC III, the newest iteration of Canon's ultra-efficient (and proprietary) image processor; shared thus far only with Canon's new flagship PowerShot G7 model. This new chip accounts boasts higher performance levels including faster start up, autofocus and shutter response times; improved maximum processing speed; and of course, enhanced image quality and more efficient power consumption; resulting in extended battery life under typical shooting conditions.

Thanks to the DIGIC III chip's more aggressive noise reduction, these Digital ELPH cameras are able to shoot at ISO equivalent speed ratings from 80 to as high as 1600. This increased sensitivity at the top-end allows the use of faster shutter speeds, significantly reducing camera shake and subject blur during hand held low-light photography.

All of the new models offer a new widescreen 16:9 ratio resolution setting that facilitates creating panoramic-style prints. Additionally, all new PowerShot models support 23 languages (now including Thai and Arabic). The new cameras have an improved direct printing function that permits greater flexibility in print settings, including a face brightener setting for backlit photos.

Canon also enhanced the 'My Colors' mode found in the new PowerShot line. Where previously, users could only enable 'My Colors' while shooting, the current iteration permits captured images to be retouched as well, without the need for special software applications or tools. Available My Color playback modes include Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, and Vivid Red; lighter and darker skin tones, as well as options for creating black & white, sepia, neutral and positive film effects.

For those who consider the ocean depths part of the Digital Elph camera line's "go anywhere" promise, Canon offers individual optional waterproof housing systems. With a depth rating of 40m/130 feet, these models are a natural choice for underwater photo enthusiasts, SCUBA divers and even snorkelers.

Like all PowerShot digital cameras, these new Digital ELPHs work seamlessly with Canon's petite SELPHY Compact Photo Printers - an essential PowerShot accessory. Consumers simply connect their PowerShot digital camera to a SELPHY printer - such as the SELPHY CP510 and CP710 models. Press the lighted Print/Share button, and within seconds , images emerge. Presto! It is that simple. Canon's SELPHY Compact Photo Printers are PictBridge compatible. They work with PictBridge enabled digital cameras and offer excellent image quality and ease-of-use, especially when paired with a Canon digital camera. At 28 cents-per-print, printing photos directly from a digital camera is both easy and affordable.


Powershot SD900 Features:

  • 10 Megapixel CCD sensor for up to 3648 x 2736 pixel images
  • 3x optical zoom that covers 37-111mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Large 2.5" color LCD with Night Display function
  • Widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio for HDTV display
  • Ultra-compact and durable Titanium body (3.59 x 2.35 x 1.11 in.)
  • Advanced TTL AiAF 9-point autofocus system with focus-assist lamp
  • Program AE automatic and Manual exposure modes
  • Continuous 2.1fps shooting until memory is full
  • Movie mode w/sound 1024x768 (15fps) or 640x480/320x240 (30/15fps)
  • Evaluative metering on focus point or Spot
  • Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • White Balance: Auto, 5 presets or Custom
  • Photo Effects: Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Custom Color
  • Shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/2000 second
  • Auto noise reduction with 1.3 sec or longer shutter speeds
  • Selectable ISO settings from 80 to 1600
  • Voice memo (up to 60 secs) can be attached to images
  • Built-in microphone and speaker
  • Lithium rechargeable battery and charger included
  • Direct print and PictBridge Compliant
  • High-speed USB 2.0 connectivity for PC and Mac
  • SD/SDHC and MMC card storage, 32MB SD card supplied


The PowerShot SD900 (IXUS 900 Ti) Digital ELPH camera is available now for an estimated selling price of US$499.99.

Physical Views



Canon Powershot SD900 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD900 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD900 Digital ELPH Canon Powershot SD900 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD900 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD900 Digital ELPH





Canon Powershot SD900 Digital ELPH

The SD900 compared to a standard CD disc.





Canon Powershot SD900 Digital ELPH

The Powershot SD900 and the 7.1-megapixel SD800 IS.





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Features & Controls


PowerShot SD900 Specifications

Camera Effective Pixels Approx. 10.0 million
Image Sensor 1/1.8-inch CCD (Total number of pixels: Approx. 10.40 million)
Lens 3x optical zoom, 7.7-23.1mm f/2.8-4.9 (35mm film equivalent: 37-111mm)
Digital Zoom Approx. 4.0x
Optical Viewfinder Real-image zoom viewfinder
LCD Monitor 2.5-inch, low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT color LCD, approx. 207,000 pixels (Picture coverage 100%)
AF System TTL autofocus
Focusing frame: 9-point AiAF/1-point AF (fixed to center)
Shooting Distance
(From the front of the lens)
Normal: 1.6 ft./50cm-infinity
Macro: 2.0 in.- 1.6 ft./5-50cm (WIDE), 1-1.6 ft./30-50cm (TELE)
Digital Macro: 2.0 in.- 1.6 ft./5-50cm (WIDE)
Shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter Speeds 15-1/2000 sec.; Long Shutter operates with noise reduction when manually set at 1.3-15 sec.
Metering System Evaluative, Center-weighted average or Spot (fixed to center)
Exposure Compensation ± 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
ISO Speed Auto, High ISO Auto, ISO 80/100/200/400/800/1600 (Standard Output Sensitivity/Recommended Exposure Index)
White Balance TTL auto, pre-set (available settings: Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent or Fluorescent H) or Custom
Built-in Flash Auto, auto with red-eye reduction, flash on with red-eye reduction, flash on, flash off, slow synchro
Flash Range Normal: 1.6-17 ft./50cm - 5.1m (W), 1.6-10 ft./50cm - 3.1m (T)(when sensitivity is set to ISO Auto)
Shooting Modes Auto, Camera M, Special Scene (Portrait, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, ISO 3200, Indoor, Kids & Pets, Night Snapshot), Color Accent, Color Swap, Digital Macro, Stitch Assist, Movie
Photo Effects My Colors:
Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Custom Color
Continuous Shooting Approx. 2.1 shots/sec. (Large/Fine mode)
Self-timer Activates shutter after an approx. 10-sec./approx. 2-sec. delay, Custom Timer
Recording Media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard
File Format Design rule for camera file system and DPOF (V1.1) compliant
Data Type Still images: Exif 2.2 (JPEG)
Movie: AVI (Image data: Motion JPEG; Audio data: WAVE (monaural))
This digital camera supports Exif 2.2 (also called "Exif Print"). Exif Print is a standard for enhancing the communication between digital cameras and printers. By connecting to an Exif Print-compliant printer, the camera's image data at the time of shooting is used and optimized, yielding extremely high quality prints.
Compression Superfine, Fine, Normal
Number of Recording Pixels (Still Images) 640 x 480 (Small),
1,600 x 1,200 (Medium 3),
2,272 x 1,704 (Medium 2),
2,816 x 2,112 (Medium 1),
3,648 x 2,736 (Large),
3,648 x 2,048 (Widescreen)
Number of Recording Pixels (Movies) 640 x 480 / 320 x 240 (30 fps/15 fps) available up to 4GB,
1,024 x 768 (15 fps),
160 x 120 (3 min. at 15 fps)
Playback Modes Still Image: Single, Magnification (approx. 2x-10x), Jump, Auto Rotate, Rotate, Resume Playback, My Category, Histogram, Index (9 thumbnails), Sound Memos, Slide Show Movie: Normal Playback, Special Playback, Editing
Direct Print PictBridge compliant, and Canon Direct Print and Bubble Jet Direct compatible
Erase Modes Still Image: single image, by date, by category, by folder, all images Movie: part of movie, all of movie
Interface USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mini-B), PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) Audio/Video output (NTSC or PAL selectable, monaural audio)
Power Source Battery Pack NB-5L (Lithium-ion Rechargeable battery)
230 shots LCD on / 700 shots LCD off / 360 min. playback time (CIPA)
AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC30
Operating Temperature 0-40°C (32-104°F)
Operating Humidity 10-90 %
Dimensions 3.59 x 2.35 x 1.11 in. / 91.2 x 59.6 x 28.2mm
Weight Approx. 165g (5.82 oz.) (camera body only)
(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)




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