Canon Powershot SD950 IS Review

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Canon Powershot SD950

Review posted 10/1/2007


Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Canon Powershot SD950 Digital ELPH
Click to take a QTVR tour of the SD950


The PowerShot SD950 IS Digital ELPH is designed for the sophisticated point-and-shoot user looking for top- level functionality in a compact, elegant package. This camera continues the ELPH tradition with its stylish and durable titanium body. The PowerShot SD950 IS is equipped with upgraded features such as 12.1-megapixel image sensor, 3.7x optical zoom with optical image stabilizer (OIS) for steady shooting and a next-generation version of Canon's Genuine Face Detection technology. This pure titanium powerhouse has a DIGIC III image processor, red-eye correction, an optical viewfinder and a 2.5-inch PureColor LCD screen with scratch- resistant and anti-reflection coating for easy viewing at any angle.

The extended zoom range of the camera makes optical image stabilization (OIS) essential. Canon's lens shift OIS provides an effective antidote to camera shake, particularly at longer zoom lengths or during long exposures when even the slightest hand-held shake is magnified to picture blurring proportions. Superior to electronic image stabilization systems that simply use software to mask movement, OIS actually shifts the lens proportionately to compensate for unwanted motion, making it easier to snap great images. The OIS found in Canon PowerShot digital cameras is based on technology developed for Canon's renowned high-end professional EOS SLR cameras.

The steady effectiveness is further enhanced when paired with the new "Auto ISO Shift" feature which, at the touch of a button, can automatically increase the ISO speed setting as required to maintain fast shutter speeds when shooting in low-light conditions without a flash.

With Canon's new Genuine Face Detection technology, the camera can detect up to nine forward-looking human faces in a scene. The Face Detection algorithm automatically prioritizes and selects faces and not simply the closest object (based on Canon's Intelligent Scene Analysis/iSAPS technology). It will then optimize the focus, exposure and flash to ensure the best possible results. Using Canon's Face Detection, photographers can keep up to nine faces in focus at any one time no matter where they are within the image. Working in concert with Face Detection, the "Red-Eye Correction" feature helps to detect and correct red-eye during playback mode. Images can be corrected manually while viewing photos on the LCD screen. Canon's new Face Detection Technology makes for even easier picture-taking moments, helping users ensure in-focus smiles, and assist in the elimination of over-exposed faces.

The "brain" of these new PowerShot cameras is DIGIC III, the gold standard on all new Canon digital cameras. The DIGIC III image processor accounts for the camera's higher performance levels, including faster start-up, faster autofocus and quicker shutter response times that leave long-lag competitors in the dust. The DIGIC III chip design improves image quality and offers more efficient power consumption, resulting in extended battery life under typical shooting conditions.

Like all of the Canon's new models, the SD950 offers a 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 for many of the PowerShot Digital ELPH cameras, these models are a natural choice for underwater photo enthusiasts, SCUBA divers and even snorkelers.

As an added convenience, Canon PowerShot digital cameras also accommodate MultiMedia MMC and MMC+ memory cards, as well as standard SD memory cards and the new, high-capacity SDHC memory cards. This way, consumers do not have to carry around multiple memory cards in order to be able to continue to save those special moments during extended vacations or high-photo-taking adventures. Canon PowerShot owners can travel in sleek style.


Powershot SD950 IS Features:

  • 12 Megapixel CCD sensor for image sizes up to 4,000 x 3,000
  • 3.7x optical 36�"133mm f/2.8 zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Large 2.5" color LCD
  • Widescreen 16:9 still image aspect ratio for HDTV display
  • Ultra-compact and durable titanium body (3.78 x 2.36 x 1.09 in.)
  • Advanced TTL AiAF 9-point autofocus system with focus-assist lamp
  • Face Detection technology
  • Program AE automatic and Manual exposure modes
  • Continuous 1.5fps shooting until memory is full
  • Movie mode w/sound, 1024 x 768 (15 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps/30 fps LP), 320 x 240 (30 fps) up to 60 min. or 4GB
  • 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 1/1600 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 (high-speed) connectivity for PC and Mac
  • Secure Digital (SD) card storage, 32MB supplied


The PowerShot SD950 IS Digital ELPH is available now for an estimated selling price of US$449.99.

Physical Views



Canon Powershot SD950 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD950 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD950 Digital ELPH Canon Powershot SD950 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD950 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD950 Digital ELPH





Canon Powershot SD950 Digital ELPH

The SD950 compared to a standard CD disc.





Canon Powershot SD950 Digital ELPH

The 12-megapixel SD950 IS and the 8-megapixel SD870 IS.





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Features & Controls



PowerShot SD950 IS Specifications

Camera Effective Pixels Approx. 12.1 million
Image Sensor 1/1.7-inch CCD (Total number of pixels: Approx. 12.4 million)
Lens 7.7 (W)-28.5 (T) mm (35mm film equivalent: 36 (W)-133 (T) mm) f/2.8 (W)-f/5.8 (T)
Digital Zoom Approx. 4.0x
Optical Viewfinder Real-image zoom viewfinder
LCD Monitor 2.5-inch, low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT color LCD, approx. 230,000 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), 1.3-1.6 ft./40-50cm (TELE)
Digital Macro:2.0 in.-1.6 ft./5-50cm (W)
Shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter Speeds 15-1/1600 sec. The shutter speed varies according to the shooting mode. Slow shutter speeds of 1.3 sec. or slower operate with noise reduction.
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, 80/100/200/400/800/1600 equivalent
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: 1.6-15 ft./50cm-4.6m (W), 1.6-7.9 ft./50cm-2.4m (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
Continuous Shooting Approx. 1.5 shots/sec. (Large/Fine mode)
Self-timer Activates shutter after an approx. 10-sec./approx. 2-sec. delay, Custom Timer
Recording Media SD/SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, MMC Plus Card, HC MMC Plus Card
File Format Design rule for camera file system and DPOF Version 1.1 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) 4,000 x 3,000 (Large)
3,264 x 2,448 (Medium 1)
2,592 x 1,944 (Medium 2)
1,600 x 1,200 (Medium 3)
640 x 480 (Small)
4,000 x 2,248 (Widescreen)
Number of Recording Pixels (Movies) Movie: 1024 x 768 (15 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps/30 fps LP), 320 x 240 (30 fps) available up to 4GB or 60 minutes, 640 x 480 (2 hours at 0.5 fps/1 fps), 160 x 120 (3 min. at 15 fps)
Using high-speed memory cards is recommended.
Playback Modes Still Image: Single, Magnification (approx. 2x-10x), Jump, Auto Rotate, Rotate, Resume, My Colors, My Category, Histogram, Index (9 thumbnails), Sound Memos, Slide Show, Red-eye Correction, RAW playback, Resize, Image Inspection Tool
Movie: Normal Playback, Special Playback, Editing
Direct Print PictBridge compliant, and Canon Direct Print and Bubble Jet Direct compatible
My Camera Settings Start-up image, start-up sound, operation sound, Self-timer sound, and shutter sound.
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)
240 shots LCD on / 580 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 3.78 x 2.36 x 1.09 in. / 95.9 x 59.9 x 27.6mm
Weight Approx. 165 g (5.82 oz.) (camera body only)
(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)




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Features & Controls





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