Canon Powershot SD960 IS Review
By Mike Flacy
Features & Controls
The SD960 IS features a wide 4x (28-112mm in the 35mm format) f/2.8-5.8 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 1.6 ft. (50cm) to infinity in normal mode and macro coverage is 0.8 in.- 1.6 ft. (2-50cm) at wide angle or 1.0 - 1.6 ft. (30-50cm) at telephoto. The autofocus is light-assisted and works properly even in the dark.
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. - 13 ft. (30cm - 4.0m) at wide angle or 1 - 6.6 ft. (30cm - 2.0m) at telephoto when sensitivity is set to ISO Auto. The focus-assist lamp also serves as the red-eye reduction lamp.
On the back is a wide view 2.8-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.
Controls on the back: At the top you can see the Play button for entering review or playback mode. Pressing this button while the camera is off will power up the camera in playback mode only. Next is the 4-way controller with the control dial mounted around it. In record mode you press 'Up' to enable the self-timer, press 'Right' to change flash modes, press 'Down' to change the Display mode, and press 'Left' to change the focus mode. When you lightly touch the edge of the controller/wheel, a graphically menu will display on the LCD with labels indicate what each direction will toggle. In the center is the FUNC./SET button, which accepts menu selections as well as gives you access to the Function shortcut menu. Rotating the control wheel allows you to quickly search the menus, stored images, etc. Lastly we have the MENU button, which calls up and dismisses the main menu system.
On top you can see the Mode Switch with positions for Movie, Camera (Program) and Auto. Next is 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.
On the right are the I/O (Input/Output) ports. Top is the HDMI port for connecting the camera to your HDTV. The SD960 is one of several new models from Canon to offer this function. Next is a mini-B jack handles both the standard definition (SD) 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, direct printing, etc.
The PowerShot SD960 IS is equipped with a card slot that supports use of SD, SDHC, MMC, MMC+ or HC (High Capacity) MMC+ cards; No card is included. Shown here with an ATP Pro Max (Class 6) 4GB SDHC card - see the tables below for the approximate storage capacity.
Number of Recordable Images
Time of Recordable Movies
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.
The SD960 IS comes with a Canon NB-4L 3.7v 760mAh lithium rechargeable battery pack. Canon claims the NB-4L can power the SD960 for up to 200 shots or 300 min. of continuous playback on a single charge (using CIPA Standard testing.) 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!)
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