Canon PowerShot SD110
Busy snapshot photographers looking for an inexpensive, pocketable camera will appreciate the 3-megapixel Canon PowerShot SD110's no-nonsense ease of operation. This ultracompact model has some of the same limitations as earlier Digital Elphs: a lack of manual controls and scene modes, as well as only a 2X optical zoom instead of the more typical 3X range. Equipped with Canon's Print/Share button for one-touch printing to Canon Direct Photo and PictBridge-compatible printers, the SD110 is best suited to those who value simplicity over flexibility. The Canon PowerShot SD110's stainless-steel body measures a pocket-size 3.3 by 2.2 by 0.9 inches and weighs in at 6.5 ounces with rechargeable battery and SD/MMC media onboard. Even a novice should be able to master its well-marked, if quirky, control arrangement in minutes.
The top surface features a large shutter-release button concentric with a zoom lever, a power-on LED, and a slightly recessed power button. The shutter release falls easily under your index finger, with your thumb poised over the back-mounted mode dial.
The layout of the back panel is slightly unconventional, but our quibbles are minor. The rocker switch you use to navigate menus and select basic shooting options doesn't have a center Set button to confirm selections. This control is located, instead, at the far left, under the 1.5-inch LCD.
Setup and shooting options menus are accessed via two different buttons. The Function key gives access to exposure compensation, white balance, ISO, color effects, compression level, and resolution. A Menu key produces three pages of other options for shooting and setup when the camera is in recording mode; in preview mode, it offers an additional set of choices for protecting and rotating pictures, displaying slide shows, and creating print orders. The Display button switches the LCD off and on, or it reveals the current shooting settings. Switch to playback mode, and a full array of information about the shot being reviewed appears, including a helpful histogram.
The Canon PowerShot SD110's feature set is a little on the spartan side. The anemic zoom range of the 35mm-to-70mm (35mm-camera equivalent) lens is best suited for making minor framing adjustments, and the optics focus no closer than 4 inches in macro mode. There are no programmed scene modes, such as Sports, except for the dim-light Long Shutter option for 1- to 15-second exposures. Nor can you choose aperture or shutter priority, set exposure, or focus manually. Exposure compensation (plus or minus 2EV in 1/3EV steps) can be selected from an LCD menu, along with ISO adjustments (50 to 400), white-balance options, slow-sync flash for night photography, and a panorama-friendly stitch mode. Only a few special effects are available, including Vivid Color with enhanced saturation, Neutral for reduced contrast and color saturation, Low Sharpening, Sepia, and Black And White.
The PowerShot SD110's nine-point light-assisted autofocus is fun to use. The system attempts to guess the center of interest for your picture, and when you partially depress the shutter release, it displays one or more green boxes on the LCD to show the area that will be in sharpest focus. Center-point focus is also available.