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Canon PowerShot SD940 IS review:

Canon PowerShot SD940 IS

The SD940's performance is mixed. For a camera this size, a fast startup time is expected and that's what we got at 1.4 seconds. Its shutter lag was on the long side at 0.6 second in good lighting and 0.9 second in dimmer conditions. Regrettably its shot-to-shot times are not good either, taking 2.9 seconds without flash and more than 6 seconds with it on. In addition, its continuous shooting mode comes in well under some of its competition at 0.6 frames per second.

The SD940's photo quality is very good, but it is still subject to problems characteristic of point-and-shoot cameras of this size and price. Some smudginess from noise reduction starts appearing at ISO 200, but for the most part, photos are sharp with good fine detail. Subjects get noticeably softer and smoother as the ISO gets higher, but detail remains reasonably good up to and including ISO 800. While large prints may be out of the question, the noise is suppressed just enough to make 4x6-inch or smaller prints and Web use possible. A lot of the credit goes to this Canon's ability to produce photos with very good exposure, white balance, contrast, and color--especially if you like your colors vibrant, but not unnatural. There's some mild barrel distortion on the left side--typical of compact wide-angle lenses--and chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is in good supply in high-contrast areas and, depending on the picture, is visible in prints of 8x10 inches or larger.

Just like the SD780 IS, the Canon PowerShot SD940 IS is a fun camera to use. The combination of its incredibly small, simple, attractive design, ease of use, and generally fantastic photos makes it a fairly irresistible ultracompact. Performance could be better and the amount of purple fringing in my test shots bugs me, but neither are real deal breakers for me in this class of camera.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot
Typical shot-to-shot time (flash)
Typical shot-to-shot time
Shutter lag (dim)
Shutter lag (typical)
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T900
1.4
2.2
1.4
0.7
0.4
Canon PowerShot SD940 IS
1.4
6.2
2.9
0.9
0.6
Canon PowerShot SD780 IS
1.5
4.7
2.4
0.6
0.4
Samsung TL320
1.9
3.6
2.4
0.8
0.5
Nikon Coolpix S230
3.5
3.3
3
1
0.5

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in fps)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)

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