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Full Review at: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/A650IS/A650ISA.HTM


Canon PowerShot A650 IS Performance

Timing and Performance

Good to average speed for a consumer camera.


Power on
to first shot

1.2 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy.


2.2 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

3 seconds
(after 4 Large/Superfine JPEGs)

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

Startup time is above average, but shutdown is only average.


Mode switching

Play to Record,
first shot

2.5 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

1.9 seconds

Time to display a large/superfine file immediately after capture.

recorded image

1.9 seconds

Time to display a large/superfine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching times are a bit on the slow side of average.


Shutter response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.58 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.50 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.


0.087 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Manual focus
0.22 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused"

Shutter response is better than average at both wide angle and telephoto, at 0.58s and 0.50s respectively, and "prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a lag time of only 0.087 second.


Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large SuperFine JPEG
2.29 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
640x480 Normal JPEG

2.27 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Early shutter


Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large SuperFine JPEG

0.86 second (1.16 frames per second);
4 frames total;
3 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.83 second (1.20 frames per second);
>20 frames total;
2 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
640x480 Normal JPEG

0.83 second (1.21 frames per second);
>20 frames total;
0.5 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Flash recycling

6.8 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 133x SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are a bit slower than average, at about 2.3 seconds for large/superfine JPEGs, though the camera does capture frames continuously at this rate. (That is, given a fast enough memory card, it doesn't have to pause every few frames to wait for the card to catch up.) Also a consideration here is the very large 4,000 x 3,000 resolution: That's a lot of data to deal with and write to the memory card for every shot. The PowerShot A650 IS also drags a little in its Continuous modes, capturing four large/superfine frames at 1.16 frames per second before slowing down. This increases slightly to 1.2 frames per second for large/fine JPEGs, but buffer depth improves to over 20 frames. The flash takes 6.8 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is about average.


Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

1,439 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are pretty good.

Bottom line, the Canon A650 IS won't be a good choice for sporting events or any fast-paced action, but is responsive enough for most family photo opportunities.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Very good battery life with Alkaline AA's, excellent with NiMH rechargeables.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Alkaline AA batteries,
Alkaline AA batteries,
Rechargeable NiMH AA batteries,
Rechargeable NiMH AA batteries,

The Canon PowerShot A650 IS uses four AA-type batteries for power, and ships with a set of ordinary alkalines. Battery life is very good with alkalines, but because it's even better with NiMH rechargeable batteries, we strongly recommend you pick up a couple of sets of good-quality NiMH rechargeable batteries and a good-quality charger, as they'll save you many times their cost over the life of the camera.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

The Canon PowerShot A650 IS accepts SDHC/SD/MMC memory cards, and comes with a 32MB card.

Image Capacity with
32MB Memory Card
SuperFine Fine Normal
4,000 x 3,000
File Size
5.6 MB
3.3 MB
1.6 MB
3,264 x 2,448
File Size
3.7 MB
2.2 MB
1.1 MB
2,592 x 1,944
File Size
2.7 MB
1.5 MB
762 KB
1,600 x 1,200
File Size
1.1 MB
322 KB
640 x 480
File Size
288 KB
186 KB
119 KB

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SDHC or SD memory card at least a 1GB card, preferably a 4GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings and video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)