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Canon PowerShot SD1000 Optics


Lens

Zoom
Very good performance with the 3x optical zoom lens. Digital zoom also performs fairly well.

35mm 105mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Canon PowerShot SD1000's optical zoom covers the equivalent of a 35-105mm range, which is a typical range for a compact model. Results were quite good at wide angle and telephoto, with minor blurring in the corners and low coma distortion in the tree branches against the sky. The camera's 4x digital zoom also performs pretty well, with tolerable losses in resolution and quality from the digital enlargement. Beware that a digital zoom is not a good substitute for true optical zoom, though it can help in a pinch if you're willing to put up with reduced resolution.

Macro
A very small macro area with excellent detail and high resolution. Flash exposure was not usable up close.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Canon SD1000's macro setting performed quite well, capturing a very small minimum area of 1.40 x 1.05 inches (35 x 27 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both excellent, though there's a moderate amount of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The flash, however, had difficulty throttling down, blowing out most of the exposure. Plan on using external lighting for the best results with the SD1000's macro setting.

Distortion
Lower than average barrel and very low pincushion distortion.

Barrel distortion at 35mm is about 0.5%
Pincushion at 105mm is less than 0.1%

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto). The Canon PowerShot SD1000's 0.5% barrel distortion at wide angle is a little lower than average among the cameras we've tested, and just slightly noticeable in some of its images. At the telephoto end, the SD1000's pincushion distortion was very low at less than 0.1%, almost nonexistent.

Chromatic aberration
Moderate, only slightly noticeable effect on images at edges.

Wide: Moderate but not very bright,
top left @ 200%
Wide: Moderate but not very bright,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Low,
top left @200%
Tele: Low,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is moderate at wide angle, showing about 5-6 pixels of coloration on either side of the target lines, but not very bright. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) At telephoto, chromatic aberration is lower, although a bit brighter. Overall, the effect is only slightly noticeable in most of our test shots.

Corner Sharpness
Slight blurring in the corners of the frame at wide angle, though less blurring at telephoto.

Wide: Soft in the
corners (lower left).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Slightly soft in the
corners (lower left)
Tele: Sharper at center,
but still slightly soft.

The Canon PowerShot SD1000 produced slightly soft results in the corners of the frame at full wide angle, with the lower corners being a little softer than the upper corners. At full telephoto, there's only slight blurring in the corners of the frame, with very little effect on resulting images.

Viewfinder

Accuracy
Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor, though the optical viewfinder proved a bit tight and offset.

35mm eq., Optical 105mm eq., Optical
35mm eq., LCD 105mm eq., LCD

The Canon PowerShot SD1000's optical viewfinder was a bit tight, showing approximately 80% coverage at wide angle, and 79% at telephoto. It was also tilted and shifted somewhat. This is a common outcome, but we still like to see more accuracy from the optical viewfinder. The camera's LCD monitor was very accurate, showing about 101% coverage at wide angle, and 100% at telephoto.