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Canon PowerShot SD900 Operation

The Canon SD900's user interface is straightforward and relatively uncomplicated, with a menu setup and basic control philosophy similar to the rest of the current ELPH series. Most of the camera's functions are controlled by buttons on the top and rear panels, while a handful of settings are controlled through the LCD-based Record menu. Buttons handle frequently fiddled with functions like focus mode, ISO, and flash mode. The Function menu provides quick access to settings that might change every few images like exposure compensation, white balance, image size, and quality. The LCD menu system itself is concerned with setup options and is quite efficient, with menu items organized in tabs instead of a series of pages. Additionally, the Setup and My Camera menus are always available, regardless of the camera mode. With the instruction manuals handy, it shouldn't take more than a half an hour to get comfortable with the camera.

Record Mode Display: In any Record mode, the Canon SD900's LCD display shows either the image area with no information or the image with a limited information display. Pressing the Display button cycles through the available display modes. When the information display is active, it reports resolution and image quality settings, the number of available images, Record mode, orientation, and a handful of exposure settings. In Manual mode, a half-press of the Shutter button reports the selected shutter speed if the camera deems it to be too slow, but not the aperture setting; and nothing appears if there's enough light. A grid and 3:2 crop can both be activated and displayed in both modes.

Playback Mode Display: Playback mode also offers three display modes, including the image only, the image with information, and the image with expanded information and a histogram. You can display as many as nine thumbnail images at a time on-screen with the index display mode, or zoom in on captured images to check fine details, focus, or framing. You can also jump through nine images at a time by accessing the Canon SD900's JUMP mode. This mode is accessed by hitting the wide angle side of the zoom toggle after entering the nine-frame preview mode.


Canon PowerShot SD900 Modes and Menus

Auto Record Mode: Sets the Canon SD900 for automatic still image capture, with only compression and image size options available from the Function menu.

Manual Record Mode: More a Programmed Auto shooting mode than a Manual mode (you have no direct control of the shutter or aperture), this mode offers a wide range of exposure and shooting options through the Function menu.

Scene Mode: In Scene mode, the Function menu offers Portrait, Night Snapshot, Kids&Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, and ISO 3,200 preset shooting modes.

Movie Mode: Records short movie clips with sound in several modes. Focus and optical zoom are fixed at the first frame. Movie modes include Standard (640 x 480 or 320 x 240), High Resolution (1,024 x 768 at 15 fps), Compact (160 x 120), Color Accent, and Color Swap (both at either of the Standard sizes). Compact is limited to three minutes, the other options can fill up to 4GB.

Playback Mode: This mode allows you to scroll through captured images and movies, write-protect images, view a nine-image index display, zoom into a captured image, delete unwanted images, rotate images, set up images for printing on DPOF compatible devices, as well as play and crop movies.

Record Menu System: Accessed by pressing the Menu button in any record mode (some options are not available in all modes). Three menu tabs appear, one each for Record, Setup, and My Camera sub-menus.

Record Menu:


Setup Menu:


My Camera Menu:


Playback Menu: Accessed by pressing the Menu button in Playback mode, the Playback menu also has subject tabs for the Print, Setup, and My Camera menus.


Print Menu: This menu is available in Playback mode, simply by pressing the Menu button and selecting the Print tab. The bottom line of the display shows how many images are selected for printing and the print method that is active.