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Full Review at: http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/SD900/SD900A.HTM


Canon PowerShot SD900 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.
1.6 seconds
How long it takes to retract lens and stow in your pocket.
Buffer clearing time
1 second
(large/superfine JPEG,
Unlimited shots in
continuous mode)
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.
Mode switching
Play to Record,
first shot
1.5 seconds
Time until first shot is captured
Record to play
2.6 seconds
Time to display a large/superfine file immediately after capture
recorded image
1.7 second
Time to display a large/superfine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
0.60 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.
Full Autofocus Tele
0.82 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.
0.071 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Manual focus
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused"
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large SuperFine JPEG
1.98 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots
Single Shot mode
640x480 Normal JPEG
1.96 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
1.00 second (1.00 frames per second);
No limit w/fast card*;
~1 second to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first
Continuous mode
640 x 480 Normal JPEG
1.00 second (1.00 frames per second);
No limit w/fast card*;
~1 second to clear
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first
Flash recycling
6 seconds
Flash at maximum output
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
1,164 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
771-4000=USB 2.0 High
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 120x SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The SD900's performance is generally above average. Startup and shutdown speeds are above average. Shutter response is a bit faster than average but not dramatically so. Shot-to-shot cycle times and continuous-mode speeds are above average, too. The flash, which can light up an average-sized room, takes six seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is average for any digicam and better than average for such a powerful flash. Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are very fast, pretty much eliminating the need for an external reader. Bottom line, the SD900 is responsive enough (particularly at wide angle lens settings) to handle most family photo opportunities.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Surprisingly good battery life.

Operating Mode
Battery Life
Still-image capture mode
LCD on
230 shots
Still-image capture mode
LCD off
700 shots

The Canon Power-shot SD900 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power. The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

We normally always recommend picking up a spare battery and keeping it freshly charged and on-hand for long outings, but the SD900's battery life is good enough that few users are likely to feel the need for a second battery.

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

A 32MB card is included with the Canon PowerShot SD900.

Image Capacity with
32MB Internal Memory
SuperFine Fine Normal
3,648 x 2,736 Images 7 12 25
File Size 4.4 MB 2.6 MB 1.3 MB
2,816 x 2,112 Images 11 18 37
File Size 2.9 MB 1.7 MB 848 KB
2,272 x 1,704 Images 14 26 52
File Size 2.2 MB 1.2 MB 610 KB
1,600 x 1,200 Images 29 52 99
File Size 1.0 MB 610 KB 322 KB
640 x 480
Images 111 171 269
File Size 288 KB 186 KB 119 KB

The Canon Power-shot SD900 stores its photos on SD memory cards, and a 32MB card is included with the camera. We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/MMC memory card at least a 512MB card, preferably a 1GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings and movies.