Canon SD430 Review
Canon SD430 Design
The Canon SD430 is tiny and very pocket-friendly, although not as thin as some subcompacts, with no worries about damaging the rugged, all-metal body. If you want to maintain that gorgeous finish, though, put it in a protective case, because it can get scratched. We also recommend a case to avoid damage to the lens mechanism; if the camera comes on in a pocket or bag, the mechanism can get damaged. The retracting lens is a smart design that keeps the camera front completely flat when the camera is off, underscoring the camera's pocket friendly design, while an automatic lens cover means you don't have to worry about smudging the lens or losing a lens cap. Measuring 3.90 x 2.14 x 0.85 inches (99 x 54.4 x 21.7 millimeters), the Canon SD430 weighs a trifling 4.59 ounces (130 grams) without battery and memory card.
Several distinctive ELPH features are evident on the front of the Canon SD430, with the lens placed off-center slightly toward the right, and both the viewfinder and flash just above it. A light emitter, next to the optical viewfinder, serves multiple purposes, including autofocus assist, red-eye reduction, and the self-timer countdown. The camera's telescoping lens moves into place quickly, projecting about 5/8-inch from the front of the camera when powered on, and retracts fully within the camera when switched off to maintain a flat profile. To the left of the lens is a tiny hole for the camera's microphone. No finger-grip is provided on the PowerShot SD430 so be sure to attach the accompanying wrist strap for security. The WiFi light can be seen in the gap between the camera body and the WiFi antenna on the right side of the SD430.
The Shutter button, Zoom ring, and Power button are all located on the right half of the Canon SD430's top panel, with the former two protruding from the surface, while the latter is indented and features an LED adjacent to it to indicate the camera is switched on.
On the right side of the Canon SD430 (as viewed from the rear) are the AV Out and USB ports, concealed by a hinged, plastic door that slides upward before swinging out and down to reveal the ports. Below the door is the wrist strap attachment eyelet.
The opposite side of the PowerShot SD430 is the bare but curved surface of the WiFi antenna. The text on the front of the camera and lens is actually oriented to be right reading when the camera is stood on this end.
The remaining camera controls are on the Canon SD430's rear panel, along with the optical and LCD viewfinders. The LCD monitor is large for a subcompact camera, measuring 2.5 inches diagonally. Controls are located to the right. A Mode switch next in the top right corner selects between Still Record, Movie, and Playback modes. Right of this is the camera's speaker. Below and to the left of the speaker is the Print/Share button, which features a blue LED in the center that lights when the camera is ready to print or transfer images, and blinks when either is in process. A Four-Way Arrow pad incorporates most of the quick settings, with the outside buttons handling both navigation and items like Macro, ISO, and Flash modes. The Function button nestles in the middle of the Four-way Arrow pad, also serving as the Set button for making menu selections. Below this arrangement are the Display and Menu buttons. Finally, two LED lamps next to the Canon SD430's viewfinder report camera status, lighting to indicate when focus is set or the flash is fully charged.
The Canon SD430 features a nice, flat bottom panel, which holds the metal tripod mount and the battery/memory card compartment. The tripod socket is nearly centered under the lens, just a few millimeters off, so you'd need to adjust for panorama shooting. Inside the battery/memory card compartment, the battery and SD memory card slots line up side by side. A small spring-loaded latch ensures the battery won't accidentally fall out when you open the compartment cover. A small metal slide in the center of the door covers a hole that accesses the connector jack in the "dummy battery" used in the optional AC adapter kit. (Like many other Canon digital cameras, the SD430's AC adapter scheme employs a dummy battery that fits into the battery compartment, and which provides a plug for the AC power converter's cable.) Unfortunately the tripod mount is also right alongside the battery/card compartment door, so you have to remove the camera from a tripod if the battery life or flash card space is exhausted (although in fairness, this is hardly a camera you'll shoot with in a studio). The access hole for the AC adapter kit is not close enough to the tripod mount to interfere with the use most small tripods.
Canon SD430 External Controls
Shutter Button: Located on the top panel, this button sets focus and exposure when halfway pressed and fires the shutter when fully pressed. If the Self-Timer is activated, a full press of the Shutter button triggers the countdown.
Zoom Lever (see image above): Surrounding the Shutter button on the Canon SD430's top panel, this lever controls the optical and digital zoom in any record mode. In Playback mode, the wide-angle end activates first a nine-image index display, and then a "Jump" mode that allows you to page through screens of nine thumbnails at once. The telephoto setting zooms in on captured images for closer inspection of fine details.
Power Button (see image above): To the left of the Shutter button on the Canon SD430's top panel, this button turns the camera on or off. A green LED behind the button illuminates whenever the camera is powered on.
Mode Switch: In the top right corner on the Canon SD430's rear panel, this sliding switch controls the camera's operating mode (indicated by a small raised bar near the top of the switch), offering the following selections:
- Still Record Mode: Sets the camera for still image capture, with varying exposure options available through the Function menu.
- Movie Mode: Captures moving images with sound in four different modes.
- Playback Mode: Replays captured images and movies, with options for image management and printing.
Print/Share Button: Below and to the left of the Canon SD430's Mode switch, the Print/Share button is used for activating WiFi or USB uploads to Windows computers or connections to a variety of compatible printers, including those complying to the PictBridge standard. The button glows blue when ready to print or transfer images, and flashes blue when printing or transferring images.
Four-Way Arrow Pad: This four-way rocker button is located to the right of the Canon SD430's LCD monitor and serves multiple functions. In any Settings menu, the arrow keys navigate through menu selections. In Record mode, the arrow buttons control various exposure-related functions, with not all options being available in all modes. The Up arrow cycles through ISO speeds from Auto to 50, 100, 200 or 400 ISO equivalents. The Left arrow controls Macro and Infinity focus modes, and cycles back around to the normal AF mode. The Right arrow accesses the camera's Flash modes, cycling through Automatic, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced On, Forced On with Red-Eye Reduction, Forced Off, and Slow-Sync settings. Finally, the Down arrow key activates the Self-Timer and Continuous Shooting modes, or returns to the normal exposure mode.
In Playback mode, the Up arrow calls the Jump menu, and the Down arrow calls the Delete menu, while the Right and Left arrow keys scroll through captured images and movie files. When you zoom in on an image, all four arrows pan the view.
Function/Set Button (see image above): Occupying the center of the four-way arrow pad, this control activates the Function menu in any record mode, and confirms selections once any menu has been invoked. When used to activate the Function menu, the following options are available (not all options being available in all modes):
- Shooting Mode: Selects among the available shooting modes: Auto, Manual, Digital Macro, Portrait, Night Snapshot, My Colors, and Kids & Pets.
- Exposure Compensation: Increases or decreases the exposure from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third-step increments.
- Long Shutter: Accesses longer shutter times, with thirteen steps from one to 15 seconds. (Only appears when enabled through the Record menu, and is accessed by pressing the Menu button while the Exposure Compensation option is highlighted.)
- White Balance: Controls the color balance of images. Options are Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, and Custom (manual setting).
- Photo Effect: Enables Vivid Color (high color saturation), Neutral Color (low color saturation), Low Sharpening, Sepia, or Black-and-White picture effects, or disables the effects altogether.
- Metering: Sets the camera's metering mode to Evaluative, Center-Weighted, or Spot.
- Compression: Sets the JPEG compression to Superfine, Fine, or Normal. Movie frame rates are either 30 or 15 fps.
- Resolution: Specifies the image resolution. Still image resolutions are 2,592 x 1,944; 2,048 x 1,536; 1,600 x 1,200; and 640 x 480 pixels; a Postcard mode also takes the resolution to 1,600 x 1,200 and locks the resolution to Fine; a date stamp can be printed on the image in this mode, and the top and bottom of the screen are greyed out when you half-press the Shutter button, showing the portions of the image that won't fit on a 4x6 postcard. Movie resolutions are 640 x 480, 320 x 240 or 160 x 120 pixels.
Display Button (see image above): Lower left of the Canon SD430's Four-way rocker button, this button cycles through the LCD image and information displays and in Record mode includes an LCD Off state for power saving when desired. In Playback mode, this button cycles through the image only, information display, and info display with histogram modes.
Menu Button (see image above): Lower right of the Four-way nav controls, this button accesses the LCD menu system in both Record and Playback modes.
Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.