Canon SD600 Review

 
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Canon SD600 Operation

The Canon PowerShot SD600'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. A Function menu provides faster access to basic settings like image size, quality, and exposure compensation, without the need to sift through menu screens. The LCD menu system itself is quite efficient, as you view menu items organized in tabs instead of through a series of pages. Additionally, the Setup and My Camera menus are always available, regardless of the camera mode. With the instruction manual in-hand, it shouldn't take more than a half an hour to an hour to get comfortable with the camera.

Record Mode Display: In any record mode, the PowerShot SD600's LCD display shows either the image area with no information, the image with a limited information display, or no display at all. 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 (although not aperture or shutter speed). A grid can 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 SD600'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 SD600 Camera Modes and Menus

Still Record Mode: Sets the Canon SD600 for image capture, with a full range of exposure and shooting options available through the on-screen menus. Exposure modes include Auto and Manual (though no direct exposure control), as well as Portrait, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Scene (Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, and Underwater), My Colors, and Stitch Assist preset shooting modes.

Movie Mode: Records short movie clipswith sound in one of four modes. Focus and optical zoom are fixed atthe first frame. Movie modes include Standard (either 640 x 480 or 320x 240 pixels at either 30 or 15 fps, up to 1-GB each), Fast Frame Rate(320 x 240 pixels at 60 fps for up to one minute), Compact (160 x 120pixels at 15 fps for up to three minutes), and My Colors (either 640 x480 or 320 x 240 pixels at either 30 or 15 fps, up to 1-GB each).

Playback Mode: This mode allows you toscroll through captured images and movies, write-protect images, view anine-image index display, zoom into a captured image, delete unwantedimages, rotate images, set up images for printing on DPOF compatibledevices, as well as play and crop movies.

Record Menu System: Accessed bypressing the Menu button in any record mode (some options are notavailable in all modes). Three menu tabs appear, one each for Record,Setup, and My Camera sub-menus.

Record Menu:

  • AiAF: Turns on the AiAF focus system. If switched off, the camera bases autofocus on the center of the frame.
  • Self-Timer:Sets the Self-Timer countdown to two or 10 seconds, or lets you specifya custom timer. The custom timer can have a delay of 0-10, 15, 20, or30 seconds, and allows multiple shots (from one to 10 in total) to becaptured. If the camera is set to capture multiple shots, these arecaptured with an interval of about one second between shots, enoughtime for the flash to recharge if required. Focus and exposure arelocked from the first shot. (A very handy feature for getting goodshots of groups, as someone invariably blinks right as the shutter goesoff.)
  • AF Assist Beam: Turns the Canon SD600's AF assist light on or off. If on, the bright orange LED on the camera's front automatically illuminates in low lighting.
  • Digital Zoom: Enables the SD600's 4x digital zoom function, which is engaged by zooming past the optical zoom range. Also disables digital zoom.
  • Review:Turns the instant review function on or off, sets the amount of timethat the captured image is displayed on the screen from two to 10seconds, or allows a "Hold" mode where the image remains on the screenuntil the shutter button is half-pressed. The instant review functionapplies to still images only.
  • Grid Lines: Enables or disables display of grid lines to help align shots or compose using the rule of thirds.
  • Date Stamp:Activates the Date Stamp feature, which imprints the date (andoptionally, the time) on the lower right of images captured in"Postcard" mode only.
  • Long Shutter: Activates Long Shutter mode, so that it appears in the Function menu.
  • Stitch Assist:Enables the Stitch Assist (panoramic) shooting mode, and lets youdesignate whether the panorama travels left to right or right to left.

Setup Menu:

  • Mute: Turns the Canon SD600's beep sounds on and off.
  • Volume:Individually sets Startup, Operation, Self Timer, Shutter, and Playbackvolumes. Five steps are available for each item, or the sound for eachitem can be disabled individually.
  • LCD Brightness: Adjust the brightness of the LCD backlight, with 15 steps of control available.
  • Power Saving:Toggles the camera's automatic shutoff function, which turns off thecamera after a length of inactivity. Also sets display shutdown time to10, 20, or 30 seconds, or to 1, 2, or 3 minutes.
  • Time Zone:Sets both a Home and World (away) time zone, so you can simply selectone or the other to record date and time settings for that location.Setting a time zone displays a world map with scrollable time zones andmajor city names for each zone, making it easy to select a location.
  • Date/Time: Sets the camera's internal calendar and clock, as well as the format for dates (mm/dd/yy, dd/mm/yy, or yy/mm/dd).
  • Clock Display: Controls the Canon SD600's clock display option, which shows the current time (but not the date) for a period of 0-10, 20 or 30 seconds or for 1, 2 or 3 minutes when the Function key is pressed and held for two seconds. (Handy if you forgot your wristwatch, I guess.) If set to zero, the clock is displayed only while the Function button is held in.
  • Format:Formats the Secure Digital card, erasing all files (even those markedfor write-protection). An optional is available to low-level format thecard.
  • File Numbering: Resets file numbering witheach new Secure Digital card when set to Auto Reset. If set toContinuous, the camera continues numbering in sequence, regardless ofmemory card.
  • Create Folder: Immediately creates a new folder on the memory card to store images or creates the folder at the day and time you specify.
  • Auto Rotate:Toggles Auto Rotate feature on and off. The camera can detect when thecamera is held approximately level, or when it is rotated left or rightbeyond approximately 45 degrees. If you aim the camera vertically up ordown, it will remember the orientation before you did so -- henceletting you control which orientation an image is tagged with even forshots where the camera is tilted enough vertically to prevent thesensor working.
  • Lens Retract: Sets the timing of the lens retraction when you switch from the shooting to the playback mode to either 1 minute or 0 seconds.
  • Language: Sets the camera's menu language to one of a whopping 23 choices. English is the default setting.
  • Video System: Sets the camera's video-out signal to conform to NTSC or PAL timing.
  • Print Method: Lets you change the printer connection method from Auto to PictBridge mode.
  • Reset All: Resets all non-custom camera settings to their default values.

My Camera Menu

  • Theme:Selects a common theme for each My Camera menu settings item. Fouroptions are available, the first one being Off. When a theme isselected, all of the following settings automatically adjust to thattheme. Users can also select and upload their own sounds to the camera.
  • Start-Up Image: Sets the startup image when you turnon the camera to: Black screen, Canon logo, Canon logo with sunset, andnature scene. You can also apply your own image using the Canonsoftware.
  • Start-Up Sound: Sets the startup sound when youturn on the camera to: No sound, Musical tone (1), Musical tone (2), orBirds chirping. You can also apply your own sounds using the Canonsoftware.
  • Operation Sound: Sets the sound when any control orswitch is use (except the Shutter button). Options include no sound,Beep, Musical tone, and Chirp.
  • Self-Timer Sound: Sets the sound that signals youwhen the shutter release is two seconds away. Options include no sound,Fast beeps, Telephone ring, and Howling.
  • Shutter Sound: Sets the shutter sound that you hearwhen you depress the Shutter button (there is no shutter sound in Moviemode). Options include no sound, Shutter sound, Musical Tone, and Bark.

Playback Menu System: Accessed by pressing the Menubutton in Playback mode, the Playback menu also has subject tabs forthe Setup and My Camera menus. Since these were described above, Iwon't repeat them here.

Playback Menu:

  • Transition: Select a darken and brighten transition between images as they are displayed, a shuffle image transition, or disable both effects.
  • Slide Show: Automatically plays all captured images in a slide show.
  • My Colors: Adds My Colors effects to your pictures and movies including Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, B/W, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, or Vivid Red.
  • Sound Memo: Records a short sound clip to accompany a captured image.
  • Protect: Marks the current image for write-protection, or removes write-protection. Protected images cannot be deleted or manipulated, except through card formatting, which erases all files.
  • Rotate:Rotates the current image. The first press gives a 90 degree clockwiserotation; the second press rotates the image 90 degreescounterclockwise from the original position. On the third press, theimage returns to its original orientation. The image data is notactually rotated; the camera actually sets a tag in the EXIF header,hence your software must recognize this tag to be able to recognize theorientation set in-camera.
  • Erase All: Erases all files on the memory card, except protected ones.
  • Transfer Order: Select images for downloading to your computer.


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.

  • Print: Sends images tagged for printing to the printer.
  • Select Images & Quantity: Allows you select images for printing and set the number of prints for each image selected.
  • Select All Images: Selects all images on the memory card for printing.
  • Clear All Selections: Clears all print selections.
  • Print Settings: Brings up a menu of these options:
    • Print Type: You can specify whether to print one image per page, an index of the images, or both.
    • Date: Set printing of the date and time on or off.
    • File No.: Set printing of the file number on or off.
    • Clear DPOF data: Set the option to clear the DPOF tag on or off.

 

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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.

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