Canon SD630 Review

 
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Canon SD630 Design

One of the more stylish models in the Digital ELPH line, the Canon PowerShot SD630 has a sophisticated appearance with low profile controls for sleekness. Measuring 3.56 x 2.24 x 0.80 inches (90.3 x 56.8 x 20.2 millimeters) with its lens retracted, the camera is small enough to fit in most pockets, and weighs only 5.71 ounces (162 grams) with the battery and memory card.

The front of the Canon SD630 is distinctly ELPH-like, with the lens slightly off-center to the right, and the flash just above it. (Canon eliminated the tiny optical viewfinder on the SD630, opting instead for a larger 3.0-inch LCD monitor on the rear panel.) A light emitter, closer to the center above the lens, 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. Upper left of the lens is a tiny hole for the camera's microphone. No finger-grip is provided on the PowerShot SD630 but a series of raised bumps on the rear panel provides a tight thumb rest.

The Shutter button, Zoom ring, Power button, and Mode switch are all located on the Canon SD630's top panel, and just barely protrude above the flat surface. At the far right is the camera's speaker.

On the right side of the PowerShot SD630 (as viewed from the rear) are the AV Out and USB ports, concealed by a hinged, plastic door that swings out and downward to reveal the ports. The door features a metallic finish, and fits very snugly back into place with a gentle press. Below the door is the wrist strap attachment eyelet.

The opposite side of the Canon SD630 is bare, with only a couple of screws visible, plus four tiny protrusions in the corners that let the camera stand vertically on its end.

The remaining camera controls are on the PowerShot SD630's rear panel, along with the LCD viewfinder. The LCD monitor is 3.0 inches diagonally, which is quite large. Because of the screen size, the rear panel controls are few and located to the right of the display. Below the thumbrest in the top right corner 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 Multicontroller rocker button (also called the Touch Dial by Canon) incorporates most of the quick settings, controlling both navigation and items like Drive, Macro, ISO, and Flash modes. The Function button nestles in the middle of the Multicontroller, also serving as the Set button for making menu selections. Through the Setup menu, you can enable the Multicontroller's Touch Control function. With Touch Control, the silver ring around the Multicontroller is sensitive to just the touch of a finger, and spawns a digital recreation of the dial in the LCD monitor, enlarging the option your finger is closest to. This doesn't do much other than help clarify which option you're about to select. Below this arrangement are the Display and Menu buttons. Finally, a single LED lamp next to the Menu button reports camera status, such as when the camera is writing to the memory card or there's a blur warning from camera shake.

The Canon SD630 features a nice, flat bottom panel, which holds the metal tripod mount and the battery / memory card compartment. The tripod socket slightly off-center of the lens. 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. 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 card space is exhausted.

 

Canon SD630 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 Canon SD630's Shutter button on the camera'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
: To the left of the Shutter button on the Canon SD630's top panel, this button turns the camera on or off.


Mode Switch
: Just left of the Power button on the top panel, this sliding switch controls the camera's operating mode, 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 the thumb rest on the rear panel, the Print/Share button is used for activating uploads to Windows computers or connections to a variety of compatible printers, including those complying with the PictBridge standard. The button glows blue when ready to print or transfer images, and flashes blue when printing or transferring images.


Four-Way Ring Selector (Touch Dial)
: This four-way rocker ring is located to the right of the PowerShot SD630's LCD monitor and serves multiple functions. In any Settings menu, the ring navigates through menu selections depending on which section is pressed. The top part of the ring cycles through ISO speeds from Auto to 80, 100, 200, 400, or 800 ISO equivalents. The left side controls Macro and Infinity focus modes, and cycles back around to the normal AF mode. The right side 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 bottom part of the ring activates the Self-Timer and Continuous Shooting modes, or returns to the normal exposure mode. Through the Setup menu, you can enable the selector's Touch Control sensitivity, which makes the outer edge of the dial sensitive to just the touch of a finger. When touched, the LCD monitor displays a digital version of the dial, and enlarges the icon closest to your finger. Pressing down on the function icon enables you to change the setting, as you normally would without the Touch Control feature enabled.

In Playback mode, the up section calls the Jump menu, and the bottom section calls the Delete menu, while the right and left sides scroll through captured images and movie files. When you zoom in on an image, all four sides pan the view. You can also run your finger around the ring to scroll through images rather rapidly, though it is very touchy, requiring just the right amount of pressure and speed.

Function / Set Button (see image above): Found in the center of the four-way control ring, this control activates the Canon SD630's 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, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Underwater, Color Accent, and Color Swap modes.
  • 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).
  • My Colors: Enables Vivid Color (high color saturation), Neutral Color (low color saturation), Sepia, Black-and-White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color, or turns My Colors off.
  • Metering: Sets the camera's metering mode to Evaluative, Center-Weighted, or Spot.
  • Compression: Sets the JPEG compression to Superfine, Fine, or Normal.
  • Resolution: Specifies the image resolution. Still image resolutions are 2,816 x 2,112, 2,272 x 1,704, 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. A Widescreen mode shoots in 16:9 format at 2,816 x 1,584 with portions not recorded left black. This mode is for playback on widescreen televisions or printing on wide paper. Movie resolutions are 640 x 480 and 320 x 240 pixels.


Menu Button
: Directly below the Four-way nav controls, this button accesses the LCD menu system in both Record and Playback modes.


Display Button
: Beneath the Menu button, this button cycles through the LCD image and information displays. In Playback mode, this button cycles through the image only, information display, and info display with histogram modes.

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