Canon SD790 IS Review

 
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Canon Powershot SD790 IS Performance


Timing and Performance

Good to average speed for a consumer camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

1.5 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy and capture a picture.

Shutdown

1.1 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

2 seconds
(2 seconds buffer clearing in LSF JPEG)

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.

Startup and shutdown times are about average.

 

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

2.1 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

1.1 seconds

Time to display a large/superfine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

1.8 seconds

Time to display a large/superfine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching times are about average also.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.48 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.60 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Full Autofocus
Flash enabled

1.70 seconds

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position, flash enabled.

Prefocused

0.072 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Shutter response is better than average at both wide angle and telephoto, at 0.48s and 0.60s respectively, and "prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a lag time of only 0.072 second. Enabling the flash adds quite a bit of delay to full autofocus lag (1.7 seconds).

 

Cycle Time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large SuperFine JPEG
2.09 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
640x480 Normal JPEG

1.94 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Super Fine JPEG

0.77 second (1.31 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
2 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.71 second (1.40 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
1.5 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
640x480 JPEG

0.71 second (1.41 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Flash recycling

6.7 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are on the slower side of average, at about 2.09 seconds for large/superfine JPEGs, though the camera does capture frames continuously at this rate. (That is, given a fast enough memory card, it doesn't have to pause every few frames to wait for the card to catch up.) Also a consideration here is the very large 3,648 x 2,736 resolution. The PowerShot SD790 IS also drags a little in its Continuous modes, capturing 20 large/superfine frames at 1.31 frames per second, but with no signs of slowing down. The flash takes 6.7 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is about average.

 

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

5,831 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are very fast.

Bottom line, the Canon Powershot SD790 IS won't be a good choice for sporting events or any fast-paced action, but is responsive enough for most family photo opportunities.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Above average battery life for a Lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard)
330

The Canon Powershot SD790 IS uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Although battery life is above average, we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

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

Storage
The Canon Powershot SD790 IS accepts SDHC/SD/MMC memory cards, and comes with a 32MB card.

Image Capacity with
32MB Memory Card
Super Fine Fine Normal
3,648 x 2,736
Images
7
11
24
File Size
4.5 MB
2.7 MB
1.3 MB
2,816 x 2,112
Images
11
18
38
File Size
2.8 MB
1.7 MB
827 KB
2,272 x 1,704
Images
15
27
53
File Size
2.1 MB
1.2 MB
595 KB
1,600 x 1,200
Images
30
53
101
File Size
1.1 MB
595 KB
314 KB
640 x 480
Images
113
176
276
File Size
281 KB
182 KB
116 KB

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SDHC or SD memory card at least a 1GB card, preferably a 4GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings and video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

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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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