Canon SX100 IS Review

 
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Canon PowerShot SX100 IS Performance


Timing and Performance

Very good to average speed for a consumer camera, depending on the operation.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

1.9 seconds

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

Shutdown

1.8 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

1 second
(1 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.

Mode switching

Play to Record,
first shot

2.4 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

1.0 second

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

Display
recorded image

1.3 seconds

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

Shutter response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.53 second

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

Full Autofocus Tele

0.48 second

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

Full Autofocus with Flash

0.82 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, built-in flash enabled.

Prefocused

0.088 second

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

Continuous AF
0.50 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.23 second
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 JPEG

1.80 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

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
High

Large SuperFine JPEG

0.93 second (1.08 frames per second);
>20 frames total;
1 second to clear

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

Continuous mode
High

Large Fine JPEG

0.75 second (1.33 frames per second);
>20 frames total;
1 second to clear

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

Continuous mode
High

640x480 JPEG

0.76 second (1.31 frames per second);
>20 frames total;
0.5 second to clear

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

Flash recycling

12 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

1,746 KBytes/sec

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

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 133x 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.

The Canon PowerShot SX100 IS's performance ranges from very good to about average, depending on what you're trying to do. It starts up fairly quickly considering its large 10x optical zoom lens, which extends forward on power-up, though mode switching is a little pokey. Shutter response is very good at both wide angle and telephoto, at 0.53s and 0.48s respectively, and "prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a good lag time of 0.088 second. Shot-to-shot cycle times are on the slow side of average for a long zoom, at about 1.98 seconds for large/superfine JPEGs, and the camera appears to capture shots continuously in single-shot mode without having to stop and clear the buffer. Continuous mode is a little sluggish, at 1.08 frames-per-second for large/superfine images, though the camera captured over 20 shots at this rate without having to clear the buffer. The flash takes 12 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is quite slow. Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, however, download speeds are zippy enough. Bottom line, the Canon SX100 IS is responsive enough to handle most family photo opportunities, though not quite fast enough to match high-paced action, and the flash charge time may hold you back in some instances.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Good battery life with NiMH rechargeables, though limited performance with alkaline cells.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
AA Alkaline Batteries, LCD On
(CIPA standard)
140
AA NiMH Rechargeable Batteries, LCD On
(CIPA standard)
400

The Canon PowerShot SX100 IS uses two AA-type batteries for power, and ships with a set of ordinary alkaline cells. As always, we strongly recommend you pick up a couple of sets of good-quality NiMH rechargeable batteries and a good-quality charger, as they'll save you many times their cost over the life of the camera.

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 SX100 IS accepts SD/MMC memory cards, and comes with a 16MB starter card.

Image Capacity with
16MB Memory Card
SuperFine Fine Normal
3,264 x 2,448
Images
4
7
15
File Size
3.5 MB
2.2 MB
1.0 MB
2,592 x 1,944
Images
6
10
21
File Size
2.6 MB
1.5 MB
744 KB
2,048 x 1,536
Images
9
16
33
File Size
1.7 MB
943 KB
479 KB
1,600 x 1,200
Images
15
26
50
File Size
1.1 MB
595 KB
314 KB
640 x 480
Images
56
88
138
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.)

 

Canon SX100 IS

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