Canon SD1100 IS Optics


Pretty good performance from the camera's 3x optical zoom lens. Digital zoom performance is a little better than average.

38mm 114mm 4x Digital Zoom

The Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS' optical zoom covers the equivalent of a 38-114mm, a typical range for a compact digital camera, though 38mm is a little tight for wide angle. Details are sharp and clear throughout most of the frame at wide angle, with little visible chromatic aberration. There's a fair amount of blurring in the corners, but it doesn't extend too far into the frame. Results at full telephoto are also quite good. The camera's 4x digital zoom produces fairly soft images with visible artifacts. That's not unusual though, considering the amount of interpolation required for a 4x digital zoom from a small area of an 8-megapixel image, so results are actually better than average in this respect.

A smaller than average macro area, with good detail and resolution in the center. Flash produces a very uneven exposure, use natural light for your closest shots.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS' macro setting performed fairly well, capturing a minimum area of 1.22 x 0.91 inches (31 x 23 millimeters). Detail and resolution are both very good toward the center, but there's a moderate amount of softening extending fairly deep into the frame from the corners. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The Canon SD1100 IS' flash had trouble throttling down, producing a very overexposed image, and the lens partially blocks the flash at this distance, casting a shadow in the bottom right. (Plan on using external lighting for important macro shots with the SD1100 IS.)

Moderate barrel distortion, though virtually no pincushion.

Barrel distortion at 38mm is 0.8%
Pincushion at 114mm is unmeasurable

The Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS' 0.8% barrel distortion at wide angle is on the high side of average, and fairly noticeable in some images. At the telephoto end, there is hardly a pixel of pincushion distortion.

This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic aberration
Moderate but not very bright at wide angle, less noticeable at telephoto.

Wide: Moderate and dull,
top left @ 200%
Wide: Moderate and dull,
top right @ 200%
Tele: Moderate but dimmer
top left @200%
Tele: Moderate but dimmer,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is moderate at wide angle, showing about 8-10 pixels of fairly dull coloration on either side of the target lines. However, blurring is also noticeable here, which is intensifying the effect somewhat. At telephoto, the distortion is again moderate, but dimmer and less noticeable. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Corner Sharpness
Strong blurring in the corners of the frame at wide angle, but not extending too far into the image. Only a little softening at telephoto.

Wide: Very soft in the
corners (lower left).
Wide: Sharp at center.
Tele: Softer in the
corners (upper left)
Tele: Slightly soft at center.

The Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS produced fairly soft corners of the frame at full wide angle, with the left side being a little softer than the right. The effect was quite noticeable in some of its images, but fortunately doesn't extend too far into the frame. At full telephoto, corners aren't quite as soft as wide angle, but the center isn't quite as sharp either.


Poor performance with the optical viewfinder, but very good results with the LCD monitor.

38mm eq., Optical 114mm eq., Optical
38mm eq., LCD 114mm eq., LCD

The Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS' optical viewfinder was quite inaccurate, and appears to be not quite parallel to the imaging sensor, however we expect to see some parallax error with non-TTL optical viewfinders. We measured its accuracy at about 84% at wide angle, and 82% at telephoto, which is quite tight but not unusual. In contrast, the camera's LCD monitor turned in a much better performance, measuring about 102% coverage at wide angle and about 101% at telephoto. (In essence, 100% accuracy, within the limits of our test.)


The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS Photo Gallery .

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