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"Picky Details" for the Canon Powershot SD200 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)



When you press the shutter release on a camera, there's usually a lag time or delay before the shutter actually fires. This corresponds to the time required for the autofocus and autoexposure mechanisms time to do their work, and can amount to a fairly long delay in some situations. Since this number is rarely reported on (and even more rarely reported accurately), and can significantly affect the picture taking experience, I routinely measure both shutter delay and shot to shot cycle times for all cameras I test, using a test system I designed and built for the purpose. (Crystal-controlled, with a resolution of 0.001 second.) Here are the numbers I collected for the Canon Powershot SD200:

Canon Powershot SD200 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. Very fast.
1.8 - 3
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Very fast.
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured. Pretty fast.
Record to play
1.9 / 1.5
First time is that required to display a large/fine file immediately after capture, second time is that needed to display a large/fine file that has already been processed and stored on the memory card. Also pretty fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Better than average, particularly for a subcompact digital camera.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Extremely fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution


First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In either mode, maintains this rate until the card fills, clearing the buffer after each shot. Very fast, especially for a compact digital camera.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.36 / 0.33
(2.79 / 3.04 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots 31 shots this fast, then slows to an irregular pace of about 0.44 seconds per shot. Buffer clears in 3 seconds. In TV mode, maintains this rate until the card fills, clearing the buffer after each shot. Very fast all around, especially for a compact model.

Faster than average shutter response and cycle times. The Canon SD200 is surprisingly fast for a compact mode, with full-autofocus shutter delays of 0.63 - 0.77 second, and a blazing shutter delay of only 0.067 second when it's "prefocused" by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the shot itself. With a reasonably fast SD memory card (I tested with a 32x Lexar SD card), shot to shot cycle times are 1.38 seconds for large/fine images, or 1.47 seconds for small/basic ones, with no apparent limit due to buffer-memory capacity. In continuous mode, it can capture upwards of 31 consecutive shots at intervals of 0.36 second, before slowing to 0.44 second. Very impressive for such a compact model.



Slightly better than average battery life for a compact model, but think about buying a second battery anyway. The Canon PowerShot SD200 uses a custom rechargeable LiIon battery for power, and uses a custom power adapter, so I couldn't perform my usual direct measurements of its power consumption, but did check how long it would run on a fully charged battery. Like most compact digicams, battery life on the SD200 is a little on the short side, with a worst-case run time (capture mode, with the LCD turned on) of 107 minutes by actual measurement. This is better than many compact and subcompact models, but I'd still strongly recommend purchasing a second battery along with the camera, and keeping it charged as a spare. (Digicam batteries always die at the worst possible times.)


Storage Capacity

The Canon Powershot SD200 stores its photos on SD / MMC memory cards, and a 16 MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 64 MB card, preferably a 128 MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 16 MB card at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
16 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
2048 x 1536 Images
(Avg size)
1.7 MB
948 KB
482 KB
6:1 10:1 20:1
1600 x 1200 Images
(Avg size)
1.1 MB
598 KB
316 KB
5:1 10:1 18:1
1024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
615 KB
349 KB
199 KB
4:1 7:1
640 x 480
(Avg size)
282 KB
183 KB
116 KB
3:1 5:1


Download Speed

The Canon Powershot SD200 connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my Sony desktop running Windows XP (Pentium IV, 2.4 GHz), I clocked it at 660 KBytes/second, a respectable if not startling rate. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast v1.1 interfaces run as high as 600 KB/s. Cameras with USB v2.0 interfaces run as fast as several megabytes/second.)


SD200 Review
SD200 Test Images
SD200 Specifications
SD200 "Picky Details"
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