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"Picky Details" for the Canon PowerShot SD300 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 SD300:

Canon PowerShot SD300 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. Very fast.
1.8 - 2.8
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
2.2 / 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 quite fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.57 / 0.78
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Better than average, particularly for a compact digicam model.
Shutter lag, prefocus
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Extremely fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

1.32 / 1.28

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. Buffer clears after each shot. Very fast, particularly for a compact model.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.42 / 0.38
(2.41 / 2.62 fps)

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" size images. Times are averages. In large/fine mode takes 17 shots this fast, then slows slightly to about 2 fps. (With a Lexar 32x SD memory card.) In TV mode, takes over 100 shots this fast and keeps on going. Clears the buffer in about a second for either resolution. Very fast all around, especially for a compact model.

Faster than average shutter response and cycle times. The SD300 is surprisingly fast for a compact mode, with full-autofocus shutter delays of 0.57 - 0.78 second, and a blazing shutter delay of only 0.073 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 1.32 seconds for large/fine images, or 1.28 seconds for small/basic ones, with no apparent limit due to buffer-memory capacity. In continuous mode, it can capture upwards of 17 consecutive shots at intervals of 0.42 second, before slowing to 0.50 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 SD300 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 SD300 is a little on the short side, with a worst-case run time (capture mode, with the LCD turned on) of 99 minutes by actual measurement. This is actually 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 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
2272 x 1704 Images
(Avg size)
2.1 MB
1.2 MB
589 KB
6:1 10:1 20:1
1600 x 1200 Images
(Avg size)
1.1 MB
589 KB
311 KB
6:1 10:1 19:1
1024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
606 KB
344 KB
196 KB
4:1 7:1
640 x 480
(Avg size)
278 KB
180 KB
114 KB
3:1 5:1


Download Speed

The Canon PowerShot connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my Sony VAIO desktop running Windows XP (Pentium IV, 2.4 GHz), I clocked it at 795 KBytes/second, a pretty good clip. (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.)

SD300 Review
SD300 Test Images
SD300 Specifications
SD300 "Picky Details"
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