Canon SD430 Optics


A typical 3x optical zoom range, with good performance.

4x Digital Zoom

The Canon SD430 zooms over the equivalent of a 35-105mm range, fairly typical for its class. Details are a little soft at wide angle, with noticeable softening in the corners, though with very little coma distortion. Details are sharper at telephoto, though still with some softening in the corners of the frame. The 4x digital zoom takes it out to 12x total with some loss of quality, though the camera does hold onto fine detail pretty well.

A small macro area with good detail and high resolution. Flash overexposes a little, with uneven coverage up close.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Canon SD430's macro setting performs well, capturing a small minimum area of 1.36 x 1.02 inches (35 x 26 millimeters). Detail is strong and resolution high, with only moderate softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The camera's flash overexposed the top left corner of the frame, leaving the lower right corner in shadow. (Plan on using external lighting for your closest macro shots with the SD430.)

Moderate barrel distortion at wide angle, though practically none at telephoto.

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). The PowerShot SD430's 0.6% barrel distortion at wide angle is actually less than average among digital cameras I've tested. At the telephoto end, I couldn't find a full pixel of either barrel or pincushion distortion.

Barrel distortion at 35mm is 0.6%
Pincushion at 105mm is nearly nil

Chromatic aberration
Low to moderate, small effect on images at edges.

Wide: moderate, top left @ 200% Wide: moderate, top right @ 200%
Tele: quite low, top left @200% Tele: quite low, top right @200%

Chromatic aberration is moderate on the Canon SD430 at wide angle, showing about 6-7 pixels of moderately bright coloration on either side of the target lines, but decreases to very low levels at telephoto focal lengths. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Corner Sharpness
Moderately high softening in the corners of the frame, at both wide angle and telephoto lens settings.

Wide: quite soft in lower left corner. Wide: much sharper at center.
Tele: very soft in upper right corner. Tele: sharper, but a little soft at center.

The PowerShot SD430 produced soft corners in a few shots, with about the same degree of softening in each corner of the frame at both zoom settings.


A tight optical viewfinder, but very accurate LCD monitor.

35mm eq., optical viewfinder 105mm eq., optical viewfinder
35mm eq., LCD monitor 105mm eq., LCD monitor

The PowerShot SD430's optical viewfinder was quite tight, showing only about 77% frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 80% at telephoto. However, the LCD monitor showed right at 100 percent frame accuracy at both lens settings.


The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Canon PowerShot SD430 Photo Gallery .

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