Canon SD600 Performance

Timing and Performance

Canon PowerShot SD600 Timing
Good speed for a consumer camera.

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, we routinely measure both shutter delay and shot to shot cycle times for all cameras we test, using a test system Dave designed and built for the purpose. (Crystal-controlled, with a resolution of 0.001 second.) Here are the numbers we collected for the Canon PowerShot SD600:


Power on
to first shot
1.8 seconds
Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy
1.4 seconds
How long it takes to retract lens
Buffer clearing time
~1 second
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
1.9 seconds
Time until first shot is captured
Record to play
1.1 seconds
Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture
recorded image
1.7 second
Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
0.39 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.
Full Autofocus Tele
0.57 second
Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.
0.074 second
Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
1.61 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots
Single Shot mode
640x480 JPEG
1.66 seconds
Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots
Early shutter
Some cameras won't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer
Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.47 second (2.11 frames per second);
buffer clears between shots
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first
Continuous mode
640x480 JPEG
0.48 second (2.10 frames per second);
buffer clears between shots
Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first
Flash recycling
5 seconds
Flash at maximum output
Download speed
Windows Computer, USB 2.0
2488 KBytes/sec
Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-770=USB 2.0 Low;
771-4000=USB 2.0 High

The Canon SD600's performance here is pretty good overall, with a quick startup time and very good shutter response at both wide angle and telephoto. The flash takes about five seconds to recycle, which is about average. Though the Continuous mode captures only 2.11 frames per second, it does this continuously, without having to stop the series and clear the buffer. Connected to a computer, download speeds are quite fast as well. Bottom line, the SD600 is a responsive little camera that should do quite well in most situations, and while its Continuous mode is just a hair slow, you'll have ample opportunity to catch those wiggly kids with its long series.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Short battery life with the LCD on, very good when LCD is switched off.

Operating Mode
Number of Shots
LiIon Battery Pack
LCD on
LiIon Battery Pack
LCD off

The Canon PowerShot SD600 uses a custom rechargeable 4.8V, 1600 mAh LiIon battery for power. The table above shows maximum run times based on our power measurements and the rated performance of its battery using the CIPA battery standard. Given the short run time with the LCD enabled, you should definitely consider purchasing a second battery to pack along on extended outings.

The Canon SD600 accepts SD/MMC cards; a 16MB starter card is included the camera.

Image Capacity with
16MB Memory Card
Fine Normal Economy
2,816 x 2,112 Images 5 9 19
File Size 4.1 MB 2.4 MB 1.2 MB
2,272 x 1,704 Images 7 13 26
File Size 2.1 MB 1.2 MB 600 KB
1,600 x 1,200 Images 15 26 50
File Size 1.1 MB 600 KB 316 KB
640 x 480
Images 56 87 137
File Size 283 KB 183 KB 117 KB

I strongly recommend buying at least a 128MB card, preferably a 256MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.


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