Canon SD700 Optics


A good 4x optical zoom range, with good performance.

4x Digital Zoom

The Canon PowerShot SD700 zooms over the equivalent of a 35-140mm range, a slightly higher range than average. Details are sharp and well defined at full wide angle, though with some softening in the left corners of the frame. The 4x digital zoom takes it out to 16x total with some loss of quality (as you might expect), though still with a fair bit of fine detail.

A very small macro area with great detail and very high resolution. Flash has trouble up close though.

Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Canon PowerShot SD700's macro setting performed well, capturing a small minimum area of only 1.13 x 0.85 inches (29 x 22 millimeters). Detail and resolution were both very good, with only a minimal amount of softening in the corners from the lens. (Most cameras have some softening in the corners in macro mode.) The flash has trouble this close though, as it's partially blocked by the lens in the lower right corner and strongly overexposed the upper left corner. (Plan on using external lighting for your closest macro shots with the SD700.)

Average barrel distortion at wide angle, and a tiny amount of pincushion 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 Canon PowerShot SD700's 0.8% barrel distortion at wide angle is average among the cameras we've tested, although we personally feel that this level is too high. At the telephoto end, the SD700 produced a tiny amount of barrel distortion, a mere 0.07%.

Barrel distortion at 35mm is 0.8%
Barrel distortion at 140mm is 0.07%

Chromatic aberration
Moderately at wide angle, but extends only a short distance into the frame. Very little at telephoto.

Wide: Moderate to high,
top left @ 200%
Wide: moderate to high, fairly bright
top right @ 200%
Tele: lower and less bright,
top left @200%
Tele: quite low,
top right @200%

Chromatic aberration was moderate to high at wide angle, showing about 7-9 pixels of fairly bright coloration on either side of the target lines, but it decreases to very low levels at telephoto focal lengths. Even at wide angle though, the chromatic aberration doesn't extend very far into the frame. (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
Fairly high blurring in the left corners of the frame at wide angle, but limited to just the extreme corners. Little blurring at telephoto.

Wide: soft in the left corners. Wide: sharp at center.
Tele: slightly soft in left corners. Tele: sharper at center.

The Canon PowerShot SD700 produced soft corners in a few shots, with the strongest effect in the left corners at full wide angle. The good news though, is that this softness was limited to the just the extreme corners: As you move toward the center of the frame, it decreases rapidly. Overall, the SD700 showed better than average sharpness across the frame for a subcompact camera model.


Optical viewfinder tight and skewed slightly to the lower right. Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor.

35mm eq., optical viewfinder 140mm eq., optical viewfinder
35mm eq., LCD monitor 140mm eq., LCD monitor

The SD700's optical viewfinder was quite tight, showing only about 80% frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 77% accuracy at telephoto. However, the LCD monitor showed 100% 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 SD700 IS Photo Gallery .

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