Design and Handling
The Powershot SD1100 is undoubtedly a small camera, its dimensions firmly put it into the ultra compact camp. That and the protrusion free design make it an ideal go-anywhere snapshot-camera that easily fits into a shirt pocket.
For this latest model in the ELPH/IXUS series the Canon designers have chosen a classy minimalist approach. The straight, boxy design and the silky surfaces of the metal body complement each other nicely, making the SD1100 an attractive piece of photographic equipment which does not look out of place next to your Bang & Olufsen stereo or your Mac Book Pro.
For those of us who've have had enough of the ubiquitous silver/black color schemes the SD1100 comes in a variety of tones including 'Bohemian Brown' and 'Rhythm & Blue'. Gone are the days when you had trouble matching the colors of your camera and your favorite leisure suit.
'Less is more' must also have been the battle cry of the interface designers. The SD1100 is quite obviously targeted at the point and shoot customer and external controls are kept fairly basic. There is no mode dial on the SD1100, only a slider that lets you choose between record, movie and review modes. Scene modes have to be selected in the Func menu which also gives you quick access to the most essential shooting parameters such as white balance, image size and quality and exposure compensation.
Generally speaking the control layout is consistent through Canon's entire range of compact cameras and the SD1100 is no exception. The buttons and menus should be fairly familiar to users of any more recent Canon compact camera. You get external controls for flash, focus (macro or infinity), self-timer/drive and ISO sensitivity. Inevitably you'll also find a direct print button on the camera although unfortunately on the SD1100 it does not double as an Auto ISO Shift button.
Key body elements
The control layout of almost all Canon compact cameras is very consistent and if you've used a Digital Powershot before you should not have any problems operating the SD1100. If you haven't got any previous Canon experience, there is no need to worry either. Controls are very intuitive and easy to master even for Powershot novices.
Controls & Menus
Canon's user interface is one of the fastest and most intuitive in the compact camera sector and although it has been slightly tweaked with each new generation of Powershot cameras the basic operation has remained the same.
|As usual you can change the amount of information shown on-screen by pressing the 'Disp'-button. This screen shot shows the maximum shooting information you can get on your LCD.||Half-press the shutter release and the camera will calculate exposure (AE) and focus (AF) indicating focus point(s) chosen in AiAF mode (or detected faces in Face Detection mode), along with a camera shake warning if necessary.|
|Users of previous PowerShots will be perfectly at home with the record mode FUNC menu, which offers fast access to shooting and scene modes plus a wide range of shooting and image parameters.||The SD1100 has Canon's Print menu, which simplifies the direct print process. Useful for digital photographers who are suffering from computer-phobia.|
|In the 'My Camera' menu you can 'personalize' your camera by selecting your favorite background image or shutter sound.||Record mode menu allows you to customize everything from AF mode to flash settings and self-timer delay. It is also here where you'll find the options for image stabilization.|
|The setup menu (accessible from both playback and record modes) is where you find more general camera settings, including sound volume, power saving, date and time, LCD brightness, card formatting, language and video output format.||The play menu offers the usual range of options, including protecting, rotating and deleting images, plus a sound recorder. You can also apply 'My Colors' effects to saved images, which is much better than committing to it at the point you take the picture.|
|One of the three alternative play mode views includes a histogram display and exposure information. You can zoom into an image up to 10x magnification and use Canon's fancy slide show options.||There is also the usual options for viewing thumbnails (3x3).|