Timing & Performance
Most of Canon's recent IXUS/SD models feel very responsive and the SD1100 is no exception. The DIGIC III imaging processor which also does its duty in Canon's range of DSLRs provides enough computing power to never let any slackness creep in. The camera takes just under one second to get ready for shooting. That's very quick and should help you getting even the most spontaneous snapshot nicely framed.
Focusing is pretty speedy as well. It takes approximately 0.3 sec to focus at wide angle and 0.5 sec at the tele end of the lens. In low light these figures can increase to about 0.7 sec and 1.0 sec respectively. No reason to complain about the shutter lag either; 0.1 seconds when using the LCD (slightly quicker when using the viewfinder) is good standard.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3264 x 2448 Fine JPEG image (approx. 3,300 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB Sandisk Extreme III card.
|Power: Off to Record||With startup animation disabled||0.8|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||1.2|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||1.2|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens retracted||0.1|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens extended||1.1|
|Record Review||Image displayed||0.9|
|Mode: Record to Play||1.8|
|Mode: Play to Record||1.6|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (10x)||0.9|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||0.3 *1|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||0.1|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||38 to 114 mm (3 x) full speed||1.0|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Wide angle, single shot focus||~0.3 *2|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Telephoto, single shot focus||~0.5 *2|
|Pre-focus Lag (S1>S2)||LCD live view||~0.1|
|Pre-focus Lag (S1>S2)||Viewfinder||~0.07|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.5|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~1.2|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||~1.6|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on ( red eye reduction on / off)||~3.2 / ~ 2.1|
|*1||Fancy transition effects disabled. You can also scroll through low res images very quickly by holding down the left or right key.|
|*2||Focus slows down in low light - to about 0.7 seconds at the wide end and 1.0 seconds at the tele end|
Continuous drive mode
Like most SD/IXUS series cameras the SD1100 has a single continuous shooting mode. It offers approximately 1.3 frames per second at all file size / quality settings. You can't see a preview when shooting bursts, but there is a brief review image displayed after each exposure. There appears to be no limit to how many pictures you can take in a single burst with a fast card (well, we gave up after 70 shots or so). Most users of this type of camera would probably not have a need for shooting such sequences but it still good to know you can if you want to.
We have seen higher frames per second rates in the past but this seems to be the price we have to pay for ever increasing megapixels counts. More megapixels mean larger files and larger file sizes typically mean slower shooting.
File writing / playback performance
The SD1100 takes around a second to save a 3MB 8MP/Super Fine JPEG. That's not bad for a point and shoot camera - the SD1100 will certainly benefit from using faster cards. Image playback is a little slower than on most other Canons we recently reviewed but 0.8 sec is by no means any worse than the competition. If you want to flick quickly through a large number of shots you can hold down the left or right arrow key and the SD1100 will scroll through low res previews of the images on your card at about 10 per second.
Battery life, like most models in the SD range, is on the low side of average; approx 240 shots (CIPA standard) per charge is not too impressive although you should be able to increase this number significantly by switching off the screen and/or the continuous mode image stabilization.