Canon SD700 IS Digital ELPH (IXUS 800) Concise Review
Timing & Performance
Like all recent Ixus/SD models the SD700 feels very responsive indeed, and the good news is that Canon seems to have redesigned its focus system, meaning the SD700 is now one of the fastest focusing cameras in its class, even fairly low light, so you rarely miss a shot waiting for the camera. The shutter lag is just a touch higher, at 0.1 seconds when using the LCD, than we'd ideally like, but it's no worse than the majority of its competitors. Turn off the LCD and use the viewfinder and it drops significantly, so the problem isn't the responsiveness of the camera itself, but a slight (0.03s) lag in the live preview (something common to most cameras).
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2816 x 2112 Fine JPEG image (approx. 2,325 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||1.1|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||0.9|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||1.4|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens retracted||~0.1|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens extended||~1.0|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~0.4|
|Mode: Play to Record||1.6|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (10x)||0.9|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||0.5 *1|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||0.5|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||35 to 140 mm (4 x) full speed||0.9|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Wide angle, single shot focus||~0.3|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Telephoto, single shot focus||~0.4 *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||~0.3|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~1.8|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||~ 1.4|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on ( red eye reduction on / off)||1.8 / 2.3|
|*1||If you disable the fancy transition effects this figure drops to 0.25 secs. You can also scroll through low res images very quickly by holding down the left or right key.|
|*2||Focus at the tele end slows down in low light - to about 0.6 seconds|
Continuous drive mode
Like most SD/Ixus series cameras the SD700 has a single continuous shooting mode that offers around 2.0 frames per second at all file size / quality settings. We measured the actual frame rate to vary between 1.9 and 2.05 frames per second. You can't see a preview when shooting bursts, but there is a brief review image displayed after each exposure. Those who like to shoot long sequences will be pleased to hear that 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 at about 70 shots).
Although it's unlikely that many users of a camera such as this will need to shoot such long sequences, it's nice to know you can if you want to, and 2.0 fps is pretty good for a camera in this class, speed-wise.
File writing / playback performance
The SD700 takes around 0.7 seconds to save a 2.3MB 6MP/Super Fine JPEG; pretty good going for a camera of this type - the SD700 will certainly benefit from using faster cards. Playback is also very speedy, with full size images taking only a quarter of a second or so to display (if you use the fancy transition options it takes a little longer to scroll through images, but it sure looks nice). If you want to whiz through hundreds of saved shots you can hold down the left or right arrow key and the SD700 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, with the saving grace being that the majority of the power is drawn by that nice big screen, and if you switch it off and use the optical viewfinder you can extend the battery life to as much as 700 shots per charge. Remember that using the continuous mode image stabilization or using the flash a lot will reduce these figures.