The Canon Powershot SD10 Review

The Canon Powershot SD10 Digital Elph is a great compact digital camera. I recently purchased it after losing my old digital camera, the Canon Powershot S200 Digital Elph. I had been very happy with the S200, but to be honest I was thinking about upgrading from the S200’s 2 mega-pixel level when I lost the camera anyway. After some extensive research on possible replacement cameras (including the Canon S400, the SD100, a Pentax one, and a Sony one) I decided on the SD10 for a few reasons.

The Reasons I Bought the SD10
First and most important to me was the actual size of the camera. Obviously of the camera’s I listed above the SD10 wins hands down. Pentax makes one that they say fits in an Altoid tin (which is true, I know someone who has it and carries it in the tin), but believe it or not, the SD10 is smaller. The SD10 is approximately 3.6 by 1.9 by 0.7 inches and weighs about 4 ounces! When I got the camera, I was really shocked at how small it was. Some of my friends say it is too small, and that it seems like it would be very easy to lose, but these are also the same friends who ask me to bring it out for the night because they don’t want to carry their larger cameras.

The second reason I decided on the SD10 was the 4 mega-pixel pictures it takes. I had pretty much narrowed my decision to the Canon Digital Elphs (since I was so happy with my old S200), but now which one? While the Digital Elph S400 also takes 4 mega-pixel pictures and has more features like optical zoom, it is quite a bit larger (go back to point one), but also a great camera if you are looking to get one (my roomate has one). The Canon SD100 (not to be confused with my SD10) is pretty small, but is only 3.2 mega-pixels, and I decided I was going to go with 4.

So by this time I had narrowed it down between the S400 and the SD10. The third deciding factor for me was basically a mixture of size versus features. Thinking back to when I was using my S200, I realized I hardly ever had used the zoom feature. I know a lot of people do care about zoom, especially optical zoom, and if you are one of those people I will tell you right now, the SD10 isn’t for you. While it does have 5.7x digital zoom, it has NO optical zoom, which most people will tell you is the only zoom that really matters for quality zoomed in pictures. Seeing as that I never used the zoom on my S200, I decided the fact the the S400 had optical zoom, while the SD10 didn’t, did not matter to me. With the SD10 being a lot smaller then the S400, I went with the SD10.

Both the SD10 and the S400 were about the same price at the time I purchased them. I got mine through dell.com because they were having a sale for free shipping and 10% off all digital cameras. My SD10 ended up costing me right around $300, throw in a 256 MB memory card (the SD10 takes SD memory cards, hence the SD in the name as opposed to S, and by the way I like SD memory cards much better then Compact Flash ones, which the ‘S’ models use, they so A LOT smaller) and the whole package cost me about $370. When I got the SD10 I was suprised to find that it came with a leather carrying case at no charge (you may want to ask about that before ordering, it could have just been a Dell special). Also note that you will probably want a 256 MB memory card with any 4 mega-pixel camera if you plan on taking pictures at full resolution. A 128 MB card will work fine too, but I would go with 256 to be safe.

Summary
After a little over two months with my SD10 now I am very happy with it. As I said I was shocked when I got it to find out just how small it is. When I go out to a bar or a party at night I don’t even realize it is in my jean pocket most of the time. My cell phone is my pocket is honestly a bigger burden, because it is thicker. The thin, slender body of the SD10 makes it the perfect pocket camera.

The pictures the SD10 takes are great. The 4 mega-pixel pictures are much clearer then the pictures I used to take on my S200, and this camera also takes the pictures a lot quicker (with the quickshot turned on, you can snap pictures almost instantly, as opposed to waiting for the flash or shutter). The flash is still a bit weak, which I hear is a problem with all of Canon’s Digital Elph’s, but it is certainly adequate in all but shots from really far away at night. I’ve heard some complaints about the red-eye reduction as well, but for me that feature works great, much better then my S200.

The only complaints I have for the camera is that I wish it has an optical viewfinder (sometimes it is hard to line up pictures in dark rooms through the LCD screen), and I wish it was easier to switch between manual and automatic mode settings. On both the S400 and the SD100 there is a dial you can use to quickly switch between the manual and automatic modes, on the SD10, you have to go into the menu to do this. I mild hassle, and shouldn’t bother the average picture taker.

This is a great 4 mega-pixel camera that takes quality photos. I doubt you will be able to find one any smaller, and it is just a bonus that the quality is so great at this size. I definitely recommend this camera if you are looking for a highly portable, quick camera (start up time is less then a second), and you don’t mind the lack of optical zoom. The SD10 is what I would call the perfect point-and-shoot party camera.

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