Like its Digital Elph predecessors, Canon's PowerShot SD1100 IS looks and feels great.

The Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS's price tag of about £180 puts squarely in the realm of midrange point-and-shoots, but its robust features - including Canon's fast DIGIC III processor, a maximum aperture of f2.8, and outstanding image quality - allow it to compete with cameras that cost significantly more.

Although the Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS features a number of improvements on the older SD1000, the new model has a few minor drawbacks. First, Canon shaved 3mm off the wide-angle end of the 3x optical zoom, giving it a 38-114mm focal length - which means ciao, wide-angle shots.

The Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS also shoots a hair slower than its predecessor (though faster than its lower-priced competitors), with a burst capability of 1.3 frames per second (fps). Finally, Canon softened up the Elph's formerly square edges, which we find detracts from its sleek design and, surprisingly, its comfort in the hand.

Still, the Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS is an outstanding little camera. Not only does its streamlined chassis make for one of the most striking and seemingly durable point-and-shoots around, the model is perfect for the pocket and downright fun to use.

The Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS's buttons are logically placed, and its menu items - except for some of the more esoteric settings - are easy to find. Video is standard, and movie lengths are limited only by your memory card's size.

Although the Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS lacks true manual functionality - it has no aperture or shutter priority, per se - its shooting modes and "manual" settings are stellar. It offers nine scene modes, including an excellent Macro mode, a Kids & Pets mode, and a new Sunset mode (infinitely more practical than the Aquarium and Fireworks modes).

Both the Night Snapshot mode and the Slow Syncro flash setting produced well-lit night shots (in the bar and on the street). For more control, the Long Shutter setting slows shutter speed to as much as 15 seconds.

NEXT PAGE: white balance, manual tweaks and our expert verdict > >

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Like its Digital Elph predecessors, Canon's PowerShot SD1100 IS looks and feels great.

As for white balance, we rarely had to rely on anything but the Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS's Automatic setting, although the camera has six white-balance modes, plus a custom mode. However, we found Canon's new 'Face Detection Technology' and 'Face Selection & Motion Selection' modes cumbersome and ineffective, and relied instead on the handy Focus and AF (autofocus) Locks and its excellent spot metering mode. (Call us old school.)

In our lab tests, the Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS scored higher on overall image quality than nearly all of its competitors. On the sharpness scale, only a handful of the cameras we tested beat the SD1100 (including Kodak's EasyShare V1253, Fuji's FinePix F50fd, and Casio's EX-Z1080), but they all cost more.

To combat camera shake in low-light situations, Canon added its Optical Image Stabiliser feature, but we found its presence pretty unnoticeable - as it likely would be on most point-and-shoots.

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Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS: Specs

  • 8Mp compact camera
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 4x digital zoom
  • ISO 80, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO auto
  • max shutter speed: 1/1500 sec
  • min shutter speed: 15 sec
  • 32MB Flash, SD Memory Card
  • zoom lens - 6.2 mm - 18.6 mm - F/2.8-4.9
  • 1 x Canon NB-4L Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • 1 x USB, 1 x Composite video/audio output
  • 125g
  • 86x23x56mm
  • 8Mp compact camera
  • 3x optical zoom
  • 4x digital zoom
  • ISO 80, ISO 100, ISO 200, ISO 400, ISO 800, ISO 1600, ISO auto
  • max shutter speed: 1/1500 sec
  • min shutter speed: 15 sec
  • 32MB Flash, SD Memory Card
  • zoom lens - 6.2 mm - 18.6 mm - F/2.8-4.9
  • 1 x Canon NB-4L Li-ion rechargeable battery
  • 1 x USB, 1 x Composite video/audio output
  • 125g
  • 86x23x56mm

OUR VERDICT

Despite a few minor issues, the Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS is a joy to use, and it produces superb photos for its class. If you can get by without a truly wide-angle lens, you'll be more than happy with the SD1100 IS. And, man, does it look cool.

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