We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Cameras Reviews
15,606 Reviews

Canon PowerShot SD990 IS review

£349 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Canon

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

As a fan of Canon's Digital Elph cameras, we were a bit disappointed by the current flagship model of the series, the 14.7Mp Canon PowerShot SD990 IS.

As a fan of Canon's Digital Elph cameras, we were a bit disappointed by the current flagship model of the series, the 14.7Mp Canon PowerShot SD990 IS.

Our disappointment lies mostly with the build quality of the Canon PowerShot SD990 IS; it produces image quality that's among the best we've seen of cameras of a similar ilk.

We expect a camera priced at around £250 to feel solid. The PowerShot SD990 IS, which has a plastic body rather than the titanium casing of its predecessor (the PowerShot SD950 IS), feels a bit cheap. This, coupled with a handful of other shortcomings, chips into the camera's excellent performance.

The image quality is indeed outstanding. The Canon PowerShot SD990 IS netted an overall score of Superior in the our lab's jury evaluations, producing some of the best results for colour accuracy, lack of distortion, and exposure quality we've ever seen in a point-and-shoot.

However, the plasticky build and some design choices hinder its overall score. Canon released the Canon PowerShot SD990 IS alongside the 10Mp Canon PowerShot SD880 IS, its less-expensive (and excellent) Digital Elph sibling. The PowerShot SD880 IS, though, feels as solid as a rock, despite the fact that it, too, has a plastic chassis.

The Canon PowerShot SD990 IS has a control dial on the back of the camera, complementing the four-way navigation pad. The dial makes scrolling through menu options extremely fast, but, on the PowerShot SD990 IS, it jiggles enough to make it feel flimsy.

What's more, that dial is suprisingly difficult to use, with its secondary function-switching between program mode and manual mode-unhandy at best. When we were dialing between modes, we often couldn't make it land on the one we wanted. On the SD880, we never had such problems with the control dial.

Another gripe we have with the Canon PowerShot SD990 IS is the focal range: At 36mm to 133mm, the 3.7X optical zoom lens is not a true wide angle. When we compared it to the SD880's 28mm-to-112mm, 4X optical zoom, we started wondering why Canon skimped on the wide-angle with this more expensive model.

The Canon PowerShot SD990 IS has a 2.5in LCD.

So what features make the Canon PowerShot SD990 IS pricier than the PowerShot SD880 IS, other than the higher megapixel count? For starters, it has an optical viewfinder.

It also has a wider set of manual controls, including aperture and shutter-speed settings, flash exposure compensation, and manual focus. In Quick Shot mode, the Canon PowerShot SD990 IS continuously adjusts for exposure and focus (even when you remove your finger from the shutter button entirely), thus eliminating shutter lag almost completely.

NEXT: image stabilisation >>

Canon PowerShot SD990 IS Expert Verdict »
Canon Digital IXUS 980 IS Scores 9.1 out of 10 based on 59 reviews
Optical Zoom: 3.7x
15 Megapixel
CCD
0.16kg
35mm Zoom Lens: 36-133mm
Digital Zoom: 4x
Autofocus
Focus Range: 19.69in to Infinity (w)
Macro Focus Range: 2-19.2in (w)/15.75-19.69in (t)
Focal Length: 7.7-28.5mm
Image Resolutions: 640x480, 2592x1944, 1600x1200, 3456x2592
Video Resolutions: 320x240, 640x480 (VGA), 30fps
QuickTime
Aperture Range: f2.8/f5.8 (w/t)
Shutter Speed: 15-1/1600 sec
White Balance: Auto, Manual, Daylight/Sunny, Cloudy, Fluorescent, Tungsten
Frames Per Second: 1.3 Frames
Memory Type: Multimedia Card, SD Card, SDHC Card
Compression Modes: Fine, SuperFine, Normal
Compression Type: JPEG, EXIF 2.2, DPOF 1.1
ISO Speeds: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 80
Built-In flash: Flash Off, Auto Flash, Red-eye Reduction Flash, Slow Sync, Forced On
2.5in LCD Screen, 230,000 pixels
USB 2.0, Video Out
Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery
Built-in Microphone
62x97x28mm
0.16kg
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

Despite the improvements on its predecessor, we can't help but feel that Canon dropped the ball a bit with the Canon PowerShot SD990 IS. Unless you simply can't live without an optical viewfinder or extensive manual controls, we see little reason to spend the extra coinage on the Canon PowerShot SD990 IS.

There are currently no price comparisons for this product.
  • Canon PowerShot SD880 IS review

    Canon PowerShot SD880 IS

    Canon's PowerShot SD880 IS is a compact point-and-shoot digital camera.

  • Canon SD880 IS Digital Elph review

    Canon SD880 IS Digital Elph

    Not only is the Canon SD880 IS Digital Elph stylish, durable, and exceptionally easy to use, it also takes great pictures and provides 28mm of wide-angle bliss.

  • Canon PowerShot SD940 IS review

    Canon PowerShot SD940 IS

    The slim, stylish Canon PowerShot SD940 IS compact camera is a slight upgrade over the sexy PowerShot SD780 IS.

  • Canon PowerShot S5 IS 8Mp digital camera

    Canon PowerShot S5 IS 8Mp digital camera

    The sturdily built Canon PowerShot S5 IS is what is commonly known as a 'bridge' camera – so called because it forms a bridge between a point-and-shoot compact and a digital SLR.

  • Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS review

    Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS

    The Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS is an affordable pocket camera with an interesting variety of shooting modes, excellent image quality, and optical image stabilisation.


IDG UK Sites

Windows 9 release date, price, features: 30 September marked for unveiling

IDG UK Sites

Gateway to your kingdom: why everybody should check and update their broadband router

IDG UK Sites

Netflix whips up 3D VR viewing room for Oculus Rift during company hack day

IDG UK Sites

Best Mac? Complete Apple Mac buyers guide for 2014