Canon PowerShot SD300: The Best Ultra-Compact in its Class?by Stephen Caston on February 23, 2005 4:00 PM EST
- Posted in
- Digital Camera
The Timing Tests* NOTE: For all of our time tests, the camera is reset to its factory default settings and set to record using the highest resolution and quality setting. It is set to record in Auto mode. We also disabled all sounds and "welcome" screens. A PNY 512MB SD card was used.
Before reading our results, please refer to our Testing Procedures page.
Startup TimeThe startup time is recorded from the moment that the power button is pushed to the moment that the shutter sounds. The camera is set to record in Auto mode and all startup sounds and images are disabled.
|Startup time (seconds)|
The SD300 is able to start up and take a picture in just 1.84 seconds. When we enabled the startup sound, the camera slows down very slightly to a 2.0 sec. startup time. Either way, this camera starts up very fast.
Auto-focus and Shutter LagTo record shutter lag, we perform two tests with the lens at its widest angle setting. For the first test, we pre-focus the lens and measure the amount of time that it takes the camera to take a picture after the shutter button is pressed. The second test measures the time that it takes for the camera to take a picture after we press the shutter button without pre-focusing. Each test is performed 3 times and the results are averaged. We left AiAF enabled for this test. For more information regarding our testing procedures, please refer to our Testing Procedures page.
|With Pre-focus (seconds)||Without Pre-focus (seconds)|
When we pre-focused the SD300, the shutter lag was a mere 0.08 sec. With a full auto-focus, the camera was able to take a picture after a 0.62 lag, which is on the fast side of average. We didn't notice any significant improvement in focus speed when we disabled AiAF. Overall, we are very impressed with the shutter lag times.
Write TimesWe recorded 5 different write times with a PNY 512 MB SD card:
Single Shot - The time that it takes for a single picture to be completely written to the flash card (the time that the "activity light" is on).
Shot To Shot (STS) - The time until the second shot can be taken after the first (shutter to shutter).
Shot To Shot w/Flash - The time that it takes the camera to take two pictures with the flash (from flash to flash).
Shot To Shot w/Buffer Full - The time between the last shot of a burst that fills the buffer to the moment that the shutter sounds again.
Clear Buffer - The time that it takes the camera to clear the buffer after a full burst of pictures is taken.
We performed each test three times and averaged the results. Below are the resolution, quality setting, and average file size used for the tests.
|Resolution (pixels)||Quality setting||Avg. file size (MB)|
|Single Shot||Shot to Shot||Shot to Shot w/Flash||Shot to Shot w/Buffer Full||Clear Buffer|
* Because these cameras do not have precise activity lights, we were unable to record a Single Shot time.
Although we couldn't measure a Single Shot time accurately for the SD300, it is certainly less than a second. Between shots without the flash, the SD300 takes just 1.24 seconds. When the flash is enabled, the cycle time is a bit slower at 5.07 seconds. As our comparison shows, this is much faster than similar cameras that we have reviewed. In Continuous drive mode, the SD300 is able to shoot images at 2.46 fps at the highest resolution and quality setting. With a fast SD card, you could shoot at this speed until your memory card fills up. With our 512 MB PNY card, at about every 20 frames, the SD300 would slow down very slightly for 2 or 3 frames and then speed back up to 2.46 fps for about 20 more frames. The camera would continue this cycle until the SD card was full. This is a very impressive continuous drive mode for a consumer camera. Because the SD300 is able to clear its images out of the buffer so fast, we were unable to record a "Clear Buffer" time. This is surely one of the fastest ultra compact digicams that we have tested.