PowerShot SD300

The Canon PowerShot SD300 is compact and solidly built. Unfortunately, its image quality doesn’t quite measure up.

Neatly arranged controls, a bright 2-inch LCD, and a responsive thumb pad make this camera’s menus easy to navigate. There’s no live histogram, but you can view a histogram to check exposure in Playback mode.

There are nine shooting modes, including a Stitch Assist mode for taking panoramic pictures, and a manual mode that lets you adjust exposure compensation (quickly accessed via a menu), set white balance (including custom white balance), and select ISO (sensitivity ranges from a low 50 ISO to 400 ISO). A Long Shutter option lets you set shutter speeds from 1 to 15 seconds for low-light shots, but there’s no way to set a fast shutter speed for shooting action. A fast continuous shooting mode takes more than two shots per second. You can focus to 1.2 inches in Macro mode.

The SD300 captures video at 640-by-480 pixels and 30 frames per second, but clips are limited to 3 minutes. The audio has a little hiss, but it’s pretty good for this kind of camera. You can also attach audio annotations to images of as long as 60 seconds.

Our jury liked the SD300’s color and detail, but we also noticed some noise and chromatic aberration, with blue fringe appearing around high contrast edges.

You’ll find everything you need to get started in the box. Canon gets bonus points for including a thorough, compact, 177-page printed manual (all in English) that you can toss in your camera bag.

Jury Tests

Color Quality—Accuracy Excellent
Clarity—Detail Very Good
Clarity—Artifacts, Noise Good

Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable

Specifications

Resolution 5.0 megapixels
Zoom/Focal Length 3.0x optical (35mm to 105mm)
Maximum Aperture f2.8-f4.9
Size (wxhxd) 3.39 inches x 2.09 inches x 0.82 inches
Weight 4.6 ounces

Macworld’s Buying Advice

The Canon PowerShot SD300 is a solid pocket camera, but it’s pricey and images suffer from noise and fringing. If you don’t mind a bulkier, more automatic camera, the 4-megapixel Epson L-410 (   , March 2005 ) is a bargain at half the price.

PowerShot SD300

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