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The PowerShot SD430 is the latest in Canon’s popular line of Digital Elph point-and-shoot cameras.
The image quality of the 5-megapixel SD430 was above average; test images were well exposed, with good color and plenty of detail. The zoom range is 5.8mm to 17mm (equivalent to 35mm to 105mm on a film camera). Battery life was unimpressive, though, with the battery running out after a disappointing 192 images. While that’s enough for a couple of days of serious shooting, you’ll want to keep the charger on hand.
The zoom and focus mechanisms are a little noisy: both buzzed annoyingly while in use, and the focusing noise was particularly irritating when I used the optical viewfinder. It makes taking candid shots a problem, too, as the buzzing noise could spook the local wildlife.
Like many other camera companies, Canon has been adding wireless functionality to its cameras, and the SD430 comes with a built-in 802.11b adapter for wireless printing with selected printers or for transmitting images to a PC. At this writing, Canon is not shipping Mac wireless software, so we did not get to test the wireless functionality. However, a software update with such functionality is in the works and will be available soon.
At $500, the SD430 is a bit on the expensive side for a 5-megapixel camera, and you seem to be paying a big premium for the wireless features. It’s $100 more than the Nikon P2, which also includes wireless. However, in our tests the Canon had a slight edge over the Nikon P2 in producing high-quality images, and the SD430’s comparatively smaller design makes it an appealing choice for people who want a pocket-size camera and don’t mind paying extra for good images.
Scale = Excellent, Very Good, Good, Flawed, Unacceptable
|Zoom/Focal Length (35mm equivalent)||3x optical (35-105mm)|
|Battery Type||Rechargeable lithium ion|
|Media Slots||SD Card (1)|
|Size (wxhxd)||3.9 x 2.1 x 0.9 inches|
|Weight (oz.)||5.4 oz.|
Macworld’s buying advice
The Canon SD430 is attractively styled, and has good image quality and zoom range. But considering its poor battery life and noisy operation, its price isn’t entirely justified.
[ Richard Baguley is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in PC World, Wired, and JIWire.com. He also maintains a Camcorder blog.]Canon PowerShot SD430