I have been a long term fan of Canon’s PowerShot A series, and have owned four or five of them. They are larger and heavier than the SD Series ELPHs and operate on standard or NiMH rechargeable AA batteries; Either 2 or 4 of them, depending on the specific model. The SD1000s greatest selling points are, at once, its greatest draw backs. These are 1) its small shirt-pocket size ( 3.38 x 2.11 x 0.76 in.) and 2) the nature of its power supply, a rechargeable 760 mAh lithium-ion battery. These are two of the best examples of technological ‘double-edged swords’ I have seen in a long time. Despite the camera’s excellent resolution (7.1 mps) and overall good quality construction and design, these two issues plus the lack of an Image Stabilization feature (present in several of the newer PowerShot A series cameras) cause me to not recommend this model to the average user.
I will not fill this review by repeating the technical details you can find on the canonusa.com site or in an online manual for the camera. Suffice it to say that Canon has been making top quality (and reasonably priced) digital cameras for many years now – in several basic lines, the ELPH (SD) being the smallest among them. Therein lays the first cause for my reservations. To accommodate to its small physical size, the controls have been, necessarily, downsized as well. I have neither unnaturally large hands/fingers nor do I suffer from disabling arthritis – my vision, with glasses, is quite good. Yet, I had a great deal of trouble negotiating the relative minuteness of the controls and settings. Changing them quickly to capture a particular shot was physically impossible for me as I expect it would be for all but hose with very lithe, nimble, young fingers and near perfect nearsightedness. True, I am accustomed to the larger physical formatting of the PowerShot A series, but I can and do adapt and learn to use new things – but this one is not meant for my physiology.
My second major criticism concerns the power supply. The lithium-ion battery is charged outside the camera for 1 ½ hours to bring it to full power. Unlike my cell phone which also is powered by a lithium-ion rechargeable, the one designed for this camera can be ruined by overcharging. That is to say, while I can leave my phone plugged into a charger for a day or two – it simply stops accepting the charge once it is full. The Canon manual makes it quite clear that if the battery is charged for longer that 1 ½ hours, it can be ruined. Further, it must be charged, again according to Canon’s own directions, on either the day of anticipated use or the day immediately before it. While there is no information available either in the manual or from Canon Customer Support on the subject of exactly how long an unused battery will hold the charge for, we must assume it is not longer than a day or two based on the information we are given. So, unlike the PowerShot A series, which can be used after any extended period of non-use by simply dropping in a couple of AA batteries and shooting away, with this SD1000, the user needs to anticipate and plan for its use in advance. I am astounded that anyone might think that this was/is a good idea!
There is also the issue of what I regard as a significant design oversight in the omission of the Image Stabilization feature available in several of the newer A Series models. This “IS” feature literally corrects for the natural quavering of the human hand while taking photos and has other advantages as well. Perhaps the mechanics necessary to include it simply would not fit into a package this small. Once you have used a digital camera that has this feature, it is unlikely that you will ever again be satisfied with one that lacks it.
I have no trouble with the picture quality – but I have come to expect that from Canon. I felt that I was using a camera built for a much younger person with thin, nimble features and perfect vision. I have none of those, so it’s the wrong camera for me. It might be just right for you, however. So, like with all other products, touch and try before you buy!