Big Trade-Offs in a Little Camera

Canon PowerShot SD10 Digital ELPHSanta Claus (okay, my girlfriend) was generous enough to bring me a brand new Canon PowerShot SD10 Digital ELPH for Christmas this year. I’ve been wanting a new digital camera for some time, so I was pretty elated to find this waiting for me on Christmas morning.

Right: Look sharp. A sample of the SD10’s underwhelming zoom quality; this is an actual-sized detail of a photo shot using the 5.7x digital zoom.
Sample Zoom Photo

Previously, I had been using an aging, often problematic Sony CyberShot DSC-F505, a camera that conspicuously sports a massively-sized, incredibly handy 5x Carl Zeiss optical zoom lens that I had come to take for granted. In spite of the fact that the PowerShot SD10 sports a 5.7x digital zoom, this function is a pale imitation of a true optical zoom; the abominable pictures that result from trying to use this feature means that it has effectively no zoom capabilities at all, and I᾿ve actually had to disable it altogether to safeguard against shooting important subjects with the digital zoom accidentally activated.

The SD10 was at the top of my holiday wish list, but after I received it, I quickly realized that its lackluster zooming capabilities were a disappointment. All the same, I opted to not to exchange it because, that feature aside, it takes terrific pictures, is capable of sharp macro shots at only a few inches away from a subject, and it’s the teeniest, tiniest little camera available on the market today. That alone makes it about five times more useful than my old Cybershot, which was just unwieldy enough to force an internal debate any time I thought about toting it along anywhere for casual photography. This one fits in my breast pocket (even with the added bulk of the leather case that shipped with it), and I’ve been carrying it everywhere with me. Thanks, Santa!



  1. Haha. You’ve been posting things about it for a while. I could tell you wanted it or were very very interested.

    My s110 powershot elph is quite the number and I just about swear by the Powershot line and Canon’s firmware – responsive, quick and intuitive. The camera’s lasted me for what seems like a lifetime with no problems.

    I’m eventually going to make the switch to a DSLR though. Or a Leica Digilux 2.

    Also, if you’re curious about lenses or getting some for your camera. Take a look here and keep an eye out. They may introduce a SD10 adapter. I’ve been meaning to get for my elph. Like this. Neat.

  2. Great links. That Leica is hot; I want one now! DSLR is the way to go… but this time around, I really wanted a super-tiny camera. I hope they do release an SD10 lens adapter soon… it would solve the most prominent shortcoming of this camera.

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