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Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS Digital Camera Review

Canon Powershot SD1300 IS Camera

April 1st, 2010

The Canon Powershot SD1300 IS is the successor to the PowerShot SD1200 IS from 2009. Canon designed the SD1300 IS to appeal to those who are looking for an affordable stylish compact camera that offers point-and-shoot simplicity, and that is easy to bring along by fitting easily in a purse or pocket.

With features such as a 4x optical zoom lens with built-in optical image stabilizer (IS), advanced face detection technology, DIGIC 4 image processor, and a large 2.7-inch LCD, the Canon SD1300 IS seems to offer good value for the money.

We have now had the opportunity to review the Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS. To see how the camera performed, check out our Canon SD1300 IS sample image gallery, along with the findings and conclusions from our review. We begin by providing a general overview of the SD1300 IS, and then present more of the details. You can use the navigation menu found under the product image below to jump to a specific section of the review.

Canon SD1300 IS Overview: The PowerShot SD1300 IS incorporates a 4x optical wide angle zoom lens with built-in Optical Image Stabilization (IS) technology, which offers photographer's the ability to capture images with extra versatility, while minimizing image blur. The camera's image stabilizer system uses sophisticated gyroscopic sensors to detect vertical and horizontal movements, then moves the lens accordingly to compensate, which aids in maintaining stability and focus when using the telephoto capabilities of the camera or under lower light conditions.

The Canon SD1300 IS incorporates a 12 Megapixel sensor with Canon’s DIGIC 4 processor – delivering fast response times and natural colour reproduction. DIGIC 4 also takes care of difficult lighting conditions with i-Contrast – a technology which prevents highlight blowout, while retaining shadow detail.

For carefree shooting the PowerShot SD1300 IS includes Smart Auto and Easy modes with Scene Detection Technology. By analyzing people, distance, brightness and colour in the scene, the camera automatically selects one of 18 scene variables to optimize settings for the best results - freeing the user to concentrate on picture taking, while the camera takes care of the technical details.

The camera can also shoot VGA movies with sound, so users can film action as well as shooting beautiful stills. Framing and reviewing shots is simple too, thanks to a large 2.7 inch high resolution 230K LCD with wide viewing angle and 5 levels of brightness adjustment.

Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS Digital Camera Review: Navigation Menu
  •  PowerShot SD1300 IS: Design & Operation
  •  Canon SD1300 IS: Sample Test Images
  •  Canon SD1300 IS Camera: Specifications
  •  PowerShot SD1300 IS: Review Conclusion

  • The PowerShot SD1300 IS also comes with the latest Face Detection Technology which recognizes up to 35 faces in a scene and automatically adjusts key focus and exposure settings to ensure everyone looks their best.

    This technology includes Auto Red-Eye Correction, Face Detection AF/AE/FE, and Face Self-Timer – a feature that is great for group shots and self-portraits as the camera waits until it detects a new face in the frame before taking the shot.

    Faces can also be detected if they are at an angle to the camera so that the correct focus and exposure can be achieved without subjects facing the camera directly.

    Powershot SD1300 IS (IXUS 105) Major Features:

    •  12.1 Megapixel CCD
    •  28mm wide, 4x zoom. Optical IS
    •  2.7-inch PureColor LCD II
    •  Smart Auto, Smart Flash Exposure
    •  Face Detection, FaceSelf-Timer, Auto Redeye Correction
    •  Motion Detection Technology
    •  I-Contrast
    •  DIGIC 4 Image Processor
    •  Auto Creative shooting modes
    •  VGA movies

    The camera ships with: Lithium-ion Battery Pack NB-6L, Battery Charger CB-2LY, USB interface cable, AV cable, wrist strap and Canon's software suite.

    The Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS digital camera is available now for an estimated selling price of $249.99 Canadian or $199.99 in the US. Check real time street prices in Canada.

    Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS Camera: Colour Options

    The Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS Digital Elph is available in a range of colours to suit individual preferences.

    Apart from the more common silver, the Canon SD1300 IS colour choices include: Pink, Green, Brown and Blue. The colour accents show up well on the stylish brushed aluminum body of the Powershot SD1300 IS.

    Canon PowerShot SD1300IS Camera: Design, Features and Menus

    The Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS offers a very compact design with a comfortable hold. With 12-megapixel resolution and a proven 4x zoom lens (28-112mm equivalent in 35mm terms), the SD1300IS is geared towards general family and travel photography.

    Taking into account that the Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS offers an attractive price point, current SLR users might also find the SD1300 IS as a nice complement to their existing camera, one that you are more likely to take with you for a night out on the town or simply for capturing those unexpected opportunities.


    The Canon SD1300 IS offers a good solution for capturing landscapes or larger group shots of people with its 28mm wide-angle lens coverage, providing a broader field of view compared to many point and shoot cameras which begin around 35mm.


    The zoom lever on the Canon Powershot SD1300 IS is found on the top of the camera surrounding the shutter release button.

    To compose the shot, simply toggle the zoom lever to the right in order to zoom in on the subject. Moving the lever to the left zooms out from the subject providing a wider field of view. The camera also features a 4x digital zoom (combined 16x magnification).

    Canon Powershot SD1300 IS at 28mm  


    Canon Powershot SD1300 IS zoomed in on the same suject at 112mm  

    Although the camera does not offer much in the way of manual exposure control (Shutter priority, Aperture Priority and Manual are not available), the Canon SD1300 IS does offer quite a few features, including a number of Scene modes, exposure compensation, White Balance presets (incl. Custom), ISO control and an enhanced information display with histogram in playback mode.

    Canon Powershot SD1300 IS LCD

    The main camera controls are found on the back of the PowerShot SD1300 IS. A sliding switch allows you select the desired shooting mode from three available options: Auto, Flexible Auto, and Movie.

    The camera offers the convenience of a basic 'green' Auto mode (Smart AUTO) for care free picture taking, and a total of 15 user selectable shooting modes.

    In Smart AUTO mode the Canon SD1300 IS selects the proper settings based on the scene at hand. Press lightly on the shutter release button and the camera displays an icon (on the top right of the LCD screen) for the scene it has determined. The SD1300 IS automatically focuses and selects from one of 18 predefined optimum settings to match the subject brightness and colour.

    Movie Mode: The Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS offers the ability to shoot movies at 640 x 480 resolution. You can record movie clips up to 4GB in size or 1 hour in length. Three resolution levels are available: 640 x 480 30fps, 640 x 480 LP (takes up half the memory space of 640 x 480 standard) and 320 x 240.

    During movie recording, the optical zoom on the Canon SD1300 IS is disabled and only the digital zoom can be used. The mechanical movement noise of the optical zoom would otherwise get picked up by the cameras built-in microphone. +/-2 stop exposure compensation in 1/3 step increments is available to darken or brighten the movie depending on lighting conditions. White Balance can also be manually adjusted in movie mode.

    Canon SD1300 IS back controls

    Canon SD1300 IS Rear Buttons:

    Using the outer touch pad surrounding the FUNC. / SET button controls the camera's menu navigation and allows for the adjustment of a number of functions.

    Clockwise from the top the features include, Exposure Compensation, Flash Settings, Self Timer Settings (switches to Delete in Playback) and Focus mode.

    The SD1300 IS offers +/- 2 stops of exposure compensation which can be adjusted in 1/3 stop increments.

    Flash control settings include: Auto, Flash On (Fill), Slow Sync Flash and Flash Off. The flash coverage is approximately 30cm to 4m at wide-angle (up to 2.4m at telephoto).

    Self Timer Settings include: Off, 10 sec delay, 2 sec delay, Face Detect Delay, and Custom Self-Timer (set the delay from 0 to 30 sec)

    Macro Focus Mode and Infinity Focus can bet set by pushing on the left side of the outer FUNC.SET button pad.

    Pressing the MENU button accesses the cameras menu settings highlighted further below. A large playback button is conveniently located on the back of the Canon SD1300 IS.

    One push of the button and the camera will display the last image or movie taken. You can also select to go back and forth between your images.

    Scrolling options in Playback mode include jump by 10 or 100 images at a time, jump to movies, view by date taken, or jump to the first image taken.

    Pressing the Display (DISP.) button in Playback mode provides the choices of viewing the captured image with no information display (full screen), with simple information display, with detailed information display including histogram, or focus check display to confirm for fine details (as shown in screengrab to the right).


    To access the 'Scene' shooting modes and the override exposure features available on the Canon Powershot SD1300 IS, slide the camera's mode switch to 'Flexible Auto' mode , and then press the FUNC.SET button.

    Canon SD1300 IS Program mode
    SD1300 IS Face Self Timer Mode
    Canon SD1300 IS Scene Mode Menu Bar
    Program Auto Mode (Default)
    Face Self Timer Mode Selected
    Scene Mode Menu Bar

    The above screen grabs display the function settings that are available in 'Flexible Auto' mode. The first option is the exposure mode menu (P), with Program mode set as the default. Five commonly used 'Scene' capture modes are readily accessible from this menu bar, including; Portrait, Night Snapshot, Kids&Pets, Indoor, and Face Self-Timer (camera takes the picture when a new face enters the frame).

    By selecting 'Face Self-Timer' mode (highlighted in middle image above) and then pushing the display button on the back of the camera, the additional 'Scene' modes become available. The options include; Low Light, Beach, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, and Long Shutter.

    Canon SD1300 IS / IXUS 105 Low Light Scene Mode Test

    Advanced camera settings including ISO, White Balance, My Colours, Metering, Continuous Shooting, Image Quality and Image Size are found in the camera's Function Menu, and are likewise quickly accessed by pushing the [FUNC. / SET] button with the camera set to 'Flexible Auto'. Function Menu settings are shown below.

    Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS: Function Menu Options
    Scene Mode Menu: Program (P) - Default setting. Scene modes include: Portrait, Night Snapshot, Kids&Pets, Indoor, and Face Self-Timer, Low Light, Beach, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, and Long Shutter
    ISO: Manually selectable ISO settings include: 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1600 ISO
    AWB: White Balance options include: Auto White Balance (AWB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent High and Custom preset
    My Colours: Default set to OFF. My colours options include: Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black and White and Custom (Adjust contrast, sharpness and colour 5 levels)
    Metering: Select from Evaluative (default), Centre Weighted or Spot metering for difficult lighting conditions
    Continuous Shooting: Single shot, Continuous (Approx. 0.9 frames per second)
    Image Size: Settings include: L (4000 x 3000), M1 (3264 x 2448), M2 (2592 x 1944), M3 (1600 x 1200), S (640x 480) and W (4000 x 2248) Widescreen
    Image Quality: Adjust the compression ratio (image quality). Two available settings include Fine and Normal

    Pushing the 'MENU' button on the PowerShot SD1300 IS activates the camera setup and operation menus. The available MENU options vary depending on the selected shooting mode.

    Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS: Set Up Menu Options
    AF Frame: Select from Face Detect or Centre
    AF Frame Size: Default set to Normal. AF frame can be reduced by changing the setting to Small
    Digital Zoom: Digital Teleconverter. The focal length of the lens can be increased by an equivalent of 1.4x and 2.3x (some loss in image quality with these settings)
    AF-Point Zoom: Magnifying the focal point. Default setting is 'Off'. Select 'On' to have the AF frame magnify (to check focus) when you press the shutter release half way
    AF-assist Beam: Select On / Off to control the AF-assist beam function. Default setting is On
    Flash Settings: Redeye Reduction (On/Off), Redeye Reduction Lamp (On / Off)
    I-Contrast Off / Auto
    Review: Changes the image display time. Set from 2 to 10 sec, or Hold, Off
    Review Info: Change the way the image displays right after shooting. Choose Off (displays the image only), Detailed (with shooting information) or Focus Check
    Disp. Overlay: You can display gridlines on the LCD to aid in horizontal or vertical composition. A 3:2 guide is also available for cropping guidance
    IS Mode: Select from Continuous, Shoot Only, Panning - only counters up and down motion
    Date Stamp: You can insert the shooting date and time into the right corner of the image. The Default setting is Off

    Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS: Playback Mode Menu
    Slideshow: Repeat (On / Off), Play Time (3 to 30 sec), Effect (Slide, Fade, Off)
    Erase All: Select to erase all images and movies on the card
    Protect: Select images to protect from erasing
    Rotate: Choose images to rotate
    I-Contrast: Brightens shadow areas of the image - Auto, Low, Medium, High
    Redeye Correction: Choose an image to apply Redeye Correction
    Resize : Select 1600 x 1200 (M3), 640 x480 (S) or 320 x240 (XS)
    Resume: Playback order - Last shot, Last Seen
    Playback Transition: Image playback transitions - Slide, Fade, Off
    Resize to smaller copy for web or email  
    Apply I-Contrast to brighten shadows
    Set Up Menu for standard operation features  
    SD1300 IS offers Direct to Print (USB)

    The Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS runs on a supplied proprietary Canon NB-6L Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. The camera comes supplied with one battery and multi-voltage charger. The NB-6L battery will allow for about 420 shots on a full charge.

    Canon SD1300 IS with SD card and Li-Ion battery

    The Canon SD1300 IS uses Secure Digital (SD) type memory cards. The camera supports the following memory formats: SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus.

    A memory card does not come supplied with the camera, and will be an added purchase. The good news is that these are inexpensive in today's market. We would recommend a 2GB SD card as a minimum, and a 4GB card would provide enough space for lots of images and movies as well.

    The interface connection for the Canon Powershot SD1300 IS can be found on the side of the camera behind a small rubber hinged door towards the top. The USB cable and the Audio/Video cable share the same camera connection plug.

    Both a USB interface cable and an Audio / Video connection cable come supplied with the camera. (PAL/NTSC supported) The USB cable can also be used to connect the PowerShot SD1300 IS to a Pictbridge compatible printer for easy direct printing without the need of a computer.

    Supplied in the Box:

    Canon NB-6L Li-Ion rechargeable battery and charger CB-2LY (plugs directly into wall for North America, comes with wall socket connection cord for Europe and other countries), USB cable IFC-400PCU, Audi/Video cable AVC-DC400, Canon Solutions Image Browser Software, Quick Start Guide, Instruction manual included on CD, Wrist strap.

    Canon SD1300 IS Supplied Accessories

    Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS Review: Performance and Conclusion

    We were very pleased with the performance of the Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS in our tests. The camera powers up responsively, and the comfortably positioned zoom lever surrounding the shutter button makes framing images a simple step.

    The 4x image stabilized zoom lens incorporated into the Canon SD1300 IS provides good image quality capabilities. Edge to edge image detail is quite good although some corner softness can also be noticed. Center area sharpness was however generally very good for this class. Some Chromatic Aberrations (colour fringes around strong highlight areas) were also noticed in a few of our tests, although this is fairly common to entry level point and shoots.

    If you are not regularly printing larger than 8" x 10" prints, the lens quality from the Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS should be very acceptable to most users. We did observe some barrel distortion (curvature) when shooting close-up's at wide angle, although once again this is fairly common with cameras in this category.

    The optical image stabilizer lens technology did a good job during our tests, offering up to 3 steps compensation, allowing us to hand hold the camera under lower light conditions and get blur free images were normally a tripod would have been required.

    The 2.7-inch 230,000 dot resolution LCD monitor offers easy composition and playback capabilities. The cameras menu system is easy to read and navigate on the screen, and colours are vibrantly displayed. The brightness of the monitor can be adjusted in 5 steps depending on viewing conditions.

    The LCD monitor does not feature any advanced coatings like some higher end monitors, so viewing the screen under very bright conditions can be more difficult. The simply solution is to point and shoot in the general direction of your subject and then playback the shot while shielding the monitor to see if you got what you want.

    More and more of the new digital cameras now provide HD movie recording ability, although the Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS being a fairly entry level model does not offer this feature. The camera's video recording abilities are limited to 640 x 480 (30 frame per second) AVI movies. So if you are big on video capabilities there are other cameras you should look at. Check out the similar Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS camera with 4x zoom which offers 720P HD movie recording.

    Overall we found the Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS performed well in terms of image quality for its class. The 12 megapixel sensor offers good image quality from 80 to 200 ISO, with digital noise (grain like effect) becoming more noticeable from there on.

    The PowerShot SD1300 IS does deliver 'usable' image quality even at 800 ISO depending upon conditions, as seen in the candle shot in our Canon SD1300 IS digital camera sample image gallery. The camera does experience approximately 0.6 sec shutter lag (the time from when you press the shutter button to the time the camera takes the picture), so a little forethought and anticipation is required to capture the exact movement.

    If you are looking for a value priced take anywhere type of compact camera with good wide angle zoom, offering solid performance, while delivering sharp and vibrant images under most conditions, we would definitely recommend the Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS as a good solution.

    Canon Powershot SD1300 IS / IXUS 105 silver front

    Canon PowerShot SD1300 IS Image Sample Gallery
    ( Click on thumbnails below to see larger images )

    Canon Powershot SD1300 IS Digital Camera Specifications
    Effective Pixels 12.1 Megapixel, 1/2.3-inch type Charge Coupled Device (CCD)
    Processor DIGIC 4 with iSAPS technology
    Focal Range 5.0 - 20.0 mm (35mm equivalent: 28-112mm)
    Zoom Optical 4x. Digital approx. 4x
    Aperture f/2.8 - f/5.9
    Image Stabilizer Optical Image Stabilizer. Approximately 3 stop compensation
    Face Detection Detects up to 35 faces in a scene and adjusts focus, exposure, flash settings and white balance – for optimal results with natural-looking skin tones. FaceSelf-Timer makes group photos easy, taking a shot after an extra face enters the frame. Auto Redeye Correction eliminates redeye during shooting or playback.
    AF TTL Autofocus: AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed to centre)
    AF Modes Single, Continuous
    AF Lock On/Off Selectable
    AF Assist Beam Yes
    Focusing Distance Normal: 1.2 in. (3 cm) - infinity (W), 1.6 ft. (50 cm) - infinity (T)
    Macro: 1.2 in. - 1.6 ft. (3 - 50cm) (W)
    Metering modes Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (Centre)
    I-Contrast I-Contrast offers improved contrast and greater detail in tricky lighting conditions
    Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments.
    I-Contrast for automatic dynamic range correction
    ISO sensitivity AUTO, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
    Low Light ISO Mode: Auto Sets 400-6400 ISO (2MP file)
    Shutter Speed 1- 1/1500 sec (factory default)
    15 - 1/1500 sec (total range - varies by shooting mode)
    White Balance Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
    LCD monitor 2.7-inch TFT, approx. 230,000 dots. Adjustable to one of five levels. Quick bright LCD
    Built in Flash Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Sync
    Redeye Reduction Yes
    Flash Exposure Compensation Face Detection FE, Smart Flash Exposure
    Built-in Flash Range 30cm - 4.2m (W) / 2.4m (T)
    Shooting Modes 15 shooting modes are available: Auto*, P, Portrait, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, FaceSelf-Timer, Low Light (2.0MP), Beach, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Movie *with Scene Detection Technology
    Photo Effects My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Custom Color - Limited)
    Drive modes Single, Continuous, Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer
    Continuous Shooting Approx. 0.9 shots/sec. (until memory card becomes full)
    Image size (L) 4000 x 3000, (M1) 3264 x 2448, (M2) 2592 x 1944, (M3) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480, (W) 4000 x 2248.
    Resize in playback (M3, S, 320 x 240)
    Compression Fine, Normal
    Movies Size (L) 640 x 480, 30fps (LP) (M) 320 x 240, 30fps
    Up to 4GB or 1 hour recording time
    Movies Type AVI [Motion JPEG compression + WAVE (monaural)]
    Canon Printers Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and Canon Inkjet Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Fixed Size Print and Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP & ES printers only)
    Redeye Correction Yes, during shooting and playback
    Intelligent Orientation Sensor Yes
    Histogram Yes
    Playback Zoom Approx. 2x 10x
    Self Timer Approx. 2 or 10 sec. or Custom
    Menu Languages English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Ukrainian, Romanian, Farsi
    USB Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible)
    Connections A/V output, dedicated connector (PAL/NTSC)
    Card Type SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus
    Supplied Software ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser, PhotoStitch
    Battery Type Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-6L (battery and charger supplied)
    Number of shots Approx. 240 shots
    Approx. 420 min. playback
    Waterproof Case Optional: Waterproof Case (40m) WP-DC36, Waterproof Case Weight WW-DC1
    Dimensions 90.5 x 55.8 x 21.2 mm
    Weight Approx. 140g (including battery/batteries and memory card)

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