Canon SD990 IS

Canon PowerShot SD990 IS front
  • 15MP - 1/1.7" Sensor
  • 2.5" Fixed Display
  • ISO 80 - 1600
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • 640 x 480 video
  • 36-133mm (F2.8-5.8) lens
  • 205g - 98 x 62 x 28mm
  • Announced September 2008
  • Alternate Name is Digital IXUS 980 IS
  • Read full specs
  • Alternatives
  • Size Comparison
  • FAQ

Canon SD990 IS summary

Canon SD990 IS is Canon's Ultracompact camera first announced on September of 2008. It comes with a 15 MegaPixel, CCD 1/1.7" size sensor with a full resolution of 4416 x 3312. The camera is referred to as "Digital IXUS 980 IS" in some markets.

The SD990 IS comes in at #81 out of 151 in Ultracompact cameras and over all #1063 out of 1465 for digital cameras in our collection. Please check our Advanced camera filter to get camera results based on your customized criteria.

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The following is a graph of various factors used in the rating system.

Canon SD990 IS Pros and Cons

Here is a list of advantages and disadvantages of the Canon SD990 IS based on things which are usually regarded as important in a camera.

built in zoom lens (36-133mm 3.7 x zoom)
flash built-in
flash sync speed is above average (1/500s)
good megapixels (15 megapixels)
has image stabilization (Optical)
includes face detection autofocus
very good minimum ISO (80)
display isn't selfie friendly
does not have phase detect autofocus
does not have RAW files
fixed lens (fixed lens mount)
low resolution screen (230 k dot)
manual focus not available
max frames per second low (1.0 frames per second)
more heavy than competition (205 grams)
no aperture priority mode
no external flash support
no external microphone port
no HDMI port
no headphone port
no manual control
no shutter priority mode
screen does not articulate
sluggish at long end (f5.8)
sluggish max aperture (f2.8)
small screen (2.5")
tiny sensor size (1/1.7")
video resolution low (640 x 480 pxls)
wide angle not good (36mm)
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Canon SD990 IS Sensor specs

The specification of the sensor in the Canon SD990 IS is 7.44mm x 5.58mm (1/1.7"). The 42 mm² sensor is able to capture 4416 x 3312 pixels using aspect ratios of 4:3, 3:2 and 16:9. The camera has got Image Stabilization (Optical). Sensor stabilization is superior than digital stabilization as the latter can easily produce cropping.

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The CCD sensor boasts 15 megapixels and gives a native ISO range of 80 - 1600. Unfortunately, RAW files are not supported so the user has less room to maneuver in post.

The graphic underneath illustrates the SD990 IS's sensor size compared to other common sizes. The SD990 IS sensor comes with a crop factor of 4.8 and is outlined in green.

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To get a sense of different aspect ratios, you should refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Canon SD990 IS dimensions

Canon SD990 IS is 0.45 lb (205 gr or 7.23 oz) and the physical size of the camera is 98mm x 62mm x 28mm (3.9" x 2.4" x 1.1"). The weight of average Ultracompact camera is 121 gr so the Canon SD990 IS is weightier as compared with other rivals.

Photography Glossary

Down below is a picture of the Canon SD990 IS alongside a softdrink so you can have a sense of its size.

Canon PowerShot SD990 IS dimensions scale

The top view underneath will show you the button design on the SD990 IS.

Canon PowerShot SD990 IS topview buttons dials

Canon SD990 IS Lens details

The SD990 IS has got a built-in lens having a focal range of 36-133mm making it a 3.7 x zoom which won't be very good nevertheless it is likely to be handy in some conditions.

At it's widest 36mm, the lens provides an aperture of f2.8 which is somewhat sluggish and not great in low light circumstances and you might find it hard to capture good bokeh. You could also need to boost your ISO which causes noisy files. With the long end, 133mm comes with f5.8 which is very slow and you may have to use slow shutter speeds.

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Canon SD990 IS Connectivity

The SD990 IS has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes

Digital cameras that come with NFC and / or Bluetooth compatibility can be used wirelessly with smartphones. You will be able to transfer photos and oftentimes adjust settings with no need to connect physically with the camera.

A few apps also enable a Liveview and release the shutter in case you are not near the camera. If the camera boasts a HDMI out, it can be connected to an external screen. Many cameras enable you to recharge the battery pack with the USB socket.

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Canon SD990 IS Video details

The highest possible video resolution in the Canon SD990 IS is 640 x 480 and it can record in Motion JPEG format. 480p is terrible by today's standards. You should really strive for a minimum 1080p resolution for video recording. The body does not offer a mic and / or headphone jack so you get absolutely no control over your audio. It is perhaps best to shop for another model in case you need better audio in your video clips.

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Canon SD990 IS Weather Sealing

Canon SD990 IS does not have environment sealing so rainy conditions could affect the camera.

Canon SD990 IS Display and Viewfinder

The Canon SD990 IS comes with a 2.5" fixed display having a resolution of 230k dots.

Please note that the display screen offers no touch support.

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The View Finder specifications regarding Canon SD990 IS are as follows:

  • ViewFinder Optical (tunnel)

Viewfinders are very useful in sunny outdoor situations which can easily make the camera display washed out and hard to view.

Canon SD990 IS Shutter details

Canon SD990 IS is able to shoot continuously at 1.0 frames per second. The maximum shutter speed is 1/1600 sec.

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Canon SD990 IS Flash and Hot shoe details

Canon SD990 IS has got just inbuilt flash with no external flash support. The max flash sync is 1/500 sec.

Canon SD990 IS Autofocusing details

Canon SD990 IS has got only Contrast Detect Autofocus and is missing Phase Detect Autofocus. Phase Detection focusing is a lot more quicker and precise as compared with Contrast Detect focusing. The camera comes with Face detect which is helpful for portrait photography.

Canon SD990 IS lacks manual focus. Manual focus is good in low light occasions or you want to have more exact focus control.

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Canon SD990 IS Battery life

The average Ultracompact camera battery life is 214. Nikon L32 has the best (320) battery life in this category of cameras.

Listed below is a list of Ultracompact cameras which have the best battery life:

Canon SD990 IS for various categories of photography

The following graph gives a summary of the Canon SD990 IS for various categories of photography. To view more, go to the specific paragraph underneath.

Canon SD990 IS Portrait photography features

The Canon SD990 IS has a rating of 37 which is lousy, meaning that it is not really very good to use for portrait photography. Shooting portrait images favors heavily to sensor dimension, support for RAW files plus the potential to utilize external lighting.

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flash sync is higher than normal (1/500s)
sensor resolution is decent (15MP)
features face detection autofocus
no manual focus
manual exposure not possible
can't use external flash
small sensor size (1/1.7")
has no RAW support

Canon SD990 IS Street photography factors

Having a modest points total of 54, the Canon SD990 IS is relatively acceptable to buy for street photography. A very good street photography camera provides a fine balance of image quality and portability.

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has image stabilization (Optical)
fixed screen
tiny sensor (1/1.7")
lack of RAW support
heavier than competition in class (205 grams)

Sports photography with Canon SD990 IS

A lousy sports photography score of 35 means the Canon SD990 IS is not really very good for shooting sports. A camera needs to have great tracking plus fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

Photography Glossary
built in image stabilization (Optical)
megapixel count good (15 megapixels)
slow fps (1.0 frames per second)
no shutter priority mode
very small sensor size (1/1.7")
no phase detect AF

Canon SD990 IS as a Travel photography camera

Portability is super critical in buying a travel camera. Over-all, the Canon SD990 IS gets a modest 57 for a travel camera which makes it relatively suited for your travels.

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good megapixels (15 megapixels)
has built in flash
heavier than competition in class (205 grams)
display is not selfie friendly
wide angle not the best (36mm)
sluggish maximum aperture (f2.8)

Canon SD990 IS as a Landscape photography camera

For anyone who is looking to purchase a camera for landscape photography, the most essential aspect will be image quality. The Canon SD990 IS with it's lousy rating of 34 for a landscape camera is not really very good amongst it's rivals.

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built in image stabilization (Optical)
MP count good (15MP)
focusing manually not possible
cannot change lens (fixed lens mount)
wide angle not great (36mm)
slow maximum aperture (f2.8)
tiny screen (2.5")
no manual control
tiny sensor size (1/1.7")
does not have RAW files

Canon SD990 IS Vlogging highlights

A vlogging camera really should offer a moving display screen, mic input and ideally IBIS. Considering everything, the Canon SD990 IS is not really very good as a vlog camera as it gets a lousy rating of 27.

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image stabilization (Optical)
comes with face detection autofocus
wide angle not fantastic (36mm)
sluggish max aperture (f2.8)
does not have a selfie friendly screen
video resolution low (640 x 480 pxls)
lack of external mic socket
heavier than competition (205g)

Canon SD990 IS Alternatives

If you are looking for replacements to the SD990 IS, below is a number of the top ranked cameras that fall in to the class of Ultracompact.

The graph below shows you a summary of the SD990 IS versus it's highest scoring rivals suggested previously.

These are various other cameras you may view as alternatives. To look at a thorough comparison, click the "compare" link.

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General Information
Canon PowerShot SD990 IS
Otherwise known as
Digital IXUS 980 IS
Body design
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Sensor size
Sensor measurements
7.44 x 5.58mm
Sensor surface area
Sensor resolution
Anti aliasing filter
Aspect ratio
4:3, 3:2 and 16:9
Peak resolution
4416 x 3312
RAW support
Highest native ISO
Minimum native ISO
Focus manually
Touch focus
Autofocus continuous
Single autofocus
Autofocus tracking
Selective autofocus
Center weighted autofocus
Multi area autofocus
Autofocus live view
Face detect autofocus
Contract detect autofocus
Phase detect autofocus
Lens mounting type
fixed lens
Lens focal range
36-133mm (3.7x)
Maximum aperture
Macro focus distance
Crop factor
Range of display
Fixed Type
Display size
Resolution of display
230k dot
Selfie friendly
Touch friendly
Viewfinder Information
Optical (tunnel)
DXO scores
DXO Overall score
not tested
DXO Color Depth score
not tested
DXO Dynamic range score
not tested
DXO Low light score
not tested
Minimum shutter speed
15 secs
Fastest shutter speed
1/1600 secs
Continuous shutter speed
1.0 frames per sec
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manual exposure
Change white balance
Image stabilization
Inbuilt flash
Flash range
4.60 m
Flash settings
Auto, On, Off, Slow, Manual (Red Eye On/Off)
External flash
AE bracketing
White balance bracketing
Fastest flash sync
1/500 secs
Multisegment exposure
Average exposure
Spot exposure
Partial exposure
AF area exposure
Center weighted exposure
Video features
Supported video resolutions
640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps), 160 x 120 (15 fps)
Highest video resolution
Video file format
Motion JPEG
Microphone jack
Headphone jack
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environment seal
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
205 grams (0.45 pounds)
98 x 62 x 28mm (3.9" x 2.4" x 1.1")
Battery model
Self timer
Yes (2 or 10 sec)
Time lapse feature
Storage media
Storage slots