Canon Powershot SD780IS Review
The Powershot SD780IS is a follow-up to the SD770, and is one of the slimmest point & shoots we've seen. Even though it's small, its features are plentiful and there's a lot we like about it. It has a solid build, quick autofocus, lots of cool features, HD movies, and optical image stabilization.
First, the design. The SD780IS is as sleek and slim as it gets. Slip this into your pant, shirt, or jacket pocket and whip it out in an instant when you need to take a shot. It comes in 4 colors: silver, red, black and gold. All of them have a monochrome affect, and feels extremely soft. Even though the SD780IS is slim, there really isn't a grip, so we do suggest buying a camera case.
The controls are straightforward. We have the power button on the top panel. There's the shutter release button, and a zoom ring surrounding it. In the back, the space is somewhat crowded, and you can easily hit several buttons by accident. The 4-way control is also not as big as we'd like as well. The LCD screen is good though, and has a wide viewing angle. There's an optical viewfinder as well, but in most cases we recommend just using the LCD to shoot, unless there's so much glare outside. The optical viewfinder is just too small, rendering it almost unusable.
You'll find the connector cover in the upper right corner, with the HDMI connector just below that, as well as the USB/AV-out connector. Overall, the controls are laid out in a simple manner, and they all have a good feel to them.
The 3 X zoom lens is nothing fancy, and has a range of 33mm to 100mm. The SD780IS does have optical image stabilization, which is supposed to help when shooting in low lighting, but more useful when shooting movies. We actually tried shooting indoors with this camera, and all of our shots were too soft. We recommend using flash if you want solid, sharp photos indoors.
There's 3 main modes you can choose from: auto, program and movie. Auto mode is better than the previous auto modes we've seen in Canon cameras. It's more intelligent, and picks the best scene mode to use for a particular scene. When we pointed the camera at something very close to us, the SD780IS switched to macro mode. When we aimed at faces, it used face detection.
If you're feeling ambitious, you can opt for program mode, which lets you control most of the settings, though you can't adjust aperture or shutter speed. You can just select any scene mode you prefer, as well as change the ISO, white balance, color settings, metering modes, and resolution.
The SD780IS is surprisingly fast for such a slim camera, especially when we used auto mode. The SD780 analyzes the current scene, and seems to pick the best scene almost instantly. Face detection is also fast. Overall performance is average, with its good and bad. Shutter lag is pretty good. Full AF shutter lag is at .48 seconds at wide angle, and .52 seconds in telephoto. Prefocus shutter lag clocks in at .079 seconds, which is above average. However, shot to shot times was disappointing, measuring at 2.4 seconds with no flash, and 5 seconds with the flash. Continuous shooting mode is also below average measuring at .78 frames per second.
Image quality is good, overall. At low ISOs, our images had fine detail, good exposure and white balance. Colors look subtle, and aren't the intense, bright colors you usually see in mainstream cameras. Hue accuracy is okay, but yellow and cyan were a tad inaccurate.
After ISO 200, we noticed some softness in our photos, as a result of the noise reduction. Generally speaking though, you should still manage OK prints if you don't make them too print. If you can, we recommend stay away from ISO 200 and above, because the 780IS really soften details a bit too much. We attribute this to the very aggressive noise reduction. Some of our photos also had lens flare, and softened corners, which may be due to the small lens in this camera.
Here's what you should expect in your prints. For ISO 80, you should aim for prints at size 11 X 14. For ISO 200, stick to 8 X 10 because of flare issues. For ISO 400, 8 X 10 still renders decent prints. For ISO 800, go down to 5 X 7. For ISO 1600, go down to 4 X 6. Overall, you can still get decent prints at all ISO's, but you'll be disappointed at how they look in certain print sizes.
As mentioned, you can capture HD movies at 1280 X 720 resolution at 30 fps with this camera. You can connect the camera to your HDTV with the HDMI connector.
- 12.1 megapixel CCD
- 3 X optical zoom
- 2.5 inch LCD
- Optical viewfinder
- Supports ISO 80 to 3200
- 4.7 oz
- Very Slim and compact
- Has optical image stabilization
- HD movie capability
- Nice face detection implementation
- Shutter lag is quick
- Small optical viewfinder
- Buttons may be too small for some
- Battery life is sub-par
- Lack of details in ISO 400 and higher
- Lens flare in higher ISO prints
The SD780 IS is a good option for those looking for the slimmest camera in the market. In fact, it's the main selling point of the camera. You can easily carry it in your pocket, and forget it's in there. It's easy to use, and comfortable to handle, even if you have large hands.
It has good performance, and some cool features such as face detection, and HD video. The only major flaw we see is the lens flare that appears in prints 8 X 10 or larger. Overall, it's a nice digital camera great for families and casual users, but the image quality may fall short for serious enthusiasts.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
Where to Buy It:
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|Amazon||$159.00 (Cheapest Price)|
Prices last updated on: Wed, 04 Aug 2021 21:38:51 PDT