Canon has announced the new Powershot SD850 IS (IXUS 950 IS) which replaces the SD700 IS (IXUS 800 IS). Confused yet? This new digital camera features an eight megapixel 1/2.5" (5.8 x 4.3 mm) CCD sensor mated to a four times optical zoom lens in a compact metal body. In addition the SD850 also features optical Image Stabilization (hence the IS suffix), a 2.5" "PureColor" LCD monitor and face detection for optimizing AF, exposure and flash (up to nine faces). Face Detection can also be used in playback mode for red-eye removal. The SD850 also has a 1 frame per second 'spy camera mode' (well, time lapse).

Phil: Whoever comes up with these ever confusing IXUS / SD names really needs to get the US and Europe in sync. The SD700 was the IXUS 800, the SD800 was the IXUS 850 and now the SD850 is the IXUS 950. Every time we publish a review of an IXUS / SD we get dozens of "I'm confused by the numbering, I don't understand" or "you've reviewed the wrong camera" emails.

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Press Release (European):

Face Detection Technology and optical
Image Stabilizer supercharge the stylish
Digital IXUS 950 IS

Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 07 May, 2007: Canon today launches the 8.0 Megapixel Digital IXUS 950 IS, an upgrade to the award-winning Digital IXUS 800 IS. Sporting a three-tone metal finish with distinctive curved lines, the Digital IXUS 950 IS comes equipped with a 4x optical zoom lens with optical Image Stabilizer and the DIGIC III image processor. Along with faster processing and advanced Noise Reduction, DIGIC III powers Canon’s Face Detection Technology and Red-Eye Correction for superb people shots.

Other key advancements include ISO 1600 with Auto ISO Shift for improved low light shooting and a 2.5” PureColor LCD screen offering enhanced colour reproduction and scratch-resistance. New creative features include Time Lapse Movie and Creative Light Effect modes.

Features at a glance:

  • 8.0 Megapixels
  • 4x optical zoom 35-140mm (35mm equivalent) UA lens with optical Image Stabilizer
  • Eye-catching design with Touch Control Dial
  • DIGIC III with Face Detection AF/AE/FE and
  • Noise Reduction Technology
  • Red-Eye Correction in playback
  • 2.5” high resolution PureColor LCD
  • ISO 1600 and Auto ISO Shift
  • 18 Shooting modes including Creative Light Effect plus My Colors photo effects
  • 30fps VGA Movies and Time Lapse Movie function
  • Shortcut button for instant access to favourite functions

“Digital IXUS is where Canon’s optical heritage blends exciting design with the best of our research and development,” said Mogens Jensen, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging, Europe. “The Digital IXUS 950 IS builds on the success of its award-winning predecessor with new technologies that will appeal to amateurs and advanced photographers alike.”

Face Detection Technology: Powering better images

Canon’s advanced DIGIC III image processor powers a range of functions related to Face Detection Technology. Face Detection AF/AE/FE automatically detects up to nine faces within a scene and optimises focus, exposure and flash exposure accordingly. Red-Eye Correction in playback uses Face Detection Technology to search through captured images and remove any red-eye it detects. Users can also perform red-eye correction manually if needed.

4x optical zoom with optical Image Stabilizer

Compact cameras are more susceptible to camera shake from handheld shots, especially in low light situations. 70 years of Canon’s optical innovation have enabled the development of lens elements that are perfectly suited to the challenges of compact photography. The Digital IXUS 950 IS employs Canon’s lens-shift optical Image Stabilizer (IS) technology to compensate for camera shake caused by unwanted hand movement. Enabling shooting at shutter speeds up to
3 stops slower than would normally be possible, the optical Image Stabilizer is particularly useful at full zoom or when using the 2cm Macro mode. The 4x optical zoom lens incorporates an Ultra-High Refractive Index Aspherical (UA) lens to achieve a focal length range of 35-140mm (35mm equivalent) without affecting the camera’s slim profile.

LCD enhancements

The high resolution (230k pixels) PureColor LCD screens gives users a number of visual benefits. Colour tones have been enhanced by 30% for vibrant, true-to-life reproduction. The wide viewing angle of the screen is complemented by an anti-reflective coating, which makes it easy to compose and review images even in brightly-lit conditions. A scratch-resistant layer provides extra protection against knocks and scrapes.

Settings for shutter speed and aperture are now displayed on the LCD during shooting. When using Auto ISO and High ISO Auto, the LCD will also display the ISO speed. These camera settings are now recorded as EXIF data for review in playback.

High ISO functionality

The Digital IXUS 950 IS incorporates ISO 1600 to facilitate flash-free shooting indoors – ideal in low-light environments where the use of flash is not desirable or appropriate, such as concert halls or galleries. A new Auto ISO Shift function prevents blur by giving users the option to boost the ISO setting – and consequently shutter speed – with a single button press, whenever the camera predicts camera shake.

New creative options

A total of 18 shooting modes are provided, including new Creative Light Effect, which uses the Image Stabilizer and a longer exposure to create user-selectable shapes – including stars, hearts and flowers - around points of light in the background of night scenes.

The Time Lapse Movie mode enables users to capture changing scenes –  such as drifting clouds or a bustling city street - for accelerated playback as smooth VGA-quality movie clips. Captured at one-second or two-second intervals, a scene of two hours’ duration can be condensed to a fluid eight minute or four minute movie file. Users can also record standard VGA movies with sound at 30fps and QVGA movies with sound at 60fps.

Additional Information

Printing

The Digital IXUS 950 IS features a dedicated Print menu for quick access to direct print options. Full PictBridge support means users can print directly to any PictBridge compatible printer without the need for a PC. A Print/Share button allows one-touch printing and easy uploads to Windows or Mac systems.

Languages

With the addition of Romanian and Ukrainian, the Digital IXUS 950 IS user interface supports 25 languages: English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese,Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Romanian and Ukrainian.

Memory Card Support

In addition to SD and MMC memory cards, the Digital IXUS 950 IS supports the SDHC format for high-volume shooting. It comes supplied with a 32MB memory card.

Software and CANON iMAGE GATEWAY

The Digital IXUS 950 IS comes bundled with the following Canon Software:

  • ZoomBrowser EX 5.8 (Windows), ImageBrowser 5.8 (Macintosh): For organising and editing images, movies and slideshows, or creating and printing digital photo albums.
  • PhotoStitch 3.1: For creating panoramic photos from multiple images (Windows and Macintosh).

The bundled software supports Windows 2000 (SP4), XP (SP1/2) and Vista and Macintosh OS X v10.3-v10.4. The camera supports PTP for driverless transfer to Windows XP and Macintosh OS X, along with MTP for image and movie transfers to Windows Vista.

Purchasers of the camera are eligible for membership of CANON iMAGE GATEWAY, 100MB of online ‘personal gallery’ space for sharing stills and video with family and friends.

Optional Accessories

An optional Waterproof Case (WP-DC15) allows users to bring the camera to a depth of up to 40 metres for compelling underwater shots. Specially designed Weights (WW-DC1) are available to control camera buoyancy. Other accessories include:

  • High Power Flash (HF-DC1)
  • Soft Leather Case (DCC-70)
  • Digital IXUS Metal and Leather Neck Straps 
  • Compact AC Power Adapter (ACK-DC30)

Canon PowerShot SD850 IS specifications

Sensor

• 1/2.5 " Type CCD
• 8.0 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 3264 x 2448
• 2592 x 1944
• 2048 x1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
Aspect ratio 4:3 and 3:2 (3264 x 1832)
Image processor DIGIC III
Movie clips • 640 x 480 @ 30 / 15fps
• 320 x 240 @ 60 / 30 / 15fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15fps
• 640 x 480 @ 0.5 / 1 fps (Time lapse, playback at 15 fps)
• WAVE audio
File formats • Still: JPEG (Exif 2.2)
• Movie: AVI (Motion JPEG compression)
Lens • 35 - 140mm equiv
• F2.8 - F5.5
• 4x Optical zoom
Image stabilization Yes (Shift-type)
Digital zoom up to 4x
Auto focus • AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point)
• 1-point AF (Fixed center)
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance Macro 2cm
Metering • Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF)
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• High ISO Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
Exposure compensation • +/- 2EV
• in 1/3 stop increments
Shuttter speed 15-1/1600 sec
Aperture F2.8-5.5
Modes • Auto
• Manual
• Digital Macro
• Color Accent
• Color Swap
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
• Special Scene
Scene modes • Portrait
• Night Snapshot
• Kids & Pets
• Indoor
• Creative Light Effect
• Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Aquarium
• Underwater
White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom
Self timer • 2 or 10 secs
• Custom
Continuous shooting Approx. 1.3 fps until card is full
Image parameters My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)
Flash

• Auto
• Manual Flash On / Off
• Slow synch
• Red eye reduction
• Flash exposure lock
• Range: 50cm-3.5m (wide) / 2.0m (tele)

Viewfinder Real-image zoom optical viewfinder
LCD monitor • 2.5-inch P-Si TFT
• 230,000 pixels
Other features • Playback red-eye correction
• My Camera
• My Category (image tagging)
• Sound Memo
• Orientation Sensor
• Histogram
• Playback zoom
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
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• AV out
Print compliance • PictBridge
• Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Fixed Size Print and Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP & ES printers only)
Storage • SD / SDHC / MMC compatible
• 32 MB card supplied
Power • Rechargeable Lithium-ion battery NB-5L
• Optional AC adapter
Weight (no batt) 165 g
Dimensions 90 x 57 x 26 mm