Review: CANON SD800 IS - 7.1, 28-105mm zoom digital camera

Started Oct 3, 2006 | Discussions thread
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David Chien
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Review: CANON SD800 IS - 7.1, 28-105mm zoom digital camera
Oct 3, 2006

I'll add to this thread as I get more time with this camera.
BestBuy has it in stock - $399.

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1. The camera is a typical Canon ELPH/IXUS pocket camera in build, weight and size. It's not their smaller models, but a regular sized and weight model. You'll definitely notice the weight in any shirt pocket, and it's too heavy to sit in such w/o dragging down the shirt. (quite unlike a lighter, smaller camera such as the Sony T7/T9/T10 series)

2. The LCD screen is daylight viewable, and although it's not stunningly bright ala the latest Casio/Panasonic models (eg. S770/FX07/FX50) that have up to 1,200 cd/m2 brightly backlit screens, it is of the type that allows you to see the image even in direct, bright sunlight without too much trouble.

The LCD brightness setting is almost useless in comparison to the huge boost you'll see off the latest Casio/Panasonic models, and you'll really won't see too much of a difference from darkest to brightest in bright, direct sunlight.

The LCD has sufficient number of pixels to make images look decent, and allows sufficient pixels to allow you to evaluate most images when zoomed in.

It has a matte LCD screen, so it's not going to be as contrasty as the glossy, super-bright screen on the Panasonic FX07/FX50 camera. However, this does allow you to see the image well off center either high above you or below you while taking such high/low shots.

The LCD isn't as good as on the Panasonic FX07/FX50 models, so past 45 degrees off dead center in any direction, the colors will shift a bit and the screen brightness will decrease as you go. There's some undulations in this behaviour as you go farther off center, so the screen isn't as 'plasma tv-like' as the Panasonics.

Overall, decent, and most people will find it fine for use indoors and out. No significant deficiencies that would make most users want to return the camera.

3. Only a 16MB SD card included

Guess it's the way makers get rid of overstock of older 16MB cards since 1GB cards can be had for $20 nowadays. Still wish they put some effort into giving a $399 camera a 1GB card in the box.

4. Strap is nice and made of synthetic thread - decently fat, round, and has an adjustable band so you can tighten one end securely around your wrist.

5. Box has no sticker or label to prevent opening of the box before purchase unlike Sony camera. Thus, you don't know if you've gotten an opened/returned model or not.

6. Power ON light is on the top, so can be annoying in theaters, etc. where such is allowed, but you can easily block it from those behind you simply due to the fact that your head is behind the camera. Simply having a tiny LED light next to the optical viewfinder is enough and what they should have done instead.

7. Labels on MODE button are again dumb - not labeled so they align horizontally with the white stripe, but rather, they'll be angled up/down depending on their location on the dial. One look at any photo of the back of the camera will show you what I mean. Really, really dumb! Also, labeling isn't in black on white, or a high contrast, but rather, RED on gray, so any person with limited vision or color blindness will have trouble easily detecting if the proper mode is selected from looking at the dial.

8. Spacing. Sufficient space to put the thumb on the back of the camera while holding it w/o putting it on the LCD screen.

9. MODE dial has just too high of an activation pressure, so it's awkwardly difficult to switch modes using just one hand. No reason for this, and certain useless to set it so high. Sony P200/P150 are somewhat better examples of how little pressure should be needed to turn the MODE dial.

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