Canon SD980 Initial Impressions

Started Sep 17, 2009 | Discussions thread
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KwhyChang
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Canon SD980 Initial Impressions
Sep 17, 2009

After becoming increasingly impatient with regard to the S90, and realizing that it would only give me 28-35 that I don't have on the SD990 IS, I ordered the SD980.

I was thinking the 24-120 SD980 would give me 24 mm wide that I've always wanted in a compact digicam. I used it for about an hour this afternoon and wanted to share some of my initial impressions. I'm in the process of changing my online photo service and will post some pics sometime this weekend.

Battery charged up quick and immediately I noticed how narrow and small the SD980 is. The screen looks great before you turn it on, but then after I did I was disappointed that you never get to enjoy the whole screen, even upon playback for still shots. I used an SD card that had some pics from the SD990 on it and interestingly, they viewed wider on the screen, but still not utilizing the whole LCD. It starts up quick.

Being someone who likes buttons and external control, the SD980 takes some getting used to, but soon I was familiar with its operation as I enjoyed the 5X range from 24-120. The mode switch on top felt a little flimsy when I switched to Program mode. I like that you can use the buttons for most things if you're not thrilled with, or comfortable with the touch screen operation. Still, I noticed that it's a minimum of 3 button pushes to delete an image, whereas on my other (non-DSLR) Canons, it's only 2.

One thing I didn't like was image review. With all of my Canon compacts, I turn off image review, so I can shoot faster if needed. If I want to review the image I just hold down the shutter release after I take the shot. The SD980 won't let you do that. They have 2 through 10 second choices and a hold option. The hold option holds the image on the LCD until you press the shutter release again. That will take some getting used to.

I had some difficulty with focus taking macro shots of flowers. You can't get real close with the lens, only about two inches. But when you do, a miniature exclamation mark appears next to a yellow focus frame warning you that you've exceeded the close focus limits of the lens. You can change the size of the focus frame and your choices for it are Face AiAF and Fixed Frame. I tried both settings with both sized focus frames and still had some trouble with focus for macro shots.

Outdoor shots looked great as did some indoor flash shots I took. So far, I'm pleased with the image quality in a variety of settings. When you switch to Movie mode that's when you get to fully appreciate the wide screen. That's also the only time the whole screen fills with an image. The SD980 seems more orientated for those who want to take HD movies for that reason. It does have the problem of verticle bands of light when you take videos of lights in the house or the sun outdoors, whereas the video on the 500D doesn't do that.

The videos looked really good other than that and of course focus is better and easier during video than with the 500D. With the 500D you have to keep pushing the star button to refocus during video.

Overall, it's a very competent digicam with a very useful range. It can do HD video, but the limit is only 10 minutes. The LCD is best during video. It takes a little getting used to the new operational features and the touch screen, but once you do it's kind of fun to use.

Dave

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