Canon PowerShot SD980 IS / Digital IXUS 200 IS review

Started Oct 2, 2009 | User reviews thread
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NoCoShutter
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Canon PowerShot SD980 IS / Digital IXUS 200 IS review
Oct 2, 2009

Great all-around P&S. Love the wide lens. Overall, the images are a bit painterly for
me (that is, low grain, but at sacrifice of detail). Tiny size is both great AND it's
downside. The screen is so big it is difficult to handhold with one hand without
engaging the touch screen menu GRRRR! Found the menu operations very
counterintuitive at first, but now like them. LOVE the command wheel; very
quick to use once mastered. The switch from video-camera-auto is tiny; too small.
From one command to the next, that button is only about a 2mm throw, making it
maddening to get it to the middle camera setting (the left triangular button on the
top).

Video is decent with very clean with exceptional audio for such a tiny camera. Since
the motion seems to be progressive (guessing) the still frames are very sharp… but
motion is a bit clippy and less than smooth with poor camera technique. Gets pretty
noisy in the shadows in low light. Good AWB.

Love the wide angle video capacity. Note that the flare you get on the LCD when
composing stills is actually IN the video you get… so watch for windows in
background during video as they can cause vertical streaking.

Overall, it's a keeper (for my wife). I have the s90 on order, as I want awesome low-
light capacity; review on that once I get it. Back to the 980… This is fair to good
for what it is. This is very useable at ISO 800. It's nowhere near the LX3 for image
quality; but then again, this is nearly $200USD less and can fit easily in pants
pocket and zooms twice as far. For pixel peeping, sure it's not an EOS 1Ds
XXX, but then again, it's not an EOS. Grain is smoother and less noise than my
Ricoh GX 100; but I'll take a bit more grain of the Ricoh and less in-camera
processing. That's because I take EVERYTHING into Photoshop so don't care. This
IS about twice the sensitivity of the Ricoh, though. That is, Ricoh grain at 400 is
more like the 980 at ISO 800. The 1600 … well, only if it's the ONLY way to get a
picture at all. Lots of loss of detail and chunky.

Problems:

• Vertical banding in video from bright backlight sources.
• Mildly annoying painterly effect on all ISO settings to minimize grain (getting
heavy as ISO goes up; but still not as bad as LX2 and earlier).
• Too easy to activate menus accidentally with the touch screen. (wheel menu is
awesome and faster; touch screen is gimmicky IMHO).

Wouldn't call these defects, as this is what the camera is. Keeping these limitations
in mind, I'd highly recommend it as a miniature camera for someone looking for a
basic, very capable P&S. Pros will want fewer gimmicks and more control however.

NoCoShutter's score
4.2
Average community score
3.5
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