Canon PowerShot SD960 IS / Digital IXUS 110 IS review

Started Oct 26, 2009 | User reviews
T R R
Junior MemberPosts: 37
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Canon PowerShot SD960 IS / Digital IXUS 110 IS review
Oct 26, 2009

*Disappointing sharpness in videos, stills seemed fine.*

I upgraded to this from an IXUS 80 IS (Powershot
SD1100 IS).

The 720P video appealed, and being H.264 at almost
25 megabit it theoretically has better
technical capabilities of many professional video
cameras. You can at least trust that in terms of
compression artefacts (blocking and mosquito noise),
your camera will be a step ahead of the pack.
Of course, it still has the lens and single sensor of a
cheap compact digital camera, so you don't get
that same sharpness, and you'll get a bit more flare,
the lens doesn't let in as much light, and with
bright lights nearby you sometimes get the vertical
bands typical of 1CCD video cameras.

Unfortunately, after using the camera for a while it
became apparent that it has a focusing problem in
video mode. Stills are very sharp all the time - I was
very impressed. However, the focus was a little off in
video mode, which became more apparent when
zoomed into full telephoto (optically) and particularly
when outdoors and focusing on something distant
(near infinity). In other words, any landscape or skyline
shots - it was BLURRY. As well as quite a bit of flare,
making for glowing halos around bright objects, it was
just soft in general. When half-pressing the shutter
prior to filming, it even looked as if the camera
momentarily found a good focus then took it out of
focus again.

I've since found other videos from this model that
exhibit the same out of focus problem (such as on
YouTube) and so I think it is a bug, rather than a dud
sample.

I'm going to trade it in within the 14 day period they
gave me (which was a great deal) and at this stage I
think I will get an Ixus 100 IS (Powershot SD780).

Still images are really beautiful. I'm really impressed.
There is some complex de-noising happening
when you look at the individual pixel level. In terms of
overall quality (and I dial the sharpness back
a notch) it seems done well considering the number of
pixels and sensor size. Still images
downscaled for display on screen look really excellent,
have tons of detail and are surprisingly good
at low light levels. At low light there's a fair amount of
noise when zoomed in to individual pixel
level but virtually disappears, more so than with most
cameras, when step back and view the whole
picture at once.

Copying files to the computer over a USB cable is quite
slow, making me prefer to take the SD card
out and put it in my SD card reader for much faster
transfers (I've gotten a few USB 2 SD card
readers free over the years, bundled with SD cards I've
bought and one even on the front of a
magazine).

If you want great quality stills and don't mind your
camera being a bit bulkier than say the Ixus 100
(Powershot SD780) or Ixus 120 (Powershot SD940),
you might consider this. If you really want good video,
then it seems to me as if this is one to be wary of.

Problems:

As mentioned in the review, the video seemed to have a
focus problem whereby it was really soft/blurred, especially
when zoomed in to the Telephoto end of the len's zoom.

T R R's score
3.5
Average community score
3.9
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