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Compared to... Canon SD 700 IS (IXUS 800 IS)

Let's start with a quick look at how the SD800 compares with the SD700 - a camera that produced surprisingly good results for an ultra compact 'point and shoot' model. In this section we've included studio comparisons at ISO 80 and 400 (for the SD800's higher ISO settings check later in the review).

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 80)  

  • Canon SD800 IS (IXUS 850 IS): Program mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.66 EV compensation
  • Canon SD700 IS (IXUS 800 IS): Program mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.66 EV compensation
     
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Canon SD800 IS (IXUS 850 IS)
Canon SD700 IS (IXUS 800 IS)
ISO 80, 1/60 sec, F4.5
ISO 80, 1/60 sec, F4
2,634 KB JPEG
2,356 KB JPEG

As I mentioned above the SD700 IS was praised for it's edge-to-edge quality, and it certainly beats the SD800 IS in sharpness - especially towards the edges and corners of the frame, where the difference is quite marked. We expected to see a slight reduction in edge sharpness - squeezing a 28-105mm (equiv.) lens into such a small body is always going to be challenging - but perhaps not this much. The extra megapixel makes little if any difference to the overall level of detail captured - and is besides negated by the lens limitations.

Edge and corner sharpness aside this is typical Canon PowerShot output; clean, bright (but fairly natural) color and a good level of detail.

The output also appears to be have been subjected to less in-camera sharpening, so the images look a little soft viewed at 100%, but they sharpen up well (and look superb at standard print sizes). In fact if you sharpen the SD800 shot and print it at 5x7 inches it's pretty much indistinguishable from the SD700 unless you are really looking for the softness at the edges. In the center of the frame detail is excellent.

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