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Canon PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH (Digital IXUS 700/IXY DIGITAL 600) Review

April 2005 | By Simon Joinson
Buy on From $499.00

Review based on a production Canon Digital IXUS 700

Announced just before PMA in February 2005, the SD500 (which goes by the names of Digital Ixus 700 in Europe and IXY DIGITAL 600 in Japan) is the latest in a long line of ultra-compact 'ELPH' or 'IXUS' cameras stretching back to early 2000 (and a lot farther back than that in the film camera world). The 7 megapixel SD500 is curvier and slightly wider than previous models, and replaces the S500 (IXUS 500) as the flagship of the range (it's around 8% lighter than that model). Other changes (many also seen in the new SD400) include a new mode dial, faster USB 2.0 connectivity, improved performance thanks to the DIGIC II processor and upgraded movie capabilities. Like its predecessors, the SD500 lacks much in the way of manual controls, but it does manage to cram a lot of high end features into its diminutive all-metal casing;

  • 7.4 megapixel CCD
  • 2.0-inch color TFT monitor
  • 37-111mm (equiv.) F2.8 - 4.9, 3x optical zoom
  • 640 x 480 movies at 30fps
  • Fast frame rate movies (320x240 pixels @ 60fps)
  • Print/Share button
  • New 'hold' feature
  • Custom white balance
  • Spot, center-weighted and evaluative metering
  • DIGIC II and iSAPS
  • 9-point AiAF
  • Nine scene modes

Canon PowerShot SD500 Key specifications

Street price • US: $480
• UK: £300
Body Material Metal
Also known as European name: Canon IXUS 700
Japanese name: Canon IXY Digital 600
Sensor • 1/1.8" CCD, 7.4 million total pixels
• 7.1 million effective pixels
Image sizes

• 3072 x 2304
• 2592 x 1944
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480

Movie clips

• 640 x 480 @ 30 / 15 fps
• 320 x 240 @ 60 / 30 / 15 fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15 fps
• Up to 1GB (640x480, 320x240, 30/15fps) (depending on memory card speed and capacity)
• Up to 3 mins (160x120) (depending on memory card speed and capacity)
• Up to 1 min (320x240, 60fps) (depending on memory card speed and capacity)


• 37 - 111 mm (35 mm equiv) 3x optical zoom
• F 2.8 - 4.9

Shutter speeds 15 - 1/2000 sec
Focus • TTL autofocus
• 9 point AiAF
• 1-point AF (fixed to center)
• 5cm macro mode (Wide), 30cm (Tele)
Shooting mode

• Auto
• Manual
• Digital Macro
• Portrait
• Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Underwater
• Indoor
• Kids and pets
• Night snapshot
• Stitch assist
• AE compensation -2.0EV to +2.0 EV in 1/3EV steps

Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO50,100,200,400
White Balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom (manual)

Image parameters

• Vivid
• Neutral
• Low sharpening
• Black and white
• My colors (9 settings)

Continuous 2 fps until memory card is full

• Built in
• Modes: Auto, on, off, red-eye reduction, slow sync, flash exposure lock
• Range: Wideangle: 0.5 - 4.8 m (1.6 - 16.4 ft), Tele: 0.5 - 2.8m (1.6 - 9.8 ft)

Storage • SD Memory Card
• 32MB SD supplied*
Viewfinder Real Image Optical
LCD monitor • 2.0" TFT LCD
• 118,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• A/V out
Power • Rechargeable lithium ion NB-3L battery
• Charger included
• (Optional AC adapter KIT ACK900)
In the box*

Canon PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH (IXUS 700, IXY DIGITAL 600)
Wrist strap
• Lithium Ion battery
AV cable
USB cable
32MB SD card
Software CD ROM (Canon Digital Camera Solutions & ArcSoft PhotoStudio)

Other features

Spot (center), Center-weighted & Evaluative metering
PictBridge, Exif Print and DPOF compatible
Playback Histogram
• Orientation Sensor
• Autofocus Illuminator
Optional High Power Flash HF-DC1 (slave)
Optional Waterproof Case

Weight (inc batt) 192 g (6.8 oz)
Dimensions 89.5 x 57 x 26.5 mm (3.52 x 2.24 x 1.04in) Excluding protrusions

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2004 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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