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Canon SD800 IS Digital ELPH (IXUS 850 IS) Concise Review

January 2007 | By Simon Joinson

Review based on a production Canon Digital IXUS 850 IS (SD800 IS)

The SD800 IS (IXUS 850 IS), announced just before Photokina 2006 back in September, is a sister model to the popular SD 700 IS (IXUS 800 IS), one of the better ultra compact models launched last year. As well as an extra million pixels or so, the new model has one very welcome new feature; a 28-105mm (equiv.) zoom lens, making it one of the few cameras in this sector of the market with true wideangle capabilities. Other changes include an ISO 1600 option, DIGIC III processor (complete with face detection focus mode) and a better screen. We liked the SD 700 IS a great deal, and on paper the SD 800 IS looks like another winner. So let's find out if it can deliver the goods, starting as ever with the headline specification:

  • 7.1 Megapixels and 3.8x zoom
  • Wide angle 28mm lens with Optical Image Stabilizer
  • DIGIC III with Advanced Noise Reduction and Face Detection AF/AE
  • Safety Zoom for extra telephoto reach
  • ISO 1600
  • High resolution 2.5" LCD
  • 17 shooting modes including VGA movies (30 fps) with sound
  • Range of optional accessories including Underwater Case

Key differences compared to SD 700 IS

Although the SD 800 IS (above left) isn't strictly speaking a direct replacement for the SD 700 IS (the older model is still listed as current by Canon, and offers a different zoom range), it is an updated version of that camera. The differences are small, but in the most part fairly significant:

  • More pixels (7.4 vs 6.2)
  • Different zoom range (28-105mm vs 35-140mm)
  • DIGIC III processor (SD 700 IS is DIGIC II)
  • Face detection AF/AE
  • ISO 1600 (SD 700 IS was ISO 800)
  • SDHC card compatibility
  • Improved screen (higher res, wider viewing angle)
  • User interface tweaks
  • Safety zoom feature (intelligent digital zoom)
  • New Aquarium Special Scene mode (finally!)

SD800 IS / IXUS 850 IS specifications

Street price • US: $390
• UK: £260

US name: Canon PowerShot SD800 IS Digital ELPH
European name: Canon Digital IXUS 850 IS
Japanese name: IXY Digital 900 IS

Body Material Metal and plastic

• 1/2.5 " Type CCD
• 7.1 million effective pixels

Image sizes

• 3072 x 2304
• 3072 x 1728
• 2592 x 1944
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480

Movie clips

• 640 x 480 @ 30 / 15fps
• 320 x 240 @ 60 / 30 / 15fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15fps

File formats • JPEG Exif 2.2
• AVI Motion JPEG with WAVE monaural

• 28-105mm (35mm equiv)
• F2.8-5.8
• 3.8x optical zoom

Image stabilization Yes (lens shift-type)
Conversion lenses None
Digital zoom up to 4x
Focus TTL
AF area modes • AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point)
• 1-point AF (fixed center)
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance Closest 3cm
Metering • Evaluative
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
Exposure compensation • +/- 2EV
• in 1/3 stop increments
Shutter speed 15-1/1600 sec
Aperture F2.8-5.8
Modes • Auto
• Manual
• Digital Macro
• Color Accent
• Color Swap
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
• Special Scene
Scene modes • Portrait
• Night Snapshot
• Kids & Pets
• Indoor
• Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Aquarium
• Underwater
White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom

Self timer • 2 or 10secs
• Custom
Continuous shooting approx 1.7fps until card is full
Image parameters My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, B&W, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)

• Auto
• Manual Flash on / off
• Slow sync
• Red-eye reduction
• Range: 50cm-4.0m (wide) / 2.0m (tele)

Viewfinder Real-image zoom optical viewfinder
LCD monitor • 2.5-inch P-Si TFT
• 207,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• AV out
Print compliance • PictBridge
• Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP printers only)
Storage • SD / SDHC / MMC card compatible
• 16 MB card supplied
Power • Rechargeable Li-ion battery NB-5L
• Charger included
• Optional AC adapter kit
Other features

• Optional High Power Flash HF-DC1
• Optional Waterproof Case (WP-DC9)

Weight (No batt) 150 g (5.3 oz)
Dimensions 89.5 x 58 x 25.1 mm (3.5 x 2.3 x 1.0 inch)

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 2006/2007 Simon Joinson / and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey

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