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Canon SD870 IS Digital ELPH (IXUS 860 IS) Concise Review

October 2007 | By Richard Butler, Simon Joinson

Review based on a production Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS (SD870 IS)

The SD870 IS (known in Europe as the IXUS 860 IS and in Japan as the IXY Digital 910IS), announced in August, is a replacement for the SD 800 IS (IXUS 850 IS), one of last year's most popular ultra compacts. It retains the SD800's optically stabilized 28-105mm (equiv.) zoom lens, making it one of the only cameras in this sector of the market with this useful wideangle capability, and throws a few new or upgraded features into the mix, including improved Face Detection AF and red-eye reduction in playback mode, and Auto ISO shift. The other changes are fairly predictable, with a larger screen and just under one million extra pixels. The highlights of the specification are as follows:

  • 8.0 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 (limits digital zoom to avoid interpolation)
  • ISO 1600
  • High resolution 3.0" LCD
  • 17 shooting modes including VGA movies (30 fps) with sound
  • Optional accessories available, including Underwater Case

Key differences compared to SD 800 IS

The SD 870 IS is a distinctly gentle revision of the SD800 IS, launched around a year ago. It offers a larger screen than its predecessor but it loses the optical viewfinder to keep the overall body size virtually unchanged. It also gains a higher resolution sensor but loses out in terms of continuous shooting speed, with the frame rate dropping from 1.7fps to 1.3, suggesting the buffer has not been increased. Other noticeable gains include a useful user-definable function button, a touch control wheel and Auto ISO-shift function.

  • More pixels (8.0 vs 7.4)
  • Larger screen (3.0" vs 2.5")

SD870 IS / IXUS 860 IS specifications

Street price

• $370
• £230

Naming

US name: Canon PowerShot SD870 IS Digital ELPH
European name: Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS
Japanese name: IXY Digital 910 IS

Body Material Metal and plastic
Sensor

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

Image sizes

• 3264 x 2448
• 2592 x 1944
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
• 3264 x 1832

Movie clips

• 640 x 480 @ 30fps
• 640 x 480 @ 30fps (Long play)
• 320 x 240 @ 30fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15fps (Compact mode)

File formats • JPEG Exif 2.2
• DCF
• DPOF 1.1
• AVI Motion JPEG with WAVE monaural
Lens

• 4.6-17.3mm (28-105mm 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 (linked to Face Detection AF frame)
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
ISO sensitivity

• Auto
• High ISO 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 1.3fps 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)
Flash

• Auto
• Manual Flash on / off
• Slow sync
• Red-eye reduction
• Range: 30cm-4.0m (wide) / 2.0m (tele)

Viewfinder None
LCD monitor • 3.0-inch P-Si TFT
• 230,000 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
• 32 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-DC17)

Weight (No batt) 155 g (5.5 oz)
Dimensions 92.6 x 58.8 x 25.9 mm (3.7 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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This article is Copyright 2006/2007 dpreview.com 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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