Canon has announced the Powershot SD890 IS (or IXUS 970 IS if you're in Europe). This confusingly polyonymous digital camera features improved versions of features such as face detection and image stabilization, Canon says. It also features 10 million pixels in a 1/2.3 " (6.2 x 4.6 mm) sensor and an ISO 3200 mode. It also has a 5x zoom (the longest ever on the SD/IXUS series), covering a 37 - 185mm (equiv.) range which would be more impressive if it was a bit wider.

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Press release:

Digital IXUS 970 IS: enhanced flexibility with new 5x optical IS zoom

Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 13 March, 2008: Canon today announces a powerful new addition to its Digital IXUS range of stylish compact cameras. The 10 Megapixel Digital IXUS 970 IS features a brand new 5x optical zoom lens – the longest ever zoom in the range – together with an enhanced version of Canon’s lens-shift type optical Image Stabilizer (IS).

The Digital IXUS 970 IS also features Motion Detection Technology, which works in tandem with IS to reduce blur caused by subject motion and camera shake. Face Detection Technology with Face Select & Track and Face Detection White Balance is also included. These features provide accurate, natural-looking people shots in all situations. As with all Digital IXUS models in the first half of 2008, auto focus is enhanced for darker conditions; it is now effective in situations approximately 1-stop darker than was possible in previous models.

A bright, clear 2.5” PureColor LCD II screen and new Multi Control Dial enhance the user experience, offering a greater degree of convenience. Thanks to Canon’s optical expertise, all these improvements have been made without sacrificing the iconic design that has made Digital IXUS the ultimate style camera brand. 

“With its 5x zoom, the Digital IXUS 970 IS brings a new level of performance to Canon’s leading design brand,” said Mogens Jensen, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging, Europe. “Once again Canon is using its optical expertise to deliver powerful compact cameras in effortless style.”


  • Uncompromising Digital IXUS style and build quality

  • 10.0 Megapixel image sensor

  • 5x optical zoom lens

  • Enhanced lens-shift type optical Image Stabilizer (IS) delivering a 4-stop advantage

  • High ISO Auto with Motion Detection Technology

  • Face Detection Technology now with White Balance and Face Select & Track

  • Automatic Red-Eye Correction in shooting and playback

  • DIGIC III¹ with Noise Reduction Technology

  • 2.5” PureColor LCD II plus optical viewfinder (OVF)

  • Enhanced auto focus performs at up to 1-stop darker

  • Multi Control Dial

  • 18 shooting modes including new Sunset mode and My Colors photo effects

  • Extensive movie options including VGA 30fps, Long Play and Time Lapse movie modes

  • Optional accessories include Soft Case and High Powered Flash

  • Easy printing with PictBridge and quick print order settings in playback mode

New zoom lens
The Digital IXUS 970 IS features a brand new 5x optical Image Stabilizer zoom lens, delivering a greater zoom reach than any previous Digital IXUS. Thanks to a comprehensive redesign by Canon’s optical engineers, the lens has a new four-group configuration incorporating UA (Ultra-high refractive index Aspherical) lens elements. UA elements help to provide the gain in zoom power, and ensure that a compact size and straight optical pathway are maintained, for easy usability and optimum image quality.

Enhanced optical Image Stabilizer
The Digital IXUS 970 IS optimises performance with its enhanced optical
Image Stabilizer (IS). The lens-shift type IS improves on the systems used in previous Digital IXUS models, now delivering a 4-stop advantage, an increase of 1 stop. The extra stop allows photographers to use shutter speeds twice as long when shooting hand held, and obtain blur-free shots. The enhanced IS also reduces the blur caused by camera shake when shooting at the telephoto end of the camera’s 5x optical zoom improves performance in low-light, enabling shots in conditions where no shot would have been possible before. This enhanced low-light capability is aided by improvements to the camera’s auto focus; AF is now capable of achieving focus in conditions of up to approximately 1 stop darker.

A touch of class
Building on the Digital IXUS ‘perpetual curve’ design, the Digital IXUS 970 IS slopes gently back towards the grip. Its two-tone finish gives a precise contrast of matte silver with muted gloss and glossy metallic, for an elegant sheen. The overall effect is one of understated individuality, complementing the camera’s discreet photographic power.

Bye-bye to blur – Motion Detection Technology
Activated in High ISO Auto, Canon’s intelligent Motion Detection Technology works to eliminate motion blur. When camera shake or moving subjects are detected, the system automatically provides an ISO boost between ISO 80-800 - counteracting motion blur to improve action shots and night snaps, without compromising shots where no ISO boost is needed. The technology intelligently combines inputs from Face Detection Technology, the optical Image Stabilizer, changes in scene brightness and changes from frame to frame to identify the subject and detect motion.

Enhanced Face Detection Technology
Equally comprehensive is Canon’s approach to Face Detection Technology. The Digital IXUS 970 IS includes Face Select & Track, which allows you to select a single face from a crowd of up to 35 detected faces. The optimum focus, exposure, flash and – for the first time - white balance will then be set for that face, tracking the subject as they move around the frame.

Canon’s Red-Eye Correction draws on Face Detection Technology to eliminate red-eye from photographs. Whenever a face is detected in a shot, red-eye is checked for. It can either be removed automatically whilst shooting or in playback mode. New AF Point Zoom allows the photographer to magnify the AF frame when the shutter button is pressed half way, so that facial expressions can be checked before shooting.

As well as powering features such as Face Detection Technology, Canon’s DIGIC III image processor enables quick response times and fast buffering speeds.  The processor also incorporates advanced Noise Reduction Technology for excellent image quality at high ISO settings.

Intuitive ergonomics, easy menus
The Digital IXUS 970 IS is made for intuitive use. From the moment the camera is powered up, the 230,000 dot high resolution 2.5” PureColor LCD II screen provides an easy way to frame up shots and navigate the easy-use menu system. PureColor LCD II offers a number of benefits over conventional LCD screens, including improved colour contrast for enhanced visibility, a wide viewing angle for easy shooting and instant image sharing, anti-glare coatings for viewing under bright light and anti-scratch coatings. Additional photo framing options are provided by the camera’s Optical Viewfinder (OVF). The Digital IXUS 970 IS includes a Multi Control Dial for the first time in the range. This wheel enables the user to change camera settings and scene modes quickly, as well as offering intuitive navigation of menus and convenient image browsing in playback.

A host of features enables users to enhance their shooting options. Users can choose from a range of 18 shooting modes, including Special Scene modes that automatically optimise camera settings for common shooting subjects.

The Digital IXUS 970 IS features new Sunset scene mode for the optimum capture of this tricky subject. Movie options include Long Play (LP) mode, which uses only half the memory of standard movies, and Time Lapse movie for the creation of fun and atmospheric accelerated film clips.

Several menu features also let users manipulate their images in-camera, without the need for computer software. The Trimming function offers image trimming to predetermined sizes. This function is integrated with Face Detection Technology – if several faces are detected in frame users can jump between faces to create instant trimmed portraits. The Image Resize function enables users to create smaller image files by reducing the number recording pixels in larger images. The original image can then be deleted in order to save space on the memory card, leaving the new file an ideal size for e-mailing and uploading to the web.

Canon SD890 IS specifications


• $399 (Powershot SD890 IS Digital Elph)
• €369 (Digital Ixus 970 IS)
• ¥47,800 (Ixy Digital 820 IS)


• 1/2.3 " Type CCD
• 10.0 million effective pixels

Image sizes

• 3648 x 2736
• 3648 x 2048
• 2816 x 2112
• 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
• 320 x 240

Movie clips

• 640 x 480 (30 fps)
• 320 x 240 (30 fps)
• 160 x 120 (15 fps)

File formats • JPEG (Exif 2.2)
• AVI (Motion JPEG + WAVE mono)
• WAVE (mono)
Lens • 6.6 - 33.0 mm
• 37 - 185 mm (35mm equivalent)
Image stabilization Yes, lens-shift
Conversion lenses With optional adapter
Digital zoom Yes
Focus TTL 9-point with Face detection
AF area modes • AiAF (9-point / Face detection)
• Single center point
• Face detection and track
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance 2 cm in Macro

• Evaluative (Linked to Face detection AF frame)
• Center-weighted
• Spot (Center)

ISO sensitivity

• Auto
• Hi ISO Auto (Incorporating Motion Detection)
• 80
• 100
• 200
• 400
• 800
• 1600

Exposure compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 EV steps
Shuttter speed • 1/60 - 1/1600 sec (Auto mode)
• 15 - 1/1600 sec (Depending on shooting mode)
Aperture • F3.2 - F5.7
Modes • Auto
• Manual
• Digital macro
• Color accent
• Color swap
• Stitch assist
• Movie
Scene modes

• Portrait
• Night snapshot
• Kids and pets
• Indoor
• Sunset
• Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Aquarium
• ISO 3200

White balance • Auto (Including Face detect WB)
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom
White balance fine tune No
Self timer 2 sec, 10 sec, custom
Continuous shooting 1.2 fps until card is full
Image parameters

• Vivid
• Neutral
• Sepia
• Black & white
• Positive film
• Lighter skin tone
• Darker skin tone
• Vivid blue
• Vivid green
• Vivid red
• Custom color

Flash • Auto / On / Off / Slow Sync / Red-eye reduction
• 30 cm - 3.5 m (W)
• 30 cm - 2.0 m (T)
Viewfinder Real-image zoom optical viewfinder
LCD monitor • 2.5 " PureColor LCD II
• 230,000 dots
• 100% coverage
Connectivity • Hi-speed USB (MTP, PTP)
• A/V output, dedicated connector (PAL/NTSC)
Print compliance • DPOF V1.1
• PictBridge
Storage • SD/SDHC/MMC card
• 32 MB card supplied
Power • NB-5L rechargeable Li-ion battery
• Charger included
Weight (no batt) 155 g (x oz)
Dimensions 95.4 x 57.2 x 27.4 mm (Ai x Bi x Ci in)

Technologies explained

Canon’s DIGIC III (DIGital Imaging Core) image processor manages all of the camera’s primary functions to optimize operating efficiency. Advanced image processing algorithms deliver superb image detail and colour reproduction with accurate white balance. High-speed processing results in outstanding responsiveness, rapid auto focus and extended continuous shooting ability.
DIGIC III also powers advanced Noise Reduction Technology and Face Detection Technology.

Face Detection Technology

Canon’s Face Detection AF/AE/FE/WB system automatically detects up to nine faces within a frame before adjusting the focus, exposure, flash and white balance to ensure optimal results. It is able to determine which faces are intended to be the subject, instantly reverting to the partnering 9-point AiAF system if no face is detected as the primary subject. Auto Red-Eye Correction integrates with Face Detection Technology to remove red-eye during shooting or playback.

Motion Detection Technology
Canon’s Motion Detection Technology uses several methods to detect camera and subject movement and set exposure accordingly. The brightness of subject and background, movement of the subject (based on comparison of frames over time) Face Detection information and camera shake information from the optical Image Stabilizer (IS) gyros (where available) are all taken into account. Where motion is detected the camera automatically selects the appropriate ISO level between ISO 80-800 to achieve a shot with minimal noise and blur.

iSAPS (Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) automatically optimises key camera settings before every shot. Each scene is analysed and cross-referenced against Photographic Space – a vast in-camera library of photographic data. This enables the camera to make optimal adjustments to auto exposure, auto focus and auto white balance before image capture occurs.

Enhanced optical Image Stabilizer
The Digital IXUS 970 IS uses a lens shift-type Image Stabilizer (IS) system to detect and correct slight camera shakes that can cause image blur. The IS now delivers a 4 stop advantage for improved performance in low-light conditions, when shooting at the telephoto end of the lens and when vibrations are more severe. The new IS also features increased sensitivity to low frequency vibration, such as the rocking of a boat. Minute vibration gyros detect camera movement caused by hand.

Digital Tele-Converter and Safety Zoom
Similar to placing an accessory lens on the front of the camera, Canon’s Digital Tele-Converter adds a constant zoom to every shot – 1.4x or 2.3x depending on the image size selected. While optical converter lenses cause a reduction in aperture and consequently require a slower shutter speed, the Digital Tele-Converter maintains aperture size, reducing the risk of image blur.
Safety Zoom protects the image from interpolation at high levels of digital zoom, allowing users to extend zoom magnification without sacrificing image quality.