Canon PowerShot SD980 IS / Digital IXUS 200 IS review

Started Dec 1, 2009 | User reviews
wmliu Regular Member • Posts: 133
Canon PowerShot SD980 IS / Digital IXUS 200 IS review

This is a slick little camera. The touch screen is cool, especially the touch-focus feature, which will probably become standard on all future cameras.

I bought this camera for the Mrs. I also plan to use it myself in some specific situations -- bicycling or car repairs. I chose this camera for its 24mm-equivalent wide angle lens. As an SLR shooter, I love wide angles, and 24mm is not available on any other P&S camera. I applaud Canon for pushing the envelope in this regard.

I see a lot of complaints about the image quality, but I think that's because people didn't have the right expectations. Most people came from cameras with less than 10 mega pixels, and they expect a 12 mp camera to give them the same pixel quality as before. This is not realistic.

I think there is no point in going over 8 mega pixels on a small P&S camera. The image quality bottleneck will be in the lens, not in the pixel count. The overwhelming majority of people don't need more than 6 mega pixels anyway. The image quality problem I see is too much sharpening, which is obvious from the halos. This is probably necessary because of the 12 mega pixels. At reduced resolution of 8mp or 5mp, the sharpening effect is much less obvious.

For those people who need a lot of mega pixels, forget about the P&S and move on to SLRs. I normally shoot with a 5D Mark II, and only the best lens can satisfy the 21 mp.

I went out today and shot some of the same scenes with both the SD980IS and 5D Mark II (with the 24-70mm f/2.8L lens). I have to say the SD980IS came out pretty well (other than the over-sharpening issue), even at 24mm wide angle, especially considering the SD980IS is only $300 weighing 5 oz (while the 5Dm2 setup is about $4000 weighing 4 lbs).


Over-sharpening at 12 mega pixels. Not a problem at 8mp or 5mp.

Canon PowerShot SD980 IS / Digital IXUS 200 IS
12 megapixels • 3 screen • 24 – 120 mm (5×)
Announced: Aug 19, 2009
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