Canon PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH (Digital IXUS 700/IXY DIGITAL 600) Review
Although it bears a strong family resemblance to previous generations of IXUS/ELPH models, the SD500 represents a slight shift in direction away from the very boxy styliing of its predecessors (to quote Canon 'with its unique ‘Perpetual Curve’ contoured design, the brushed stainless steel ‘titanium gray’ SD500 continues the IXUS tradition of pushing compact camera design into new territories'. To you and me that means the SD500 has a distinct lack of harsh edges and a pleasantly curved left-hand side. The SD500's looks and feel exude quality, and the silky stainless steel finish is almost indulgently tactile, and - as befits a camera at the higher end of the ultra- compact price range - it is beautifully built with an admirable attention to detail. The only downside of the finish used is that it seems very susceptible to sratches and marks (so keep it in a case when not in use). I also, personally, found the camera to be a little on the 'slippy' side, meaning I felt a lot safer with the wrist strap in place than without. Although the control layout has been tweaked slightly (there's now a mode dial rather than a switch, and most of the buttons have moved), the basics are the same as most models in the range. This means you get external controls for metering, flash, focus (macro or infinity) and self-timer/drive mode, everything else is accessed via the excellent FUNC menu.
In your hand
With a fully-loaded weight of around 194g (6.9 oz) the SD500 is just heavy enough to feel solid and stable in the hand, though as noted above, the pebble-smooth exterior, combined with the lack of any discernible 'grip' means it can feel a little precarious held in one hand, but is in fact perfectly usable. The positioning of the shutter release and zoom rocker make single-handed operation easy - just make sure you've got the strap around your wrist just in case it slips out of your hand and starts heading south.
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