Canon SD800 IS Digital ELPH (IXUS 850 IS) Concise Review
Timing & Performance
Like all recent IXUS/SD models the SD800 feels very responsive indeed, and in most respects performance is almost identical to the SD700. Again the shutter lag when using the LCD could be a little shorter (though it is marginally improved over the SD700) - if you need a really fast reaction you'll need to switch off and use the viewfinder.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 3072 x 2304 Fine JPEG image (approx. 3,500 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 1.0 GB Sandisk Extreme III card.
|Power: Off to Record||With startup animation disabled||1.1|
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||1.2|
|Power: Record to Off||All activity ceased||1.3|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens retracted||~0.1|
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty, lens extended||1.1|
|Record Review||Image displayed||~0.6|
|Mode: Play to Record||2.9 *1|
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (10x)||0.9|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||0.4 *2|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||~0.6|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||28 to 105 mm (3.7 x)||1.5|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Wide angle||~0.3|
|Half-press Lag (Focus time)||Telephoto||~0.4 *3|
|Pre-focus Lag (S1>S2)||LCD live view||~0.08|
|Pre-focus Lag (S1>S2)||Viewfinder||~0.05|
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||~0.4|
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||~1.8|
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||~ 1.4|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on ( red eye reduction on / off)||2.3 / 2.8 *4|
|*1||This includes the time for the mode change animation to finish (live preview appears after around a second).|
|*2||With transition effects turned off - these increase the time|
|*3||Focus at the tele end slows down in low light - to about 0.6 seconds|
|*4||Flash recycle time will vary widely according to shooting distance|
Continuous drive mode
Like most SD/IXUS series cameras the SD800 has a single continuous shooting mode, in this case offering around 1.7 frames per second at all file size / quality settings - slightly slower than the SD700, but enough for most typical users. You can't see a preview when shooting bursts, but there is a brief review image displayed after each exposure. Those who like to shoot long sequences will be pleased to hear that there appears to be no limit to how many pictures you can take in a single burst with a fast card.
Although it's unlikely that many users of a camera such as this will need to shoot such long sequences, it's nice to know you can if you want to, and 1.7 fps is perfectly acceptable for a camera in this class, speed-wise.
File writing / playback performance
The SD800 takes around 1.2 seconds to process and save a 3.5MB 7MP/Super Fine JPEG; not bad going at all for a camera of this type - the SD800 will certainly benefit from using faster cards. Playback is also very speedy, with full size images taking under a third of a second to display (if you use the fancy transition options it takes a little longer to scroll through images, but it sure looks nice). If you want to whiz through hundreds of saved shots you can hold down the left or right arrow key and the SD800 will scroll through low res previews of the images on your card at about 10 per second.
Battery life, like most models in the SD range, is nothing special, though at approx 270 shots (CIPA standard) per charge it's better than the SD700 - and a fair few of its competitors. As the majority of the power is drawn by that nice big screen, if you switch it off and use the optical viewfinder you can extend the battery life to as much as 600 shots per charge. Remember that using the continuous mode image stabilization or using the flash a lot will reduce these figures.
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