Compared to... Panasonic DMC-FX07

Perhaps the most obvious direct competitor for the SD800 IS is the new Panasonic DMC-FX07, which offers an almost identical feature set (28-102mm lens, 7MP, point and shoot). We've included studio comparisons at each camera's lowest ISO and ISO 400 (for the SD800's higher ISO settings see later in the review).

Studio scene comparison (SD800 IS @ ISO 80, DMC-FX07 & ISO 100)  

  • Canon SD800 IS (IXUS 850 IS): Program mode, ISO 80, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.66 EV compensation
  • Panasonic Lumx DMC-FX07: Program mode, ISO 100, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.3 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Canon SD800 IS (IXUS 850 IS)
Panasonic DMC-FX07
ISO 80, 1/60 sec, F4.5
ISO 100, 1/125 sec, F4
2,634 KB JPEG
3,379 KB JPEG

There really isn't a lot in it here. The Panasonic has marginally better edge-to-edge consistency but is a lot noisier - in fact I don't think I've ever seen such a noisy looking ISO 100 shot before (the FX07's output isn't a patch on its predecessor, the FX01). If pushed to choose I'd have to say the Canon's output is the more appealing especially in the central 60% or so of the frame), but neither is going to stand up well to excessive enlargement. Once again it's worth stressing that the typical user of this type of camera is unlikely to need pixel-level perfection - or to really see the difference in a print, but I have to say I'm more disappointed in the Panasonic output than the Canon, and the little extra sharpness is negated by the noise and processing artefacts.