Canon Powershot SD780 IS Review
By Mike Flacy
Features & Controls
The SD780 IS features a 3x (35-105mm in the 35mm format) f/2.8-4.9 all-glass aspherical zoom lens. When powered down, the lens is retracted inside of the body and a built in shutter closes to protect the lens.
With Canon's Optical Image Stabilization technology (OIS), users have the flexibility of actually shooting at shutter speeds 2-3 stops lower than would otherwise be possible. This camera features multi-mode Image Stabilization - users can choose between Continuous IS (always active), Panning IS (active when vertical camera shake is detected) and a 'Shoot Only' IS mode (active when the shutter is pressed all the way).
An advanced TTL AiAF 9-point autofocus system permits the camera to automatically select the primary subject even when off-center. Focusing range is 1.0 ft. (30cm) to infinity in normal mode and macro coverage is 1.2 in.- 1.6 ft./3-50cm (W), 1.0 - 1.6 ft./30-50cm (T). There's also a digital macro mode that covers 1.2-3.9in./3-10cm (W). The autofocus is light-assisted and works properly even in the dark.
The built-in flash offers Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Auto Red-eye Correction, Flash On, Flash Off (FE lock, Slow Synchro). Flash range is 12 in. - 11 ft./30cm - 3.5m (Wide angle), 1.5 - 6.6 ft./45cm - 2.0m (Telephoto) when sensitivity is set to ISO Auto. The focus-assist lamp also serves as the red-eye reduction lamp.
You can frame your pictures with the color LCD or to save precious battery power you can use the optical eye-level finder. This is a coupled viewfinder with approx. 80-85% coverage. It has no dioptric adjustment. Next to the finder are two LEDs that indicate the flash and focus status.
On the back is a large 2.5-inch 'PureColor LCD II' monitor which can be used for framing, review and changing settings. Advanced features include new multi-level coating that reduces glare, a protective layer which resists scratches, smudges and fingerprints as well as a 'Quick-bright' function which switches the brightness to the highest setting by pressing the DISP button for 1 second. When shooting in dark lighting, the LCD is automatically brightened to make it easier to frame and focus on the subject.
Controls on the back: At the top you can see the Play button for entering review or playback mode. Pressing this button while the camera is off will enter the playback system. Next is the Mode Switch with positions for Auto, Camera and Movie. Next is the 4-way controller. In record mode you press 'Up' to change exposure compensation (rotate in playback), press 'Right' to change flash modes, press 'Down' to choose the Self-Timer mode (image delete in playback) and press 'Left' to change the focus mode. In the center is the FUNC./SET button, which accepts menu selections as well as gives you access to the Function shortcut menu. The DISP button turns the color LCD on/off and controls the amount of data displayed on it. The MENU button calls up and dismisses the menus.
On top you can see the power On/Off button and the shutter release button with the zoom controls mounted around it. The zoom lens control also functions as the magnify and index buttons in playback mode.
On the back top right corner are the I/O (Input/Output) ports. A mini-B jack handles both the standard definition (SD) AV Out and USB 2.0 (high-speed) connectivity. The AV Out handles the monaural audio and video signal which can be connected to your TV set with the supplied cables, while the high-speed USB 2.0 is used for image and movie download, direct printing, etc. The SD780 is one of the first models we've seen from Canon to feature a HDMI port for handling HD video output.
The PowerShot SD780 IS is equipped with a card slot that supports use of SD, SDHC, MMC, MMC+ or HC (High Capacity) MMC+ cards; No card is included. Shown here with a spacious Patriot Memory 2GB SD card - see the tables below for the approximate storage capacity.
Number of Recordable Images
Time of Recordable Movies
Storage Capacity varies depending on camera settings. This data is estimated from Canon's standard shooting conditions. Figures for Movie Mode represent total capacity of the particular media.
The SD780 IS comes with a Canon NB-4L 3.7v 760mAh lithium rechargeable battery pack. Canon claims the NB-4L can power the SD780 for up to 210 shots or 300 min. of continuous playback on a single charge (using CIPA Standard testing.) The supplied rapid charger plugs directly in the wall socket and charges the battery 'out of the camera' which is very handy if you have a second battery (highly recommended!)
The optional Waterproof Case WP-DC31 (WP-DC5 shown above) allows you to take the SD780 IS underwater up to a depth of 40 meters (~130 feet). It is also ideal for using your camera in any weather condition, at the beach or on the ski slopes.
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