Canon Powershot SD800 IS Review

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Canon Powershot SD800

Review posted 11/30/2006


Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Canon Powershot SD800 Digital ELPH
Click to take a QTVR tour of the SD800


The 10.0 megapixel PowerShot SD900 and the 7.1 megapixel PowerShot SD800 IS Digital ELPHs take the marriage of style and substance to a new level, by offering an array of user-friendly features along with faster response time and a new face detection autofocus system that keeps subjects in focus no matter where they appear in the frame.

The SD800 IS is the second and newest Optical Image Stabilized Digital ELPH model in the PowerShot line for 2006, and is now the top-of-the-line Digital ELPH IS entry. Canon based the optical image stabilization system on advancements made in the development of the company's EF and video lenses, and then scaled it down to fit the diminutive Digital ELPH camera profile. Unlike electronic or "digital image stabilization systems" that typically degrade image quality, Canon's lens shift-type stabilization system preserves maximum optical quality while providing up to three stops of shake correction in shutter speed equivalent.

This new IS model features a number of significant advancements, including improved low-light performance due to the combination of optical IS and a top ISO speed of 1600, and for the first time in the Digital ELPH series, an optical 3.8x wide range zoom lens (28-105mm equivalent), which employs Canon's UA lens technology that permits a longer zoom capability in a smaller amount of space.

These models feature DIGIC III, the newest iteration of Canon's ultra-efficient (and proprietary) image processor; shared thus far only with Canon's new flagship PowerShot G7 model. This new chip accounts boasts higher performance levels including faster start up, autofocus and shutter response times; improved maximum processing speed; and of course, enhanced image quality and more efficient power consumption; resulting in extended battery life under typical shooting conditions.

Thanks to the DIGIC III chip's more aggressive noise reduction, these Digital ELPH cameras are able to shoot at ISO equivalent speed ratings from 80 to as high as 1600. This increased sensitivity at the top-end allows the use of faster shutter speeds, significantly reducing camera shake and subject blur during hand held low-light photography.

All of the new models offer a new widescreen 16:9 ratio resolution setting that facilitates creating panoramic-style prints. Additionally, all new PowerShot models support 23 languages (now including Thai and Arabic). The new cameras have an improved direct printing function that permits greater flexibility in print settings, including a face brightener setting for backlit photos.

Canon also enhanced the 'My Colors' mode found in the new PowerShot line. Where previously, users could only enable 'My Colors' while shooting, the current iteration permits captured images to be retouched as well, without the need for special software applications or tools. Available My Color playback modes include Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, and Vivid Red; lighter and darker skin tones, as well as options for creating black & white, sepia, neutral and positive film effects.

For those who consider the ocean depths part of the Digital Elph camera line's "go anywhere" promise, Canon offers individual optional waterproof housing systems. With a depth rating of 40m/130 feet, these models are a natural choice for underwater photo enthusiasts, SCUBA divers and even snorkelers.

Like all PowerShot digital cameras, these new Digital ELPHs work seamlessly with Canon's petite SELPHY Compact Photo Printers - an essential PowerShot accessory. Consumers simply connect their PowerShot digital camera to a SELPHY printer - such as the SELPHY CP510 and CP710 models. Press the lighted Print/Share button, and within seconds , images emerge. Presto! It is that simple. Canon's SELPHY Compact Photo Printers are PictBridge compatible. They work with PictBridge enabled digital cameras and offer excellent image quality and ease-of-use, especially when paired with a Canon digital camera. At 28 cents-per-print, printing photos directly from a digital camera is both easy and affordable.


Powershot SD800 IS Features:

  • 7.1 Megapixel CCD sensor for up to 3072x2304 pixel images
  • 3.8x optical 28-105mm (35mm equivalent) zoom with Image Stabilizer
  • Large 2.5" color LCD with Night Display function
  • Widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio for HDTV display
  • Ultra-compact and durable stainless steel body (3.52 x 2.28 x 0.99 in.)
  • Advanced TTL AiAF 9-point autofocus system with focus-assist lamp
  • Program AE automatic and Manual exposure modes
  • Continuous 1.7fps shooting until memory is full
  • Movie mode w/sound 30/15fps 640x480/320x240
  • Fast Frame Rate Movie recording, 320x240 at 60fps
  • Evaluative metering on focus point or Spot
  • Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • White Balance: Auto, 5 presets or Custom
  • Photo Effects: Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Custom Color
  • Shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/1600 second
  • Auto noise reduction with 1.3 sec or longer shutter speeds
  • Selectable ISO settings from 80 to 1600
  • Voice memo (up to 60 secs) can be attached to images
  • Built-in microphone and speaker
  • Lithium rechargeable battery and charger included
  • Direct print and PictBridge Compliant
  • High-speed USB 2.0 connectivity for PC and Mac
  • SD/SDHC and MMC card storage, 16MB SD card supplied


The PowerShot SD800 IS (IXUS 850 IS) Digital ELPH camera is available now for an estimated selling price of US$399.99.

Physical Views



Canon Powershot SD800 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD800 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD800 Digital ELPH Canon Powershot SD800 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD800 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD800 Digital ELPH





Canon Powershot SD800 Digital ELPH

The SD800 compared to a standard CD disc.





Canon Powershot SD800 Digital ELPH

The 10-megapixel Powershot SD900 and the SD800 IS.





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Features & Controls


PowerShot SD800 IS Specifications

Camera Effective Pixels Approx. 7.1 million
Image Sensor 1/2.5-inch CCD (Total number of pixels: Approx. 7.4 million)
Lens 3.8x optical zoom, 4.6-17.3mm f/2.8-5.8 (35mm film equivalent: 28-105mm)
Digital Zoom Approx. 4.0x
Optical Viewfinder Real-image zoom viewfinder
LCD Monitor 2.5-inch, low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT color LCD, approx. 207,000 pixels (Picture coverage 100%)
AF System TTL autofocus
Focusing frame: 9-point AiAF/1-point AF (fixed to center)
Shooting Distance
(From the front of the lens)
Normal: 1.5 ft./45cm-infinity
Macro: 1.2 in.-2.0 ft./3-60cm (WIDE), 1-2.0 ft./30-60cm (TELE)
Digital Macro: 1.2 in.-2.0 ft./3-60cm (WIDE)
Shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter Speeds 15-1/1600 sec.; Long Shutter operates with noise reduction when manually set at 1.3-15 sec.
Metering System Evaluative, Center-weighted average or Spot (fixed to center)
Exposure Compensation ± 2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
ISO Speed Auto, High ISO Auto, ISO 80/100/200/400/800/1600 (Standard Output Sensitivity/Recommended Exposure Index)
White Balance TTL auto, pre-set (available settings: Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent or Fluorescent H) or Custom
Built-in Flash Auto, auto with red-eye reduction, flash on with red-eye reduction, flash on, flash off, slow synchro
Flash Range Normal: 1.6-13 ft./50cm - 4.0m (W), 1.6-6.6 ft./50cm - 2.0m (T)
Macro: 1-1.6 ft./30-50cm (when sensitivity is set to ISO Auto)
Shooting Modes Auto, Camera M, Special Scene (Portrait, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, Indoor, Kids & Pets, Night Snapshot), Color Accent, Color Swap, Digital Macro, Stitch Assist, Movie
Photo Effects My Colors:
Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Custom Color
Continuous Shooting Approx. 1.7 shots/sec. (Large/Fine mode)
Self-timer Activates shutter after an approx. 10-sec./approx. 2-sec. delay, Custom Timer
Recording Media SD Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard
File Format Design rule for camera file system and DPOF (V1.1) compliant
Data Type Still images: Exif 2.2 (JPEG)
Movie: AVI (Image data: Motion JPEG; Audio data: WAVE (monaural))
This digital camera supports Exif 2.2 (also called "Exif Print"). Exif Print is a standard for enhancing the communication between digital cameras and printers. By connecting to an Exif Print-compliant printer, the camera's image data at the time of shooting is used and optimized, yielding extremely high quality prints.
Compression Superfine, Fine, Normal
Number of Recording Pixels (Still Images) 640 x 480 (Small),
1,600 x 1,200 (Medium 3),
2,048 x 1,536 (Medium 2),
2,592 x 1,944 (Medium 1),
3,072 x 2,304 (Large),
3,072 x 1,728 (Widescreen)
Number of Recording Pixels (Movies) 640 x 480 / 320 x 240 (30 fps/15 fps) available up to 4GB,
320 x 240 (1 min. at 60 fps),
160 x 120 (3 min. at 15 fps)
Playback Modes Still Image: Single, Magnification (approx. 2x-10x), Jump, Auto Rotate, Rotate, Resume Playback, My Category, Histogram, Index (9 thumbnails), Sound Memos, Slide Show Movie: Normal Playback, Special Playback, Editing
Direct Print PictBridge compliant, and Canon Direct Print and Bubble Jet Direct compatible
Erase Modes Still Image: single image, by date, by category, by folder, all images Movie: part of movie, all of movie
Interface USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mini-B), PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) Audio/Video output (NTSC or PAL selectable, monaural audio)
Power Source Battery Pack NB-5L (Lithium-ion Rechargeable battery)
270 shots LCD on / 600 shots LCD off / 360 min. playback time (CIPA)
AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC30
Operating Temperature 0-40°C (32-104°F)
Operating Humidity 10-90 %
Dimensions 3.52 x 2.28 x 0.99 in. / 89.5 x 58.0 x 25.1mm
Weight Approx. 150 g (5.29 oz.) (camera body only)
(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)




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Features & Controls


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