Canon Powershot SD850 IS Review

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Canon Powershot SD850

Review posted 7/7/2007


Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Canon Powershot SD850 Digital ELPH
Click to take a QTVR tour of the SD850


The PowerShot SD850 IS Digital ELPH camera packs some powerful features into a lightweight, ultra-compact package. It features 8-megapixels of resolution, ISO equivalent speed settings from 80 to 1600, a 4x zoom lens with true optical image stabilization, a bright and large 2.5-inch (230,000-pixel) wide viewing angle color LCD screen plus a real-image optical viewfinder.

The SD850's Optical Image Stabilization provides up to three stops of camera shake correction in shutter speed equivalent. When combined with the top ISO rating equivalent of 1600, 8-megapixel image sensor that further reduces image noise, and the fast f/2.8 4X optical zoom lens (35-140mm equivalent), the odds of taking a shaken or blurred image are dramatically reduced.

This new Digital ELPH has many of the latest advances in Canon technology including the proprietary DIGIC III Image Processor. The processor enhances picture definition, vibrancy, and quality, while helping increase the speed of the cameras' startup, autofocus, shutter response, playback, and image processing speed while reducing power consumption compared to the original DIGIC chip. Consumers benefit from accelerated image transfer speed of a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port.

Like all of the Canon's new models, the SD850 offers a 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 for many of the PowerShot Digital ELPH cameras, 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 SD850 IS Features:

  • 8 Megapixel CCD sensor for up to 3264x2448 pixel images
  • 4x optical 35-140mm f/2.8 zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Large 2.5" color LCD with Night Display function
  • Widescreen 16:9 still image aspect ratio for HDTV display
  • Ultra-compact and durable stainless steel body (3.56 x 2.22 x 1.04 in.)
  • Advanced TTL AiAF 9-point autofocus system with focus-assist lamp
  • Program AE automatic and Manual exposure modes
  • Continuous 1.3fps shooting until memory is full
  • Movie mode w/sound 30/15fps 640x480/320x240 unlimited length
  • 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 (high-speed) connectivity for PC and Mac
  • Secure Digital (SD) card storage, 32MB supplied


The PowerShot SD850 IS Digital ELPH is available now for an estimated selling price of US$399.99.

Physical Views



Canon Powershot SD850 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD850 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD850 Digital ELPH Canon Powershot SD850 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD850 Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD850 Digital ELPH





Canon Powershot SD850 Digital ELPH

The SD850 compared to a standard CD disc.





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Features & Controls


PowerShot SD850 IS Specifications

Camera Effective Pixels Approx. 8.0 million
Image Sensor 1/2.5-inch CCD (Total number of pixels: Approx. 8.3 million)
Lens 5.8 (W)-23.2 (T) mm (35mm film equivalent: 35 (W)-140 (T) mm) f/2.8 (W)-f/5.5 (T)
Digital Zoom Approx. 4.0x (Up to approx. 16x in combination with the optical zoom)
Optical Viewfinder Real-image zoom viewfinder
LCD Monitor 2.5-inch, low-temperature polycrystalline silicon TFT color LCD, approx. 230,000 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: 1.6 ft./50cm-infinity
Macro:0.79 in.-1.6 ft./2-50cm (WIDE), 1.3-1.6 ft./40-50cm (TELE)
Digital Macro:0.79 in.-1.6 ft./2-50cm (W)
Shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter Speeds 15-1/1600 sec. The shutter speed varies according to the shooting mode. Slow shutter speeds of 1.3 sec. or slower operate with noise reduction.
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, 80/100/200/400/800/1600 equivalent
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: 1.6-11 ft./50cm-3.5m (W), 1.6-6.6 ft./50cm-2.0m (T) (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, Creative Light Effect), Color Accent, Color Swap, Digital Macro, Stitch Assist, Movie
Color Effects Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Custom Color
Continuous Shooting Approx. 1.3 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 Version 1.1 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)
3,264 x 2,448 (Large)
3,264 x 1,832 (Widescreen)
Number of Recording Pixels (Movies) 640 x 480 / 320 x 240 (30 fps/15 fps) available up to 4GB or 60 minutes per clip, 640 x 480 (2 hours at 0.5 fps/1 fps), 320 x 240 (1 min. at 60 fps), 160 x 120 (3 min. at 15 fps
Using high-speed memory cards is recommended.
Playback Modes Still Image: Single, Magnification (approx. 2x-10x), Jump, Auto Rotate, Rotate, Resume, My Colors, My Category, Histogram, Index (9 thumbnails), Sound Memos, Slide Show, Red-eye Correction, Transition Effects Movie: Normal Playback, Special Playback, Editing
Direct Print PictBridge compliant, and Canon Direct Print and Bubble Jet Direct compatible
My Camera Settings Start-up image, start-up sound, operation sound, Self-timer sound, and shutter sound.
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)
230 shots LCD on / 700 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 3.56 x 2.22 x 1.04 in. / 90.4 x 56.5 x 26.4mm
Weight Approx. 165 g (5.82 oz.) (camera body only)
(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)




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