Canon Powershot SD890 IS Review

Canon Powershot SD890 IS

Review posted 6/3/2008

Click to take a QTVR tour of the SD890 IS

The PowerShot SD890 IS Digital ELPH is a compact model with 10-megapixels, a 5x optically image stabilized, zoom lens, 2.5 inch PureColor II LCD display, all packed into a contoured body. The 5x zoom lens offers users flexibility by expanding the focusing range from a maximum wide-angle equivalent of a 37mm to a maximum optical telephoto equivalent of a 185mm. This camera's multi-control dial enables the user to simply switch between shooting modes, settings and even images during playback, with easily understandable mode icons displayed on the 2.5-inch display. There's even a traditional optical viewfinder.

Among the significant technological advances shared on the new PowerShot SD890 IS, SD790 IS and SD770 IS Digital ELPH cameras is Canon's intelligent anti-blur system. Developed by linking four of Canon's most cutting-edge achievements: Optical Image Stabilization, Motion Detection technology, Hi-ISO Auto and Noise Reduction technology, the result is consistently sharp and clear pictures, even when the shooting conditions and circumstances may not be ideal.

All three PowerShot Digital ELPH cameras feature the latest and most advanced generation of Genuine Canon Face Detection Technology, thus ensuring that up-to nine forward-looking faces in the frame - whether posed for a family portrait, candidly capturing friends and fun, or spontaneously snapping a toddler's expression of triumphant glee as two halting steps - are in focus and properly exposed, with or without flash. In addition to focus and exposure control, the camera's Face Detection feature captures truer, more accurately lit skin tones (and hence more beautifully rendered pictures) thanks to Canon's improved Face Detection White Balance. There's also a new optional "AF Point Zoom" feature that digitally enlarges the face of the main subject on the camera's LCD screen to make it easy to determine the optimum timing for clicking the shutter to capture the moment.

Canon Digital ELPH cameras offer an array of in-camera processing features that once required tweaking with computer-based photo software. Now, newly developed Automatic Red Eye Correction can be engaged while shooting, minimizing the need for correction before printing or sharing images.

With Canon's Image Inspection Tool, users can review pictures recently taken on the camera's bright, brilliant and easy-to-read 230,000-pixel PureColor LCD II display by zooming in to ensure that the subjects are in focus and to check for such picture-damning details as closed eyes or inappropriate expressions. What's more, with the digital EPH camera line's Trimming Function, users can easily crop images, centering and creating memorable close-ups whether they are smiling faces or iconic cityscapes.

The "brain" in every new Canon digital camera is Canon's proprietary DIGIC III imaging processor. This exclusive chip is responsible for the camera's higher performance levels including faster start up, faster autofocus and quicker shutter response times that leave long lag competitors far behind. What's more, the DIGIC III processor improves both the image quality and the cameras' power consumption, extending the battery life under typical shooting conditions.

Powershot SD890 IS Features:

  • 10.0 Megapixel CCD sensor for up to 3648 x 2736 pixel images
  • 5x optical 37-185mm (35mm equivalent) zoom
  • Optical Image Stabilization (IS) technology
  • 2.5" color LCD with 230,000 pixels
  • Widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio for HDTV display
  • Ultra-compact body (3.76 x 2.26 x 1.08 in.)
  • Advanced TTL AiAF 9-point autofocus system with focus-assist lamp
  • Canon's Face Detection AF/AE/FE technology with AF-Point Zoom feature
  • Auto, Scene and Camera M (Program) exposure modes
  • Continuous 1.2fps shooting until memory is full
  • Movie mode w/sound 30fps 640x480/320x240 up to 4GB
  • Evaluative metering on focus point or Spot
  • Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • White Balance: Auto, 5 presets or Custom
  • Shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/1500 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
  • Intelligent Orientation Sensor
  • 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/MMC+/HC MMC+ card storage, 32MB SD card supplied

The Powershot SD890 IS is available now, and ships with a battery pack and charger, 32MB SD memory card, a USB interface cable, an AV cable, a wrist strap, and Canon's software suite. Each kit carries an estimated retail price of US$399.99.

Physical Views

Canon Powershot SD890 IS Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD890 IS Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD890 IS Digital ELPHCanon Powershot SD890 IS Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD890 IS Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD890 IS Digital ELPH

Canon Powershot SD890 IS Digital ELPH

The SD890 IS compared to a standard CD disc.

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Features & Controls

PowerShot SD890 IS Specifications

Type of Camera
Compact digital still camera with built-in flash, 5x Optical/4x Digital/20x Combined Zoom with Optical Image Stabilizer System
Image Capture Device
10.0 Megapixel, 1/2.3 inch type Charge Coupled Device (CCD)
Total Pixels
Approx. 10.3 Megapixels
Effective Pixels
Approx. 10.0 Megapixels
Focal Length
6.6-33.0mm f/3.2-5.7 (35mm film equivalent: 37-185mm)
Digital Zoom
Focusing Range
Normal: 1.6 ft./50cm-infinity
Macro: 0.79 in.-1.6 ft./2-50cm (W)
Digital Macro: 0.79-3.9 in./2-10cm (W)
Autofocus System
TTL Autofocus
Viewfinder & Monitor
Real image optical zoom viewfinder
LCD Monitor
2.5-inch TFT color LCD with wide viewing angle (PureColor LCD II)
LCD Pixels
Approx. 230,000 pixels
LCD Coverage
Aperture and Shutter
Maximum Aperture
f/3.2 (W) - f/5.7 (T)
Shutter Speed
1/60-1/1500 sec., 15-1/1500 sec.; Long Shutter operates with noise reduction when manually set at 1.3-15 sec.
Exposure Control
ISO Sensitivity
Auto, High ISO Auto, ISO 80/100/200/400/800/1600 equivalent (Standard output sensitivity. Recommended exposure index)
Light Metering Method
Evaluative*, Center-weighted average, Spot**
* Control to incorporate facial brightness in Face Detection AF
** Metering frame is fixed to the center
Exposure Control Method
Program AE; AE Lock
Exposure Compensation
+/-2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
White Balance
White Balance Control
Auto,* Preset (Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H), Custom
* Control to incorporate facial brightness in Face Detection AF
Built-in Flash
Auto, Red-eye Reduction, Auto Red-eye Correction, Flash On, Flash Off; FE lock, Slow Synchro
Flash Range
12 in.-11 ft./30cm-3.5m (W), 12 in.-6.6 ft./30cm-2.0m (T) (when sensitivity is set to ISO Auto)
Recycling Time
10 sec. or less (battery voltage=3.7V)
Flash Exposure Compensation
Shooting Specifications
Shooting Modes
Auto, Camera M, Special Scene (Portrait, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Fireworks, Aquarium, ISO 3200, Indoor, Kids & Pets, Night Snapshot), Color Accent, Color Swap, Digital Macro, Stitch Assist, Movie
Activates shutter after an approx. 2-sec./10-sec. delay, Custom
Wireless Control
Not available
Continuous Shooting
Approx. 1.2 fps (Large/Fine)
Image Storage
Storage Media
SD/SDHC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, MMC Plus Card, HC MMC Plus Card
File Format
Design rule for camera file system, DPOF Version 1.1
Image Compression
Normal, Fine, SuperFine
JPEG Compression Mode
Still Image: Exif 2.2 (JPEG)
Movie: AVI (Image: Motion JPEG; Audio: WAVE (Monaural))
Number of Recording Pixels
Still Image: 3,648 x 2,736 (Large), 2,816 x 2,112 (Medium 1), 2,272 x 1,704 (Medium 2), 1,600 x 1,200 (Medium 3/Date Stamp), 640 x 480 (Small), 3,648 x 2,048 (Widescreen)
Movie: 640 x 480 (30 fps/30 fps LP), 320 x 240 (30 fps) available up to 4GB or 60 minutes, 640 x 480 (up to 2 hours at 0.5 fps/1 fps), 160 x 120 (up to 3 min. at 15 fps)
Number of Recordable Images
Large (L) Medium 1 (M1) Medium 2 (M2)
File Size (KB) 4,332 2,565 1,226 2,720 1,620 780 2,002 1,116 556
32MB 6 11 23 10 17 37 14 26 52
SDC-128M 28 47 99 45 75 156 61 109 217
SDC-512MSH 110 186 386 176 292 603 237 425 839

Medium 3 (M3) Small (S) Widescreen (W)
File Size (KB) 1,002 558 278 249 150 84 3,243 1,920 918
32MB 29 52 99 111 171 270 8 15 31
SDC-128M 121 217 411 460 711 1,118 37 64 132
SDC-512MSH 471 839 1,590 1,777 2,747 4,317 147 249 511
Time of Recordable Movies
Standard, Color Accent, Color Swap Compact Time Lapse
640 x 480 320 x 240 160 x 120 640 x 480
30 fps 30 fps LP 30 fps 15 fps 1 fps 0.5 fps
Movie size (KB/sec.) 1,963 1,003 703 131 64 32
32MB 14 sec. 27 sec. 38 sec. 3 min. 09 sec. 7 min. 30 sec. 15 min. 00 sec.
SDC-128M 1 min. 01 sec. 1 min. 56 sec. 2 min. 42 sec. 13 min. 02 sec. 31 min. 45 sec. 1 hr. 3 min. 30 sec.
SDC-512MSH 3 min. 57 sec. 7 min. 30 sec. 10 min. 29 sec. 50 min. 21 sec. 2 hr. 3 min. 30 sec. 4 hr. 7 min. 00 sec.
Note: N=Normal F=Fine SF=SuperFine
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.
Playback Specifications
Playback Modes File
Still Image: Single, Magnification (approx. 2x-10x), Jump, Auto Rotate, Rotate, Resume, My Colors, My Category, Transition Effects, Histogram, Overexposure Warning, Index (9 thumbnails), Sound Memos, Slide Show, Red-eye Correction, RAW, Trimming, Resize, Image Inspection Tool
Movie: Normal Playback, Special Playback, Editing, Auto Rotate, Resume
Erasing Specifications
Erase Modes
Still Image: single image, select range, select by date, select by category, select by folder, all images
Movie: part of movie, all of movie
Computer Interface
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (mini-B jack)
Video Out
Audio Out
Memory card slot; direct connection to Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers, PIXMA Photo Printers and PictBridge-compatible printers via camera's USB 2.0 Hi-Speed cable
Power Supply
Power Source
1. Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery NB-5L
2. AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC30 (optional)
Shooting Capacity
Still Image: approx. 320 shots*/800 shots (LCD off)
Playback Time
Approx. 420 min. (NB-4L)

* LCD screen on. The above figures comply with CIPA testing standards and apply when fully-charged batteries are used.

Physical Specifications
Operating Temperature
Operating Humidity
Dimensions (W x H x D)
3.76 x 2.26 x 1.08 in./95.4 x 57.3 x 27.4mm
Approx. 5.47 oz./155g (camera body only)
(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

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Features & Controls

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