Friday, March 27, 2009

Another canon IXUS review

Over at Steve's Digicams they have reviewed the SD780IS and it seems like the opinion is quite favorable. In short Canon has produced a good very small camera.

The one thing that is bugging me is that my 4-5year old PCs cannot play the videos smoothly. I have tried various players (like Quicktime, VLC, etc). I guess it is just too old, but I am having a hard time buying more stuff right now...

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Another review and some reflections on the SD 780 IS

Have not done much testing lately. Here is another review of the IXUS 100 / SD780 camera that is fairly positive, and very positive if one takes the small size and superb design into consideration. After all it is a compact camera.

I have also really enjoyed that small fact that Canon has changed so switching to "review" mode is done by a button instead of using the "mode" dial. That works really well and is much better than the previous SD cameras I have owned and used.

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Summary - so far

Well, I have had it for almost a week now and before that studied many photos and videos from others. What can I say? Although this is not a real review, if you look at all the posts I have done, you can get a fairly good idea on how the camera works and you can download many photos directly from camera (no editing in Photoshop or elsewhere) here and print them for your own review. My personal impressions would probably be something like:


  • Small, slim, and well built
  • Quick and snappy operations (one exception, flash recycle)
  • IS - cannot say enough good things about IS in cameras, especially for video
  • Adequate zoom range
  • Fantastic macro ability
  • HD video with good (mono) sound and H.264
  • Ok ISO performance, especially considering it's 12Mpix and small sensor
  • Good, balanced AUTO mode (one exception, the over exposure


  • Tend to overexpose in AUTO and no way of dialing in compensation
  • Do not re-adjust focus when taking videos
  • Cannot use optical zoom in video mode (digital can be used)
  • Somewhat slow lens
  • HD video (and actually also 640x480) requires modern (2yr old max?) PC to playback without stuttering
  • Flash cannot throttle back enough for use in macro (most times)
  • Cannot do manual exposure compensation during video (and do intital)

I guess that's about it. Overall (if you have a new PC or good MAC) I think it is a great small camera. If you do not care about the size, then you might find others that are as good or better, but if size is important, then I am not so sure that there are better today.

Order Canon SD780IS from Amazon: Deep Red Black Gold Silver

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Simple size comparison SD780IS

Someone requested a size comparison. Here's the previous generation iPod Nano and a CD.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

SD780IS - Video exposure compensation and focus

Seems like that's the most common question, so here's a bunch of videos demonstrating how the camera works. Basically, when you start the video the focus is evaluated and then locked. You can use macro/normal/infinity, but it is locked once the video start.

For the exposure there are two modes. The first one is automatic. In this mode the camera will (with a slight lag) change the exposure. If you access the exposure compensation (up on the dial) before you start the video, you will see a


type of dial. You can change down (darker) or up (brighter). The current brightness that was on the screen when you first press the "up" button will be kept in the middle position. I.e. once you take out the compensation dial, the exposure will no longer automatically be adjusted regardless what happens. You can, before starting the video, adjust up or down and see the result on the screen. But once you start the recording, there is nothing you can do to re-adjust it. Unfortunately... I guess this is a point-and-shoot, so maybe it's wrong to expect more? Here are the videos, and remember that the only light in the videos is more or less the three candles:

Auto mode:

Locked - middle setting:

Locked - max setting:

Locked - min setting:

Demonstration of that focus is not updated, start with macro:

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More photos and one video - SD 780 IS

Here are some "sunshine" outdoor photos taken with the new Canon SD780IS. And here also a short HD video of a small airplane flying overhead. Here is the YouTube version of the video:

From SD780IS - Samples 3

From SD780IS - Samples 3

And here is the photos for download.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Low light samples - Video and Still

Here's a quick test of how the ISO 800 performance of the SD780IS (IXUS 100 IS) is. This was taken in full auto, where it recognized the scene as a macro (was quite close) and therefore did not fire the flash. The camera is not that great at throttling back the flash for macros. The photo is (click on it to view the original):

Here is a 100% crop from the 12Mpix photo:

And if one would downsize the photo to 3Mpix (2000x1500) then the 100% crop will look like:

Now, considering this is an ultra compact camera with 12Mpixels, it's hard to not be at least a little impressed. If you have been using digital cameras for a while you know what I am talking about. My first digital was an 1.2Mpixel Olympus camera...

Anyway, I also took a very short and utterly boring (and messy looking) 720p video in our dining room where the light is not that bright. I will try to do a better sample soon. You can download that clip here.

Order Canon SD780IS from Amazon: Deep Red Black Gold Silver

In stock - at Amazon...

Now Amazon has the camera in stock. Please use the links to the right if you are going to buy this camera :)

Yesterday afternoon, I had a chance to test the camera in a family gathering. No new full size samples, but below is a sample of a ISO800 1/13s shot. Sure, the original 12Mpix is noisy, but I think for a 4x6 it would print rather well. There are other high ISO shots in the Picasa album if you click on the photo or link below. Overall I am please with it. Focusing performed well in the low light and the snappy performance is nice. The real test I guess is to see how well the prints are, as looking at 100% on the computer is not always pleasing (at ISO 400+).

From SD780IS - Samples 2

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Day 3 with camera...

I got the camera on Friday, and thus spent ~3 days with it now. It is quite annoying that my PC is too slow to play the HD videos as that was one of the things I wanted. But I guess one cannot say a ~5yr old PC is "state of the art", can I?

I took some more photos this morning, and there are a few samples below, as well as a link to a Picasa Web album for screen size resolution images, and a link after where the raw jpeg images can be downloaded for your analysis :)

The reflections I have done so far is that the tendency to overexpose in auto mode is by far the most annoying thing (and it seems like DC resource's review of SX-200IS is also finding the same on that camera. Maybe it's a DIGIC-4 thing?). I have done some trials also with video mode, and it seems like the camera is only focusing when one start the recording, after that the focus stays the same. In most cases this is not really an issue, but it would be nice if it could re-focus.

The camera handles very nicely and is quite fast in all operations, with the exception of flash recharge after a flash photo is taken. It takes several seconds until it is ready again.

Here are some more sample photos (click on photo to go to album with more):
From SD780IS - Samples

From SD780IS - Samples

From SD780IS - Samples

From SD780IS - Samples

And here is the raw jpegs for download.

Order Canon SD780IS from Amazon: Deep Red Black Gold Silver

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Walkabout with SD780IS

I got to take a walk with the new Canon SD780IS this morning. And I will post some photos and videos (pretty lame videos) in the end. The thoughts on the camera are that the AUTO mode is actually really good with one annoying exception, that the camera tends to overexpose a little and that one cannot dial in exposure compensation in AUTO mode. In fact, except for the image size, there's really nothing to set in auto mode. You can force flash off, which is nice. In AUTO the camera seems to try to keep ISO under and at 400 for most photos down to 1/20s shutter speed. Then it will try (if allowed) to use the flash. If the flash is forced off, the ISO will go up to 800.

The video works fine, although on my 4 year old home computer, I cannot really play them :( They seem to take too much cpu/graphics power. With the lens starting at 32mm, and when one take HD video, the top and bottom gets blanked out, so it really feels like too zoomed in when shooting indoors. And one cannot take photos when taking video, as the start/stop button is the shutter and no other button in use. One can dial in some exposure compensation in video mode.

Here is a picasa album link to the photos (click on the photo or link below the photo):
From SD780IS

From SD780IS

From SD780IS

And the full (original) photos and videos can be downloaded here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Quick samples and videos

Nothing to write home about, but here are some quick samples from my new camera. More to come in the weekend.

Three raw movies: Video 1, Video 2, and Video 3.

All original out of camera photos and videos can be accessed here.

And some (again, quick snapshots, at base ISO) photos:

All original out of camera photos and videos can be accessed here.

Order Canon SD780IS from Amazon: Deep Red Black Gold Silver