Saturday, November 14, 2009

Canon Powershot SD780IS Review and Blogger Notes

It's been several weeks since I got my Canon Powershot SD780IS "Elph." Here's my take on it, and please keep in mind that I am NOT a photographer (that should be obvious when you take a quick look at my previous posts and pictures). Image above was actually swiped from (click here for it) another review.

I went downstairs to dig up the receipt for this little camera, just because I'm trying to figure out how long it has been since I've charged the battery. I charged it immediately after purchasing this little powerhouse (mid September), and it hasn't required a charging since. I've never been a big fan of devices that have a discrete battery, vice those that use common AA or AAA sources, but this one seems to be a winner. It also uses the same battery as a couple of other Canon models, so it should remain easily replaceable if it suffers some type of failure, or develops a memory.

This little point and shoot camera is a direct replacement of a very cheap model that my wife got me a year or so ago. That "El cheapo," as I like to call it, model took a licking, and it finally stopped ticking. Actually, it will still take pictures, but the internal optics failed to hold up to the environment here in Okinawa.

The SD780IS has been very easy to use, fast to power up, focuses well in AF mode, and has intuitive features that even a dummy like me can figure out. The image quality is far superior to that of my previous camera(s), and it even has the capability to take 12.1 MP shots, which can be a boon if I want to enlarge them. When I examine the raw shots on my wife's fancy big monitor, they look great! The camera produces some pretty big files, though, around 3MB per picture at a moderate setting for size and a high setting for quality.

I've been very impressed with this camera's ability to take good macro shots. I'm still experimenting, but there will undoubtedly be more pics of bugs and flowers in my future. A couple of reviews that I read elsewhere mentioned that it has a slightly smaller lens than some previous models (which can affect wide angle and telephoto shots), but this is also one of the smallest cameras that Canon makes. They packed plenty of features into it, though, including the ability to shoot HD video. With some experimentation, I quickly discovered that the audio associated with video is pretty poor (a little tinny, with little or no bass).

It produces very rich colors, even with the "auto" settings enabled, and a little tweaking for sunsets, or portraits helps a lot! I've noticed that it tries really hard to help me out when I leave it in the simple auto mode, but that can only do so much. Facing into the sun has predictable results, but still generates some interesting shots, especially over water. The face recognition feature is neat when dealing with kids! The aperture size and shutter speeds are easy to manipulate in manual mode, if you know what you're doing (I don't), and give you the capability to tailor the shot to the conditions. ISO setting can be quickly accessed as well, as can various "dumbed down" settings that accomplish the same thing (sports setting, etc).

My biggest source of pleasure with this camera is the fact that it is SO easy to keep with me, and employ in time of need. With my current profession, I have a deep appreciation for a quality product that can be put into use quickly, and efficiently. This camera indeed does that, and it does that very well. With almost little thought, I can capture quality images, and rely on this device to do it every time. Isn't that what a point-and-shoot camera should be?

My greatest source of displeasure associated with this camera actually has nothing to do with the camera itself: Blogger. I do not like what Blogger does when I upload an image. The resizing and dramatic reduction in quality are obstacles that I've not yet figured out how to overcome. I've seen numerous Wordpress themed blogs that have much better looking images on them. Mine are nowhere near what their original form looks like (even when clicking to download the larger version).

In a nutshell, I would definitely recommend this camera to someone looking for a quality point-and-shoot model that is easy to use. Fast, dependable (so far), and a producer of good images, this camera is a keeper.


Erika Jean said...

I reallly need a grab and go camera. Mine is rather annoying to take along for any kind of hike that requires climbing of any sort. Pretty neat that you can put it into manual mode! I don't think you find that too often with "point and shoot" cameras. I may have to look into this!

Katy Rose said...

I have had such a great experience with Canons! I have had 2 point and shoot cameras by Canon. One was lost. :( We now have a larger model by them and the small one for back up. I have not tried this camera but if I had the money it would be at the top of the list for a back up camera.

P.J. said...

As basically a lifelong Canon user and owner, I applaud your choice.

I don't carry my main gear with me, usually, when out caching. It's just too much. There are times when I wish I had it, but alas, it's tough to bring it on hikes up mountains.

After torching one canon P&S (my fault), I went a little cheaper with the SD1100 IS and love it. It goes well in the pocket and performs when needed. I can't speak enough about Canon. It's the best!

Just John said...

As an aside, I just had to place the battery in the charger for the first time since purchasing this camera in mid-September. I guess I can count on it lasting about two months. I've also shot at least three videos with it (a couple of minutes each), and taken a heap of pictures (not sure of the exact count). I LIKE this battery. I'm sure the performance will degrade a little over time, but it looks promising so far.

cartucho r4i said...

I've had this camera now for about a week. The main reason for this purchase is the 720p HD video feature. I've been playing with all the recent point and shoot camcorders such as the Kodak Zi6 and the Creative Vado HD. I also have the not-yet-released-in-the-US Canon SX1 which does full 1080p HD video. I have also tried the Sony T500.

cartucho r4i said...
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weightlossgeek said...

This IS a great camera indeed with great video features.

Great article. I wrote one too, feel free to see it

Canon PowerShot SD780IS Review