It’s no secret to most of my friends and family that I’m very happy with my new camera. I think all of them are sick of hearing about it so I hope they see this. If you’re interested in why I purchased this camera, read the “Agenda: Digital Camera” post. I’m going to divide this review into three sections: image quality, ease of use, and features.
I’ll start with ease of use because that’s what I noticed first when I opened the box. The camera is nicely shaped—losing the hard corners of previous PowerShot models—and is easy enough to take photos one-handed. However, I definitely recommend using the wrist strap as it’s incredibly easy to drop considering its size and lack of non-slip grips.
The menus are exceptionally designed, making it just a click or two for common features, yet only three or four for advanced or rarely-used options. The buttons move nicely and choices are felt as well as heard/seen. And while all this is nice, the camera wouldn’t be much fun if the software lagged behind these clicks (I’m looking at you, Kodak CX4230). Thankfully, the results of clicks are almost instantaneous.
In terms of features, I knew what to expect so there weren’t many surprises. The manual settings (white balance, exposure length, light meter, but no aperture settings) work well when the full automatic or scene settings are not enough—not all that often. However, I really wish that the image stabilization worked for more than just full auto with auto flash. What I didn’t expect to use much at all but turned out to be an awesome addition is the video camera mode. It records in AVI and at 640×480 resolution so the files are gigantic and the quality is almost broadcast quality. Nice surprise.
Pros: Image quality, image stabilization, 3.8x optical zoom, size, battery capacity, video mode, manual mode, scene settings, optical viewfinder, screen size, and well-designed menus.
Cons: Image stabilization only available in full-auto mode.
Canon PowerShot SD800 IS on Amazon.