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Canon PowerShot SD780IS 12.1 MP Digital Camera with 3x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.5-inch LCD (Gold)
List Price: $379.97

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Product Description

It may be the slimmest Digital ELPH Canon has ever created, but the impact couldn't be bigger. The PowerShot SD780 IS Digital ELPH captivates the senses with bold saturated colors and a daringly original design that matches the intensity of Canon's most innovative camera technology. Even when picture-taking conditions seem pretty unforgiving, you've got Canon on your side. Plus, you've got an advanced DIGIC 4 Image Processor with evolved Face Detection Technology and the Face Detection Self-timer for extraordinary control and performance. This technology finds and tracks the faces of moving subjects until you're ready to shoot, then delivers perfect focus. In addition, exposure, flash and white balance are compensated, so that faces exhibit natural skin tones and backgrounds are properly exposed. The camera also makes it easy to enjoy HD movies (and still photos) in beautiful high definition (1280 x 720 pixels) on your HDTV with a mini-HDMI connector for direct connection to a high-definition monitor. You'll enjoy the HD experience with no degradation of image or audio in the signal, plus the ability to display up to 130 still images at once. So the shots you used to miss are the images you'll now be sharing, and the movies you never took before will be HD unforgettable. Focal Length - 5.9-17.9mm f/3.2-5.8 (35mm film equivalent - 33-100mm) LCD Monitor - 2.5-inch TFT color LCD widescreen with wide viewing angle, Approx. 230,000 pixels ISO Sensitivity - Auto, ISO 80/100/200/400/800/1600 equivalent Continuous Shooting - Approx. 0.8 fps Compression Mode - Still Image - Exif 2.2 (JPEG); Movie - MOV (H.264) Storage Media - SD/SDHC Memory Card, Multimedia Card, MMC Plus Card, HC MMC Plus Card Number of Recording Pixels - Still Image - up to 4000 x 3000 (Large); Movie - High Definition - up to 1280 x 720 (30 fps) Video Output - NTSC/PAL Dimensions - 3.43 (W) x 2.15 (H) x 0.72 (D) Weight -

Features:
  • 12.1-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality poster-size prints
  • 3x optical zoom lens with Optical Image Stabilizer
  • HD movie shooting capability plus HDMI output
  • 2.5-inch widescreen PureColor LCD II screen; Face Detection
  • Compatible with SD/SDHC, MMC/MMC Plus/HC MMC Plus (not included)

Customer Reviews:

  • What an amazing camera! Big camera performance, tiny package!
    I selected this camera as a "always carry" item. I own a Canon 20D professional camera with many lenses and other attachements, and it is HEAVY. So I don't take it unless I am on a photo shoot.

    The SD780IS has a very important feature: an optical viewfinder. This is really helpful in bright sunlight, when you will have great difficulty using the LCD to frame a photo.

    The image quality is great, the HD video is great, only complaint is that the mic is very susceptable to wind noise.

    The ability to apply filters and cropping/resizing in the camera is very nice.

    This camera is so small it is smaller than a credit card (only thicker). The flash works great, the focus light works great - I can take photos in complete darkness! The shutter lag is very very short.

    If you are looking for an absolutely GREAT camera that will disappear in your pocket (you will forget it is there), this is the one!

    The only limitations (in comparison to my "big" camera) is... no lens options (only built-in 3x zoom, with a very good digital zoom and image stabilizer function), and a slightly higher noise level in the image data (required because it uses a very tiny sensor). The noise is not visible for even very large prints (12 megapixels is a LOT of pixels). And, of course the adjustment options are limited (I like shutter priority, but can't do that on this camera). However, the exposure system is EXCELLENT!

    I usually shoot in Program mode, with -2/3 stop exposure. This is due to the fact that auto mode causes the image to often be slightly over-exposed (as viewed on the LCD). The image is usually NOT overexposed, just looks that way. Since I like to share the photos on the camera a lot, I use this to get great color on the LCD, not just on the computer. The additional image noise from this adjustment is very tiny.

    Great camera! HD video in the palm of your hand! Waiting for Canon to release the 60D so I can do HD on my big camera, too!...more info
  • Excellent, well made little camera
    This camera is small and made quite well. If you compare it to other cameras in it's class, you will immediately notice it is heaftier and made of metal, not plastic. The menus are easy to figure out and the camera is packed with a ton of features. The only negative is this: When you take a picture it takes a few seconds to appear on the screen, in the interim, a note that says "Busy" appears on screen. This is annoying....more info
  • Love it!
    This camera takes GREAT pictures. The quality of the pictures is better than I expected. The image stabilization works really well. None of my pictures have been blurred, even when I have accidentally moved while taking a picture. The colors are very vivid. Movies come out great as well.

    My only concern is the door for the battery/memory card compartment. The hinge seems kind of flimsy, so I am extra careful whenever I open it.

    Other than that - I would highly recommend this camera. And the red color is absolutely THE BEST!!!!!!!

    LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!...more info
  • Correct case for SD780 IS
    After much searching I found the correct case for this camera. It is specifically made for the SD780IS, It is the Canon PSC-1050. It says made for the Powershot SD780IS right on the box and fits like a glove. Get the correct case.Canon PSC-1050 Deluxe Lether Case (Black)Canon PSC-1050 Deluxe Lether Case (Red)...more info
  • just what i expected
    Size: this sucker is small. easy to carry around in your pocket.

    Picture quality: I cant complain. Some people write about noisy photos, over saturation, washed out this and that, i just dont see it and honestly i think it makes people feel smart when they write reviews like that. to my eye, the pics look great. i am not a professional photographer so maybe thats the problem. if you are like me and are a regular consumer, i am sure you will be pleased.

    HD movies: I was specifically in the market for point and shoot that did video well. let me say, the video in a brightly lit area is fantastic. hooked the camera up to my HD TV via mini hdmi and was amazed that this tiny little guy took such sharp video. in low light, the video can be a little noisy, but that is going to happen with any digital camera. that will even happen with a dedicated video camera, so no complaints from me.

    Battery life: battery is great, once again, no complaints.

    I think there is a reason that all the top selling camera's on amazon appear to be Canon's. This camera met all my expectations.
    ...more info
  • Best in Class Ulta-Compact
    I read plenty of reviews and did much testing before deciding to buy this camera. Now that I've used it for over a month now and on several trips I can confidently say this is the best camera at its size and price. If someone can produce another camera at this size and weight with similar features and image quality with a lower price please provide a link to it. I tested Nikons and Panasonics and they all had worse IQ, and even other bigger Canons but disliked the bulk.
    The best feature of course is its size, it fits comfortably in my pocket with a cell phone too. The pictures are great and the shutter speed is amazing, especially if you turn off the picture review and want to take many pictures in a row but just not in continuous mode. The Auto works great for most anything, however indoors and in low light, its best to raise your ISO and use program mode.
    My minor complaints would be the display quality(noisy),audio quality, and only 3x optical zoom. I would love it with 5x optical zoom and better audio, but its not any worse then the audio on the Flip. This is the perfect compliment to my DSLR and I was very impressed with the camera's performance given its tiny size....more info
  • Poor noisy photos
    I wanted to like this camera. Size and features and speed are great.
    But the picture quality is terrible.
    Outside shots show well over saturated in the greens at all settings.
    Pictures are extremely pixilated and noisy.
    For 12mp I expected this to have sharper images than my Olympus 5mp camera but they were FAR worse. Printed and on a larger screen they don't hold up.
    Enlargements are terrible. All the images look like they've been digitally sharpened about 5 times.
    Video feature is nice but 90% of the time I want to take photos with this and ones that appear natural not juiced.
    ...more info
  • Noisy, but good
    If you want this little new camera from Canon it's probably due to it's attractive body and small size, something Canon has done well in the past and managed to improve upon in the SD780 IS. If those two things are topping your list, don't bother reading this review. You've succeeded in finding a tiny, attractive little camera that can go just about anywhere. If quality and features also matter, it's more of a mixed bag. As usual, when you make a camera this small, the form factor means sacrifices in more practical areas. Nonetheless, Canon does a nice job all-around in giving you an excellent value despite the shortcomings inherent in pocket photographic devices.

    For owners of small pocket cameras, it should come as no surprise that noise is the number one problem with this device. With a 12MP sensor, it's no wonder there's so much noise in every photo you take. Outdoors, indoors, pitch black, whatever: it doesn't matter. You will see noise no matter how well-lit your scene is, whether there are dark areas or not. This is a huge drawback if you're printing large photos. If you're like most people and only go beyond 4x6 or 5x7 for that occasional photo that warrants an 8x10, you don't have much to worry about. Though cramming 12MP into a tiny little sensor, like the one used in the SD780 IS, is certainly a cause of the high levels of noise, the resolution it provides makes the noise imperceptible when printing small photographs. You may notice it in an 8x10 photo taken at night, but for your smaller prints you should get by just fine.

    Where noise is a bigger problem is in the video mode. Since the introduction of their 5D Mark II DSLR, Canon's begun to embrace high-definition video across their photographic line. Though few cameras in Canon's arsenal can capture HD video at this time, I believe by the end of 2009 it should be more the norm than the exception. While the SD780 IS doesn't capture 1080p video like the 5D Mark II, or it's (much) bigger brother the SX1S IS, 720p is quite a feat for a camera this small. It's comparable in size to the Flip Mino HD and only costs about $50 more (if you're comparing by suggested retail pricing). Though not as straightforward and simple as the Flip, by virtue of being a still camera first and a video device second, if you're looking for a device that does both and are willing to pay a little extra you've found it. The video quality in the Canon SD780 IS is more uniformly sharp (in daylight or indoors), though the Flip Mino HD tends to pick up slightly more detail in the distance (in daylight, not indoors). The SD780 IS gives you selective focus and stabilization. While you may not care for selective focus, the image stabilization offered in the SD780 IS is very nice to have when taking video clips. The image stabilizer allows for nice, smooth pans that are not offset by the "jello effect" you get with CMOS sensors. The Flip uses a CMOS and has that issue. The SD780 IS uses a CCD and does not. The SD780 also offers H.264 encoding at an average bit rate of about 24Mbps. For H.264 720p video, this is a very high bit rate from a device. Nonetheless, the files aren't too big. If you've got a 16GB SDHC card you'll get about an hour and a half of video. Where the Flip does a better job, however, is in noise.

    Though the Flip isn't exactly the best device in low light, it still manages pretty well for a tiny little camera. The SD780 IS looks noisy in every situation. While the high megapixel rating keeps the noise harder to see in a photo, when you're dealing with 720p video the noise is very apparent. You can see it in perfect daylight, though it's not that bothersome, and you can really see it indoors regardless of the lighting. This is a noisy camera. Though it's forgivable in the photographs, in most cases, it really hurts the video mode. Given the limitations of the tiny hardware and the unfortunate megapixel race, noise reduction would've been nice. Nonetheless, if you're looking for an incredibly tiny device that records HD video, the SD780 IS should by high on your list by virtue of its stabilization.

    Being that this is a primarily a still camera and not a video device, there are a lot of positives to look at. Let's start on the outside and work our way in. Canon's clearly put a lot of thought into the form factor. Regardless of what color you get, I think most will agree that this is a very attractive device. It's compact and light, so taking it with you will seem about the same as not taking it with you: you will often forget you have it. On one hand, that's very nice. On the other, make sure you don't lose it. Though it's not the smallest camera you can buy, it feels a lot smaller than it is. This could be an issue for some people. I've owned and/or reviewed a large number of consumer imaging devices and I've never run into the problems that some seem to have with button size. I've used a Sony camera that's a bit smaller than this one and had no issues, whatsoever, with accidental presses. The SD780 IS is the first device I've owned where I often make these mistakes. If you have big fingers, you will probably find this device extremely frustrating. For me, the problem is primarily with what I'll call the function wheel. Kind of like an iPod, in the center is a Function/Set button surrounded by a wheel of four other options. Though this is not a new interface for Canon, it's awfully small on the SD 780 and it's very easy to mistakenly push the wrong button on the wheel (or the center button). Personally, I don't find myself running into this problem too often because I'm not frequently changing settings. Nonetheless, it's something you should consider if you've had trouble with accidental button pushes in the past.

    The other switches, however, are quite easy to deal with. The other four buttons on the back panel have quite a bit of space around them, even when not considering how small this camera is, and pushing them is no trouble at all. One is a switch that goes from automatic photo mode to custom photo mode to video mode. Though I've come to prefer separate buttons for starting a video and taking a photo, much like Sanyo does with their line of convergence cameras (which they're now calling "dual cameras"), this switch works well in the sense that it keeps you in the mode and saves you from remembering which button to push when you want something. More importantly, switching modes is about as fast as you could ask for. Though it's not my preferred way to switch modes (because I prefer the devices to seem like there's no switch at all), it doesn't really end up being a problem.

    Lastly, there are two buttons on the top of the camera. One is for the shutter and the other is the power button. If you have large fingers, good luck pushing the power button. It's tiny and it isn't raised at all. I consider my fingers normal-sized and have no difficulty pushing the button but if you're concerned, go try the camera in a store before you buy it. As for the shutter, that's no problem at all. You half-depress to focus and press fully to take the photo, like you would with pretty much any digital camera on the market. There is also a zoom ring around the shutter button which has a tiny little edge to it for your finger to flick. It works quite well, despite being as tiny as it is. For the most part, the camera is very easy to control despite its size. Though you may have difficulty when changing settings, when it comes to general operation (aside from turning it on and off) you shouldn't run into issues.

    My two favorite parts of the SD780 IS body are its large screen and port access. The screen is incredibly bright and clear, even at half brightness (which is where it starts out of the box and probably where you want to leave it), and is well protected by a glass covering. Smudging is easy to clean but be careful of scratches. The refresh rate of the screen is also excellent. Color accuracy is surprisingly good and realistic, assuming you're not using the "my colors" feature. I've come to expect less from Canon's devices (especially in the white balancing department) and I was pleasantly surprised. While that isn't entirely the display's job, what I see on the screen is what I see in reality. No complaints. If you prefer shooting from the viewfinder, which is perfectly reasonable, you will definitely be disappointed. The option is nice, of course, but it's so incredibly tiny that it seems more for show than for any actual use. I appreciate Canon's inclusion, but I can pretty much guarantee it will never be used for any practical purpose. My other favorite part is the port access, because it's exactly how I like it. In the top left corner (if you're looking at the back of the camera), you pull off this little piece of plastic to reveal a mini HDMI port and a mini USB port. There's no proprietary connections. It's nice to see a tiny camera not sacrifice connectivity for the sake of size. To transfer pictures, just pull the plastic covering away and plug the camera into your computer. The process is the same if you want to connect the camera via HDMI to your HDTV. Canon doesn't include the necessary cable, which is a shame, but being that I've never once connected my camera to a television I'm not really bothered. They do give you a standard definition cable, however, so you're not stranded with no options. On the bottom of the camera there is the usual slide-off access to the battery and memory card. Canon really crammed them both in there, but in a way that's impressive and not cumbersome. Additionally, they managed a tripod head mount on the bottom as well, and you can pull away a little rubber covering to reveal a hole for the tripod head's stabilizer (the little piece that doesn't screw in but holds the camera in place on the head).

    Overall, the camera body has an excellent design. It's not only attractive but functional. The only drawback is the possibility of accidental button pushes, but that sort of comes with the territory.

    What about the camera's features? We've already discussed video mode, which is excellent aside from the noise issues. The still camera features and controls are quite good all around, with only a few silly omissions. Let's start with the menu system. It's very simple. You press the menu button and you have two columns. One is the very simple camera options column, only giving you four choices, and the other is the function column giving you much more to do. In the camera options, you can turn certain functionalities on or off. Despite the paltry zoom on this device, which is to be expected due to its size, I'd recommend turning off digital zoom. It's on by default. Why it is even included in cameras is something I've never quite understood. As for the functions menu, you have a number of basic functions (display brightness, card formatting, etc.) but also some superfluous functions like changing the sound effects and the camera's startup image. You don't get many choices, and the dog bark shutter sound is absent from this device (which I always loved), but you get choices nonetheless. If you don't want sound effects at all, there is a mute feature. You should note, however, that this camera makes noise on startup nonetheless. The body is a little noisy on its own. The image stabilizer also sounds like a fan is running. I haven't heard the microphone pick up this noise in video mode, but if operation noise is a problem for you for whatever reason you can minimize it by turning off image stabilization. That said, aside from getting a couple of extra pictures out of your battery life, I can't imagine why you'd ever want to turn it off.

    Canon's autofocus has lagged behind Nikon's in the DSLR market, in my opinion, but in their consumer devices I've been pretty pleased with how well it works. Autofocus is very fast and, in my experience so far, very accurate. The only problem I've consistently run into is the minimum focal distance in normal mode. Turning on macro mode solves the problem, and seems to be the most versatile mode (as it has no problem, unlike some consumer cameras, focusing far off as well). The unfortunate issue with macro focus is that it resets every time you switch modes or turn the camera off. If you want it on, you need to set it every single time. It would be nice to either be able to change the default or for the camera to automatically switch to macro when it can't manage to focus due to its proximity to the subject.

    The flash does a pretty good job for being so tiny. Even from far away, it does well. Oddly enough, close subjects were not as blown out as I'd expected. Often times the photos looked surprisingly natural for a flash. Nonetheless, since you're getting image noise regardless, I recommend shooting with higher ISOs if you have a reasonable amount of light in the room. It still tends to look more natural, especially after a little color correction.

    Exposure controls and the self-timer meet expectations. There's not a lot of room for innovation with these features, but you can adjust what I can only assume is the gain before taking a photo. Perhaps you're adjusting shutter speed, though I'm not sure. You can also set a self-timer for 2 or 10 seconds. Actually being able to choose the time would be a nice step up, but I don't think many have complained about the options given. They work just fine.

    The SD780 IS also includes many superfluous but fun features common to Canon's consumer line. My Colors is one of them. They give you so many different color modes (including positive film, monotone and sepia) I don't know why you'd want to create your own, but you do have that option. You can also shoot in black and white with a color accent, if you're trying to create the feel of Schindler's List in your family photos (hopefully that includes no one), or just swap colors for whatever reason you'd want to do that.

    Playback mode is excellent. It's very easy to zoom in and out on your photos and navigate through them. You can even display a histogram and EXIF data while looking at the photo, which is pretty excessive but cool for a consumer device. Video playback provides a wealth of control, which even includes in-camera editing. This isn't terribly new to Canon's devices but it's still nice. Personally, I'd rather edit outside of the camera but if you need space on your card and don't have a spare it might be a good way to solve that issue (assuming you have parts of your videos that you want to remove).

    As far as silly omissions go, when selecting an image size you can get the normal 4:3 or 16:9 (likely a result of the video mode). Where's the 3:2 option? Digital cameras have pioneered the 4:3 format, which, personally, I do not like. When printing a 4x6 photo I'd prefer to avoid cropping. Both 4:3 and 16:9 require cropping, which is unfortunate. It seems ridiculous to not offer 3:2 shooting, but then again that's not the norm with these devices. I think that's unfortunate. As I've mentioned previously, the lack of an HDMI cable and noise reduction is also too bad. The HDMI is understandable as this camera is pretty inexpensive (and you'd never know that by looking at it), but noise reduction is sorely missed. It's no replacement for an actual lack of noise, but a little bit would go a long way with this device.

    The battery life is surprisingly good. Perhaps I feel that way because I haven't used a camera this small in a long time, but being that it can make it through the day given all the crap I put it through with room to spare, I'm impressed. The camera also comes with a separate charger, which is great if you want to pick up a spare battery. It's also very easy for travel. Though I always prefer the option, at least, to charge via USB (in case I forget the charger or don't want to bother bringing it with me), the provided charger is very compact and makes charging the battery an easy thing to do. The only downside is that you constantly have to remove the battery from the camera, but they make that access easy enough (as described earlier).

    Overall, there's a lot to like about the Canon SD780 IS. The noise issue is the biggest drawback, but educated buyers should know to expect this when purchasing a pocket device. Everything else is mostly trivial. Though the noise issues are a major drawback, especially if you're interested in the mostly great HD video mode, this is a great little camera and well worth the price thanks to the HD video mode.

    In summary...

    + Attractive, tiny size and solid build

    + Surprisingly good battery life

    + Big, bright, color-accurate display

    + Menu system and on-screen interface is attractive and easy to use

    + Forgetting the noise issues, video mode is very good providing 720p video in H.264 with a high bit rate (average of 24Mbps)

    + Easy access to ports and easy to transfer photos or display them on your (HD)TV

    + The flash is surprisingly effective without being excessively bright

    + Inexpensive for what you get

    = Very high resolution photos, though this comes at a cost (6 to 8 MP seems like a more logical choice)

    = Image stabilization is excellent considering the size, but isn't what you get with a larger device

    = Has a viewfinder, though it's pretty much useless

    = Many superfluous but fun features, mainly color-related

    - Physical buttons are often too small and accidental pushes are commonplace

    - Images and video are extremely noisy, no matter the lighting conditions...more info
  • video noise
    I was very pleased with the image capture. The pictures were very clear and it almost always took a great picture even if the lighting was poor or I was moving around a lot.

    I was dissapointed in the video portion. The video itself looked great, but the audio that was recorded with the video has a lot of noise that is recorded from inside the camera somewhere. I recorded in complete silence, and the audio still had a humming that was quite loud....more info