on April 27, 2010
In short, this is a great camera in a very small package that produces good results! I wanted a small portable camera with HD video capabilities that I could take with me when I did not want to lug around my DSLR (Canon 40D + lenses) and this little gem fits the bill perfectly.
This camera replaced a Canon PowerShot SD780IS (Black) that I returned due to constant audio noise (hum) while recording video. Rather than risk getting another defective SD780IS with the same issue (many seem to report hearing the noise/hum), I decided to upgrade to the latest Canon PowerShot SD1400IS (Black). I am happy to report that this camera has no such issue with audio when video is being recorded.
The picture quality of the SD780IS and SD1400IS is roughly the same and on par with what one should expect from such a small ultra-portable camera. Going from 12MP to 14MP is a wash as the sensor is the same size and results are very similar. I have posted several shots of flowers under the "customer images" section of the Canon PowerShot SD1400IS 14.1 MP (Black) and also uploaded several 100% crops of each image so pixel peepers can see the detail that this camera produces.
Let me be clear, anyone that thinks this camera is going to produce anything close to the quality of a DSLR is fooling himself or herself. There is no way that this small of a package (3.6 x 0.7 x 2.2 inches ; 4.6 ounces) can produce the same image quality as a DSLR. If image quality if paramount, one would be better off considering the Canon PowerShot S90 10MP Digital Camera, but you will lose the HD video capability, some portability and spend more money. When I want extreme quality, I simply take my Canon 40D + lenses with me and shoot in RAW.
The Auto mode is smart and I think there is more happening behind the scenes than one would expect. If one takes the same image (same ISO settings, lighting, shutter etc.) in Auto and then in Program mode, the results are similar, but I think the Auto mode wins nearly every time. I have no way to confirm this, but the Auto mode seems to have different compression algorithms depending on the subject and can produce a less noisy image at higher ISO than Program mode can. Inside shots are good but I wish I could set an ISO range to force the Auto mode not to exceed 400 ISO.
Tip: If you are getting blurry images, remember that the minimum focal length is much less 5cm when at 28mm and significantly more 50cm when zoomed in to 112mm. So, if you are trying to get the camera close to your subject, be sure to gauge your zoom/subject distances properly otherwise your subject will be out of focus. Perhaps this would have helped the 1 star reviewer.
Final items of note:
1. There is no viewfinder and quite honestly, the small viewfinder on the SD780IS was useless so I do not miss having one. The LCD is bright and works great even on bright days.
2. There is no optical zoom while recording video, only digital zoom, so one has to decide on a zoom length before starting to record. This is a non-issue for me as many people overuse zoom and usually would have been better off just recording a static shot rather than making me dizzy with shaky-cam + zooming at the same time.
Bottom line: This is a fantastic pocket camera capable of decent images with HD video recording as a bonus. It is small enough that it will get taken everywhere enabling capturing of all those special moments. I would highly recommend it to anyone, so long as they realize the limitations inherent to ultra compact cameras. I hope this is review is helpful.
Update: I forgot to mention that one should be sure to get no less than a "Class 4" SD card (Class 6 would be even better) to prevent any video recording issues (missed frames etc.)
Update 2: Still loving this camera after six weeks of use, I particularly like HD video capabilities and use it all the time. The .mov video files make for easy import into Apple iMovie for editing and produces great results. At a recent event, I was able to get some very nice pictures in low light without using a flash in AUTO mode. I was really surprised at the quality achieved in such hard shooting conditions. Best results are had by not zooming too much as there is less light available (f-stop changes when zoomed). If you are noticing blurry shots, try to zoom less and get closer to your subject.
Update 3: I just ran across the recent announcement of the Canon PowerShot SD4000IS (Black) 10MP, it was just released and the list price is currently more than the SD1400IS but the new 10MP back-illuminated CMOS sensor looks very promising for decreasing the noise that is common in sub-compact cameras. The SD4000IS also has HD video capabilities with the addition of stereo sound and can be zoomed while recording video along with a new "Super Slow Motion" video function and a faster f/2.0 lens. It will be interesting to see what users think of this new camera in the coming months. I hope this update is helpful.
on April 6, 2010
I bought this camera for a scuba diving trip in the Caribbean. This is my first product review, but I was so impressed with this camera, I have to do one!! We bought the underwater case to go with it so we could take it diving with us. The camera was amazing. I am just a recreational photographer (taking pictures of kids, sports and hobbies. The 1400 took amazing photos of fish, eels, and other creatures between the depths of 1 ft- 100ft. Some pics still turned out a little blue, while others turned out so well I think they could be published. Underwater photography is very hard, I have heard because of so many variables. I rarely get blurry pictures on land or underwater. Sometimes if the first is blurry I quickly change setting and the 2nd is not. I took several pictures while chasing fish or stingrays and 99.9% were not blurry. I don't think you can ask more than that out of a point and shoot!
Indoors the colors are very real. I do not find yellow tints to pictures. I was taking pictures of the kids around the dinner table, (which has a big window next too it) and the kids looked great. Usually with past cameras they turned out dark because of the light coming in through the window. Outdoors the pictures are beautiful. Again you may have to change the setting, but it is easy. If the water was not turquoise enough, I changed it to beach setting and the pictures showed every detail. I cannot say enough about this camera, but I think every night on our vacation we just talked about how amazed we were with it. I studied hard before buying this camera. I spent many hours looking between the 780, 940, 1300 and 1400. For a few dollars more you get a lot more cameras.
This camera is very small. It can fit into your front pocket very easy. Love it!!
on April 4, 2010
The Canon PowerShot SD1400IS 14.1 MP Digital Camera with 4x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 2.7-Inch LCD (Silver) is exactly the kind of camera I have been wanting. I photograph documents a lot, so I am very concerned with the amount of detail that can be captured, especially in relatively low-light conditions. The quality of the pictures is significantly better than any other camera I have tried.
-Produces consistently clear pictures
-Extremely compact, lightweight, and sturdy
-Easy to use (functions are intuitively organized)
-Uses standard USB cable instead of a proprietary one (SONY)
-Uses standard memory instead of a proprietary one (SONY)
-No wheels or toggle switches jutting out to get caught on things and mess up the settings (when I wanted to take regular pictures, I always seemed to be shooting movies, or photographing in a strange light setting with my SONY camera)
-Buttons seem a little less solid than previous CANON models (my CANON IXY from about 8 years ago was designed a lot better)
-Buttons are flush with the body of the camera, so I have to operate it using my fingernails sometimes (again, the buttons on my CANON IXY were much easier to use)
-The door to the digital port for connecting the USB cable doesn't swing out very wide, and I have a feeling that if I am not careful it may not last long (the CANON IXY had a soft rubber cover that was much more flexible)
In short, this is a great product, but I hope that CANON will re-introduce some of their older design features in the new cameras in order to make them a little sturdier and easier to use. I have not noticed any problems with dead pixels--the LCD screen is beautiful. Please note that you will need to buy a memory card separately. It does not come with one.
on April 10, 2010
I bought this for my wife to replace a 5 year old Sony DSC-T7 (5 megapixel point and shoot).
The Canon has FAR superior low light performance, image stabilization works well, great compact size, nice big LCD relative to the size of the camera, and easy intuitive controls (although tiny buttons, if you have big fingers, they're a touch too small in my opinion).
To compare, I took similar shots with both cameras, one outside in full sun, the other inside in low light with the flash on. I left both cameras in full auto mode. On both shots, the Canon outperforms the older camera (with 5 years of improved technology, I expected nothing less). The low light flash shot was dramatically better on the Canon (and taking a low light shot without the flash was even more extreme).
The outdoor shot, although the Canon was better, it wasn't a whole lot better. To be honest, for 14 megapixels I was expecting a little more fine detail/sharpness in the image. Shame on me for thinking a higher resolution sensor would really make that much difference -- when examining fine details, it's really all about optics, and no point and shoot lens is going to measure up to my expectations (I used to do a lot of SLR photography with pro level lenses).
So don't expect anything remotely resembling SLR quality results; remember you're buying a point and shoot. You won't be making any 11x17 prints to proudly hang on the wall. But the portability of this camera is fantastic; you can easily drop it in a pocket and have it ready when the moment strikes, and the results will look great in a scrapbook or family photo album. And when I started a family I stopped lugging around an SLR and camera bag... the diaper bag is plenty. ;-)
on December 12, 2010
I noticed most of the bad reviews are about picture quality. Out of the box, the pics are a bit weak. Mostly lack of detail. This is because the camera usually defaults to a very high ISO. Higher than necessary it seems.
The 1400 now has a THIRD switch between Auto Picture and Movie mode. The Program (manual) mode.
This is where the detail comes back into your pictures!
Set the ISO to between 80 and 200 and you'll see all the wonderful detail of your subjects!
It's too bad the auto mode defaults to such a grainy picture, but it can be overcome with a simple switch.
Unfortunately there is no way around this in video mode, so the 720P video is a bit on the grainy side.
Still, 14MP for under $150 and in such a compact size, this is a great camera!
on March 26, 2010
I have had many Canon Elph cameras since they first came out. Something that I noticed is that when new features are released for a camera, Canon doesn't get it right the first time and sometimes the 2nd or 3rd versions of a similar camera are better.
In this case, I am talking about the current small form factor. I had the previous version of this camera (SD 940IS) and this one is definitely an improvement. On the 940, the HD video was very jumpy. This version fixes that and it's much more smooth.
The increase in MP to 14.1 really doesn't improve things. It's more of a marketing point that camera makers shoot for because people like to see a higher MP.
Another review mentioned blurry pictures. For some reason these small Canons seem to have that problem. I find it most when I don't use a flash indoors. I don't think the camera compensates correctly when a person chooses to have the flash turned off.
The main thing that I like about this camera is its size. It's so small, that I can have it with me wherever I go. I recommend one of the Canon leather belt cases for someone who would want to carry this on a belt. When I use that with this camera, I hardly notice that it's there. It is true that the best camera is the one that you have with you, and with the SD1400, this is a camera you can always have with you.
I also have a Pansonic ZS3 camera. It takes better pictures, but it's larger and therefore I don't carry it around.
I will update this review with more details when time allows. I just wanted to give my first impressions.
on April 23, 2010
When you take a photo with this camera all you need to do is point and shoot and the camera will adjust to create an excellent picture. Unlike most cameras this one has an automatic focus and scene setting, so whether you are taking a picture in low light, or in the sun the camera will make the necessary adjustments to create a great photo. I did have problems opening the AV cable cover because it would not fully open. I am not sure if it was just my camera, or a design flaw, but it was a noticeable problem. The camera is about the size of a cell phone and it has a 4X optical zoom. It is the best digital camera I have ever purchased and I would recommend it for anyone who wants a small compact camera for everyday use.
on November 26, 2010
Been researching cameras for awhile now with my 14yr old daughter, a really gifted photographer, for her Christmas present.
We really loved this one after researching the feedback comments on every website we could find it on - and after going into a local store to try cameras out for ourselves (including this one).
When we tried this one in the store, the auto focus works so well that we could actually put a finger up to it so close it was almost touching the lens - and it focused so well you could see every ridge and detail of our fingerprints - and the pic we took like that came out just as clear! I've never had a camera that could focus on a subject anywhere near that close to the lens! However, we could not afford the 230 price tag, so we were going to settle on the model that is just beneath this one. It is the Canon Powershot A3100 (cheaper by quite a bit, and superior to others in it's own price range) - That model ALSO focused and photographed just as well when we used the close-up finger test! The photo resolution is just higher on this one, and this one is a 14MP, while the other one is a 12MP. Both have the 4x zoom. I don't remember what the other differences were.
Then I saw Amazon's sale price on this one, and was so excited, I snapped it up! My daughter is THRILLED!
A cool feature on this camera that I personally haven't seen before... Something they call "Smart Shutter". The camera can react to motion in these two ways:
1.) For group shots- You can set it to take up to 10 rapid fire pics when someone in the group smiles. The idea is that you have a better chance of getting a good shot that way.
2.) Instead of the self-timer option, where you push the button and then try to run and jump into the shot before the shutter snaps the pic--- you can get in the shot- prepare- and wink when you are ready to the pic to be taken. The camera snaps the shot when you wink. No lie. Pretty incredible.
Unfortunately, we did not yet know about those 2 features when we were looking at it in the store, so we didn't try those out. I can't tell you if they work as well as promised.
We tested the camera zoom to see how clear a pic would come out if we zoomed in on something all the way across the store. Every other camera we tried (in the 120-200 price range) failed this test pretty miserably, as the pics came out dark, or blurred, and often BOTH. THIS camera took a crisp, bright pic in this situation! On top of that, the colors were spot on, if what we saw on the display screen represents what we will actually see in the finished product (obviously we haven't processed a pic onto our computer form the camera yet). While we're on the topic of the display screen-- very nice resolution and nice big, bright screen. Don't know how it will look outside in bright sunlight, but it was bright enough, that I felt it would be fairly easy to see in that situation.
We also tested all the cameras in the 120-200 price range to see if they could take a clear pic while we shook the camera. The image stabilization on this one was really good! MUCH better than the others! (The A3100 did pretty well here too)
Unlike other Canon digital cameras I've looked at in the past - and ones that belong to friends that I've used -- the interface of this camera (how the buttons work, etc) is pretty intuitive! I was easily able to figure out how to get where I wanted on it, and so was my daughter.
It's also very cute. TINY!! Much smaller and thinner than you'd imagine from looking at it online. You can easily carry it comfortably in your pocket. It's a little smaller than my smart phone.
I don't know how it stacks up to other 230.00 cameras- I'm just telling you it is an INCREDIBLE deal at this sale price (149)! Seriously!! -- GRAB IT!
PS - if you try to order this at the store website I was looking at earlier (Tar**t) - they will charge you 14.00 more by the time they add shipping and tax. Not so here at Amazon!
UPDATE: Have camera now and have been learning to use it. Have posted some pics we took of snow where you can actually see individual snowflakes in full detail. Amazing! Especially considering we didn't even use the macro feature to get those. Just pointed and shot. Very important to use the shutter button correctly to get sharp focus - hold button down HALFWAY until camera beeps, then press all the way to get shot. Does make a difference.
I accidentally dropped this camera today onto a hardwood floor from about 4 feet up. Still works. No damage.
on July 4, 2010
Living in a household with a several of these Canon point-and-shoot cameras (among them the SD1100IS, SD1200IS, and the SD780IS), I purchased this camera as a convenient upgrade to a 3.2 megapixel behemoth I owned from earlier in the decade. So far, I am incredibly impressed at the feature set this camera has to offer.
In lieu of verbosity, I tend to like outlining the high and low points in a list:
+Ultra-sleek and lightweight (this camera is so handy to slip into a pocket, you'll find yourself taking more photos straight away).
+Large, crisp LCD screen (of all the cameras I tried, this one seemed to have one of the better displays, and they finally removed the cheesy little viewfinder in place of the larger screen).
+Good photo quality (about on par with other digital cameras of this class)
+Very easy to use (in addition to the many shooting modes for every occasion [fireworks, kids & pets, portrait etc...], this camera provides little on-screen hints and helpful descriptions of all the features as you go through them)
-A bit slow (the lag between shots and during focusing is sometimes a bit long)
-Tiny buttons (people like me who don't have such nimble fingers will quite likely hit multiple buttons at a time)
-A bit unstable (this camera, being so thin, does not stand on a table very well; it'll fall right over)
Now just in general about a couple of the characteristics people would like to know about:
BATTERY LIFE: I always recommend carrying a spare battery along with you for long trips and such, but the included 760 mAh Li-Ion battery is pretty decent. For most casual shooting, expect the battery to last comfortably for a day trip or to a few family gatherings before needing a recharge. Charging the battery is really snappy with the included wall charger (I would guess about an hour).
IMAGE QUALITY: For the kind of camera this is (ultracompact point and shoot), I found the image quality to be very good, pretty much on par with most of these kinds of cameras. As always, with a tiny camera like this, you'll see a bit of distortion with the wide-angle lens, and color fringing can be noticed in some cases. Nonetheless, for printing, e-mailing, and general sharing, this camera more than meets the grade with sharp, saturated images.
No camera is perfect (and so if I could, I'd probably give this one 4.5 stars), but this one is sure to not disappoint with its wealth of easy-to-use features, and clean, vibrant imagery. If there is anything to consider before purchasing this camera, it is whether or not its small form factor would be more burdening than helpful. Otherwise, I make no reservations when I say that this digital camera deserves your consideration.
on May 26, 2010
I have a month long trip overseas coming up and wanted to be able to shoot things right away as photo opportunities presented themselves and not haul around a huge SLR which I use regularly for business. Since I wasn't very familiar with "Point and Shoots" because I always believed they were just for exactly that, I never showed much interest in them after getting to know professional level SLRs, I just came to Amazon and pretty much based my opinion on the best rated "point and shoot" cam which at first was the SD780is, but I knew that if I got that one, Id always wonder what this one would be able to do better than that one and eventually would end up with the newer one anyway. This SD1400 didn't have as many reviews but I went with it and it blew me away! I had no idea that such a tiny little device smaller than my Blackberry could produce such wonderful images! I am very pleased with the smart auto, and even the other little features it has that I originally thought I'd never use, but actually are very fun and produce very nice results! It is very easy to use, and all the features and settings are very self explanatory. The only thing is that because its so small and smooth, you have to be very careful not to drop it or let it slip out of your hands. I'd recommend putting the strap on it immediately.