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1,109 of 1,129 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2009
I just purchased this Canon on a whim, earlier today at Best Buy. I have been tinkering with it for the majority of the evening. My previous SD300 is still working like a champ, however I have been considering a video camera for some time...after some peering at the video camera counter I wandered over to the point and shoot table... what initially drew me in to the SD780IS was its appearance on the display stand. The sleek matte-black body is very eye-pleasing...then I looked at the specs. and realized that it shoots video in HD! (1280x720) Then all the other attributes made me realize that it was time to update my "everywhere, anytime" camera.
I proceeded to check out some of the other Canon SD cameras. The SD960 became the other has a little more glass(4x)zoom, over the SD780's (3x)zoom. The SD960 has an appealing f2.8 apeture over the SD780's f3.2. The SD960's screen is more tailored for the HD video capture as it has a 16:9 ratio LCD panel. (Kinda nice for instant viewing ON THE CAMERA)
After some thought I went with the SD780 for these reasons:

1. The HD video capability is awesome and comparible with the SD960. It has a HDMI jack. The traditional 4:3 screen does not bother me, because the video is ultimately going to be viewed on a HD TV.(There will be an upper and lower bar on 16:9 playback through the SD780's LCD).

2.The weaker 3x zoom is not a big deal as this camera is for general shooting(out w/ freinds, bars, random afternoon at the beach, mountain biking, etc.)and with this camera EASLIY fitting in my jeans pocket or camelbak, the portability is what gives me the opportunity to document those moments, that would otherwise be missed. The SD960 is a little bulkier(but still small). I do also shoot with a Canon 40D, accompanied with L optics, but the weight and bulkiness do not lend to certain shooting circumstances. (as mentined above)

3. The user interface on the SD780IS is like most (if not all?) preceeding SD cameras. While there is not much control in the way of shooting settings, feature buttons like flash override, AE lock, AF lock, and exposure compensation are present on the camera body. The SD960IS has two buttons and a jog wheel, which lend to swims in the menu. I'm sure the new interface on the 960 is intuitive, but I liked the 780 due to its similarity to my old SD300.

I am very happy with the results produced thus far with the SD780IS. The HD video is excellant, however it should be known that once recording you can only zoom digitally. Low light cabilities and sound in video mode are excellent. The stills I have taken look great. Also, to the budget-minded who are upgrading from older digital point-and-shoots, a class 4 minimum 4GB or 8GB SDHC card would be well suited due to the demanding memory of the 12.1 million pixels, and HD video. Also, most old card readers will not process the the SDHC cards so you may have to purchase a new card reader as well.

I have to mention it again...the small size of the Canon SD780IS is mind-blowing...and the functionality actually mirrors its beauty.
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448 of 458 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2009
Canon SD780IS is the perfect travel/everyday camera. It weighs a little over 4 ounces. The size of the camera is astonishing. It is smaller than my iPhone 3G and my wallet. I love the new 720p video recording HD feature on the 2009 Canon P+S line. The image stabilization for video/image stills is a winner. The clips are sharper and clearer than the clips from the Creative Vado HD and the Flip Video MinoHD.

For video playback without choppiness on the computer, you need to have at least a Core 2 Duo 1.66 GHz or higher processor on Windows (Vista/XP SP2/XP SP 3) or Core Duo 1.66 GHz or higher processor on Mac OS X (v10.4-v10.5)

You should get at least 8GB Sandisk Extreme III SDHC (Class 6 or higher) memory card for the camera. 4000x3000 resolution images can quickly fill up your 2/4GB SD memory card.

+ Quick Continuous Snapshots
+ 720p HD Video Recording with Image Stabilization
+ Lightning Quick Startup
+ Ultra-Compact Point & Shoot Camera (Thin + Light Combo)
+ Beautiful Design
+ Great for Beginners (Very Easy To Use)
+ Bright LCD Screen
+ DIGIC IV Technology
+ Blink Detection
+ Can Edit Video Clips on the go
+ Scene Detection Mode works Flawlessly

- No Optical Zoom in Video Mode while Recording (You can Digitally Zoom)
- Monotone Sound in Video Mode
- Only 3x Optical Zoom for image stills
- View Finder is Useless
- Little Noisy/Grainy when Using Higher Than ISO400 but Acceptable

09/10: Recommended
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341 of 350 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2009
After researching ultra-compact cameras for 2 weeks, I had narrowed down my choices to this camera, the Canon SD880 IS and a couple of models from other manufacturers (though I knew in the end I'd choose a Canon). As with most electronic purchases I make, it was an agonizing process. Every camera had a feature that I wanted, yet none of them had everything that I wanted. I would have liked a bit more zoom, and other cameras have wider lenses. In the end, the three features that won me over were the amazingly small size, the ability to capture HD video at a resolution of 720p, and the HDMI out.

As for the performance, I couldn't be happier. Many of the reviews I read before purchasing mentioned a high amount of noise, but in my experience it only occurs at higher ISO's, is not very noticeable, and seems to be in line with other compact cameras that I've used, no more, no less. I would NOT let this be a determining factor if I were considering this camera.

This is my first camera with image stabilization and it's works very well. On a recent trip I took over 500 pictures (and filled up less than 1/4th of my 8-gig card at the highest resolution), and not one of them ended up blurry. The AUTO feature has also proven to be much better than I had anticipated: it changes between 18 settings automatically, such as macro, bright sunshine, etc., and so far, it's been right on the money. Another complaint that I've read is that viewfinder is useless. While it is quite tiny, I have actually used it, and I find it to be quite serviceable. At some point, a camera gets so small that it's difficult to squeeze everything onto its surface area. Kudos to Canon for even including the optical viewfinder at all.

My complaints are few, and none would be a dealbreaker for me. The small size and smooth, symmetrical shape sometimes make it hard to tell which side I am holding onto when I take it out of my pocket. When attempting to push the power button, I will often realize I am pushing on the bottom of the camera. I have to actually look at it to tell what I am doing. Also, as stated previously, the HD video takes a pretty beefy CPU to play back smoothly. My PC is 4 years old and has a hard time keeping up. The easy solution to this is to play back directly to the monitor/TV with an HDMI cable. It seemed improbable to me that a video made with a camera this small would look good on a 55" HD television. I was stunned at how sharp it looked.

The bottom line is that anybody looking for an ultra-compact camera is going to be extremely satisfied with this one. It doesn't take the pictures that a digital SLR is going to, nor does it have the same features. But anybody looking at this camera realizes that already. I went to an arts festival last weekend and was AMAZED at how many people are lugging around DSLR's these days. It seemed like every other person had one. When looking at performance vs. convenience and portability, I'll take the SD780 any day.
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143 of 146 people found the following review helpful
on April 12, 2009
As many have already left HUGE reviews on this camera I will try to be quick about it, but I did have to review this camera. This camera is great. When I say that I mean it. I work for a camera store and everyday I'm reviewing cameras to people's faces and when this one came out I took one look at it and the features and told my boss "Oh yeah, we'll be out by tomorrow" and we were. It sells FAST. Why? Because it's a GREAT camera.
The form factor can't truly be captured in a picture, you have to feel this thing in your hand to know what everyone's talking about. 9 out of 10 people I show the camera to decide to buy once they've held it. It's small, it's REALLY small. It's just a sexy form. The 2.5 isn't screen isn't because they wanted to be cheap, it's because they couldn't put a bigger screen on there without making the camera a good deal bigger. Same for the 3x zoom.
The Digic IV processor and iSAPS technology means this camera is fast and accurate. It's constantly focusing and letting you know what it thinks you want to take a picture of. It's facial recognition is so fast and accurate, it can track someone running quickly across the screen with a box around their face the whole time. And it picks up faces on magazines, ads, anything that has a human face on it. The iSAPS is constantly changing the mode to better suit what you're shooting and it'll show you the mode you're in while it's doing it(upper left hand corner of the screen).
The 720p high-def video is the one that seals the deal. You know it's fast. You know it's accurate. You know it's easy. But the video, always catches you of guard. "Wait you mean to tell me this camera smaller then my blackberry curve can take high-def video as well as pictures??" Oh it can do more then that. Canon always has a few things thrown into video mode for the fun of it, like color Accent, as in taking away all but one color. Allowing your friend in the red shirt to be the REAL center of attention. And seeing that on the big screen only makes the camera more interesting.
And I even sold myself on buying the camera, with it's sleekness, speed, accuracy, and high-def I just couldn't resist. I'm not telling you to get the camera, but if you do, you won't be disappointed.
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65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2009
PROS: Easy to use, Simple controls/menu, Nice features/settings, Bright LCD, Excellent image quality, Lightweight/Portable, compact volume

CONS: Poor Low-Light Performance, some noise in low light, tiny viewfinder, mini-HDMI to HDMI cable not included, SD/SDHC storage card not included

Amazon has the best price at under 250 bucks. Most sites are charging full retail since this camera is so popular.

High Definition video is very good at 720p. This will not replace a full size camera or the 5D Mark II for video quality. But, it is a lot better than most including the original Flip video camera.

An HDMI cable IS NOT INCLUDED with the camera. You will need it to watch HD video directly from the camera on an HDTV. I bought a 3 ft miniHDMI-to-HDMI cable online from Monoprice for 8 bucks including USPS first class shipping. They have quality cables for the lowest price on the Monoprice site.

UPDATE: I am very happy with the mini-HDMI to HDMI cables. They were so inexpensive that I bought 2 of these at 3ft long: one for the iMac, the other is for my travel bag. I bought a 6ft mini-HDMI to HDMI cable for the HDTV in the first floor family room. I should have gotten a longer cable since you have to control the video start/stop/next buttons on the camera. You have to get up often to start the next movie clip. I also bought a small 1x3/4inch miniHDMI to HDMI adapter to carry everywhere I take the camera which is everywhere!

UPDATE: The small cover that protects the miniHDMI and USB ports feels a little flimsy. The hinge stretches. I have to force it slightly beyond my comfort to insert cables. I can see this covering breaking off with a lot of use.

An SD storage card IS NOT INCLUDED. They are available at low cost, under 15 bucks, on the net. Check the Dealnews site for the latest sales. I used a 4GB SD high capacity (SDHC) card which will hold about 30mins of video.

Some complain 2.5inch is too small for the LCD. There is no place to put a larger 3inch LCD on this camera without making it a touch screen like the iPhone or increasing the camera size. Plus, 2.5 inch is common on a lot of cameras. I have no problems with it.

TINY VIEW FINDER: It was hard peering through the small hole. I mainly use the LCD screen about 95% of the time. So, NOT A PROBLEM.

Got this camera to try out the 720p HD, face/blink detection and other features. They all worked great.

I was surprised by the small size since I only saw this camera online and never tried it out at a store. It is slightly smaller than my average size business card and about as thin as a new deck of playing cards. I'm female, but, I never bought an ELPH-size Canon camera because they seemed too small. I was concerned I would not be able to comfortably operate the buttons or it would slip out of my hands. I don't have that fear with the SD780. The brushed metal finish provides some friction. The buttons are placed well. Also, the wrist strap is always available as protection against dropping the camera.

SMART AUTO feature is great! I use it often to take closeup (macro) shots or when I don't have time to adjust the settings. I hold the camera about 4 inches from an object and the camera self adjusts the settings. It amazing to watch it work. I partially press the shutter button to see where the camera is focused and move it to focus on my area of interest. The camera selects of the pre-programmed 18 modes to find the one that creates the best image.

As many stated, the images are superb thanks to the 12.1 mega pixel resolution, Digic 4, and the image stabilizer (IS) function. You should not live without IS unless you are into the artsy blurry pictures. It takes great pictures of kids who don't sit still. Great if you don't have steady hands. Images are crisp, clear and can be easily seen in the beautiful 2.5inch LCD.

I noticed the noise in some of the photos. Did not have too much problems with it.

The 3X optical is fine. Best for the photographer to move in or out to zoom/out on the subject matter and not worry about the camera lens zoom when just taking photos. Zooming during filming would be better. Hopefully, Canon adds this feature to future powershot ELPH models.

Overall, a great camera that is thin enough to hide in a small purse or pocket yet still deliver superb photos for it's size!

(I have owned 7 Canon cameras including 5 digital cameras. I have used this camera for about 1 week.)
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51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2009
I have a higher end Canon Rebel DSLR with some pretty good glass and used it this past week at Disney world. While you can't beat the quality of pictures from a DSLR in low light and on fast moving targets (not to mention all other times), it became a HUGE pain to carry around the park and to take on and off getting on rides.

So I read the reviews and found that the best carry-around camera was the Panasonic Lumix ZS3 (TZ7 in other parts of the world). Unfortunately, no one around here carries that camera, and online the prices are still in the $400+ range. So I decided to wade through the middle market and came across this camera, the Canon Powershot SD780 IS (IXUS 100 IS in other parts of the world).

The various Sony's looked good as well, I just hate the memory sticks they use. I always like keeping everything the same, and since my Canon Rebel uses SDHC, I decided to go with a cam that used that as well.

It takes amazing pictures when there is plenty of light, such as outside or indoors with ambient lighting. Clouds look beautiful and are not blown out. Color is very vivid, like all Canon shots. The video quality is definately HD 720p quality and looks nice at a steady 30 frames per second. However, the minimum f-stop even at full wide is 3.5 and creeps into the 6's with the zoom racked out. With that said, low light situations create such a grainy picture as to be unusable by my standards. The shadow areas are horrible and muddy. And the video exhibits this same nastiness.

I was able to figure out all camera features on my own without reading the manual at all, but if you want to, there is a VERY detailed manual that goes step by step with pictures of how to work the cam.

If you want to take over in full manual mode, they give you access to pretty much all the settings in one simple menu. Shoot in Program AE, change ISO, change white balance, change tone, self timers, continuous shooting, focus lock, exposure compensation, metering mode, AF frame mode and focal point, Servo AF, etc.

One of the best features of the camera (and I sugest you try all the cams out in the store to see what I mean) is how FAST it auto focuses and takes a picture. Right from power up, I can take a pic in under 2 seconds. On top of that, the shutter lag is about .02 seconds. You hit the button, the picture takes right then. AF on almost ALL other cameras I picked up had to hunt for the focus for several seconds, and some never gained focus at all, while others kept trying to refocus after acquiring a lock. This camera, even in up close macro mode, gained a solid focus lock in under a second and stayed there.

And macro mode is wonderful! You can be just over an inch from your subject and take some of the greatest, full focused images. Auto mode will sense how close you are and automatically change to macro mode.

You also have the ability to create folders on your memory card right from the camera. Very useful if you are hitting multiple camera ops in a day and would like to keep them all separate. All the menus are well laid out, but once you set up for your shoot, most of the buttons you will be using will be on the camera body. And again, as much as I like to set everything myself in full manual mode, I found that full auto is smarter than me most of the time. I guess the camera is calibrated to know what the best settings for its lens are. Reviewing images, zooming in on them to check details, deleting, tagging, watching videos, etc are all very easy. And videos are in the standard .MOV format making them easy to edit and stitch on a PC or a Mac.

I went ahead and picked up the Canon leather belt pouch as well for this cam as it keeps it on your side at the ready, looks professional, and is no bigger than a phone holster.

One additional note on why I picked this has cool accessories!
Just to name a few:
HDMI out to TV with standard Mini-HDMI to full HDMI.
Waterproof/dustproof case that you can take to 140ft underwater!
High power external remote flash.
All available on Amazon!

Another can find additional rechargeable lithium batteries for as little as $2 here on Amazon. The Canon brand goes for almost $50 and the others last just as long.

All in all, it was a good purchase and will be coming with me on all camera excursions and trips. It may very well be the camera that "gets the shot" that my big DSLR doesn't because of it always being at my hip and ready to shoot in a couple of seconds.
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501 of 551 people found the following review helpful
on March 19, 2009
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
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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2010
I am a professional photographer that owns the Nikon D300 and Nikon D80 slr cameras for professional business. I bought this little camera because I was seeking a pocket size "everyday" camera that I can pull out when I need to and to take to social engagements where my other equiptment is too bulky and something I don't want to risk. In reading some of the reviews, I think that this camera is getting either too good a review or definitely too bad.

People: this is a small pocket size point and shoot camera that has up to ISO3200, 12.1 megapixels and video capability all rolled into a product that can be bought for $200 on sale and taken ANYWHERE with ease. It is ONLY a point and shoot and NOT an SLR so therefore, does NOT take phenominal pictures that a $5000 SLR camera with expensive lenses would. It is ONLY a point and shoot camera so therefore when you HAVE noise up in the 1600 Iso range or in the video camera, having purchased this for this kind of money without expensive lenses should not come as a surprise even compared to all the other Camera point and shoots and its competitors.

My point here after owning this for 2 days but having owned a previous Canon point and shoot for 5 years before the Nikon slrs? Canon makes a PHENOMINAL product that does what its supposed to do in this tiny little portable package. If you want to make money off your photos? If you want to have pristine quality...go get an SLR and plunk down $1500 or more dollars on ALL the lenses and bodies and education that will make that happen. If you want a convenient cute little camera that gets the job done VERY WELL...THIS is well worth the money. As a professional photographer, this is my new everyday camera...the Nikon D80 is my backup and vacation camera..and the Nikon D300 is HANDS DOWN the "bread and butter" camera for there is NO comparison.

For the average person who wants a GOOD camera that does what it should IF YOU RESEARCH ALL the features and LEARN what this can do....THIS is your camera.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2009
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.

The first thing you'll notice is how small this camera is. To date, its the smallest Canon camera yet almost to the point that its difficult to handle. I'd call it Ultra-compact and this thing can fit anywhere. The button are more flush than any other Canon which makes button finding and feeling a bit cumbersome.

I wasn't expecting much from this camera in terms of performance but it blows all other point and shoot camcorders out of the water. The colors are much more accurate and the video overall is much smoother. Part of this due to the image stabilization feature. The toy cameras do not have this feature which is a huge necessity for something so small and light. It handles low-light situations better as well. Search SD780 on youtube for samples. Make sure you click the HD button.

The photos are secondary to me but they can be good in the manual mode. Using it with higher ISO setting will introduce noise. Then again, these photos are much better than the point and shoot camcorders. These are actually usable.

So with the point and shoot camcorders around the $200 mark (MinoHD, VAdoHD, Zi6), for $80 more (SD780) you get something that is much better overall.

+ Made in Japan and much better build quality than the toy camcorders
+ Removable SD storage card
+ Removable battery (uses the common NB-4L)
+ Image stabilization
+ Usable stills
+ Canon optics
+ Ultra compact (2/3 the size of a MinoHD)
+ Easy to use .MOV files
+ Stealth Black color

The only drawbacks I can think of are:
- Cannot use optical zoom during recording (let's hope this can be changed via firmware upgrade)
- Photos can be noisy and grainy at times
- Mono sound recordings
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2009
first of all, i cannot stress 2 things more:

--> read the manual before starting!!
--many people buy point and shoots for typical picture taking but neglect getting to know all the features, including several here that give you just enough room for manipulation that can produce magnificent results.
--key thing to remember....if you see the [DISP] symbol pop up on the menu as you scroll through your different settings along the bottom of the viewfinder, PUSH "DISPLAY", as it opens an entire addtl menu of more options or adjustment settings! one of my friends who also owns a canon point and shoot was oblivious until just recently that he could "stitch" his photos or adjust colors b/c he never discovered the hidden options!

--> secondly, my use of this camera once again solidifies the one piece of advice i've received from pro photographers time and time again: if you have the eye, even point and shoot cameras can produce fabulous results comparable or even better than the next guy with the fancy SLR [ie my boyfriend! :)]

For the rest, i'll try to be as concise as possible, but please keep in mind that i'm just an ordinary consumer--i don't know much about electronics and/or photography, so if something i comment on seems really irrelevant and/or obvious, then sorry! :) i'm just trying to point out stuff found significant or notable in comparison to my past experiences with other point and shoots.

also, I've posted an array of photos i took right after buying this camera...if anything, they should be enough evidence as to what a great product this is! (in the end, canon's digital camera sensors never disappoint, despite how much others tried to steer me towards nikon!)

1. beautiful, sleek body that stirs up complements EVERY single time i take it out; however...
--buttons may seem a little small for big handed guys (i'm a girl w/small hands, and even sometimes the power button is a little annoying)
--actual menu buttons, however, seem very easy to maneuver

2. this little monster actually has a viewfinder....yay!!! don't forget how important this is for when you're standing out in glaring sunlight and can't really see your LCD screen!

3. start up as well as capture speed is awesome...had absolutely no issues missing out on spontaneous and candid photo ops.

4. manual setting really requires conscious adjustment of ISO, as camera has a tendency to pick up blur with just hand held pics in normal cloudy daylight. however...

5. i've never seen a point and shoot take such beautiful night pics!!!

6. having the wide format option is awesome: it really made a 100% difference in many of my shots in terms of composition (although wish it was truly a "wide angle" type of effect...instead, black bars just chop off the original top and bottoms of your view)

7. video is great except frames-per-second gets noticeably jittery during quick movements by the subject

8. i shot the majority of my pics in "vivid" color, but this camera steals my heart by giving me additional opportunities to adjust color on the pic after its been taken (saves the edited pic as a copy)

9. battery life is great...i would take pics from day to night during my vacation, spending several seconds before each shot playing with composition, white balance and pushing the shutter button halfway (for focus) over and over again (vs just simply pushing the button), and battery still lasted 2 days.

10. 3X optical zoom is a little weak; however, not ever really a major issue from my experience...however, i DO wish optical zoom worked in video mode.

11. 3 parameters that i found myself adjusting most often for the best pics = ISO, light source (although seems like "cloudy" setting when outdoors always worked best, regardless of amount of sun), and color...also, sepia and black and white were very fun--often when the lighting was just too bright washed out colors, switching to sepia always miraculously captured textural details that produced just as beautiful of a picture

12. black and white mode seemed to be a little weak in its capture of contrast, depsite how much i'd try pointing around at different places for the white balance that i wanted.

13. rarely used flash in my pics; however, when taking outdoor daytime pics in which my subject was backlit, using the flash managed to operate effectively even when i was sure that i was standing way too far from my subject.

overall...i give this canon SD780 a 10/10, as it has by far been one of the best purchases i've ever made! i'm especially thankful that i had it with me during a vacation in which i had so many opportunities to capture more artistic images. it's a relief to know it don't need a big expensive camera to do that! hope this helps :)
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