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151 of 158 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2009
Verified Purchase
The resolution and size of the screen on this camera is absolutely incredible. Pictures and video look really sharp. Screen is anti-reflective too. HD video is outstanding. Taped a table tennis match, the video and sound were both extremely clear and the movement was incredibly smooth, due to the 30 fps. I am not so impressed with camera's auto mode, while indoors, yet. Colors were off, maybe due to the white balance and low light. I find myself using the "P" mode mostly and making small adjustments to the white balance and adjusting the "my colors" section. Overall its a beautiful looking camera and feels good in the hands. I like the two tone color scheme. You have to watch your fingers, on your left, hand so they don't block the flash, it's very easy to do.

Update: Digital Zoom.
Most people advise you to disable digital zoom because of the resolution degradation when using it, however on this camera the digital zoom is fantastic, with very little resolution degradation seen and digital zoom can be used while in Video mode.

Update Foliage Program mode,8/2009:
I have been using the foliage mode for outdoor scenic shots lately. In this mode the greens, blues, are brilliantly enhanced making scenic pics pop out with bright color, some may like or dislike for the colors do not represent the true colors viewed. I like this mode, especially if the light your shooting in is not right, this mode will brighten the colors and make your photo less boring. I recommend previewing each shot before you move on to make sure the colors are not too saturated. I found that as the light changes this may happen.

Update: March 2010
Get the Canon S90, much, much better camera than the SD970,. The S90 also has low light sensors that make any indoor picture almost perfect. With the S90 you get professional results!
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104 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2009
Verified Purchase
This review is to help those who are deciding between Canon SD970 and Canon SD960.

.................SD970......SD960......Comment
Optical zoom...5x..........4x..........Plus
LCD size.........3"..........2.8"........plus
LCD dot ......461k........230k.........Big plus
Zoom Blur......yes ........no..........no

The 5x optical zoom makes the picture 50% larger. So, I think it is a worthy improvement. However, it is offset by the wider angle lens of SD960.

The LCD size and resolution are a very worthy improvement. Although it is 3" vs 2.8", the actual screen sizes are quite different because SD970 has 4:3 aspect ratio and SD960 has 2:1 aspect ration. For normal 4:3 pictures, SD960 can only use 2/3 of screen to show the picture while SD970 uses all screen. With twice many pixels, you can view the pictures quite well. It is almost better than most of small stand-alone picture frames in the market. I actually can use SD970 as a very comfortable reading glasses for the fine print on the medicine bottle. I played one SD960 in a store and I can not see whether the picture was in focus very well.

The zoom blur did not produce great pictures, although it was fun to do.

I think the price difference (~$65) is a little bit large for the performance difference. But, I do enjoy the differences.

Other comments:

(1) mini-HDMI cable: I was not aware how great the HDMI feature is until I bought one cable from a local store. It is a great experience that many people can view the slide show and HD video on your HDTV. Although I complained about how expensive the cable was. But, the experience justifies the purchase of the cable. I bought a cheaper 3rd party HDMI cable and it works well.

(2)Sound quality of HD video:

I guess Canon engineers just did not have room to put the microphone at the front surface of the camera, they put it on the top which can be easily covered by your fingers. But, the more annoying issue is that, because the top surface is tilting backward, your voice becomes much louder than the people in front of you. In addition, you need to make sure your hands do not rub the camera when shooting. Otherwise, noise will be generated.

If you zoom when shooting video, the camera performs only digital zoom. And, it will record a quite noticeable noise when the zoom action stops.

Overall, I still rate this camera 5 stars because it is well designed and built. The user interface is better than my 4-year-old Canon S3 IS and is
far better than other brands.

Finally, it was very amusing to see how hard my brother-in-law had to try to prove his >$5000 Canon 5D dSLR is still a far better camera than this little thing. Yes, my SD970 lost in most of picture quality categories. But, it did not lose without a decent fight. At the end, my sister-in-law is thinking of buying a SD970. So, it lost a battle but won a heart!!

SD970 is a camera for two person, one want to just point and shoot for precious moments and one wants to use the program mode to make great pictures.
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67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 3, 2009
Verified Purchase
First off, be aware this camera comes with no memory card, so unless you want to be like the kid that got a battery-powered toy for Christmas, and no batteries, plan ahead! Also, the A/V cable included is for standard RCA video inputs, which is fine, since almost everyone has something to plug that into, but for the HD output, you'll need the optional Mini-HDMI Cable. I've tried both cables, and if you have an HD TV, you'll want the HDMI cable.

The manual is pretty brief; it omits some information such as how to set the "owner name" in the camera (hint: use the "Camera Window" software and click on the magic icon in the upper right corner), and how to upload custom startup images and sounds for the camera operations. The manual was obviously not proofread by a native English speaker, and many parts tell you what a setting is, but not how to get to that feature. There appears to be about 3 different types of menus, depending on the mode.

Now for the neat stuff! There are 3 modes, video, camera, and auto; the main differences between camera and auto are that auto mode trys to figure out everything; and does a pretty good job. Portrait? Landscape? No problem. The camera mode lets you fiddle with everything, and has several preset modes for common situations, and for fine-tuning things like white balance, and ISO speed. These various "Program" features have an auto-preview of the effect when browsing through the menu choices, which is a nice touch.

You cannot set aperture priority nor shutter priority, but you can give it some hints to approximate this; there is a "kids & pets" mode that obviously is high shutter speed priority.

I've taken about 100 images in the last couple days, and have been very pleased with the results. The digital zoom image quality is fantastic. I needed to use a tripod on a cloudy day when the effective zoom was 20x, but the resulting image showed no jaggies at all. The macro focus worked so well, that when I tried to move the camera a little closer in, the lens hit the sidewalk!

Viewing photos and videos on the camera is pretty easy. It will automatically group photos into categories based on the auto mode (portrait, etc.) or you can put photos into categories manually, to filter what you want to see. The "shake" method to advance from one photo to the next didn't work too well for me; I had to give it a pretty good shake, and I couldn't seem to have it go backward. The auto-rotate feature for viewing photos taken in portrait orientations works great.

The video function works easy and you can upload the videos to your PC (in .mov format), and the software can convert it to .avi format also.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2009
Verified Purchase
I bought the SD970IS camera after weeks of doing research online and physically going to electronic stores to view the cameras in person. The three cameras that I was choosing between were the Canon SD780IS, SD960Is and finally decided to buy the SD970IS and here's why:

When I started looking I first read reviews on cnet.com and amazon.com. Cnet.com gave all the models a good to very good rating, however they didn't like the price to feature ratio with the SD970IS but everything else was great. The retail price for the SD970IS is $379.99 and I guess based on that price I would have probably not bought it, but as always I researched the pricing online and amazon.com once again had the best price at the time which was [...]. At the time everyone else including buy.com, bestbuy.com and even ebay was selling it for close to full retail.

I previously owned a Nikon S50c and it worked fine it just seemed like a camera that you had to "baby" and didn't fit comfortably in your hands. The SD970IS is not as compact or slim as my old Nikon or the SD960IS or the tiny SD780IS but it can still be placed in a pocket. The most important thing is however that it feels great in your hand and doesn't seem fragile like the Nikon or the SD780IS.

I've been using the camera now for a couple of weeks and so far here's my list of pros & cons (very few):

PROS:
1. 3.0 LCD inch display with double the resolution of all three cameras.
2. HD Video is amazing with HDMI out
3. Picture quality is amazing including the 5x optical zoom and even the total 20x digital zoom is great.
4. Battery life is much better than any other cameras I've owned (approx. 250 shots)
5. "Blink" indicator that works great if someone blinks
6. The auto feature on the camera (I know that some reviews state that this function doesn't work very well, however I never take it off this setting because it adjusts to every shot automatically and I haven't had any issues with picture quality in this mode.)
7. Menu navagation is very simple and straightforward.

CONS:

1. Slightly bigger than I'm use to but still very compact
2. Noisy when zooming in and out (may be due to 5x optical zoom)
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184 of 215 people found the following review helpful
on April 17, 2009
I am a big canon fan and have been patiently waiting for the release of the SD970 since canon's announcment prior to the 2009 PMA. In the following review my basis for comparison is the new sony w290 and my experience owning a canon SD700. I sent the SD970 back to Amazon after using it for about 1 hour.

What is good:
1.Great screen
2.Solid feel, amoung the best I have seen for an ultracompact
3.Picture quality is the best of the ultra-compacts that I have seen
4.You can program one of the camera buttons to perform functions as you wish. I used this feature to start the video mode

What is not so perfect:
1.After focusing, there is an annoying delay when pushing the take picture button. So when you have that perfect moment when your kids are finally smiling and push the button you have to wait about a third of a second. It does not sound like much but it is the difference between getting a great photo and an okay one. The picture quality is outstanding, but if you can't capture the moment - it just does not work for me. The sony w290 which does not take the same consistant quality of pictures does react much faster.
2.Filming in HD. The camera allows you to zoom in and out but when playing back the clip you can hear a significantly irrating sound similar to someone eating potato chips right next to you. This is not cool and was a big disappointment. (the sony w290 does not allow any zooming - if you assume that having the ability to zoom and an annoying sound is better than not having the ability to zoom - you'd be wrong, its that annoying)
3.There is no continous shooting mode while in the Auto-everything setting. So if you are like me and like to hold down the capture button to make sure take a few photos - you are out of luck. The sony w290 lets you do this.

Summary
Great photo quality, but disppointing delivery. My personal conclusion and recommendation is to purchase the sony w290 (basically the same features), which does not take quite the quality of pictures but will allow you to snap photos in continous mode and much faster response times on snapping photos.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 11, 2009
Verified Purchase
I wanted a camera with great image quality, HD movie capability, pocket size, more than 3x optical zoom and very good image stabilization. The SD 970 IS does a great job meeting these criteria. The photos are of superb quality (typical of Canon cameras). I can crop and blow up an image with little loss of quality. The 5X optical zoom functions smoothly. I would prefer 10x zoom but the 5x is adquate. Actually, on a bright sunny day the digital zoom (20x) works reasonably well. The image stabilization is rock solid. The 720 HD video is very good. I have a Mac and I use iMovie and Quicktime to edit the video. The camera doesn't allow one to use optical zoom during movie taking. You can zoom in on subject before shooting using the optical zoom to compose and then shoot the movie without loss of image quality. You can use the digital zoom while shooting movies but the image quality decreases. There was no bothersome noise while playing back a movie. I am most pleased with the size of the camera. It fit easily in my pants pocket. However, I found a small leather carrying case on eBay that I like very much. The case orients horizontally on the belt and the camera fits snugly in the case and it has a very tight fitting belt clip and a magnetic lock to secure the camera. [...]

This camera has many extra features that you can read about but I wanted to focus on my basic needs. There were several aspects of the camera that could be improved. The LCD screen is hard for me to read in bright sun light. However, the screen images are sharp, bright and true in normal lighting conditions. Finally, I would have liked an optical zoom that works during movie shooting. All in all, I love the camera and and highly recommmend it.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2009
Verified Purchase
I was on the market for a while looking for a replacement to my four years old Canon SD320 Digital Elph, which after many years of solid performance just started to show it was way behind on all the advances on sensors and overall improvements coming from the booming of the digital camera market over these years. The SD320 was my first digital camera after playing around for years with a Canon Rebel EOS SLR film camera which took amazing pictures but not only it wasn't digital but it was not also that practical to carry around

My initial feeling was to go back to the SLR days thinking the advances on digital cameras would allow me to find a great but not that bulky or heavy camera -at least not heavy for my standards- that I could carry around without much trouble. I didn't want to carry a big lens so my first consideration was a Canon G-10 or G-11, which I considered a nice mid-range SLR, not too big, not a victim of the known limitations of the point and shoot cameras. I was lucky to being able to use a G-10 a very good friend that uses it as his `pocket camera' (you have to see the lenses he has on his other SLRs) lent me for a few weeks. Even if I was very impressed with the capabilities of the G-10 and the amazing pictures I got from it, I realized I wasn't ready to carry a camera this big around and wasn't really into the aperture/shooter speed/etc ordeal I once enjoyed with my old SLR. Even by giving away all that flexibility and realizing I probably wouldn't be able to take professional-like pictures, I decided I wasn't ready for something bigger than a point-and shoot. I also wanted a camera I can hand to my wife in auto mode and still take great pictures

Being a long time Canon user, I started with a Canon but didn't neglect other brands. After doing plenty of research and looking at the advantages and disadvantages of its competitors from Fuji, Sony, etc, I decided Canon was still good enough even if it was behind brands like Fuji on sensor capabilities according to many credible sources. I gave Canon the benefit of the doubt and decided I was going to stick with a brand of camera I knew, with the menu I knew and with the defects I knew how to tweak to reduce its impact on the pictures. There are no perfect Cameras and Canon cameras maybe far from perfect according to many, but for me they are like that old car at the right price that if you know where to kick-it you can make it overcome its drawbacks. So I stick to what I knew, I didn't want to go through the learning curve of a new brand

I was among this SD970 IS and the newest Canon models of point and shoot, the SD980 IS and the SD940 IS. Honoring the motto of optical zoom is king I quickly discarded the SD940, even if the wider angle lens would have give me more flexibility in what basically a point and shoot is used for: take picture of people. But during the years I learned than a good optical zoom is one the things needed to close the picture quality gap between a point and shoot and an SLR camera. As my friend likes to say, more glass, more quality. It was not that easy between the SD980 and the SD970 though, being the former an advanced model of the later. The SD980 has a wider lens range with the same optical zoom as the SD970 (5x) and just because it's newer it should have a better sensor and a better lens, but this isn't always the case. The SD980 was also slimier and sexier and that touch screen was really something I wanted to try, but at the end I played it safe as at the time I bought this camera the SD980 had been on the market for just a few days, and I went for proven vs. hopeful, even if the SD980 looked impressive and at a better price.

So I bought my little SD970 and took it on its maiden trip to the United Kingdom and Spain. One word: Astounding little camera. Just to set the framework of the review, I didn't use the auto-setting but only the program mode, so I cannot say how the auto mode works but as they are using the same lens and sensor I would be surprised if results are much different. The first thing you will notice is the superior dynamic range this camera has for being a compact camera. It can capture way many if not all variations of colors and shadows and moves easily across the color pallet with ease. The second thing you will notice is how easy is to play with the different possibilities within the program mode and the amazing results you will get from all the combinations. You really have to be a professional to realize the picture you've got are not made with an SLR camera, picture quality looks as good or very close as much more expensive camera with bigger sensors, which leads me to the third point: the sensor does a great job even if small being a compact camera sensor. One of the things that worried me of this camera was the high mega pixel-small sensor combination which is a recipe for picture noise. I'm not sure what's the obsession of camera makers on increasing the pixels while equipping their cameras with substandard sensors (maybe is the belief that more MP = better pictures). In my opinion, anything over 10 MP for a compact camera is risky considering the size of the sensor it can carry, but 12 MP is the top, I wouldn't buy a compact camera with more than 12 MP, is a marketing myth that not necessarily means better pictures. Being the SD970IS at the top of the range for its sensor, in none of the pictures I took there is noticeable noise even at low light conditions. I was greatly surprised by this. I was even able to take great pictures of close subjects using the macro (macro mode, not digital macro) with a background blur typical of bigger SLR cameras, and as expected pictures of landscapes and fields were among the best I've obtained, even when compared with my old SLR. The 5X optical zoom delivers as expected, and the digital zoom is not that bad. Even if you get some image distortion -as expected- using a digital zoom (or digital macro for that case), it's not noticeable at first glance and much scrutiny is needed to realize a particular picture has been taken with digital zoom or digital macro

I didn't use all the modes but I realized that the vivid color mode and the one that increased the green were the best to take pictures of people and landscape respectively on true colors. The various ISO also worked great although the auto-ISO mode worked pretty well too. One mode I found useful particularly on taking pictures under backlight overcast conditions, very common in UK at this time of the year and that easily overexpose pictures, was the bright light mode that made the sensor compensate for the backlight with superior results. This reminds me of one defect of the camera: It has a tendency to overexpose pictures on open, bright conditions and you will find yourself more often than not manually playing with the ISO settings or sticking to the bright sun mode. But see, as I said is a defect you can overcome if you know the camera well and play with it a bit. Another amazing thing is the display screen, very bright with great definition where you can see the pictures very close to the way they'll look once printed or displayed on a bigger screen, and it doesn't scratches easily. Canon really put a very good quality screen on this camera, cannot say the same of my old SD320

In addition to the tendency to overexposure, I found the flash takes way too long to recharge and the battery life is not great particularly if you are like me and look plenty into the screen to see how the picture you just took looks like. Carrying an extra battery is a must, a thing that can be a turndown for some. Also, if it says that the battery is "slightly depleted" showing two bars which according to the manual means that you can take many more pictures, get ready to change the battery soon, it's not true. But again, this is one of those defects you can overcome if you're aware and ready

If you like to take movies you will find that HD movies are real and look gorgeously wide on your HD TV, crisp and clear, but the sound wouldn't be that great. Well, that's because the microphone is positioned on top of the camera and sound waves naturally pass over it with less intensity that if it was positioned in front of the camera. Also, the microphone DOES capture the sound of the digital zoom as many said here so my recommendation is to don't use the zoom while filming and go the way of the steady cam and walk in an out or follow subjects closely. It's great for family movies but I wouldn't see as a great way to film distant objects or situations needed to zoom in and out. But hey, go the Tarantino way an abuse the steady cam. If it works great for him it will do for you! Also, be careful not to cover the mic with your finger -thing easy to do because or where the mic is- or you will have a Chaplin movie then! Movies are also saved as .mov format which gives you grater flexibility for watching them on or exporting them to different media players

In summary, one of the best point and shoots around for the price now that it's well below the price it was when launched. At that price I agree with many that claimed it was overpriced. Oh, one last thing: don't buy it for the "shake or tilt" feature of the display to move along the pictures taken (don't tell Canon, but it isn't that good)
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on October 9, 2009
Verified Purchase
Just thought I'd post a quick warning on this camera. I just ordered it Tuesday and got it yesterday (Thursday) and am returning it today (Friday). I bought this camera because my wife accidentally got water on our Canon SD890IS this summer and it would no longer turn on. Fearing water, we then bought a Water Proof Canon PowerShot D10 figuring we'd be at the beach and such, so why not? Well, we soon found that while that was a great point and shoot for waterparks and outdoor shots in general, it was not nearly as good at indoor shots as the SD890IS was. So I looked into getting a new SD890IS and saw the SD970IS. Figuring it appeared to be the newer version of the SD890IS, I decided to get it instead. I knew going in that it did not have the optical viewfinder of the SD890IS, but I figured perhaps the increased megapixels, larger LCD and the idea that perhaps I might one day use its video recording if I saw Big Foot or something and didn't have a real video camera around might make up for it.

The problem is (for me) that this camera DOES NOT take good indoor pictures. Even in reasonably well-lit rooms, at night, the shots would either be blurry or yellow. It has a hard time finding a good white balance, and while perhaps you can finesse the settings to get a good-looking shot, I planned to use this on AUTO just like the SD890IS which always did an amazing job. I think the main problem here might be that the flash is nearly TWICE AS SMALL as on the Canon SD890IS. On THAT camera I could move my arm while shooting a running kid in a poorly lit room and get crystal clear pictures, but not on this. Even at night outside we would get better lit pictures than on our Canon 20D SLR.

Other issues I found (but was looking for having read other reviews here) are:
1) slow shooting speed - if you want to shoot kids, this thing is slow
2) noisy zoom - I did not try to shoot video, but I believe people who say they heard gear noise on footage
3) Beach Camera (who Amazon is using to sell) seems to have a 10% restocking fee. REAL Amazon purchases don't seem to have this, but I guess I should have read up more on it before buying.

I would definitely say get the SD890IS. Sure it is 10 Megapixels instead of 12, but you don't need more than 6 megapixels anyway, so don't buy into the hype. Both have the 5x Optical zoom, and the SD890IS is noticeably faster, takes great indoor pics, and outside as well, of course. I just ordered a new SD890IS, and can't wait for it to arrive.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2009
Verified Purchase
We own a Canon SD870 IS and a Canon 40D SLR. We purchased the SD970 because of its 5x optical zoom and its HD movie capability. This is an impressive compact camera! It blows away the older 870 (which I loved when it was new) and the HD movie quality is good. The movie quality is not as good as a $1000 HD camcorder, but for a compact camera, it is superb. We have a new baby and my husband recorded several HD movies of the baby while we were at the hospital. Out-of-town family said they felt they really got to know the little one based on the quality of the videos we sent out.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on May 13, 2009
Verified Purchase
I've been using the SD970is for a few weeks and it has proved to be just what I was looking for. My goal was to replace my trusted SD950is and Flip MinoHD with one camera. You see the 950is didn't do HD videos but now the 970is does! So, I'm down to one every day carry camera and I love it. The photos are great and the videos are even better than the Flip. With the Flip I had to use a monopod to keep things steady but with the Canon I can do a great job hand holding. All things considered this camera is a great photo/video combo and it's well worth the money. Plan on at least an 8gig memory card (I have two 4gig cards and I often find myself needing both).

Sample videos:
[...]
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