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Last year, Canon SD870IS camera was a winner in the SD series and the SD880IS manages to offer even more at a lower starting price (than that of SD870IS last year).

>>>What's NEW?

--New DIGIC 4 technology, up from DIGIC 3 which tries to improve the camera performance in low light and at higher ISO - is it successful? I noted a slight improvement in some shots.

- Updated face detection technology. It helps the camera create better contrast for faces and does not bleach out all color from the faces in a shot. The Face Detection Self Timer is new, so if you want to take a group shot including yourself all you have to do is focus the camera on the group and then walk into the group. The camera will detect a new face and click the shot.

- A BIGGER CCD - 1/2.3" up from the previous 1/2.5" in the SD870 which allows for increase in MPs to 10MP (up from 8MP of SD870)

- 4X Zoom (up from 3.8X on SD870) and a wide angle which really helps with shots at close quarters (in a car/bus, of a large group etc.)

- Motion Detection is also new. On this mode the camera allows you to focus on a moving object or person by pressing the shutter half-way and then click the shot even though the object/person continued to move across the frame. Earlier, you would have got a motion blur if you tried to take the same picture

- The huge 3 inch LCD screen is the same as the SD870 but slightly improved technology gives you brighter playback in low-light which makes it easier to see the shots in replay. It does not have a viewfinder but I have never missed the viewfinder on my SD870 since Canon made the screen anti-glare. I'd take a bigger screen any day over a 2.5 inch screen with a viewfinder, but if you like to use the viewfinder to compose your shots you might need to look at the SD990 IS and drop another 100 bucks.

- Updated Scene Modes. It gives you the standard Canon modes like before: Auto, Manual, Digital, Color Accent (you can pick a color to retain in the shot and the rest of the picture will be black and white), Color Swap (swap a color in the pic for another) and Stitch Assist (take a panoramic pic by stitching together many shots).

The SD880 IS makes some additions to the special scene modes like Sunset and ISO 3200. The rest remain the same: Portrait, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, Indoor, Kids & Pets, Night Snapshot. I really like the special scene modes and use them extensively. According to Canon they are based on their library of shots and I agree that they really work very well to give me great pictures.

>>>The other Canon features are the same as before on this camera. Some that I find useful are as follows:

-Image stabilization, this is particularly helpful at higher zoom
- Single Shot and Continuous mode
- Colors you can set in the manual mode - Vivid, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Custom color (RGB adjustment)
- Movie mode - regular and also slow synchro (allows you to create interesting videos by shooting at timed intervals)
- On camera editing and Pictbridge (print directly from camera)
- Red eye reduction - the face detection technology minimizes red eye more accurately than before. If you still get red eye, especially when you're shooting indoors, I've found that this camera can take care of it automatically. You can select "red eye correction" option in the menu while in replay mode, the camera automatically searches for faces in the pic and removes the red eye and also allows you to do it manually if you want.
- Connect to TV with included cord and run slideshow with transition effects of your choice to view pics. Very useful while on vacation or at a friend's place.
- Allows you to erase pics by number of pics, or by date taken, or even by people vs. scenery/objects, a very useful feature in this age of high capacity cards
- You can record sound bites on pics to remember locations etc.

If you can take the time to read the manual, you will discover more features which allow for more creativity with this camera.

>>> Limitations:
- No viewfinder, I prefer the bigger screen but it may be critical for you
- Some chromatic aberration, common to most point and shoot cameras not just this Canon model
- If you're shooting at night in low light with full zoom the wide angle causes the camera to sometimes focus on the dust particles in between resulting in white orbs in the picture. I've taken care of most issues by setting the focus correctly by half pressing the shutter and using night mode but some orbs still show up in some pics especially if there is moisture in the air and I am using the zoom.

UPDATE 11/21/2008: Downgrading rating to 4 stars, this camera does have more "noise" than my earlier Canons.

>>>Summary
This camera is very well priced for the features it offers. If you are looking for a reasonably priced compact P&S that is still pocketable but gives you superior shots and more flexibility in composing shots (read wide angle), look no further. If you're looking for a smaller camera than SD880 that gives you superior performance, I recommend the SD790 although it does not have wide angle.
1414 comments|276 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 10, 2008
This camera hits all of the sweet spots for those wanting a powerful, small "point and shoot" camera with excellent speed and picture quality. What sets it apart from other cameras in this category is the wide angle lens. You can fit more into the picture especially group shots and landscapes. Also, because of the wide lens, you can zoom in on your shots without cutting off objects or people on the edges. Most other ultra compact cameras do not have this feature. I have used Canon's other wide angle compact - the SD870IS and loved it. This newer model adds many upgrades to that model: 10 megapixels, fast and powerful Digic 4 processor, motion detection, 4x optical zoom, intelligent contrast, self timer with face detection, and a smaller size for pocketability. Even though it is an excellent "point & shoot" it is also feature packed and can be adjusted manually with many different options and settings if you want.

Things to look for in any camera in the compact/ultra compact category:
- Picture quality, of course
- Image stabilization so shaky hands don't ruin the shot
- Fast shutter lag times and shot to shot times
- Face detection software
- Good OPTICAL zoom (not just digital zoom)
- Great battery life
- Large LCD screen
- Adequate megapixels to enlarge and crop your images when needed. Also to print larger sized photos.

This camera has all of the above.

PROS:
Wide angle lens
Excellent picture quality
10 megapixels
Image Stabilization
Face detection and a self timer with face detection
Ultra compact
Fast Digic 4 processor - Almost instant start-up & fast shot to shot
4x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom
Large 3" LCD screen
Motion Detection
Intelligent Contrast
Multiple pre-programmed picture modes tailored for the best shot
Easy to use controls and interface
Attractive

CONS:
No viewfinder (LCD only). Some prefer viewfinder - personal preference.
May be too small for some people - again, personal preference.
It's not cheap... But it is a good value. You might spend more, but you get a lot more.

I have taken many great shots with this camera since I've had it and really couldn't wish for more. This camera has got to be on anyone's short list when shopping for cameras in this category... Can you tell that I really, really like it?
55 comments|210 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 11, 2008
This camera rocks, but it does fall short for the title "Perfect Camera". It has all the bells and whistles you expect from a compact digital camera. This new one even has this great timer function with face detection. What's so great about it is that it will start the countdown after it detects a new face in the camera. The wide angle lens is great for group shots, portraits, and the usual stuff with scenery and people. Yet, it only has a 4X optical zoom. This is not enough if you have a wide angle lens. In comparison, a camera with a 36mm equivalent will have a longer zoom even with a 3.7X optical zoom, such as the new SD990IS. Canon Powershot SD990IS 14.7MP Digital Camera with 3.7x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black) Yet, it is good enough for everyday and for that special trip to Rome. But, forget about zooming in on that statue a few blocks away as it will not reach.

Although this camera has tons of features, it does not have enough manual functions for the enthusiasts. The new SD990IS has new manual functions to play with aperture, shutter speed, manual focus, and all the good stuff. I am guessing Canon will not add these manual settings in to the 800 line until later next year. This is too bad as the functions would make pictures come out even better with the ability to adjust settings to perfection.

All in all, this camera is great and would be a good replacement for any older 800 series such as the SD850 or SD870. I highly recommend it as long as you don't need any manual settings. The auto focus, DIGIC 4 processor, and the iSAPS will give you enough automatic settings adjustment to take quality pictures in a blink of an eye.

PROS:
10MP
3" LCD
DIGIC 4
28mm equivalent wide angle lens
more functions than SD870

CONS:
Only 4X optical zoom (typical for compacts)
Skimpy manual settings (typical for compacts)
Ugly 3 position slide switch on top of camera (why?)
1111 comments|125 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 17, 2008
I bought this for my wife as a B'day present to replace her tiny and always carried SD450 (5MB, no IS and 3 years old). The SD880 is a much better camera, costs less than the SD450 did in 2005 and is still tiny (fits in the same case). The improvements are many: ultra-sharp 28mm wide-angle lens with 4X zoom, 3" bright and clear LCD, both optical image stabilization (IS) and a new low-noise (for it's size) 10MP sensor.

A few reviews here report crappy images and/or high noise levels but those are not my findings, at least not relative to other point and shoot cameras. I tested the SD880 against: her Canon SD450 (5MP), my Fuji F31fd (6MP) and a borrowed Panasonic LX-3 (10MP).

SD880 images are sharper than any of the three other cameras at the same f-stops and focal lengths. This is especially true regarding the SD450. Given the Leica pedigree on the LX-3's super fast (f2.0-2.8) 24-60mm lens I had expected it to be sharper than the tiny SD880 so was surprised to find noticeably sharper images with the SD880 even near the edges of the frame. Although the Fuji is just 6MP, it is closest in sharpness to the SD880, but only in good light at lower ISO.

The SD880 produces lower image noise at high ISO's (400 and up) than both the SD450 and the LX-3. Beating the LX-3 in this test at ISO 400, 800 and 1600 was also surprising given the LX-3's slightly larger sensor size. The Fuji has the lowest noise level at high ISO BUT images become overly smoothed with less sharpness than either the SD880 or the LX-3. The SD880 retains more sharpness than the Fuji as ISO is cranked up to 800 and 1600, but did have more noise. ISO 400 noise is low with the SD880 and images are usable at ISO 800. ISO 1600 should be reserved for low-light emergencies where flash is verboten and if prints are kept 6" x 4" or smaller.

Another low-light advantage of the SD880 (at least for nearly stationary scenes) is the optical IS. This really works and allows lower ISO values to be used with longer shutter speeds. My wife often blurred shots on the SD450 due to camera motion. The IS has helped a lot to reduce this.

UPDATE: The optics on my wife's SD880 are so sharp that I decided to get one too. My copy produces softer photos, not really fuzzy and about as sharp as the 6MP Fuji but without the super crispness of the first SD880. I can clearly see the difference. My revised conclusion is that it is possible, but not certain, to get a Canon 880IS with exceptionally sharp optics. For that reason I would downgrade my rating to 4 stars if Amazon would permit (they don't). Good luck.
11 comment|39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on November 12, 2008
My dissatisfaction with the Canon SD880IS all stem from really missing my old Fujifilm F30. That good old camera has the best lens/CCD of any point-n-shoot that I've ever seen. Even ISO1600 photos were usable. Everything was low noise. But (probably because it's Made in Ch---) the two F30's that I've owned all crashed way before reaching 2 full years of use. Yes, I had liked the camera so much that after the first one died I bought another one to replace it.

Yes, the problem with the SD880 is NOISE NOISE NOISE. Even at very low ISO I can see the noise everywhere on the picture. I tried going for lower pixel count but they are still very visible. If you want to buy this camera, make sure that you've taken a few photos and zoom them out in playback mode. It's only after feeding a photo through Noise Ninja that I finally breathed a sigh of relief.

Noise problem aside, the SD880 is packed with so many neat features. I've set the manual white balance to be trigged by the printer button. All I have to do is to point the camera at the white ceiling, press the printer button, and the camera is white-balanced exactly for that specific lighting.

Face detection works great, and I really like the TV - self-timer - Face detection combo: I hook the camera to the TV, put the self-timer on Face detection mode, press the shutter, and nonchalantly walk to the spot of my choice before turning to face the camera. The camera reads my face and multiple shots of me are made.

This camera takes BEAUTIFUL indoor photos -- with a flash, that is. (The Fuji F30 had been able to take all sorts of great indoor photos without flash.) The Canon engineers have done a great job with post-processing to get such nice even lighting on indoor photos, especially with such a tiny flash.

I take photos with i-Contrast off. In the playback mode, I can apply the i-Contrast as I choose. And speaking of i-Contrast, I find that the SD880 tries too hard to second guess what photos I want, and the photos tend to turn out a bit flat. The photos all improve tremendously when I use Picasa or Photoshop to deepen the shadows. This is especially true with indoor photos.

The video mode is not so useful. There is no optical zoom with video. The camera fakes a video zoom by doing a digital zoom. Of course, if the video is already only 640x480, doing a digital zoom will get you horrendous resolution. So just pretend that there is no video zoom. The microphone on the camera is bad.

The handling of the camera is very good, and it is a beautiful looking gem. And I hope that its being "Made in Japan" will at least buy me more years than my two terrific but unfaithful Fuji F30's. Now if Canon were to come up with a 28mm F2.8 camera that had the same CCD-sensor philosophy and the manual controls as the F30 (fewer Megapixels for superb noise control), I would really PAY for that camera, bad economy or no.

[Correction to my original review]

I gave up on this camera. I had written that indoor photography with flash was very nice. I WAS WRONG. The flash is simply too weak. If the subject is perfectly still, yes, indoor shots with flash is lovely. But last week I photographed some kids at a Thanksgiving dinner party. They weren't even moving that much, but the flash could not freeze their motion. In a normally lit room, with the camera set at hi-ISO (ISO 250) the shutter speed was 1/10 sec with flash. Subject blur occurred. I have never encountered such problem with any of the myriads of point-n-shoot that I've owned in the last 25 years.

The camera is truly beautiful to behold. But at the end of the day, it's decent photos that I want. The lens is too small, pixel density on the CCD is too high, and the flash too weak. No fancy bells and whistles on the electronics can overcome these physical limitations.
55 comments|129 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 27, 2008
I just received this camera four days ago. I've taken indoor night photos and outdoor day photos.

Four Pros

The camera is quick, and I can whip it out and take a photo without missing a shot

This camera takes really amazing photos at 6 mp (more of that below). And the outdoor photos are amazingly crisp.

Night shots are for the most part correctly exposed (not too dark)

The scene modes are really fun like photo stitch, color accent, and indoor mode.

An idea I had

On Mega Pixels
Like many people have been saying 10 mega pixels is a lot of mp for the size of the CCD, so what I decided to do is lower the resolution to 6mp (and put the quality to superfine) to improve photo quality. I think that the quality of the photos I have taken in this fashion look good up to ISO 400. Photos still print very well at 4x7 and well at 8x10 just an idea you might want to play with. Its nice however to have 10 mp, if I wanted to make a poster.

Two Cons

On Flash
This camera produces flash spots (I don't know the technical term for this). A flash spot is a small circular white dot in the photo that is not in the original scene. It's caused by the placement of the flash in comparison to the lens. One way to try and get around this is simply take two photos of the same scene and hope one does not have a flash bunny. Supposedly this is a common issue with compacts. This is the main reason I am giving this camera 4 stars instead of 5.

On manual settings
You cannot set the shutter speed nor f stop. The only reason this is annoying is because when I take indoor photos at night the camera automatically sets itself to 1/60 shutter speed. Which might be a problem for dancing shots or photos of my friends that really talk with their hands. However, as of yet all the night shots have been clear and correctly exposed.
11 comment|36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
There are many reviews for this product with lots of helpful information so I almost didn't write one, but I did want to address a few points. I purchased this camera because of all of the favorable Amazon reviews and am very happy with it. The New York Times rated this the #1 camera in 2008 and I can see why. Lot of features, easy to use, and great quality pictures.

Here are a few of the things I was concerned about before purchasing this...hope this helps you:

1. Shutter lag? Nope, virtually none - the second I press the button it grabs the shot. And that's with an old SD card. I imagine the new SDHC card I ordered will be even faster, if that is possible.

2. Gold vs silver? I wanted to purchase this from Amazon so got the gold color. It's a very subtle gold and could easily be mistaken for silver. I was worried it might be too gold and flashy. The color is more of a champagne color.

3. Easy to use? Yes, only a couple of buttons on the back, and the auto mode is really all you need to get great pictures.

4. What type of media card? It takes SD or SDHC, both of which are great formats as they are cheap and universal. That's why I don't buy Sony products as they use a proprietary technology.

5. Easy to slip in my pocket? Yes, slips in my front jeans pocket easily, good size and light weight.

6. Battery charge? Lasts a good long time - unlike my last camera that had to be recharged at the end of every day.

I highly recommend this camera! Hope you find these additional comments helpful - lots of good info in the other reviews.
0Comment|30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 1, 2008
I am photographer with years of experience and have used over two dozen digital cameras (from DSLRs to point-and-shoots). This is a fine camera, except that it suffers from excessive noise (even at 80 and 100 ISO) for it to be fully useful. The 10MP is of limited value, as most of the pixels are smeared by the aggressive noise reduction. Bumping down to lower MP levels does not alleviate the problem. Could be a good camera to use in full sunlight or outdoor shots, but not for anything indoors. While one can't expect any point-and-shoot to have the sensitivity of a DSLR, my old Canon SD1000 pocket cam performs better than the SD880 in this regard.
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on December 22, 2008
Canon PowerShot SD880IS

I have been using the SD880IS for the past 2 months and am extremely please with this little camera.

I purchase the camera as a replacement to my aging second still / main video camera the Fujifilm Z1.

My main camera is a Canon Xti but because of it size is not a good day to day, carry everywhere camera.

The SD880IS is has a very fast start up time (it has not being an issue in any of the shooting situations I have encounter)

The controls are very intuitive. They maid the two most used controls (at least they have become that for me) the ISO selector and exposure compensation easily accessible.

Both functions are just one click away.

The camera takes excellent pictures at ISO 80 and 100 and good pictures at ISO 200 and 400. The Pictures at ISO 800 and 1600 have been the best I have seen in non SLR cameras (Decent and very usable).

The click wheel controller is easy to get use to and a very efficient way of getting to the different camera functions.

Having a wide angle lens makes the biggest different on this camera that make is superior to the other higher pixel count pocket cameras canon. Image stabilization is great. It let me shoot sharp pictures at shutter speeds as low as 1/30 sec. The other reason I have pocket camera is to use it as a video recorder and this camera makes an excellent job even in low light situations (a lot better than my old Z1).

Both David Poug from the New York Times and DPreview.com tested this camera with the other on this category for this year and it was picked #1 by David and #2 by DPreview. I definitely recommend it as your next pocket camera.
22 comments|18 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 17, 2009
Images are spotty, grainy, and sometimes blurry. I send it to Canon for repair; they changed the lens assembly. However; that didn't solve the problem. There was no change in image quality. Canon tech support asked me send it back for second time. This time, they paid for shipping. I didn't get it back yet. I will update my review when I get it.

Some googling revealed that some units of this model are defective, so buy it at your own risk.

I would like to give some credit to Canon technical support. Although they send me the camera without solving the problem, they have been very friendly both times and redeemed themselves by paying for shipping.
0Comment|19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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