Customer Review

47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely love it, August 4, 2005
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This review is from: Canon Powershot SD500 7.1MP Digital Elph Camera with 3x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I'm going to state it right away, I am a die-hard Canon fan. I have Canon digital and film slr's, flashes, lenses, bags, the whole deal. But, I'm not so blinded by camera love that I can't spot crap when I see it. I have owned three different Canon compact digital cameras, and this is heads above all, the best of them!

I started out with the S400, a camera I had for two years and LOVED. Took about 9000+ images on it. It started to act funny, and I knew it was time for an upgrade so I got the Canon Powershot A95. I never really took to the camera, it was slowwwww to focus, and even though it was step up in megapixel power, the grain was HORRIBLE. The S400 outperformed it in image quality. I especially didn't like the A95 after I took it on a trip with me to Vegas, so two months later I sold it.

I saw the SD500 at a store and on a whim, (since it looked so similar to my dear beloved S400) picked it up to play with it. I accidently had grabbed the shutter when I went to pick it up and BOOM, in the span of a millisecond, it had focused and fired off a shot. Right there, I knew I had my new camera.

Starting off, the camera is a thing of beauty for the eyes. Smaller in length then my 20GB iPod, (slightly thicker), the camera is a breeze to carry with you at all times. THAT BEING SAID, I've read what other reviewers have written about the camera's durability and rated it badly because the lcd cracked. Just because the camera is 'pocket sized', doesn't mean in any way that you should stick it in your pants pocket. And then sit down with it in there, no less. Anything is bound to break if you do that! Get a sturdy case. It needs to be protected.

The camera is so much wuicker to focus then the previous powershot elph models. That strange, slow clicking sound is gone, it focuses in under half a second and fires. The flash recycle time is much quicker as well. No morewaiting (provided you have a properly charged battery in the camera)

Regarding battery life, it's pretty average for a rechargeable lithium battery. Alot of people do not like propriety batteries, I don't mind them, I have three for the camera in case I'm on a long trip. There's no reason not to have an extra, you don't want to be caught in the perfect moment to capture a photo and realize you have a dead battery with no alternative.

This camera does not have full manual controls, like the A95 does. You cannot adjust the aperture or the shutter speed. This doesn't bother me, as I own a digital slr with full manual controls, but if you do not own an slr and are looking for a compact with manual contorls, this would NOT be the camera for you. Check out the Canon Powertshot A series.

The image viewfinder is large enough, at 2 inches. I find myself sometimes getting finger prints on it easily when I go tograb the camera, but those are easily removed. The brightness of the lcd is also user adjustable, which is something you take for granted. I was going crazy when I had the A95 because I couldn't make the screen darker. It was so bright, everything looked blown out and the images looked COMPLETELY different exposure wise once you got them on the computer.

This powershot elph camera introduces a few new features that are incredibly neat and worth mentioning.

My colors has several user editable functions, like color swap, (two colors that you define that can be exchanged to make a really cool effect) and one of my personal favorites, color accent which lets you define one color, say, a pink shirt a friend is wearing (you point the camera and the color and hit the arrow button and it copies the color data) and it turns everything else in the picture black and white except for that one color so that it stands out. You can acheive this effect in photoshop, but being able to do it this easily in a camer is VERY cool.

I also like the option of shooting with positive film color effects. Blues are bluer, greens are greens, and reds are, well, you get the idea. It's different from the vivid mode because it just doesn't blast everything out, it makes the colors pop, but keeps them rich and true looking at the same time. The only gripe I have with this and the color accent features is that you cannot change the iso setting when you are in this mode, which to me, is a gross oversight. These functions are only accessible in the manual section of the camera, you should be able to change the ISO! I mean, you can change the white balance, why not let us be able to change the iso?! The camera would be perfect if you were able to do that...

Digital Macro is another really cool feature. You can take macros photos, but much further. It utilizes the digital, not optical zoom on the camera to bring the object closer while still keeping it clear. It works amazingly well, but at 4x, grain starts to become very apparent.

The stitch assist (panoramic) mode is still here, but this time you have to click through the menu to find it instead of having it readily avialible on the selection knob. I noticed that you cannot shoot a panoramic sequence in macro mode, which dissapointed me bcause I wanted to try some flower panos. Again, this is an oversight that really would've made the camera sing even more had it been included.

The movie mode! Oh my gosh, the movie mode. Best move mode on a canon compact, I believe. Double the FPS. The little movies look great. And unlink the A95, which would cut out after 30 seconds no matter how much room you had on your card, this'll let you keep going.

All in all, this is the best compact digital I've owned so far. I didn't think I'd ever be able to find a compact that I've loved like my S400, but I have. And it's better.

To sum it up:

Pros:

Near instant start-up (under .5 seconds)

lightning fast focus

lightning fast flash

Improved color modes

Amazing macro funtion

sleek design

image quality A-MAZING!

lcd screen brightness user adjustible

best movie mode on a compact!

Cons:

No iso control in my colors mode

no macro in pano mode

In the end, buy a sturdy case, and for goodness sake, have some sense and don't stick it in your pocket and sit on it! You will be happy with this camera if you can follow those rules. If you want a high qaulity compact digital camera with limited manual controls, this is it for you!
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4.1 out of 5 stars (170 customer reviews)
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L. Wimberley
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Location: USA

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