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on July 10, 2009
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)
24 helpful votes
25 helpful votes
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on May 11, 2009
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.
18 helpful votes
19 helpful votes
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on August 11, 2017
Restored camera that matches my previous best camera. Used for years as my go-to landscape camera. Will use this option for a great discount in the future on favorite items no longer available new.
1 helpful vote
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on June 5, 2010
MY REVIEW: I purchased the Canon SD970IS in June, 2010 to replace my Canon SD870IS which suffered from a failing display after four years of use. Beyond the screen failure, I was very satisfied with the SD870IS and opted to again purchase a Canon. The SD970IS is very similar to the SD870IS in manner of use - I mean, the buttons were identical to the older camera, utilized the same battery, same charger, etc. However, the SD970IS is a major upgrade over the camera it replaces - and I am VERY satisified with this purchase. The advantages of the SD970IS are numerous: display is bright and very crisp - like a high definition TV; zoom range is improved; the "Auto" scene mode selection is efficient; low-light, sunlight and other environmental conditions are handled much better with the 970s versus the 870; the camera is again substantially constructed (like the 870) "feels solid when held"; photo quality is sharp!

SOME SUGGESTIONS IF YOU PURCHASE THE 970: 12.1 megapixels require a fast memory card. Opt for a higher-end card with a high transfer rate (32MB/SEC) or higher (especially if you use the video option) - you won't regret that decision as it will prevent you from having to wait a second or two for the image to "write" to the card. I bought a SanDisk 32MB/Second 8 GIG high-transfer card for this camera and it works like a gem! Order an extra battery. Although battery life is good, a back-up battery is inexpensive and can easily be packed in the camera case. The wall charger that comes with the camera is slick and will charge the battery in about an hour. I also ordered a Koo case for under $10 -- and the case has firm padding and is built for rugged use and certainly will protect the camera. I will keep the camera in my old Sony Cybershot case for most excursions, though - as it's larger and I can easily store the entire support system for the camera, from charger to extra cards.

CONCLUSION: An outstanding camera for under $300. This camera is intuitive, well-built and takes great photos. For most people, this camera will meet and exceed their expectations for a higher-end point-and-shoot camera. Again, I am completely satisified with it and would recommend it to anyone.
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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on June 14, 2009
This is our third PowerShot digital camera, with our first dating back to 2003. The camera is fast and the auto settings for photos do a very good job of getting decent photos in all sorts of conditions. The LCD is very nice and remains fairly visible even on a sunny beach. The form factor is great and the body is just the right size: small enough to pocket, big enough to hold.

The video is 720p, which is just fine. The built-in HDMI is a nice bonus, but you'll need to purchase a mini-HDMI to HDMI cable separately. We got one on Amazon for $6. The video itself is decent, but heavily compressed. To be fair, the compression is only visible in shots that stress the codec (e.g. uninterrupted blue sky, which ends up looking like shifting blocks of blue). Lens or imaging flares (vertical lines in the image) are also quite apparent when shooting against intense light sources. Since these are just for the family video album, we don't really care about this stuff, but we would not use the PowerShot in any production setting.

Overall, another fine addition to the PowerShot family.
7 helpful votes
8 helpful votes
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VINE VOICEon May 2, 2009
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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67 helpful votes
68 helpful votes
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on February 17, 2017
I really liked this camera. These PowerShot's are great, this was my 2nd. Unfortunately, one day a dog hair made its way inside the lens assembly through the multiple rings and lodged itself right over the sensor. There was basically no easy way to get it out, and every photo had a big blob on it after that. Not really worth taking apart to clean.
1 helpful vote
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on November 12, 2011
Bought it for myself to replace a stolen Nikon and thought the world of my new little $300 Canon for 2 wonderful years. Family gatherings had our point & shoots pitted against each other and mine won every time. 5 stars all the way. Size was perfect, screen was clear, large and bright, options were easy to use and excellent pictures were almost guaranteed. I bought extra batteries, a sweet case, then cherished and protected this little delight against theft, injury, cold, hot, wet & sand. 2 years and 1 month later at a beautiful photo op in Jamaica I turned the camera on, the lens came out, opening screen appeared, a funny whirry noise, blinking and chimes, then the error message that I needed to restart my camera. My heart sank. I'd seen this after my daughter dropped a camera in the past but my Canon had not been dropped, crushed, abused, loaned out, touched by a minor, or anything but coddled! Lens has been out ever since and that's that. Do these things have a life span? My heart is broken and I don't want to go through this again. I think I'll go back to Nikon.
1 helpful vote
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on April 16, 2009
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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151 helpful votes
152 helpful votes
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on August 29, 2015
The camera is a match to one I use (and love) currently. It was not as described, and is not what I would consider good condition, since the lens is scratched. It only shows when you take a picture with a lot of light or white color in it, but it does discolor the bottom third of the picture when it does happen. The lens is visibly scratched, but I was on vacation when it was received at work, and therefore plan to keep it.
1 helpful vote
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