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Canon Powershot Sd870 Is

Reviewing: Canon Sd870 Is / Ixus 860 Is  |  Rating:
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The Canon Powershot SD870 IS as it's known in North America (called the IXUS 860 in other regions), is one of Canon's ELPH line point & shoot digital cameras. It boasts 8 Megapixels, pretty good by todays standards for this type of camera, though some would argue that is overkill for the tiny CCD sensors in these types of cameras, afterall, it's not a DSLR, but if you want the extra pixels, this camera has them.

The SD870 offers fairly straightforward controls, and is very user-friendly for the amateur or someone who just wants to set their camera to Auto and let it do most of the work. One particular selling point that sets this camera apart from it's brother and sister P&S's, is that is has a wide-angle lens that is perfect for those landscape shots, or when you're in a cramped space and need that extra coverage. I do wish there was an option to keep the mechanical lens cover closed while the camera is on, and only have it open when you specify that you want to take a photo. This would greatly reduce the accumulation of lens dust and dirt.

Another big plus for many users will be the beautiful 3" LCD screen on the back. They have sacrificed the viewfinder that we are all so used to in camera history, but in reality, this is a point and shoot camera, not a DSLR, and how many people really hold a tiny P&S up to their face with the manual viewfinder? I know I don't. It's a very worthy tradeoff for me personally. However, there may be some situations it will be annoying, such as when you are part of an audience in a very dark room, and people behind you start getting disgruntled because your big bright LCD is ruining their experience. If you're worried about this, you may consider other options.

Want to shoot videos? This camera does it, and at a perfect resolution and framefrate for all of your emailing and youtubing desires. 640x480 @ 30FPS. That's a very nice perk, and the videos will look great on youtube, I assure you. There is also a time-lapse feature if you're into shooting those kind of videos in 1 or 2 second intervals.

While the SD870 carries a heavier price tag than it's little ELPH brothers, that doesn't mean it's going to last longer. While Canon makes a high quality product, I wouldn't recommend testing the durability of any digital camera. The wrist strap takes 2 seconds to slip on, so use it!

For the most part, I am a happy customer. There is one gripe I have though, a very minor annoyance. With the price of SD memory these days, you would think Canon would spring to include something more than a 32MB SD card. I mean come on! That's hardly any photos on max settings, and only about 9 seconds of video! When I can go on one of my favorite e-tailers and buy an 8GB SDHC card for $60 shipped, Canon should be able to include more than a measley 32 MEGABYTE card. Maybe the people that wrote the manual on this camera wrote it two years ago, as they suggest in the manual to use a 512MB card, and make it seem like that's the biggest and baddest.

Despite all of the nitpicking from picky photographers that want a DSLR in an ultra-compact size, this camera will do what you want and more for your casual out-and-about needs. This is the camera you'll put in your pocket, pull it out, and have it powered up and snapping that shot in under 2 seconds. For the most part you can leave it on auto settings, and i'll take great shots (though you may want to turn off the flash as times and bump up the ISO to around 400 for low-light shots, which this camera can handle just fine). Don't underestimate this camera as just another lack-of-control auto-everything camera. It does have a manual mode, and there are a fair bit of other settings you can play with for your color, white balance and other settings.