Canon PowerShot SD780IS: 12 Megapixel Photos & 720p Video in a Shirt Pocket Sized Camera

Canon PowerShot SD780IS (top) & Panasonic Lumix ZS3 (bottom)

Way back in 2005, I wrote a review of:

Canon PowerShot SD200: A Big Little Camera

It replaced my first generation Canon Digital Elph. The SD200’s proprietary battery charger stopped working a few years ago. And, it seemed like a waste of money to pay for a new charger for a 3 megapixel camera. So, I bought a series of larger cameras in order to take advantage of greater optical zoom and larger light gathering sensors.

(more photos in the full blog entry)

Panasonic Lumix ZS3 (left) & Canon PowerShot SD780IS (right)

I’ve bought a Panasonic Lumix ZS3 in February right before a conference trip. It has been a delight to use with its 12x optical zoom, crisp nicely saturated still photos and amazing looking 720p HD video recordings. It remains my preferred and main camera today. However, I wanted a tiny camera like the SD200 that could fit comfortably in a shirt pocket and be available all the time for photos and videos.

Canon PowerShot SD780IS (top) & Canon PowerShot SD200 (bottom)

So, this past weekend, I bought the sub-$200 Canon PowerShot SD780IS. You can see it pictured in all three photos above. It is a 12.1 megapixel camera with a 3X optical zoom capable of recording 720p HD video.

The macro photo of my Suuntu N3i SPOT watch and HD video of the Droid Eris in earlier blog items today were taken using the SD780IS.

While I’m happy to have a useable pocket shirt sized camera to use, I’m not thrilled with the overall results from the camera. Photos taken using the “Auto” mode are particularly poor. Macro photos are fuzzy. And, nearly all photos are auto-set to the equivalent of ISO 400 or 800 resulting in noisy graining photos. Photos also seem to lack the depth. Photos taken using the Program â„ – mode with a few simple photo setting tweaks turned out much better. This is the mode I plan to use most of the time. I thought the 720P HD video recorded with video macro mode turned out provided a good closeup view of the Droid Eris.