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Camera Reviews > Canon PowerShot SD700
Canon PowerShot SD700 IS Review
Date: Jul 1, 2006
Friday, Jun 23, 2006 - Here's what I receive
in the box:
- PowerShot SD700 IS
- 16MB Secure Digital (SD) Card
- Li-ion Rechargeable Battery & Battery
- Wrist Strap
- Interface Cables: A/V; USB
- Documentation (English and French): User Guide
Basic, User Guide Advanced, System Map, Direct
Print User Guide, Software Starter Guide
- Software CDs: Digital Camera Solution 28.2
The Canon PowerShot SD700 IS, like the
other Digital ELPH series digital cameras, is
targeted to point-and-shoot photographers desiring
an ultra compact take-anywhere digital camera
that gives great results -- now with Optical Image
A design change is the black coating that goes
around the optical viewfinder and LCD monitor
on the back and a slice of the top of the camera.
This serves a practical purpose by eliminating
reflection, and also gives the SD700 IS a sweeping
line when viewed from the top: it gives the illusion
that the camera is thinner on the left side and
gets thicker moving to the right side. As expected,
build quality is excellent and the SD700 retains
the beautiful lines that characterize the Digital
There are two other design changes on the SD700
IS that may be worth mentioning. The power button
is moved from the traditional top to the back.
It is coated black and I simply could not find
it at first, even though it is clearly labelled
ON/OFF. Just to see if others also had a hard
time finding it, I handed it to a friend who had
never used it before and he turned the camera
on right away, so I guess it's just me.
The second change is the Mode Dial that is now
"inside" the camera with only a thumb-activated
portion visible. This is a clever design decision
because it effectively frees up space for the
thumb to rest on. The Mode Dial snaps securely
in place at each setting. A few times, I've inadvertently
changed setting when putting or taking the camera
from my trousers pocket.
The Canon SD700 has a "Manual" or M
mode which should be more correctly labelled "Programmed
Auto" or P mode. In this mode, you have access
to the ISO, WB, Exposure Compensation and Long
Shutter speeds. The more I use the Canon Digital
ELPH series digital cameras, the more I appreciate
this M mode. This mode allows the more advanced
photographers to capture shots in difficult lighting
For Canada, Canon has provided both the English
and French printed versions of the Basic and Advanced
Camera User Guides. They are both well illustrated
and written, and the print font is easy to read.
Even though the Canon SD700 IS is ultra compact,
the controls are placed logically and there's
never any confusion where to access a feature.
New users should take some time to familiarize
themselves with the FUNC. button and screens which
basically give quick access to all the exposure
settings (if, that is, you use the "Manual"
The 4-Way Arrows and the two buttons at the bottom
(DISP & MENU) are just too close together,
and get in each other's way. So, if you've got
a large thumb, you may find it difficult to press
the DOWN Arrow (Erase & Drive Mode) without
also pressing either the DISP or MENU button.
In the field, the Canon SD700 IS performed very
well. There was no fumbling with the controls,
no frustration trying to set the functions you
want, and the camera was point-and-shoot simplicity.
Even though most of the functions are accessed
thru the FUNC. menu, I found it well implemented
and fast. The image stabilizer works well and
adds to the enjoyment of using this camera.
You can use digital zoom during movie recording.
Sound is recorded in all movie modes. The optical
zoom is 4x and I counted 8 intermediate steps
from wide-angle to telephoto (takes about 2 sec.),
so it's challenging to stop exactly where you
Digital Macro, like digital zoom, basically crops
the central portion of the image and then extrapolates
it back to size, with image quality deteriorating
in the process.
To those who like to date imprint their photos
(by that, I mean have the date physically appear
as an integral part of the image data), you can
do that but only in Postcard image size (1600x1200
pixels). We do not recommend doing that because
the date and time are always saved as part of
each picture's EXIF info and can therefore be
printed out on the picture whenever desired.
I recommed purchasing as large a SD memory card
as you can afford. I got a 2GB one for less than
CDN$100, and it can hold 720 Large SuperFine images
on the Canon SD700 IS.
We went to Center Island with family and visiting
relatives and I snapped pictures here and there,
and when I got home to download them, I was surprised
to find that I had taken 140 "snapshots."
So, do not underestimate the attraction of the
digital media and how easy it is to keep taking
pictures without really counting.
The Canon SD700 also has the cool My Colors image
effect that I demonstrated in the Canon
SD30 review, so will not repeat it here.
Transferring images to your PC is simply a matter
of connecting the USB cable and either using the
Canon ZoomBrowser EX to index the images or simply
drag-n-drop in Windows Explorer.
The ZoomBrowser EX software (version 5.6) is
very user-friendly and complete. Each image's
filename is clearly visible and you do not need
to launch another window to view the EXIF info.
You can do basic image editing, re: Red Eye Correction,
Auto Adjustment, Color/Brightness Adjustment,
Sharpness, Trim, Insert Text, Stitch Photos, Edit
Movie. In the above image, we selected the Preview
Another included software is PhotoStitch which
allows you to easily stitch images taken as a
Panoramic shot or to create a nifty 360 view.
I decided to give the latter a try and since I
was at IKEA Woodbridge, I took a number of shots
by placing the camera on a revolving table top
in the restaurant and just snapped shots. Unfortunately,
I did not use the Stitch Assist feature which
would have locked the exposure with the first
shot, so you'll find that my exposure changes
with each shot. The following is saved in QuickTime
VR format using the least quality (even then it
is 2MB in size); it's not a great picture but
serves its purpose in demonstrating what can be
done. Stitching was done automatically.
The Canon PowerShot SD700 IS produces
very good to excellent image quality and is very
enjoyable to use. Image Stabilization sweetens
the already excellent features available on this
camera. It is simply one of the very best ultra-compact
digital camera available today, period.