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You are hereHome > Digital Camera Reviews > Canon PowerShot SD700 IS

Canon Digital Cameras


Canon PowerShot SD700 IS Review

Review Date: Jul 1, 2006

Category: Point-and-Shoot

Canon PowerShot SD700 IS

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2006 DIWA Awards: Canon PowerShot SD700 IS / Digital IXUS 800 IS Wins Gold!


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 Charger
  • 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 Stabilization.

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 ELPH series.

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 situations.

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" mode).

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 want to.

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.

Canon ZoomBrowser EX 5.6

Canon ZoomBrowser EX 5.6

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 Mode.

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.

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