We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Cameras Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Canon PowerShot SD780 IS review

£169 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Canon

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Quite possibly the most fashionable of the point-and-shoot cameras out right now, the sleek, solid-coloured Canon PowerShot SD780 IS isn't just a looker.

Quite possibly the most fashionable of the point-and-shoot cameras out right now, the sleek, solid-coloured Canon PowerShot SD780 IS isn't just a looker.

The Canon PowerShot SD780 IS also performs very well, with great image quality, a powerful flash, nice high-ISO shots in low light, a great selection of scene modes, and excellent optical image stabilisation.

This is a very slim-and-stowable camera, measuring just 87x55x19mm; the Canon PowerShot SD780 IS is about the size and thickness of a half-deck of playing cards. The metal lens casing is surrounded by a plastic, but durable, body - both are the same colour - and the contoured edges of the camera add to its slick looks.

In jury evaluations, the 12Mp Canon PowerShot SD780 IS netted an overall image quality score of Very Good, earning some of the highest marks we've seen for a point-and-shoot this year for its lack of distortion, its colour accuracy, and its image sharpness.

And that's just in well-lit conditions. In hands-on informal tests, we were amazed at the colour accuracy and lack of noise in low-light shots at high ISO levels. The manual ISO settings (ranging from ISO 80 to ISO 1600) are complemented by a special ISO 3200 scene mode. There is definitely some visible speckling at ISO 3200 and ISO 1600, but low-light images taken at these settings with the flash turned off are impressively bright, crisp, and colourful.

Battery life isn't terrible, but we've seen much better. In battery tests, the Canon PowerShot SD780 IS took 261 shots on a single charge of its lithium ion battery. That was enough to earn a battery life score of Good, but far short of the 300-plus shots now fairly common in today's pocket cameras.

Other than that, the Canon PowerShot SD780 IS really has only a few drawbacks, and none of them hurt much. The 2.5in-diagonal LCD screen on the back is a bit small by today's standards, but it's bright and vibrant enough to see in practically every lighting condition (you also get an old-school optical viewfinder above the LCD - a nice touch). The zoom range is a bare-bones 3x optical, with a shrimpy wide-angle end (33mm to 100mm).

Because the Canon PowerShot SD780 IS is such a slim, sleek, and pocket-friendly camera, the control buttons are fairly small and may prove difficult for the meaty-handed to use. And as usual, the plastic doors that cover the HDMI port, A/V out ports, and battery feel like they could tear off really easily.

Despite the slim frame, the Canon PowerShot SD780 IS is a bit more advanced than your basic point-and-shoot, but it's still definitely for casual shooters. You don't get many manual controls, other than ISO settings, white-balance settings, and exposure compensation values. However, the collection of shooting modes and scene selections in the camera (20 in all) make up for that quite a bit.

At first glance, you won't see that many scene modes; most of them are "hidden" from the main scene selection navigation and are accessible only by pressing the Display button once you've navigated all the way to the right of the scene menu. It's a minor irritation that could have been obviated just by letting you repeatedly press the right navigational button to scroll through all the available scene modes.

Digital photography reviews and advice

In addition to old standbys such as Portrait, Sunset, Fireworks, and Snow, some really creative scene options are in the mix. Two of the best are Canon's colour Accent and colour Swap modes. colour Accent lets you isolate a single colour in an otherwise black-and-white shot, while colour Swap lets you change all instances of one colour in your shot to another colour. They're fun to use and work well, and are even accessible in the Canon PowerShot SD780 IS's movie mode (which shoots 720p HD movies at 30 frames per second; clips are saved as .mov files).

To complement its HD video chops, the Canon PowerShot SD780 IS also has another nice feature: an HDMI-out port for viewing images and videos on an HDTV (but no included HDMI cable). In addition to its 720p HD mode, the SD780 IS also shoots 640-by-480 and 320-by-240 standard-definition clips, both at 30fps. A minor disappointment is that you can't zoom in and out while filming.

NEXT PAGE: our expert verdict >>

PCWorld.com

Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Expert Verdict »

1/2.3in 12.4 Megapixel CCD
24-bit RGB
JPEG
Canon UA Zoom Lens
f/3.2-5.8
3x optical zoom
4x Digital Zoom
Focus Type: TTL Autofocus
Focus Range: Normal: 12.0in/infinity, Macro: 1.2in/19.7in
Digital Macro: 1.2in/3.9in Auto ISO, High ISO (Up to 3200), Selectable ISO (80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600)
Shutter Speeds: 15-1/1500 second
Metering: Evaluative, Center-weighted average, Spot
Exposure Modes: Program AE, i-Contrast, Exposure Compensation, AE Lock
White Balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom built-in flash
Secure Digital (SD/SDHC) Card, MMC/MMC Plus/HC MMC Plus
MOV (H.264) with Audio
High Definition (1280x720), Standard Definition (640x480), QVGA
2.5in Purecolour LCD II widescreen TFT colour LCD (230,000 pixels)
USB 2.0
Composite Video Out (NTSC & PAL)
HD Video Out (optional Mini-HDMI cable required)
NB-4L Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery
87x55x19mm
115g
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

Canon has taken the concept of a fashionable, easy-to-use point-and-shoot that also performs well and knocked it out of the park. The Canon PowerShot SD780 IS is sure to turn heads and keep casual photographers happy with its image quality and fun features. It's the best-looking point-and-shoot camera we've seen in 2009, and it's one of the best basic point-and-shoots, period. The trade-off is that you don't get much in the way of manual controls, and the price tag is geared more to its style and performance than its specs.

  • Canon PowerShot SD940 IS review

    Canon PowerShot SD940 IS

    The slim, stylish Canon PowerShot SD940 IS compact camera is a slight upgrade over the sexy PowerShot SD780 IS.

  • Canon PowerShot SD880 IS review

    Canon PowerShot SD880 IS

    Canon's PowerShot SD880 IS is a compact point-and-shoot digital camera.

  • Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS review

    Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS

    The Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS is an affordable pocket camera with an interesting variety of shooting modes, excellent image quality, and optical image stabilisation.

  • Canon PowerShot S5 IS 8Mp digital camera

    Canon PowerShot S5 IS 8Mp digital camera

    The sturdily built Canon PowerShot S5 IS is what is commonly known as a 'bridge' camera – so called because it forms a bridge between a point-and-shoot compact and a digital SLR.

  • Canon PowerShot SD4000 review

    Canon PowerShot SD4000

    Thanks to its very good image quality, wide-aperture lens, and aperture-priority and shutter-priority modes, the Canon PowerShot SD4000 IS is a standout camera in the compact point-and-shoot class.


IDG UK Sites

Nexus 6 vs Sony Xperia Z3 comparison: Lollipop phablet takes on KitKat flagship smartphone

IDG UK Sites

Why people aren't upgrading to iOS 8: new features are for power users, not the average Joe

IDG UK Sites

Free rocket & space sounds: NASA launches archive of interstellar audio on SoundCloud

IDG UK Sites

iPad Air 2 review: Insanely fast and alarmingly thin. Speed tests, camera tests, beautiful...