Canon SD880 IS
Canon’s PowerShot SD880 IS digital camera replaces the company’s previous PowerShot SD870 IS model, and updates the chassis with an edgier style. The Canon SD880 also reduces the body height and thickness ever so slightly. Under that pretty skin, the Canon SD880 uses a slightly larger 1/2.3-inch CCD image sensor, and simultaneously boosts resolution from eight to 10 megapixels, along with upgrading the previous model’s DIGIC III processor to a DIGIC 4 type that allows for servo AF tracking.
The Canon SD880’s zoom lens is just slightly expanded to a 4x zoom from the 3.8x optical zoom in the SD870. The added magnification power is all found at the telephoto end, with the overall range varying from a useful 28mm wide-angle to a moderate 112mm telephoto. As with its predecessor, the Canon SD880 IS includes true optical image stabilization to help combat image blurring due to camera shake. Maximum aperture is f/2.8 to a rather dim f/5.8 across the zoom range. As well as the previously mentioned AF tracking, the Canon SD880 IS’s autofocus system now has improved face detection capability. Canon says the camera will now recognize faces at most angles, and has included a Face Detection self timer which automatically takes a photo two seconds after an additional face enters the scene. The Canon PowerShot SD880 IS’s LCD display has identical size and resolution to that in the previous camera: it’s a 3.0-inch design with 230,000 dots, but Canon also claims higher contrast.
The standard ISO sensitivity range offered by the Canon SD880 IS is unchanged from the SD870, with a minimum of ISO 100 through to a maximum of ISO 1,600. A new high sensitivity scene mode allows this to be boosted to a maximum of ISO 3,200, however. Available PowerShot SD880 shutter speeds are unchanged, ranging from 1/1,600 to 15 seconds. Metering modes are unchanged — evaluative, center-weighted and spot all being offered. Likewise, the Canon SD880 is much like the SD870 in that it offers only a program mode, with no options for aperture- or shutter-priority shooting, let alone a fully manual mode. Flash range when set to Auto ISO is rated at 1 – 13.8 feet (30cm – 4.2m) at wide angle, and 1 – 6.6 feet (30cm – 2m) at telephoto. There are sixteen scene modes, and the Canon SD880 also offers a new Intelligent Contrast Correction function.
Where the SD870 offered Motion JPEG AVI movies, the Canon SD880 opts for H.264 MOV instead — a newer format which generally offers significantly improved compression (and hence smaller file sizes) for equivalent video quality. As with the previous camera, sound is recorded along with movie clips. The Canon PowerShot SD880 is unchanged from its predecessor in storing its images and movies on Secure Digital cards, and includes a not-very-generous 32MB card in the product bundle. The Canon SD880 also offers both NTSC / PAL video and USB 2.0 High Speed computer connectivity, like its predecessor. Power is likewise unchanged, coming from a proprietary NB-5L lithium-ion rechargeable battery.
The Canon PowerShot SD880 IS will ship in the USA from October 2008, priced at US$300 or less.
Canon SD880 IS User Report
by Mike Pasini
It’s love at first sight with an ELPH. And Canon’s PowerShot SD880 IS will make your heart skip more than a beat, not only with its very attractive shell but with the best button layout ever seen on a PowerShot. Oh, and the photos aren’t bad either. You won’t regret a long-term relationship with this ELPH.
Look and Feel. ELPHs are designed to stand up on their short end, rather than lounge along the long side like other digicams. The Canon SD880 IS has a nice flare at the top that helps you grip the little thing a bit more securely. That combination of function and style makes the Canon SD880 IS even more attractive than its fellow ELPHs.
It’s also a little bit slimmer, though nowhere near as slim as Sony and Casio wafer-thin ultracompacts. But the Canon SD880 will slip into a pocket or purse without a problem and includes a tasteful black wrist strap to retrieve and secure it. The shell is metal with a metal tripod socket, but if it were ours, we’d tuck the Canon SD880 into a small soft case like Canon’s $20 PSC-55.
The back side of the Canon SD880 IS is almost as pleasing to look at as the front. Like most digicams not parading as bargain cameras, it has a 3.0-inch LCD that’s a pleasure to look at even in direct sunlight. Type on the menus is sharp, clear and large. And images in Playback mode look great.
But the real beauty of the Canon SD880’s back side is the button layout. Gone are the tiny round pinheads surrounding the Control Dial that pass for buttons on other cameras. In their place are big, asymmetrical buttons that follow the curve of the short edge of the camera body. They’re a delight to press, too.
The only problem is that they don’t leave a lot of room between the LCD and themselves. There is a little grip area on the Canon SD880 for your thumb indicated by some raised triangles, but it made one companion complain that the camera is too small.
Controls. I’m thrilled to report that pressing the Canon SD880’s Playback button turns on the camera without extending the 4x zoom lens. That isn’t always the case, but it should be. To turn the Canon SD880 on in Record mode, a triangular button partly obscured by the large Shutter button does the job.
I really like the Canon SD880’s large Shutter button. And the black Zoom ring surrounding it is my preferred zoom control (buttons on the back don’t cut it).
But the Mode switch is something of a disappointment, particularly for older photographers. The red legend is silkscreened on the dark brown back panel making it very hard to read. There are only three positions, though, so you can memorize them: Movie, Scene, and Still.
The rest of the controls are on the back panel.
The Canon SD880’s central Control Dial has Canon’s familiar Func./Set button in the middle surrounded by a four-way navigator whose arrow positions (from noon) control ISO/rotation, Flash modes, Drive modes, Focus modes (Macro or Normal). The dial is also surrounded by a knurled ring that makes scrolling child’s play.
The two buttons above the Control Dial are the Print/Share button and the Playback button below it. You can assign several functions to the Canon SD880’s Print/Share button: Face Select, EV, White Balance, Custom White Balance, Red-Eye, Digital Telecoverter, i-Contrast, Display Overlay, Movie Mode, Display Off, and Play Sound Effect.
Below the Canon SD880’s Control Dial is the Menu button for major camera settings in any mode and the Display button to control how much information (if any) appears on the LCD.
Lens. The lens is a full 4x zoom ranging from 28mm to 112mm in 35mm equivalents. Digital zoom is also 4x, giving you a 16x range. Macro focusing gets as close as 0.8 inch at wide angle and was one of the true joys we had shooting with the Canon SD880 IS.
Aperture, despite the Canon SD880’s larger sensor, was no larger than f/2.8 at wide angle and f/5.8 at telephoto. Shutter speed options run from 15 to 1/1,600 second. And noise reduction kicks in automatically when you set the shutter for exposures of 1.3 second and greater.
The lab found wide angle slightly soft, particularly in the corners, but this is common in small digicams. In fact, the Canon SD880 IS has perhaps a bit less of it than its competitors. And the same can be said for its barrel distortion at wide angle. Telephoto showed none.
You might see some chromatic aberration in prints 8×10 inches and larger, but otherwise you won’t be bothered by it. It’s there, as it is on almost every digicam, but not excessive on the Canon SD880.
The “IS” in Canon SD880 IS stands for image-stabilized, meaning the camera will compensate for some camera shake. That’s a big help when shooting telephoto (particularly when using digital zoom) but it’s also a great way to avoid shooting flash, giving you more shots in low light than a non-stabilized lens.
Modes. The Canon SD880 powers on in either Record or Playback mode, depending on which button you press. And switching modes is as simple as pressing either the Shutter button or the Playback button with the camera already on.
Shooting modes are either one of the big disappointments or great consolations of an ELPH, depending on how into photography you are. It’s a disappointment if you expect any kind of manual control over the Canon SD880’s aperture and shutter speed. It’s a consolation if you don’t want to know what that’s all about.
And yet there are two automatic modes: Auto and Program AE. Auto greatly restricts the options available on the Canon SD880. ISO, for example, can only be set to Auto or Hi, not any specific setting. And Continuous Release mode is not available. Nor are things like White Balance or Exposure Compensation (EV). All of these are available to fiddle with in Program AE.
The Canon SD880 IS includes several Scene modes: Portrait, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Sunset, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, ISO 3,200, Indoor, Kids & Pets, Night Snapshot), Color Accent, Color Swap, Digital Macro, and Stitch Assist.
It shoots movies in H.264 format and monaural audio. Movies can be either 640×480 or 320×240, both at 30 frames per second. Zoom is restricted to the silent digital zoom but you can set the optical zoom before recording.
Menu. The Canon SD880 IS’s functions are controlled with two menus, as is the case with all PowerShot cameras. The Function menu sets Exposure Compensation, Long shutter, White Balance, My Colors, Metering mode, Compression, and Resolution. All other functions, which affect general camera behavior, are set via the Menu, accessed from the Menu button.
Storage. The Canon SD880 IS stores images on SD and SDHC cards. Though it ships with a 32MB SD card, you’ll want at least a 2GB or 4GB card for practical use. An turns the Canon SD880 IS into a WiFi camera and can even add GPS tagging to it.
Canon estimates that a 2GB card will store 749 large images at the highest resolution. The same card will record 23 minutes 49 seconds of 640×480 broadcast-quality video.
Battery. The Canon SD880 IS is powered by an NB-5L lithium-ion battery. An AC adapter kit is also available. Canon estimates battery capacity at 310 shots with the LCD on (the only way to use the Canon SD880 IS) using CIPA standards (which shoot 50% flash shots).