Canon PowerShot SD780 IS review: Canon PowerShot SD780 IS

The SD780's performance is mixed. For a camera this size, a fast start-up time is expected and that's what we got at 1.5 seconds. Its shutter lag was decent, too, at 0.4 second in good lighting and 0.6 second in dimmer conditions. Regrettably its shot-to-shot times are a little flat, taking 2.4 seconds without flash and nearly 5 seconds with. In addition, its continuous shooting mode comes in well under some of its competition at 0.8 frames per second.

Photo quality is very good, but still subject to problems characteristic of point-and-shoot cameras of this size and price. Some smudginess from noise reduction starts appearing at ISO 200, but all photos were generally soft. Subjects get noticeably softer and smoother as the ISO gets higher, but detail remains reasonably good up to and including ISO 800. While large prints may be out of the question, the noise is suppressed well enough to make small prints and Web use a possibility. (Click to see a photo comparison of ISOs.) In general exposure, white balance, contrast, and color were very good. However, highlights are prone to clipping. Also, chromatic aberration (purple fringing) is in good supply in high-contrast shots, though it's only really visible when photos are viewed at full resolution, not at smaller sizes.

I may have mentioned this once or twice in this review, but the Canon PowerShot SD780 IS is very small. So little and lightweight, in fact, that there's a good chance you'll forget you have it on you--making it just as easily misplaced, too. Yet, even for my large hands it is relatively comfortable to use. While it would be great if it was just a little bit faster, the SD780 IS is overall a great pocket camera. And with its HD-video-capture abilities, the SD780 is strong competition for pocket HD camcorders.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time (flash)  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Casio Exilim EX-Z250
2.8 
3.7 
3 
0.5 
0.3 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T77
2.1 
2.8 
2.2 
0.6 
0.3 
Canon PowerShot SD780 IS
1.5 
4.7 
2.4 
0.6 
0.4 
Kodak EasyShare M1093 IS
2.9 
1.4 
1.2 
1 
0.5 
Nikon Coolpix S230
3.5 
3.3 
3 
1 
0.5 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Find out more about how we test digital cameras.

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