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Canon PowerShot SD770

>> Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All the SD770's controls sit on the back of the camera. While the use of a switch to shift among still capture, movie capture, and playback is common and easy to use, it does preclude being able to jump out of playback mode by pressing the shutter button, which many cameras allow, and which can slow you down a bit.

And I have the same complaint as previous reviewers with the four way navigation plus Func or Set button design the control is too flat and the ring too small, causing frequent mispresses on the center button when I'm trying to adjust the ISO sensitivity, macro, flash, or drive mode from the outer ring. The menu based options are pretty basic.

There's full auto, a handful of scene modes, and a manual mode that allows for adjustment of exposure, white balance, color tone and tints, metering (evaluative, center weighted average, and spot), and image size and quality.

You can set the AF frame to Center, AiAF (auto), or Face Detect as usual, Face Detect is generally better than AiAF, but choosing your own subject is best.

You can also choose the size of the AF frame in Center mode, and an AF-Point Zoom option will magnify the area of interest while focusing.

There are two available image stabilization modes, one for compensation along both axes, and one Panning mode that only compensates for up or down jitter. Finally, flash options include slow sync, red eye correction (which post processes the image and saves only the corrected one), and red eye reduction (which prefires the flash to constrict pupils in advance).

Like the SD790 IS and SD1100 IS, some aspects of the SD770 IS' performance are excellent, while others are below par. It wakes up and shoots in a fairly average 1 second, and delivers great focus and shoot times of 0.4 second and 0.6 second, in optimal and suboptimal lighting, respectively. But two consecutive shots take 2.5 seconds and adding flash bumps that up to 3.7 seconds, both of which fall behind much of the competition.

The same goes for its sluggish 0.9 frame per second typical burst shooting rate. Canon rates the battery at 300 shots (using CIPA standard methodology), which is relatively good for an ultra compact. The 2.5 inch LCD remains usable in bright sunlight, which is good I found the optical viewfinder too small and distorted to really be an acceptable substitute. It has a nice, wide viewing angle for impromptu slide shows, though it's a bit small for that purpose. Like the SD1100's, it's a fingerprint magnet.


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