What the heck is the difference among all those Canon ELPHs anyway?

What the heck is the difference among all those Canon ELPHs anyway?

Summary: As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a big fan of Canon’s Digital ELPH series, but I can’t tell you how many times friends have called me from Best Buy in a state of confusion about which one to buy. It’s no wonder. Stop into any electronics store today and you’ll find a slew of ELPH models and they all look pretty similar to the untrained eye. So here’s a quick primer on what’s what, broken down by resolution (since for better or for worse, that’s how most people seem to shop for cameras).

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TOPICS: Hardware
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As I mentioned in my last post, I’m a big fan of Canon’s Digital ELPH series, but I can’t tell you how many times friends have called me from Best Buy in a state of confusion about which one to buy. It’s no wonder. Stop into any electronics store today and you’ll find a slew of ELPH models and they all look pretty similar to the untrained eye. So here’s a quick primer on what’s what, broken down by resolution (since for better or for worse, that’s how most people seem to shop for cameras). For comparison’s sake, I included current pricing from Amazon.com.

12.1 MegapixelsWhat the heck is the difference among all those Canon ELPHs anyway?

Canon PowerShot SD950 IS ($340) - released August 2007: This is Canon’s current top-of-the-line model (successor to last year’s SD900 which you’ll still find in some stores). It sports a sleek, rugged titanium body, 3.7x optical zoom lens (36- to 133mm), an Optical Image Stabilizer, Canon’s latest face-detection autofocus technology, in-camera red-eye correction, and like all the current ELPHs, uses Canon’s top-end DIGIC III image processor. There’s a 2.5-inch LCD, and unlike models with the bigger 3-inch LCD, it also includes an optical view finder.

10 Megapixels

Canon PowerShot SD900 ($300) – released October 2006: This predecessor to the SD950 IS is being phased out, but you’ll still find it in some stores this holiday season. Its titanium body houses a 3x optical zoom lens (37- to 111mm), an early version of Canon’s face detection technology, and was among the first cameras to include the DIGIC III processor. There’s no image stabilization or red-eye correction technology in this earlier model, but like the SD950 IS, it has a 2.5-inch LCD and an optical view finder.

8 Megapixels

Canon PowerShot SD870 IS ($300) – released September 2007: My favorite of the new models announced this fall, the SD870 IS includes a 3.8x optical zoom lens (28- to 105mm) which offers a wider angle setting than most point-and-shoots--great for group shots and landscapes. Like the SD950 IS, it comes with an Optical Image Stabilizer, the latest face detection technology, and in-camera red-eye reduction. Unlike the 950, it forgoes an optical viewfinder to fit a big 3-inch LCD.

Canon PowerShot SD850 IS ($250) – released July 2007: This is the follow-up to the discontinued SD700. It has a 4x optical zoom lens (35- to 105mm), an Optical Image Stabilizer, the latest face-detection technology, and red-eye correction. Like the SD950 IS, it has a 2.5-inch LCD and does include an optical viewfinder.

7.1 Megapixels

Canon PowerShot SD750 ($209) – released March 2007: Includes a 3x optical zoom lens (35- to 105mm) and Canon’s latest face-detection and red-eye correction technologies, though there’s no image stabilization. Like the SD870 IS it leaves out an optical viewfinder to squeeze in a 3-inch LCD.

Canon PowerShot SD800 IS ($230) – released October 2006: Of the same generation as the SD900, the SD800 IS is a predecessor to my current favorite, the SD870 IS. Like its successor, its 3.8x optical zoom lens (28- to 105mm) gives you the flexibility of an extra wide angle. Among the first Digital ELPHs to include a face-detection autofocus system and Optical Image Stabilizer, it was also one of the first to utilize the DIGIC III processor. It includes a 2.5-inch LCD as well as an optical viewfinder.

Canon PowerShot SD1000 ($179) – released March 2007: Released alongside the SD750, the SD1000 was a replacement for the SD600 from early 2006. Slightly more compact and boxier than the SD750, it sports pretty similar specs, such as the 3x optical zoom lens (35- to 105mm), DIGIC III processor with newer face-detection and red-eye correction technologies, and lack of image stabilization. The main difference is that the SD1000 does include an optical viewfinder and has a smaller 2.5-inch LCD.

Topic: Hardware

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  • Canon A560

    I know nothing about cameras other than auto point and click.
    I just bought a Canon A560. Since it isn't on your list does that mean that I bought an old release or it isn't good enough to be considered? It's not too late to swap it for another model.
    Thank you.
    howdougd@...
    • Canon A series

      Doug -- Canon's "A" series is different from the "S" series (i.e. the "Elphs"). It's less expensive, and I think it usually allows more manual adjustments. Your a560 also has a 4-time zoom lens -- longer on the telephoto side than any of the elphs.

      The most important difference between A and S cameras, however, is size. S cameras discussed above are 'shirt-pocket' sized, i.e. really small. The A series is larger, more like a traditional camera.
      tommandel
      • Thank you Tom.

        I've read the book(s) that came with the A560 camera. I'm glad it has AUTO on it - if I took the time to learn all those functions I'd be dead before I could use it, haha. Really. I'm 75 now and how old would I be when I finished learning?

        In the AUTO position, it makes super pictures in daylight or darkness. My wife is snapping pictures right now inside the house. I think it will do just fine for us using Auto while giving us some challenges to learn more.

        By the way, we use Ubuntu Linux 6.06LTS here and it detected the camera as soon as I plugged it in - it loaded the pictures and placed them in a folder. No problem.
        Thanks.
        howdougd@...
  • RE: What the heck is the difference among all those Canon ELPHs anyway?

    I liked my Canon SD800 too...until the lens stopped retracting. Just 2 years old. I've learned this is a common problem with these Canons. So knowing this, why are you so in love with these Canons? I'm reluctant to get another Canon, after this problem.
    camera-user
  • RE:What the heck is the difference among all those Canon ELPHs anyway?

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