Canon Digital Elphs get revamped with four new models

I've long been a fan of the Canon Digital Elph line, particularly the wide-angle PowerShot SD870 IS, which was eventually replaced by the 10-megapixel SD880 IS that's still in the Canon lineup (listing at $299.99). So it was with particular interest that I scoped out the four new Elphs announced in last week's Canon blast.

I've long been a fan of the Canon Digital Elph line, particularly the wide-angle PowerShot SD870 IS, which was eventually replaced by the 10-megapixel SD880 IS that's still in the Canon lineup (listing at $299.99).  So it was with particular interest that I scoped out the four new Elphs announced in last week's Canon blast. Sure enough, there's a new 12-megapixel wide-angle ultracompact, the SD960 IS, which will ship for $329.99 when it comes out in mid-March (see a basic specs comparison of the SD960 IS and SD880 IS below).  Also announced were the high-end SD970 IS (which is an update to the SD890 IS), the SD780 IS (an update to the SD770 IS), and the SD1200 IS (and update to the SD1100 IS).

All four of the new Elphs utilize Canon's newest processor, the Digic 4, and all ramp up resolution: 12.1 megapixels for the SD960 IS, SD970 IS, and SD780 IS (up from 10 megapixels in their predecessors) and 10 megapixels for the SD1200 IS (up from 8 megapixels in the SD1100 IS), though only the latter has increased its sensor size over its predecessor. All the new cameras include new and improved features such as blink detection, a face-detection self timer (which waits to release the shutter until a new face is detected), and Smart Auto mode, which automatically selects the best settings for your shot based on 18 predefined shooting situations. Three of the cameras (the SD970 IS, SD960 IS, and the SD780 IS) offer 720p HD video capture. And the SD970 IS and SD960 IS also include a new Active Display feature (care of built-in accelerometers) that let you shake and tilt the camera to scroll through images--which honestly sounds like it could get irritating after a while.

All the new cameras sport updated styling and design, perhaps most significantly the wide-angle SD960 IS's shorter and wider design, which accommodates its new 2.8-inch wide-aspect LCD (replacing the 3-inch standard aspect LCD on the SD880 IS). Happily, it retains its predecessor's nice, wide 4x zoom lens (28-112mm equivalent, f/2.8-5.8). It also adds metallic blue and pink models to the existing silver and gold color options.

The SD1200 IS has brightened up its color options, coming in six much flashier colors, while the SD780 comes in red, black, silver, and gold, but amps them up a notch by coloring the whole body, including the zoom lens barrel, which makes for a pretty distinctive look.

Here's a rundown of some basic specs. First, a comparison between the new SD960 IS wide-angle compact and its predecessor the SD880 IS. Then see below for specs on the three other new cameras.

Canon PowerShot SD960 IS Canon PowerShot SD880 IS
Resolution 12.1 megapixels 10 megapixels
Sensor Size 1/2.3 in 1/2.3 in
Lens 28-112mm equivalent, f/2.8-5.8 (4x) 28-112mm equivalent, f/2.8-5.8 (4x)
ISO Range 80 to 1600 64 to 1600
LCD 2.8 in, wide angle; 230,000 dots 3.0 in; 230,000 dots
Optical Viewfinder No No
Movie Mode 1,280x720/640×480/ 320×240 (30 fps) 640×480/320×240 (30 fps)
Continuous Shooting 0.8 fps 1.4 fps
Dimensions 3.85x2.12x0.87 in 3.69x2.24x0.93 in
Weight 5.11 oz 5.47 oz
Price $329.99 (ships mid-March) $299.99
And the other three new Digital Elphs:
Canon PowerShot SD970 IS Canon PowerShot SD780 IS Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS
Resolution 12.1 megapixels 12.1 megapixels 10 megapixels
Sensor Size 1/2.3 in 1/2.3 in 1/2.3 in
Lens 37-185mm equivalent, f/3.2-5.8 (5x) 33-100mm equivalent, f/3.2-5.8 (3x) 35-105mm equivalent, f/2.8-4.9 (3x)
ISO Range 80 to 1600 80 to 1600 80 to 1600
LCD 3.0 in; 461,000 dots 2.5 in; 230,000 dots 2.5 in; 230,000 dots
Optical Viewfinder No Yes Yes
Movie Mode 1,280x720/640×480/ 320×240 (30 fps) 1,280x720/640×480/ 320×240 (30 fps) 640×480/320×240 (30 fps)
Continuous Shooting 1.0 fps 0.8 fps 1.4 fps
Dimensions 3.73x2.24x1.04 in 3.43x2.15x0.72 in 3.48x2.16x0.86 in
Weight 5.64 oz 4.06 oz 4.23 oz
Price $379.99 (ships mid-April) $279.99 (ships mid-March) $229.99 (ships mid-March)