Canon PowerShot SD980 / IXUS 200 IS Review - Digital Photography School
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Canon PowerShot SD980 / IXUS 200 IS Review

The Canon post man arrived today with a little package just for me, it contained one of their shiny new Canon Ixus 200 IS compact cameras. The same camera is called the Powershot SD980 in other parts of the world, but for this review, I’m in the UK with the UK model…

Canon-Digital-Ixus-200-IS-Powershot-SD980-IS

Canon Ixus 200 IS / PowerShot SD980IS

Canon released the new 12mp Ixus 200 IS recently and followed it up, here in the UK at least, with a very vigorous ad campaign. I must admit it made me want to know what all the fuss was about! Well, I’ve got to say that after using the camera for a week or so that it’s compact, cute, solid and quite well priced, and I’d be quite happy to have one in my pocket 24/7!

I am a little wary of “touch screen” products and I think this is all because of the iPhone and how very good its touch screen capabilities are. On the iPhone, with a quick finger stroke you can be on another page or another track or another photo, well because of this thinking, the first thing I did when I powered up the little Canon was to take a couple of quick shots and try out the “flip through” of the image review, and I must say that the Canon Ixus 200 IS started out by disappointing me to be honest, because you can’t just lightly touch it to change things, you have to press a little harder to get the camera to realise what you’re after. I’ve since changed my mind on this! here’s why… Imagine if you’re half way through taking a photo and brush a fingertip against the screen and the camera changes its focus to be on a passing car or a running dog or even a flying pig! and you miss the shot you’re after – so, I understand the thinking behind the sensitivity level required by the touch screen, and with that little issue out of the way, let us move on!

The camera is small, but not silly small. It’s a good size to pop into a pocket in fact, I’d say that it’s even better to carry around than my Ixus 960IS which is a little thicker and slightly bulkier. The little Ixus is 99.9 x 53.4 x 22.9mm in physical size and weighs in at about 130g Which isn’t going to break your back. For such a small camera, the 3.0″ 16×9 (230,000 dots) screen is impressive and in various shooting modes holds some of the icons required for setting things like your flash settings in auto mode and exposure in program mode.

The Ixus 200 IS / Powershot SD980 has a 5x Optical zoom and an aperture of f/2.8 – f/5.9 and shift type image stabilisation as well which is all very lovely and seems to work well together. I won’t go into digital zoom because I firmly believe that it should always remain switched off – hey, that’s just me.

Canon-Powershot-SD980-IS-Ixus-200-IS

The advert on television shows a sprightly group of people running through the forest using the “Face Tracking” auto focus… It actually works quite well on something like a face, it’s a bit tricky on less contrasty scenes but still, works very well! With all of the gadgetry included (There are 20 different shooting modes to choose from, including Foliage!) you’re not going to be lost for things to try out and then switch off, I say this because I think the little camera does a very good job in standard P mode, or even auto mode for that matter, the image quality is great and with an image of 4000×3000 you could print yourself out a nice poster :-)

Canon have packaged HD movie mode into the sleek compact, and it gives you decent enough 720p HD MOV files to pop up onto YouTube if you so desire.. The Ixus 200 IS will record a 10 minute / 4gb movie. I found the automatic exposure to be very slow (About two seconds to evaluate and switch between a dark subject and a bright one) but if you were outdoors (I was inside taking video of my little boy watching television) I would imagine that the semi-constant lightsource would give you a great movie. It does tend to ramp up the ISO and give you a pretty grainy film in less than ideal lighting conditions. I’ve made a quick video and uploaded it to YouTube in HD format so you can see what I’m on about – It’s quick and choppy, but it’s got a great soundtrack! (That’s my friend, Lou Rhodes)

Canon Ixus 200 IS / PowerShot SD980IS

And here’s a quick image or two from the little Canon. I popped down along side the Thames on my lunch break.

Headed into the sun - the old Harrods repository

Sit with me a moment - Strong colours

You can find the full spec on the little canon here – www.canon.co.uk

If I were in the market for a compact this would be on the list. Four Stars (Of a possible five)

Grab it for yourself at Amazon -

Canon Ixus 200 IS / PowerShot SD980IS where it’s $279.00 USD (15% off).

Sime

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Sime is the community manager of the dPS Forums and lead blogger in our Cameras and Gear Blog. He's a Melbourne based photographer, www.gtvone.com and please feel free to follow him on Twitter

  • Michael

    What’s up with the different aspect ratio screen? It seems like a waste to have a “widescreen” and take 4:3 photos?

  • http://www.gtvone.com Sime

    Hey Michael, It’s not “really” wide screen when you shoot – it uses the edge of the screen, both sides, for icons that give you access to flash, exposure etc… sorry – I should have made that more clear.

    Sime

  • cleamon

    Nice review, but shouldn’t be in the Cameras and Equipment subscription?

  • cleamon

    meant to say ” shouldn’t it be in the Cameras and Equipment subscription?”

  • http://www.gtvone.com Sime

    Hey there @cleamon Thanks :-)

    And what do you mean “should be” …it is ;-) *

    **OK OK, I might have cheated there! :P

  • http://blog.sergeys.us sergey

    Canon Powershot cameras are great having used a few different ones. Every so often I buy beater camera one of the Powershots and they have always performed well with decent images. Then I let my kids shoot pictures with them. Most likely will do the same with this camera.

  • cleamon

    No problem. Just trying to help keep things organized (or organised on that side of the pond). :)

    Chuck

  • http://www.gtvone.com Sime

    Cheers Chuck – the cup of coffee in my video is just for you! :-)

    Sime

  • cleamon

    Thanks! I needed that. Now, I’m off to find some more Lou Rhodes – that was nice.

    Chuck

  • http://www.wateautomall.com knoxville cars

    I can’t believe such a little camera takes such amazing photos.

  • http://your1000words.blogspot.com Robin Ryan

    I’ve got one. Meh. It’s got a good size.

  • http://jobobarikan.deviantart.com/ jobob Arikan

    er thanx for this thorough review and about that flyin pig………. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujVB7YfTl_Y

  • http://www.gtvone.com Sime

    jobob… thanks for the pig video…haha

  • http://www.dealsbell.com find coupon

    I recently bought this camera and I m impressed with its solid battery life,articulating LCD and comfortable shooting design.On normal shots,you can shake camera while shooting a photo with no effect which i like most.

  • michelle

    Do you have a problem with its battery? Mine have this “Change your battery pack” sign every time I turn on even with full battery.

  • Isakill

    I know this is late but here goes… I bought this camera for my wife last month for a gift.. I love the camera, really sharp and the video is crisp. But in your review you sorta retracted on your gripe on the touchscreen and compared it to an iPod/iPhone. there’s a difference. the Apple products use a “capacitive” touchscreen where this camera and older technologies use a “resistive” In the capacitive screens there’s a special glass that reads the capacitive discharge of a human finger (that’s why you have to use special gloves/stylus or bare hands) In a resistive screen there’s 2 see through layers with a grid laid out on it (if you look at the screen at a particular angle you can see the grid). when these layers get in contact with each other those grids come in contact and the screen’s processor measures the resistance and comes up with x,y coordinates.

Some older comments

  • Isakill

    March 9, 2011 04:04 am

    I know this is late but here goes... I bought this camera for my wife last month for a gift.. I love the camera, really sharp and the video is crisp. But in your review you sorta retracted on your gripe on the touchscreen and compared it to an iPod/iPhone. there's a difference. the Apple products use a "capacitive" touchscreen where this camera and older technologies use a "resistive" In the capacitive screens there's a special glass that reads the capacitive discharge of a human finger (that's why you have to use special gloves/stylus or bare hands) In a resistive screen there's 2 see through layers with a grid laid out on it (if you look at the screen at a particular angle you can see the grid). when these layers get in contact with each other those grids come in contact and the screen's processor measures the resistance and comes up with x,y coordinates.

  • michelle

    June 2, 2010 09:52 pm

    Do you have a problem with its battery? Mine have this "Change your battery pack" sign every time I turn on even with full battery.

  • find coupon

    February 10, 2010 01:24 pm

    I recently bought this camera and I m impressed with its solid battery life,articulating LCD and comfortable shooting design.On normal shots,you can shake camera while shooting a photo with no effect which i like most.

  • Sime

    January 31, 2010 09:54 am

    jobob... thanks for the pig video...haha

  • jobob Arikan

    January 31, 2010 05:27 am

    er thanx for this thorough review and about that flyin pig.......... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ujVB7YfTl_Y

  • Robin Ryan

    January 30, 2010 10:33 am

    I've got one. Meh. It's got a good size.

  • knoxville cars

    January 30, 2010 03:37 am

    I can't believe such a little camera takes such amazing photos.

  • cleamon

    January 30, 2010 03:17 am

    Thanks! I needed that. Now, I'm off to find some more Lou Rhodes - that was nice.

    Chuck

  • Sime

    January 30, 2010 02:55 am

    Cheers Chuck - the cup of coffee in my video is just for you! :-)

    Sime

  • cleamon

    January 30, 2010 02:45 am

    No problem. Just trying to help keep things organized (or organised on that side of the pond). :)

    Chuck

  • sergey

    January 30, 2010 02:42 am

    Canon Powershot cameras are great having used a few different ones. Every so often I buy beater camera one of the Powershots and they have always performed well with decent images. Then I let my kids shoot pictures with them. Most likely will do the same with this camera.

  • Sime

    January 30, 2010 02:42 am

    Hey there @cleamon Thanks :-)

    And what do you mean "should be" ...it is ;-) *

    **OK OK, I might have cheated there! :P

  • cleamon

    January 30, 2010 02:33 am

    meant to say " shouldn’t it be in the Cameras and Equipment subscription?"

  • cleamon

    January 30, 2010 02:32 am

    Nice review, but shouldn't be in the Cameras and Equipment subscription?

  • Sime

    January 30, 2010 01:08 am

    Hey Michael, It's not "really" wide screen when you shoot - it uses the edge of the screen, both sides, for icons that give you access to flash, exposure etc... sorry - I should have made that more clear.

    Sime

  • Michael

    January 30, 2010 12:53 am

    What's up with the different aspect ratio screen? It seems like a waste to have a "widescreen" and take 4:3 photos?

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