In addition to my Canon S2 IS, I have been using the Canon PowerShot SD800 since October. Carrying around a pocket sized camera is so much more convenient. I never thought I would buy a camera with less than 6x zoom, the SD800 has 3.8x. It also starts at 28mm instead of the usual so it gives me a nice wide angle but means that 3.8x zoom gets even less up up close. Even though I give up the huge 12x zoom when using it, I don’t miss it too often. I usually know when I will need the good zoom. And in those cases I usually carry both cameras.
There are several reasons for still using this camera when I carry the S2. It is wider angle, can shoot in lower light, and seems to have better colors. The colors thing may be in my head, but I think for at least the wide angle shots the colors are much nicer out of this camera. Zoomed in you loose some of that and a bit more sharpness than I like.
Reading some user settings recommendations from similar SD models on Flickr, they say to turn AI Auto Focus option off. That is partially for speed but also gives you control over what is in focus. I turned it off because then it matches my S2 and I like choosing what I focus on. I turn multi point focus off in any camera I use including a couple of film SLRs. I rather focus in the center and reframe. That way I know what is in focus and don’t have to worry about the camera cycling through the focus points while I loose the shot. Maybe I just haven’t used the right camera, but so far I don’t like AI Auto Focus.
Compared to my Canon S2 IS this camera produces slightly softer images. But I think that is just due to the much smaller lens and squeezing an extra two megapixels out of the same size sensor. Looking at some other shots in the pool, it certainly isn’t only my camera. DCResource has a really thorough review and says, “Sharpness was where I prefer it: not too sharp, not too soft.” I would like it to be a bit sharper, but its not bad. I am very happy with this camera.
I shoot a lot of macros of bugs and anything else small I can find. Mostly I use the S2, but the SD800 does a good job too. It can’t get nearly as close as the S2’s super macro, but does produce nice macros from a few inches away.
I always thought I wouldn’t like such a small camera since working the controls and just holding it would be awkward with my long fingers. But that hasn’t been a problem at all. When I bought it, I had no idea I would like it so much.
Last week my SD800 took a dive onto a hard floor and didn’t survive. I got a Lens Error message and grinding noise when trying to turn the camera off and the lens is stuck in the extended position. So I sent it in for repair. It is still under warranty, but drops aren’t covered and they were able to tell from the internal damage to the lens that it was dropped so it is costing me $115 for non-warranty repair. Not bad since a new one would cost $300. Hopefully it will be back soon. I miss it.