Canon Powershot SD780 IS Review

by Enche Tjin on November 26, 2009

Canon Powershot SD780 is one of the smallest Canon camera ever created. Along with the ultra-portable size, it comes with four colors, gold, red, silver and black. The camera is very sleek and fashionable.

Canon SD780 IS - ultra portable compact camera

Canon SD780 IS - ultra portable compact camera

Here is Canon Powershot SD780 IS spec:

  • 12 Megapixel / 1/2.3 sensor
  • 80-3200 ISO range
  • 2.5″ LCD screen (230k)
  • Optical image stabilization
  • 33mm- 100mm (3X zoom length)
  • f/3.2 (W) – f/5.8 (T) aperture
  • Record HD video
  • Dimension: 3.43 x 2.15 x 0.72 in./87.0 x 54.5 x 18.4mm
  • Weight: 115g camera body only


Canon SD 780 IS has 1/2.3″ sensor size which is considered very small but not the smallest. From my test, SD780’s image quality really depend on the lighting situation or what ISO setting that you use. In low ISO setting, like 80-200, the image quality is very good. But from 400 and up, the image started to break down (lose detail and unsharp edges) due to aggressive noise reduction. However, the color / contrast are still very consistent through out.

Like all Canon cameras, image straight out of the camera are generally vivid and punchy. Canon usually boosts the red and it makes the image warmer than reality.

This camera is not something you want to use for serious photography work, but it is very good for web sharing,  regular 4×6  print. For ISO comparison images, please visit my Canon Powershot SD780 IS gallery.


Canon SD780 body is surprisingly very good. It is very small, the width and length has the same size as credit card, and the depth is only 0.7 thick. It is smaller than many cellphone in the market.

Compared to credit card

Compared to credit card

The body feels very solid and dense, buttons are small, but not flimsy. The layout is typical of compact camera. It has playback, function, menu, display, flash, macro, self-timer/trash, direct print/exposure compensation, shutter button, zoom lever, and on-off button.

Surprisingly, it also has a optical viewfinder. But the viewfinder is so small (maybe around 0.2 x) that it is quite challenging to use it, especially for people who wear glasses. The viewfinder is electronic viewfinder meaning that what you see in the viewfinder is what you will see in the camera. However, for people who like to compose picture from eye level, this will be a nice addition.

Check out the tiny viewfinder!

Check out the tiny viewfinder!

It has 3X zoom lens, from wide 33mm to 100mm. This focal length is good for general purpose. It is great outdoor, but not very for indoor because it is not very wide. Taking group picture indoor will be a bit of a challenge but do-able. The maximum aperture is quite small, so it will be  a challenge in low light or when you want to make a blurred background.

LCD screen is pretty standard. 2.5″ inch is generally big enough but the resolution only 230k. It is not a the best but good enough to view your image and compose pictures.

Compared to Nikon D90, mid-range Digital SLR camera

Compared to Nikon D90, mid-range Digital SLR camera


This camera is pretty much a straightforward some settings that you can change. It has Auto mode, Program mode and video recording mode. The P mode can be changes in function menu to several scene modes, such as portrait, night shot, kids&pets, indoor and sunset.

If you want to change setting, just press the function button. From there you can change various settings such as shooting mode, ISO setting, white balance, color retouch, metering mode, shutter release mode and image size.

Regarding image size, you can choose either standard 4:3 ratio or 16:9 wide screen ratio.

Other features the camera has are face detection, blink detection and image stabilization.

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