Summary: Despite its limitations – the problems with shadows, AF, the noise issues and that new lens – this is an accomplished but flawed step on the IXUS' evolutionary ladder. The camera may not have evolved wings or a way to make a cup of tea in the morning, but it offers well-built picture taking without the pitfalls of having too many pixels crammed on a tiny sensor but does look a tad pricey.
Pros: Image stabilisation, build, image quality
Cons: No manual control in “manual” mode, noise above ISO 800, lens’ wide end not wide enough, clunky mode dial, shadows fill-in, detail smoothing in some scene modes, plus AiAF not accurate enough.
Conclusion: The SD850 IS is a typical example of what Canon does so well; a beautifully constructed, well designed and capable compact camera that doesn't break any new ground but does what it does with the refinement that comes from years of fine tuning and a refusal to cut every corner in order to hit the lowest possible price. Most importantly it is a pocket camera that turns out great results with minimal effort on the user's part.
Pros: Good resolution, excellent edge-to-edge sharpness, Useful zoom range (although no 28mm wide angle), Very clean results at lower ISO settings, Fast and accurate focus (although slightly slower in low light), Very responsive, Excellent user interface and menus - very intuitive, Efficient image stabilization, Excellent build quality and attractive design, Useful Auto-ISO-Shift mode, Punchy results out of camera, Good flash exposure and flash recycling, Large, bright scre...
Cons: Battery life when using LCD not brilliant, Slightly underpowered built-in flash, No 'A' or 'S' modes, generally little manual control, Auto White Balance performance under artificial light not brilliant, The usual problems of noise and noise reduction effects at anything over ISO 200, Some highlight clipping (occasionally combined with slight overexposure), Some purple fringing, Viewfinder extremely tiny, always use the LCD when possible, Slower continuous shooting th...
Excerpt: Here’s a quick update. Back in August, I researched compact digital cameras and concluded that the Canon SD850 IS was the best camera for my needs. My key camera requirements were image stabilization and an ultra-compact form factor.
Summary: While the Canon PowerShot SD850 IS may not have the large LCD of the SD870 IS or the sky-high megapixel count of the SD950 IS, it is still a fine all-around point-and-shoot for most shutterbugs, and is a better value than its two siblings.
Excerpt: The Canon PowerShot SD850 IS ($399) is an ultra-compact camera featuring
an 8 Megapixel CCD, 4X optical zoom lens, image stabilization, and a beautiful
2.5" LCD display. Contrary to popular belief, the SD850 does NOT replace
the SD800 -- rather, it replaces the SD700, which was introduced back in February
Pros: Very good photo quality, low noise through ISO 400 (in good light), Compact, well built metal body, Optical image stabilization, Gorgeous 2.5" LCD display, Has an optical viewfinder (a rarity in this class), Snappy performance, AF-assist lamp, great low light focusing, Handy Auto ISO Boost feature is a good substitute for an always-on high sensitivity mode, Well-implemented face detection feature, Effective redeye removal tool (and you'll need it), Very good movie mod...
Cons: Corner softness, Redeye a big problem (though the tool in playback mode gets rid of most of it), Current zoom setting not shown on LCD, Controls on back of camera a little small, Can't swap memory cards while camera is on a tripod, More manual controls would be nice
Pros: Pocket-sized, Excellent image quality, Canon’s IS optical image stabilization, Great auto exposure metering, Optical viewfinder, ISO 1600 sensitivity, Pocket-sized, Excellent image quality, Canon’s IS optical image stabilization, Great auto exposure metering, Optical viewfinder, ISO 1600 sensitivity
Cons: Offers less control than some comparable competitors’ cameras, Lens not wide enough, No action scene mode, On / Off button a little hard to push, Weak flash, Poor redeye-reduction, Offers less control than some comparable competitors’ cameras, Lens not wide enough, No action scene mode, On / Off button a little hard to push, Weak flash, Poor redeye-reduction
Excerpt: Physical Views The SD850 compared to a standard CD disc. Continue on to Features & Controls PowerShot SD850 IS Specifications Camera Effective Pixels Approx. 8.0 million Image Sensor 1/2.5-inch CCD (Total number of pixels: Approx. 8.3 million) Lens 5.8 (W)-23.2 (T) mm (35mm film equivalent: 35 (W)-140 (T) mm) f/2.8 (W)-f/5.5 (T) Digital Zoom Approx. 4.0x (Up to approx.