Canon PowerShot SD500 Digital Camera In Review

by Dan Feildman

One camera to watch available on the market today is the Canon PowerShot SD500 Digital Elph. Coming with an impressive 7.1 megapixel resolution this camera provides superior image quality.

Speed and sharpness tests proved the SD500 a top performer. Add in the enjoyable My Color feature that will most certainly please all types of users, this camera is fun.

In the looks department, the Canon PowerShot SD500 is pleasingly comfortable to hold and operate. However, it can be easy to press the tightly laid-out buttons on the back accidentally during one-handed shooting. The optical viewfinder just above the large 2-inch LCD is very nice, and maintains a fairly smooth, bright, clear image when panning.

Outside from the 7.1 megapixel ranking, the Canon PowerShot SD500 has most of the standard features of its division, including an f/2.8 to f/4.9, 7.7- to 23.1-mm (37- to 111-mm, 35mm equivalent), 3X optical zoom lens.

All the standard modes are available via the mode dial as well as through the menu system, including Playback, Auto, Manual (which lets you adjust white balance, ISO, EV compensation, and color effects), Macro, and Movie. The Movie mode lets you capture VGA video clips at 30 frames per second. Other modes available only via the menu system include Stitch Assist (for panoramas) and nine preset scene modes.

The Canon PowerShot SD500 has a very intuitive user control system. It also offers a very interesting shooting mode called My Colors. You can make blues, greens, or reds more vibrant, or lighten or darken skin tones.

The Color Accent and Color Swap choices generate some out of the ordinary effects. Color Accent lets you isolate the color of one object, while the color information for the rest of the photograph is discarded. The product might be a bright red rose in the middle of a black-and-white wedding shot.

In Color Swap mode, you choose a particular color in a scene on the LCD, and then select the color you want to swap it with. For example, you could isolate someone’s bright red T-shirt and swap it with the blue from someone’s baseball cap. You have to make your color selections before you shoot, though, so make sure you’re not going to miss the shot.

Pictures are stored in SD memory cards with the CanonPowerShot SD500. There is also a direct connection to Canon CP Printers and select BJ Printers. This basically means that you do not have to have a computer to print pictures with these printers.

The Canon PowerShot SD500 uses proprietary lithium batteries. The promoted battery life is about 160 shots with the LCD on and about 550 shots with the LCD off. You can always buy extras at you local camera store to take along with you if a long battery life is important to you or needed for the situation.

Another unusual feature is an optional DC coupler, supported via a flap on the battery/media compartment door. This lets you run the camera off AC power (via an optional adapter) while you charge the battery in the included external charger.

Overall the Canon PowerShot SD500 is a worthy contender in the market. A few faults to be found are that it has some difficulty finding the intended focusing point in Macro mode. Also in the Macro shots, the flash had a tendency to make most of the picture overexposed when used except for the lower portion of the image which would be dark due to the extended lens blocking the flash.

Another drawback is the mode dial design. Only the center (Manual) mode’s label shows as level when chosen. The other labels (Playback, Auto, Macro and Movie) are slanted when you turn the dial.

Be sure however that the Canon PowerShot SD500 is a great ultra-compact camera. From its looks to its capabilities, this camera is impressive. Then once you add on its remarkably unique features, the Canon SD500 stands out among the rest as a contender for a top seller.

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