Canon Ixus 700 (SD500) independent review

Discussion in 'Canon' started by Rili, Apr 27, 2005.

  1. Rili

    Rili Guest

    Well I couldn't wait any longer to get the Ixus 700 as I really wanted
    to be able to take VGA video (640 x 480 at 30fps) with an ultra compact
    camera as well as having awesome photos. So, I bought the Ixus 700. So
    far I have been very impressed with it. The video is quite good and the
    60fps at 320 resolution is very smooth, although the white balance (when
    it adjusts when moving from light to dark) seems to kick in in
    noticeable steps.

    I also have the Ixus 400 which is a great camera, although the size
    difference between the 400 and the 700 is quite a bit even though their
    dimensions are nearly identical. The 700 is a lot smaller and fits into
    your pocket a lot better as it curves in towards the edges. The 700
    makes the 400 look like a bit of a brick as the 400 is very rectangular
    which is unlike the curves on the 700.

    When watching the videos (mjpg or mjpeg codec) on your computer it
    consumes quite a lot of cpu! So much so, that sometimes my computer
    (Athlon xp 1800) doesn't seem to play it back smoothly (my friend's
    laptop played it back quite choppy - it is a about 2 years old though).
    However, quicktime seemed to play back the videos a lot better.
    Apparently the video format is quicktime 3.5 and so maybe that is why
    quicktime handles it a lot smoother. If you have an old computer you
    might have trouble playing back the videos.

    It also takes great photos (imagine that since it is a digital camera
    and not a video camera :), although the AiAF does seem to get confused a
    bit more than the 400. I've found if I leave the AiAF off on manual then
    I can just switch to manual shooting if I have any focusing problems.

    The power up time is very quick and you can probably take a photo in
    around a second (it is pretty hard to time it from power up to photo
    taken) although the focus may not be as good. I haven't tested this
    feature much as I don't really have a need for it, but the lens does
    seem to come out quite quick.

    The macro works just as good as the 400 and maybe better. I still
    haven't sussed out the digital zoom macro fully yet, but it does take
    nice close up pics.

    It has a feature that lets you jump to movies or jump 10 or 100 photos
    at once. It allows you to check the time when switching it on by holding
    the set button down with the power button. You can mute the camera
    quickly so you don't scare animals if you are taking photos of them.

    Some of the new features that I like about it are:

    * the hold option which makes the last photo stay on the screen
    until you half (or fully) depress the shutter button, this also allows
    you to zoom in on the photo in case you want to check how in focus it is
    or in case everyone wants to look at the photo that was just taken. It
    use to annoy me, on the 400, how you had to continually switch the dial
    back to play back the photo.

    * the custom self-timer option. This allows you to set how long
    before the first photo fires and then how many photos it takes after
    that. Once it starts taking the photos, you can't control how long it
    pauses for in between photos. If the flash doesn't fire then it is quite
    fast, maybe a second, if the flash fires each time I guess it depends on
    how quickly the flash charges, ie how flat your battery is, but on a new
    battery it was about 2 seconds or so

    * the burst shot feature is pretty cool, just hold your finger on
    the shutter button and it will continue to take 2 photos per second for
    ages. I stopped after 10 or so

    * the microphone is on the front near the lens and so you seem to get
    a LOT less wind noise if you are videoing while moving quite fast, say
    30 to 60km/h

    Some things I noticed or don't like are:

    * there isn't much room on the back to put your thumb when holding
    it, especially as it has a 5cm lcd screen. I guess you are going to get
    this with ultra compacts. If you have big clumsy fingers then this isn't
    the camera for you :)

    * the stitch button is no longer on the little dial that you turn (it
    is on the 400) so you have to get to it from a menu, but this isn't that
    bad I guess when you don't take many stitch assist photos.

    * to plug in the connectors you have to take off a little hard
    plastic cover which seems like it might break, the 400 had a rubber
    cover which seemed more flexible and less prone to break

    * it still doesn't take raw images, I would have thought that it
    would be simple to add the option for raw images but obviously not

    * you can actually see tip of the lens when you look through the view
    finder, although it is barely visible. Once you zoom, even if for a
    fraction, it disappears from the view finder.

    * the speaker volume, when playing back movies, isn't as loud as the 400

    I ended up buying the cheapest 1Gb SD card (from -
    extremely cheap at $AUS 115) and so far it seems fast enough to store
    video, although the longest video I have taken so far is just over 2
    minutes. I think that I'll have to get another 1Gb card as I filled it
    up the other night taking about 9 minutes of video and about 10 photos.

    In conclusion, I'm very happy with the camera, especially as it only
    cost me AUS$ 670 which was $230 cheaper than my Ixus 400. I guess I can
    also sell my old camera and that will make it even more affordable. I'd
    recommend this camera for anyone who wants VGA quality video as well as
    awesome photos. If I didn't mind staying with 320 resolution videos (at
    only 15fps), I would have kept the 400 as I'm very happy with the photo
    quality of it as well. The one thing that I haven't done is the drop
    test. Maybe if I lend it to two of my friends, they can both drop it as
    they did with my 400, although the 400 was dented, it still works perfectly.
    Rili, Apr 27, 2005
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