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View Full Version : Canon Powershot SD850 IS 8.0 Megapixel



Geronimo
08-11-2007, 13:02
Hi! I'm thinking of getting a camera for underwater photography and I've seen some really great pictures coming from Harry the Saipan Diver (http://saipandiver.********.com/). He told me he uses a Powershot. He has an Asian model number and I'm not sure of the American model number but I think it's an older version than the SD850 IS.

#1) I'm wondering what others can tell me about the SD850 IS (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/496570-REG/Canon__PowerShot_SD850_IS_Digital.html)?

Also, there only seem to be two housings: Canon (rated for 30 meters) and the Ikelite (rated for 60 meters). The Canon (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/495627-REG/Canon_2050B001_WP_DC15_Case_for_SD850.html) can be found for $180 and the Ikelite is $300 (http://www.reefphoto.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=1987) (I can only find one place offering it). (#2) Does anyone have any suggestions on this? I'm pretty sure I'd want to get the Ikelite...so does anyone know other places to get it?

dbh
08-11-2007, 15:41
1) the SD850 IS has no manual control (ie. you cannot change the aperture or shutter speed) which is paramount underwater IMHO. It is really a point & shoot camera. It does have an underwater mode, but there is rarely dives where I use the same settings.....so I believe this will only work a small percentage of the time. You need control of shutter speed to control the blues in your WA shots.

2) Why wouldn't you want to buy from Reef Photo. They are one of the few companies around that can actually tell you how to use your gear. Try getting any help for underwater gear from B&H or Adorama (Note: I buy camera bodies and lenses from B&H....just not u/w gear).

HTH,
Dave

JugglingMonkeys
08-11-2007, 18:30
i own the 850. it's a great camera but i've not tried UW.

one thought for you - if you buy it, don't buy all the option packages with it.
it's usually a lot cheaper to figure out which of them you actually need and then shop around for each component. www.pricegrabber.com (http://www.pricegrabber.com)is a good comparison site - there are others.

Geronimo
08-11-2007, 21:10
dbh-
#1) Is there a camera with similar options that allows for manual operation? The SD850IS has a lot of things going for it, IMHO. Image Stabilizer, it can do short videos (which would be really nice to have), it can be set to ISO 1600.

#2) I should have been more clear....I don't mind buying from Reef Photo. I just like to shop around to compare prices, etc. I have no experience with Reef Photo so I wanted to know if there were other places that were cheaper or better. It's good to hear you think so highly of them.

dbh
08-11-2007, 21:45
geronimo:

Image stabilization is a feature that is a gimmick on this camera. IS comes into play more when you are hand holding the camera and shooting at very slow shutter speeds (which you cannot do with this camera).

MOST compact digitals shoot video too (including the Sp350).

ISO 1600 is worthless underwater. In fact, you want to shoot with the lowest possible (ie. ISO 50).

Sounds like you are pretty much sold on the 850 and are looking for reassurance. I am sorry to burst your bubble....but you will not be happy with it underwater (IMHO).

Another camera to look at is the Nikon P5000. The only downside to it is that it does not shoot RAW.

Dave

Geronimo
08-13-2007, 07:37
dbh,
I'm not set on the 850, that's why I asked if there was a similar camera with more manual controls. But I already have a Canon 20D and I don't need anything that has that many options or that much size. I don't want an ultra-expensive camera as my first underwater camera...I keep hearing a lot of people say how easy it is to flood a camera. I want something cheap and simple to ease myself into it.

As for the 1600 ISO, I realize it won't be useful underwater...but that's not the only place I'll use the camera. Sometimes I don't want to lug my 20D around and a compact point and shoot is much handier.

The main two reasons I was focusing on the SD850 were, as I said above, Harry the Saipan Diver (http://www.saipandiver.smugmug.com/) has some really fantastic images taken with it (he doesn't even use a strobe) and (2) it isn't that expensive. Take a look at some of his shots...I think you'll agree they're impressive. Especially when you consider he didn't spend more than about $500-$600.

However, you have made me really think about having the manual controls and I'm now looking at the Canon G7. Here's a link (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/compare_post.asp?method=sidebyside&cameras=canon_sd850is%2Ccanon_g7%2Cnikon_cpp5000&show=all) that gives a side-by-side comparison between the SD850/G7/Nikon P5000. The Nikon is a good camera. And I'll do a bit more reading up on it and the G7 before making a choice.

Oh, one more thing...I know the IS lenses for the DSLR cameras are quite pricey and quite nice. Is the IS for these point and shoots really nothing?

thor
08-13-2007, 13:55
I was in the same boat, and was interested in the Canon S80, but they discontinued it. Now I am looking at the G7 also, but it is a bit pricey.

underwaterdan
08-13-2007, 16:39
I have the Canon sd630 with the underwater housing. I see you don't have too many dives under your belt, if you are looking for only an underwater camera I would look for something geared to that. If you are looking for an above and below water camera I would really recommend the canon. I know that scubatoys forum doesn't like canon, but I can only talk from my experience, and it has been very positive.

Bill22
08-15-2007, 05:46
I'm using a Canon A630 with an Ikelite housing. It's 8.0 megapixels, has an "underwater" setting and also allows shutter or aperture priority in addition to automatic. The point and shoots have their drawbacks as I'm finding out first hand (focusing, shutter lag, etc...). Still it's an inexpensive camera ($219.98 at Helix) that meets most of my needs and I can make enlargements that look as good as film. I bought my housing and Ikelite strobe from Helix: http://www.helixcamera.com/home.html . They were very helpful. They have people on staff who are very familiar with underwater photography who can answer your questions. I chose the Ikelite housing because of the extra safety margin it provides. I'm also hoping to dive the Atomic Fleet at Bikini Atoll at some point so I will need a housing that is good to 200 ft. Check out my photos in the gallery, they were all taken with the Powershot.

torrey
08-15-2007, 09:59
What's the difference between the "A" and "SD" line of Canon cameras? I've been looking at the A640 for my wife, but I'm wondering about alternatives.

Bill22
08-15-2007, 10:38
What's the difference between the "A" and "SD" line of Canon cameras? I've been looking at the A640 for my wife, but I'm wondering about alternatives.

If you would like to compare, heres a link that will help with that: http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ProductCatIndexAct&fcategoryid=113

Basically from what I could see the SD line is a little more high end, offering more features. If those extra features are really neccesary or not only you can answer. I would be willing to bet that the average person doesn't even come close to using all the functions that are offered on the "average" digital camera today ;-) I have the A630, the main difference being 8.0 vs 10.0 megapixels. I've been pretty happy with it for the most part. I've already posted about some of the drawbacks for underwater photography, but those are drawbacks shared by point and shoots in general.

torrey
08-16-2007, 13:24
Basically from what I could see the SD line is a little more high end, offering more features.

I see that...I don't get how the more powerful SD series seems to be smaller than the A series. Is it just the batteries that add the extra bulk on the end?

Bill22
08-16-2007, 18:14
Basically from what I could see the SD line is a little more high end, offering more features.

I see that...I don't get how the more powerful SD series seems to be smaller than the A series. Is it just the batteries that add the extra bulk on the end?

Seems that way.... 4 double A's do take up some space ;-) Probabably paying extra for it being smaller to. I looked at some of those cameras when I picked my A630. One of the reasons I picked it is that I wanted something I could put AA's in. It also just feels more comfortable in my hand than a smaller camera. The drawback is that it's just a little to big to put in my shirt pocket, like the elph ;-)

CompuDude
08-16-2007, 18:54
I was in the same boat, and was interested in the Canon S80, but they discontinued it. Now I am looking at the G7 also, but it is a bit pricey.

I have the S80. Great camera, it's a crying shame they discontinued it. I'm going to seriously be upset if I ever kill it, unless they have gotten around to releasing a suitable replacement for it.



What's the difference between the "A" and "SD" line of Canon cameras? I've been looking at the A640 for my wife, but I'm wondering about alternatives.

If you would like to compare, heres a link that will help with that: http://www.usa.canon.com/consumer/controller?act=ProductCatIndexAct&fcategoryid=113

Basically from what I could see the SD line is a little more high end, offering more features. If those extra features are really neccesary or not only you can answer. I would be willing to bet that the average person doesn't even come close to using all the functions that are offered on the "average" digital camera today ;-) I have the A630, the main difference being 8.0 vs 10.0 megapixels. I've been pretty happy with it for the most part. I've already posted about some of the drawbacks for underwater photography, but those are drawbacks shared by point and shoots in general.

The SD series is SMALL. That's it's claim to fame. It's also entire automatic, with no "real" manual controls whatsoever. The A series has the manual controls, but they're considerably larger, and use AA batteries. The two features combined make it cheaper because less expensive components are needed.

The SD series is not necessarily "higher end" than the A series, from a feature standpoint, it's just higher end from a size standpoint.

The S series is the top of the line (before getting into the DSLR form factor cameras), but they've been thinning that down steadily for years.

To the OP: I personally would be a LOT more interested in the SD800 than the SD850. Megapixels (over 5 or 6, at least) don't really matter... what matters is the lens and the chipset. Well, they both use the same chipset, so that doesn't matter. They both have more megapixels than are really needed.

Where they differ is in the lens. The SD800 has a wide angle lens. As a result, you can get closer to your subjects, which, is one of the main goals in UW photography, to increase sharpness and decrease backscatter.

Unfortunately, owing the lower, wider starting point, the high end zoom (useless underwater) takes a hit. Consumers look for big numbers, not little ones... they don't understand what it means that their camera has a 28mm equiv wide angle lens instead of a 35mm equiv, they only see that the one camera only has a 3.6x zoom, while THIS one has a 4.0x zoom... so they can zoom in more! Yay! More zoom!

Wrong, sadly. Well, yes, right, you can zoom in more. But more pictures are taken indoors in small rooms and at parties, where the ability to be close is good, and the ability to stand farther back to get everyone in the frame is not always present. In most everyday photography (the reason you buy a small fully-automatic camera) a wide angle lens is almost always preferable and more versatile than a high zoom, unless you are trying to take pictures of birds or sporting events.

In UW photography, wide angle is gold.

I was seriously disappointed when Canon dropped the wide angle lenses it had begun using for their cameras. I hope to pick up an SD800 for a small, compact vacation camera at my earliest opportunity.

As for cases, unless you plan to take the camera deeper than 130' on a regular basis, I'd just get the cheaper Canon case. There's no need for the expensive Ikelite case for this camera, since, with no manual controls, you're unlikely to ever use it for the types of high end photography that benefit from the add-ons the Ikelite housing allows.

CompuDude
08-16-2007, 19:02
The main two reasons I was focusing on the SD850 were, as I said above, Harry the Saipan Diver (http://www.saipandiver.smugmug.com/) has some really fantastic images taken with it (he doesn't even use a strobe) and (2) it isn't that expensive. Take a look at some of his shots...I think you'll agree they're impressive. Especially when you consider he didn't spend more than about $500-$600.

European name: Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS
US name: Canon PowerShot SD700 IS Digital ELPH

He's not using the SD850, he's using the older SD700.

It's possible to take some great photos with these cameras... I used to have an SD550. You do end up fighting the camera bit however, trying to trick it into taking the shot you want, since you can't set any manual controls.

CompuDude
08-16-2007, 19:09
Some SD550 pictures (internal flash):

http://kalani.net/scuba/2006-03-12%20Channel%20Islands/thumbs/IMG_0564.JPGhttp://kalani.net/scuba/2006-03-12%20Channel%20Islands/thumbs/IMG_0584.JPG
http://kalani.net/scuba/2006-03-12%20Channel%20Islands/thumbs/IMG_0669.JPGhttp://kalani.net/scuba/2006-03-12%20Channel%20Islands/thumbs/IMG_0681.JPG
http://kalani.net/scuba/2006-03-12%20Channel%20Islands/thumbs/IMG_0686.JPGhttp://kalani.net/scuba/2006-03-12%20Channel%20Islands/thumbs/IMG_0746.JPG
http://kalani.net/scuba/2006-03-12%20Channel%20Islands/thumbs/IMG_0723.JPGhttp://kalani.net/scuba/2006-03-12%20Channel%20Islands/thumbs/IMG_0764.JPG

torrey
08-16-2007, 19:15
Those are really nice for being internal flash only. I've pretty much decided when my Olympus SP-350 goes out, I'm going with a Canon.

Bill22
08-19-2007, 02:55
Some SD550 pictures (internal flash):

Wow!!! Very nice!!!

Geronimo
08-24-2007, 06:38
For some reason I stopped getting updates telling me people had posted. I just read through everything. Thanks for all the comments.

CompuDude, you're right, he is using the older SD700. And I had decided to just get the older version mostly from what I read online about the lens differences and other small things + it was cheaper which is great for a first time underwater setup.

By the way, someone said earlier it'd be a disappointing camera and I think that's selling the camera short. What's behind the camera is also important. Harry just got picked by Stars and Stripes magazine to start publishing some of his photos (http://saipandiver.********.com/2007/08/writing-for-stars-stripes.html) from that "point and shoot" SD700. He doesn't even have a strobe.

Well, after much deliberation and a lot of thinking......I've decided to skip the camera and just get the Ikelite housing for my JVC MG-37 video camera. It's down to about $635 and I think it'd be pretty fun to work with video and see what I can learn. It won't be professional quality but it should be good for learning and making videos to show friends and family, if nothing else.

But don't let my decision kill the conversation about the cameras and camera differences. I'm learning from what all of you are posting, so THANKS!