Last spring, Canon impressed us with its stylish high-end shooter, the 6-megapixel PowerShot SD700 IS
. It had a great lens and produced great images, all in an attractive, pocketable, metal body. With the follow-up Canon PowerShot SD800 IS, the company improves upon its previous design by squeezing in a wider lens and a higher resolution sensor.
The 7-megapixel camera's tiny body is shiny, curvy, and very attractive. But it may be just a bit too stylish for its own good. For instance, the power button is a tiny, illuminated half-oval built flush into the top panel; without actually pressing it, you might easily mistake it for an indicator light or a design flaw.
The Canon PowerShot SD800's mode dial curves slightly outward, flowing into the design of the camera, making a comfortable resting spot for your thumb. But it feels slightly slippery when switching camera modes.
Beyond those quirks, though, the SD800 IS is a standard, straightforwardly designed Canon shooter, with a four-way navigation switch, additional buttons, and the shutter-release/zoom-rocker mechanism we've grown used to. The small, all-metal body weighs slightly more than six ounces, and at an inch thick, is just the right size for most pockets. Though small, the camera still has enough room on its body to hold both a 2.5-inch LCD and an optical viewfinder, a rare and welcome feature on an ultracompact.
The SD800's most prominent feature is its image-stabilized, f/2.8-to-f/5.8, 28mm-to-105mm-equivalent lens. The 3.8X zoom range offers the flexibility of wide-angle focal lengths, while still providing a bit more zoom power than the average 3X point-and-shoot lens. Though the SD700 IS had a 4X zoom lens, the SD800's 28mm-equivalent wide shot more than makes up for the slightly smaller telephoto factor.