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  DSLR Tips

Canon Digital Ixus 860IS / PowerShot SD870 IS Digital Elph Gordon Laing, November 2007

Canon Digital Ixus 860IS / PowerShot SD870 IS gallery

The following images were taken with the Canon Ixus 860 IS / PowerShot SD870. The Canon was set to Large Superfine mode with Auto White Balance, Evaluative metering and with My Colours disabled. Each image here was shot handheld using the camera's Image Stabilisation.

The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset.

The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Landscape: 3.29MB, Manual mode, 1/250, f8, ISO 80, 4.6-17.3mm at 4.6mm (equivalent to 28mm)

  Our first sample image was taken on a very bright day with the 860IS / SD870 IS zoomed-out to wide angle and set to its lowest 100 ISO sensitivity. As such this represents perfect conditions.

The 28mm coverage has allowed us to easily fit in the entire yacht and the 100% crops reveal a high level of detail with no noise or fringing issues to worry about.

Landscape: 4.83MB, Manual mode, 1/320, f8, ISO 100, 4.6-17.3mm at 4.7mm (equivalent to 28mm)

  Another shot taken on a sunny day with the 860IS / SD870 IS zoomed-out to wide angle and set to 100 ISO.

As above, the crops are sharp, detailed and show no evidence of noise or coloured fringing, again despite some areas with high contrast subject matter.


Landscape: 4.16MB, Manual mode, 1/40, f2.8, ISO 100, 4.6-17.3mm at 4.6mm (equivalent to 28mm)

    Our final 100 ISO sample was again taken with the camera fully zoomed-out and set to 100 ISO, but this time under dim conditions.

The 1/40 exposure wasn't the slowest we've experienced in these conditions, but has still allowed the fast-moving water to blur, while the IS has helped eliminate any possible camera shake.

The crops are again sharp and detailed, showing low noise and well-corrected optics.

Portrait: 3.29MB, Manual mode, 1/1250, f5.8, ISO 200, 4.6-17.3mm at 17.3mm (equivalent to 105mm)

  This portrait shot was taken with the 860IS / SD870 IS fully zoomed-in to an equivalent of 105mm and the sensitivity increased to 200 ISO.

Despite using its widest aperture, the depth of field remains relatively large, so you're unlikely to get that really out-of-focus background effect on the 860IS / SD870 IS.

The increase to 200 ISO has resulted in a handful of faint noise artefacts at 100%, but nothing to worry about.

Macro: 4.12MB, Manual mode, 1/125, f8, ISO 400, 4.6-17.3mm at 4.7mm (equivalent to 28mm)

  For this macro shot we increased the sensitivity to 400 ISO and positioned the camera as close at it would focus.

The crops reveal a slight increase in noise, but again nothing to be overly concerned about in this particular example.


Indoor: 3.64MB, Manual mode, 1/50, f2.8, ISO 400, 4.6-17.3mm at 4.6mm (equivalent to 28mm)


Another shot at 400 ISO, this time taken in dimmer indoor lighting conditions.

Examine the image at 100% and noise artefacts are certainly visible, particularly in shadow areas, but there's still plenty of detail remaining.


Indoor: 3.37MB, Manual mode, 1/15, f2.8, ISO 800, 4.6-17.3mm at 4.6mm (equivalent to 28mm)

  Our next indoor sample was taken with the sensitivity increased to 800 ISO. Darker conditions meant using a shutter speed of 1/15, but the camera's IS system eliminated any camera shake.

The crops reveal an inevitable increase in visible noise, but the impressive thing is how much detail remains. We'd say this is certainly usable for smaller prints and could also stand up reasonably well to third-party noise reduction software after the event.

Indoor: 3.81MB, Manual mode, 1/160, f2.8, ISO 1600, 4.6-17.3mm at 4.6mm (equivalent to 28mm)

  Our final high sensitivity indoor shot was taken with the 860IS / SD870 IS set to 1600 ISO, and now there's a significant increase in noise and loss of detail.

The colour is looking a little washed-out and the crops show a great deal of noise and undesirable artefacts.

Like most compacts, this is for emergency use only, but at least 800 ISO on the 860IS / SD870 IS is pretty good and Canon's not bothered with ridiculous higher sensitivities still.

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