Announced just a few weeks ago, Canon was quick to get their PowerShot SD980 IS into my greedy little hands. I wasted no time getting the 12.1 megapixel SD980 out for a stroll around the neighborhood and firing away some preliminary sample images. A couple of days with the touch screen leaves me with a favorable first impression of Canon's new touch interface, too.
Blame the iPhone. Touch screen interface has gained enough trend-setting popularity that most camera manufacturers now have at least one touch screen camera in their lineup. The Canon PowerShot SD980 IS represents Canon's take on touch screen interface. Their approach seems to be to keep the physical buttons and capitalize on the true advantages of a touch screen system by allowing for touch-selectable focus points and customizable interface options.
Some very subtle stylistic changes have been made to keep the PowerShot SD970 IS form updated, but the SD980 gives the same overall impression of a curvy little camera in a bold color. The camera body is just a little wider and a little slimmer than the SD970 IS, and the 3.0 inch LCD offers a wider aspect screen for photo viewing and capture.
Camera operation and menu navigation are simple. A wedge-shaped switch on top of the camera toggles between video recording mode, auto exposure mode and the program mode under which all other scene modes are accessible.
Everything else will be familiar to Canon users - the four-way controller with shortcuts to flash, self-timer, display settings and focus mode, the zoom lever located on top with the shutter release, and the function button at the center of the four-way controller for access to settings like white balance and exposure compensation.
The PowerShot SD980 takes some excellent pictures right out of the box. Colors are vibrant and bright at default settings.
Default metering settings resulted in a couple of shots with some overexposed highlights. Experimenting with different metering modes and exposure compensation levels should take care of this issue.
Additional Sample Images
More on the way...
While we can't offer any solid conclusions about the PowerShot SD980 IS yet, it shows a lot of promise. Will it prove itself a worthy competitor in the touch screen market? Stay tuned for our final review.