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DCRP Review: Canon PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH  

by Jeff Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: March 14, 2005
Last Updated: January 3, 2012

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When Canon set out to make an ultra compact, ultra high resolution camera, it wasn't as simple as dropping a new CCD into an existing body. The reason for that is due to the size of the CCD sensor itself: on the SD200, SD300, and the new SD400, the CCD is 1/2.5" in size. But a 7.1 Megapixel sensor -- also used in the PowerShot G6 and S70 -- is physically larger (1/1.8"), so it wouldn't work in the SD200/300/400 body.

So, Canon designed a camera that shares most of the guts of the other SD series cameras and gave it a radically different look. That camera is the PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH ($500). Canon calls it a "perpetual curve" design, and it's certainly eye-catching. Since the sensor and lens are larger, the whole camera is as well. It's about a quarter inch thicker than the other SD models, and it's 30% heavier as well.

In addition to the new body and higher resolution sensor, Canon also threw in these new features:

  • 50% longer flash range versus the SD200/SD300/SD400
  • 14% more battery life than other SD series models
  • New "Night Display" feature brightens the LCD in low light
  • My Colors feature lets you highlight and even swap colors right on the camera
  • USB 2.0 High Speed support

I should mention that the PowerShot SD400, a 5 Megapixel camera that has the same design as the SD200 and SD300, also has the last three features listed above.

Okay, let's get into our review of Canon's latest and greatest Digital ELPH!

The SD500 is known as the Ixus 700 in some countries.

What's in the Box?

The PowerShot SD500 has an average bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:

  • The 7.1 effective Megapixel Canon PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH camera
  • 32MB Secure Digital card
  • NB-3L lithium-ion battery
  • Battery charger
  • Wrist strap
  • USB cable
  • A/V cable
  • CD-ROM featuring Canon Digital Camera Solutions, ArcSoft Camera Suite, and drivers
  • 193 page camera manual + software manual (both printed)

Canon gives you a 32MB Secure Digital (SD) memory card along with the SD500, which sounds nice at first until you see how many photos that can hold. Since you probably don't know, I'll tell you: it holds nine at the highest quality setting. So you definitely need to buy a larger card right away, and I'd suggest 512MB as a good starter size. Like the other SD series cameras, the SD500 absolutely loves high speed SD cards. If you plan on using the VGA movie mode or continuous shooting feature, you will need to spend the extra bucks to get a fast card.

Since it's a larger camera, the SD500 uses a larger battery than the other SD series cameras. The payoff comes when you look at the battery life numbers. Where the SD200/300/400 can take 140 shots per charge, the SD500 can take 160 (measured using the CIPA standard). While a 14% increase in battery life is nothing to frown upon, it's still a little below average. Cameras like the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33/T7, Nikon Coolpix 7900, and especially the Casio Exilim EX-Z750 easily best all of the Canon SD series models in terms of battery life.

My usual complaints about proprietary batteries like the one used by the SD500 apply here. They're expensive ($43 a pop), and you can't put in a set of alkalines to get you through the rest of the day like you could with an AA-based camera. Then again, you'd be hard pressed to find an ultra-thin camera that uses AAs.

When it's time to recharge, just drop the battery into the included charger. This is my favorite style of charger -- it plugs right into the wall (yes, I know some don't like this). It takes about 95 minutes to fully charge the battery.

There's a built-in lens cover on the SD500, as you'd expect on a camera like this. Despite being larger than the other SD cameras, the SD500 is still very small.

There are a couple of accessories for the SD500 worth mentioning. The most interesting is the WP-DC70 waterproof case ($200), which lets you take the ELPH up to 40 meters underwater. Another cool accessory is the HF-DC1 external slave flash ($110), which works with most of Canon's other PowerShots as well. The flash attaches via the tripod mount and is triggered by the flash on the camera. Using this will boost the SD500's flash range to over 9 meters!

Other accessories include an AC adapter ($50) and a soft camera case.

ImageBrowser (Mac OS X)

Canon includes version 23 of their very good Digital Camera Solutions software with the SD500. Included in this package are ZoomBrowser (for Windows)/ImageBrowser (for Mac), PhotoStitch (for making panoramic photos), plus TWAIN and WIA drivers for Windows. Zoom/ImageBrowser can be used for downloading images from your camera, basic editing of your photos, and photo printing.

ArcSoft PhotoStudio 4.3 for Mac OS X

For whatever reason, Canon is no longer including the full ArcSoft PhotoSuite with their cameras. Now you just get PhotoStudio (v 4.3 for Mac, v5.5 for Windows), which is kind of like a "light" version of Adobe Photoshop. It's not bad, though I miss all the bells and whistles of PhotoImpression (though not its quirky interface).

Recent Canon camera manuals have been more complex than earlier ones, but they're still above average. The SD500's manual is complete, but expect lots of "notes" and fine print.

Look and Feel

The PowerShot SD500 has more in common with the design of the old S410 and S500 than it does with the newer SD200/300/400. Imagine the old S410 but with a curved left side, and that's the SD500. While it's noticeably thicker and heavier than the other SD series cameras, it's still a very compact camera -- it should fit into your pockets with ease.

The SD500's build quality is excellent, save for the usual flimsy battery/memory card slot cover. The body is made almost entirely of metal and it feels very solid. Be warned that metal cameras tend to scratch easily, so take care of whichever one you end up buying. The important controls are all easy to reach, though I wasn't thrilled with the placement of the mode dial.

Here's a look at how the SD500 compares with some of the competition:

Camera Dimensions (W x H x D, excluding protrusions) Volume (bulk) Mass (empty)
Canon PowerShot S500 3.4 x 2.2 x 1.1 in. 8.2 cu in. 185 g
Canon PowerShot SD300/SD400 3.4 x 2.1 x 0.8 in. 5.7 cu in. 130 g
Canon PowerShot SD500 3.4 x 2.2 x 1.0 in. 7.5 cu in. 170 g
Casio Exilim EX-Z750 3.5 x 2.3 x 0.9 in. 7.2 cu in. 127 g
Fuji FinePix Z1 3.5 x 2.2 x 0.7 in. 5.4 cu in. 130 g
Konica Minolta DiMAGE G600 3.7 x 2.2 x 1.2 in. 9.8 cu in. 195 g
Nikon Coolpix 7900 3.5 x 2.4 x 1.4 in. 11.8 cu in. 150 g
Olympus C-630 Zoom 3.1 x 2.4 x 1.0 in. 7.4 cu in. 125 g
Olympus Stylus Verve S 3.7 x 2.2 x 1.1 in. 9.0 cu in. 115 g
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX7 3.7 x 2.0 x 1.0 in. 7.4 cu in. 136 g
Pentax Optio S5i 3.3 x 2.0 x 0.8 in. 5.3 cu in. 105 g
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P200 4.0 x 2.0 x 1.0 in. 8.0 cu in. 144 g
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T7 3.6 x 2.4 x 0.6 in. 5.2 cu in. 115 g
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T33 3.9 x 2.4 x 0.9 in. 8.4 cu in. 125 g

As you can see, the SD500 falls right in the middle of the pack. It's larger than the SD200/300/400 (as I've said already), but smaller than the S500 which it replaces.

I've had it with numbers, so let's start our tour of the SD500 now!

The most striking feature of the SD500 is its "perpetual curve" design. This is one camera that definitely turns heads -- and that's speaking from experience!

The SD500 uses a different, larger lens than the other SD series cameras. While I'm not 100% certain, I'm fairly confident that this is the same lens that was used on the old S410 and S500. Regardless of that, the lens here is an F2.8-4.9, 3X zoom model. The focal length is 7.7 - 23.1 mm, which is equivalent to 37 - 111 mm. Like the other SD series cameras, the SD500 doesn't support conversion lenses.

To the upper-right of the lens is the camera's built-in flash. One of the "perks" of a larger camera is a larger flash, and that's why the SD500 has more flash power than the other SD cameras. The working range of the flash is 0.5 - 5.0 m at wide-angle and 0.5 - 3.0 m at telephoto -- excellent numbers, and 50% better than the SD200/300/400. For even more flash action you can use the external slave flash that I mentioned in the previous section.

To the left of the flash is the optical viewfinder. The item to the left of that is the AF-assist lamp, which doubles as the self-timer lamp. The AF-assist lamp is used by the camera as a focusing aid in low light situations.

The only other item to mention on the front of the camera is the microphone, located just to the left of the lens.

Anybody remember the PowerShot S500? It had a 1.5" LCD display. My, how things have changed -- for the better. The SD500, like the three other SD cameras, has a 2.0" LCD which is bright and beautiful. With 118,000 pixels, the screen is plenty sharp, as well. One of the night features on the SD400 and SD500 is called Night Display. This automatically brightens the screen in low light situations so you can actually see what you're looking at. It's about time.

Just above that LCD is the camera's optical viewfinder, which is on the small side. But heck, I shouldn't complain: look how many cameras don't even have these anymore. Something missing is a diopter correction knob, which is used to focus what you're looking at, though they are basically nonexistent on compact cameras like the SD500.

At the upper-right corner of the photo is the mode dial. I must say that I prefer the switch used on the other SD cameras, but what can you do? The options on the mode dial include playback, record, manual record, scene, and movie mode. The manual mode isn't really that manual -- it just unlocks all the menu options on the camera. The scene modes available on the camera include portrait, foliage, snow, beach, fireworks, underwater, indoor, kids & pets, and night snapshot.

Direct Transfer menu

The next thing to see is the Print/Share button. When connected to a PictBridge-enabled photo printer, you can make prints right from the camera. If you hook into a Windows PC, you'll be able to transfer photos and even select your computer's desktop picture, all right from the camera.

The next item to mention is the four-way controller, which is used for menu navigation and much more. Pressing the controller in one the four directions also does the following:

  • Up - Metering (Evaluative, center, spot) + Jump (skip ahead 10 photos in playback mode)
  • Down - Drive (Single shot, continuous, self-timer) + Delete photo
  • Left - Focus (Auto, macro, infinity)
  • Right - Flash setting (Auto, auto w/redeye reduction, flash on w/redeye reduction, flash on, flash off, slow synchro)

One of the standout features on the SD500 is its unlimited continuous shooting mode. You can keep shooting at approximately 2 frames/second until the memory card is full (you can thank the DIGIC II chip for this). The only requirement is that you use a high speed SD card.

Function menu

By pressing the center button on the four-way controller, you'll open up the Function menu. It has the following options:

  • Manual mode (Manual, digital macro, My Colors) - see below
  • Special scene mode (portrait, foliage, snow, beach, fireworks, underwater, indoor, kids & pets, night snapshot) - only shown when mode dial is set to SCN
  • Exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV in 1/3EV increments)
  • Long shutter mode (Off, 1 - 15 sec)
  • White balance (Auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent H, custom)
  • ISO speed (Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400)
  • Photo effect (Off, vivid, neutral, low sharpening, sepia, black & white)
  • My Colors (Positive film, lighter skin tone, darker skin tone, vivid blue, vivid green, vivid red, color accent, color swap, custom color) - see below
  • Compression (see chart later in review)
  • Resolution (see chart later in review)

The only real manual controls on the SD500 are for white balance and shutter speed. The custom white balance option lets you use a white or gray card as a reference, for perfect color in any lighting. The long shutter speed feature lets you manually choose a speed range from 1 - 15 seconds -- great for long exposures. Too bad there's no way to force a fast shutter speed for action shots.

The photo effect lets you change the color or sharpness of your image instantly, and you can use it for stills or movies.

Using the My Colors "Color Swap" feature

The My Colors feature is new to the SD400 and SD500 and deserves a closer look. Most of the options (skin tones, vivid colors, etc) are self-explanatory, but the last three options deserve some attention. Before we go on, I should mention a few things. First, you can choose to save the original, unaltered image if you desire (probably a good idea). Second, using the flash or changing the white balance or metering is going to prevent this feature from working properly.

Normal shot Color accent using the green color on The Body Shop sign

The color accent feature will turn your image to black and white, except for the color which you've selected (see above). To select the color you point the camera at the color you want to sample and then press the four-way controller. You can fine tune the selected color by pressing up/down on the four-way controller, but it didn't make a huge different in my testing. For this option as well as the next two, the camera gives you a preview of what it's about to do before you take the photo.

Normal shot I've always wanted a red lawn! I swapped the green from the grass with a red color I took from an envelope. As you can see, color swap isn't perfect, as things are weren't green got changed as well.

The color swap feature does just as it sounds: you can exchange one color for another. Want to see how your car looks in red? Well, select your car's color first and then find something red, and the rest is history.

The custom color feature lets you adjust the color balance for red, green, blue, and skin tones from -2 to +2 in 1-step increments.

The final buttons on the back of the camera are Display (turns the LCD on and off and toggles what is shown on the screen) and Menu (which does just as it sounds).

Up on top of the SD500 you'll find the speaker, power button, shutter release, and zoom controller. The zoom controller, which is wrapped around the shutter release, moves the lens from wide-angle to telephoto in just 1.3 seconds. I counted seven steps throughout the zoom range, which is on the low side.

Here's one side of the SD500, and there's not much to see. Compare this shot with the same view from the SD300 to see how the SD500 is a little thicker.

On the other side of the camera are the I/O ports. They include video out and USB. The SD500 (and SD400 as well) are the first Canon digital cameras to support USB 2.0 High Speed -- about time!

On the bottom of the SD500 you'll find the metal tripod mount, battery compartment, and SD card slot. The battery and memory card slots are covered by a flimsy plastic cover which could bust off if you're clumsy. In addition, you can't swap memory cards while the camera is on a tripod.

The included battery and SD card are shown at right.

Using the Canon PowerShot SD500

Record Mode

If I'm not mistaken, the SD500 starts up even faster than the SD200 and SD300. It took under one second for the SD500 to extend its lens and prepare for shooting.

No live histogram to be found

Focusing speeds were very good on the SD500, generally ranging from 0.3 - 0.5 seconds. If the camera has to "hunt" a bit, or if the AF-assist lamp is used, focus times can be around one second. Low light focusing was very good thanks to that AF-assist lamp.

Shutter lag was not a problem, even at slower shutter speeds.

Shot-to-shot speed was also excellent on the SD500, with a delay of about a second before you can take another picture, assuming you've turned the post-shot review feature off. Again, this is one area in which the DIGIC II processor really helps.

You can delete a picture as it's been saved to the memory card by pressing the delete photo button (the "down" key on the four-way controller).

Now, here's a look at the image size and quality choices available on the camera:

Resolution Quality Approx. file size # Images on 32MB card
3072 x 2304
Superfine 3.0 MB 9
Fine 1.9 MB 15
Normal 902 KB 31
Medium 1
2592 x 1944
Superfine 2.4 MB 11
Fine 1.4 MB 20
Normal 695 KB 40
Medium 2
2048 x 1536
Superfine 1.6 MB 17
Fine 893 KB 32
Normal 445 KB 63
Medium 3
1600 x 1200
Superfine 1002 KB 28
Fine 558 KB 51
Normal 278 KB 97
640 x 480
Superfine 249 KB 109
Fine 150 KB 168
Normal 84 KB 265

See why I recommend buying a larger memory card? Something to remember about high resolution cameras like this is that file sizes are pretty large.

The SD500 does not support the RAW or TIFF formats.

Images are named IMG_xxxx.JPG, where x = 0001 - 9999. The file numbering is maintained even if you replace and/or format memory cards.

Now, onto the menus!

The SD500 has the same new style menu system as the other cameras in the SD series. Everything is really snappy and easy-to-use. Note that some menu options are not available while in the automatic shooting mode. With that in mind, here's what's in the record menu:

  • AiAF (on/off) - turns the 9-point autofocus system on and off; if turned off, camera focuses on whatever is in the center of the frame (which is faster)
  • Self-timer (2, 10 secs, custom timer) - see below
  • AF-assist beam (on/off)
  • Digital zoom (on/off) - it's best to keep this turned off
  • Review (Off, 2-10 sec holds) - post-shot review; the hold feature will keep the image on the LCD until you press a button
  • Date stamp (Off, date, date & time) - print the date and/or time on your photos; only works with the image size set to postcard (1600 x 1200)
  • Save original (on/off) - whether an unaltered image is also saved while using the My Colors feature
  • Long shutter (on/off) - I described this feature earlier
  • Stitch Assist (Off, left-to-right, right-to-left) - helps you make panoramic photos

The custom self-timer option is new. Instead of just 2 or 10 seconds, now you can have the camera take up to 10 shots automatically, with a delay ranging from 1 to 30 seconds before the photo is taken.

There is also a setup menu on the SD500, so let's take a look at that now. Here's what you'll find in the setup menu:

  • Mute (on/off) - turn off those annoying beep sounds!
  • Volume
    • Startup volume (Off, 1-5)
    • Operation volume (Off, 1-5)
    • Self-timer volume (Off, 1-5)
    • Shutter volume (Off, 1-5)
    • Playback volume (Off, 1-5)
  • LCD brightness (-7 to +7 in 1 step increments)
  • Power saving
    • Auto power down (on/off)
    • Display off (10, 20, 30 sec, 1-3 min)
  • Date/time
  • Clock display (0-10 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec, 1-3 mins) - yes, the camera doubles as a clock
  • Card format
  • File number reset (on/off) - maintain file numbering
  • Auto rotate (on/off) - camera will automatically rotate portrait photos on the LCD
  • Language (English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Traditional Chinese, Korean, Japanese)
  • Video system (NTSC, PAL)

An additional "My Camera'" menu allows you to customize the startup screen, beeps, and phony shutter sounds that your camera makes. The software included with the camera lets you use your own photos and sounds as well, if you desire. If these bother you, you can also turn them off.

Well enough about menus, let's do photo tests now.

The SD500 did an excellent job with our macro subject. Colors look accurate and saturated and the figurine has a very "smooth" look to it. Smooth shouldn't be mistaken for soft, though, as you can easily count the specs of dust on Mickey's ears.

You can get as close to your subject as 5 cm at wide-angle and 30 cm at telephoto (the SD200/300/400 are a little better in this area). A digital macro mode locks the lens at the wide-angle position and lets you use the digital zoom to get closer to the subject -- the 5 cm minimum distance remains the same. You're probably better off not using the digital macro feature.

The SD500 also did a great job with our night test photo. The camera took in plenty of light, though I probably should've exposed it for a little longer. The buildings are nice and sharp, and noise levels are reasonable for a 7 Megapixel camera. By using the long shutter feature you can take exposures as long as 15 seconds -- just remember your tripod.

Speaking of noise, let's take that same scene and see how increasing the ISO sensitivity affects noise levels:

ISO 50

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

The SD500 does fairly well at ISO 100. At ISO 200 details start to disappear, and they're just about gone at ISO 400.

There's just mild barrel distortion at the wide end of the SD500's lens. While I don't see any vignetting (dark corners) here, I did see some blurriness in the corners, which is something you'll encounter a bit of in your real world photos as well.

If you've been visiting this site for long enough then you know that small cameras have big redeye problems. The SD500 is no exception. In general, when the lens and flash are close together, redeye will result. You can fix it up pretty well in software, thankfully. Another option is to pick up that external slave flash I mentioned earlier, though it kind of defeats the purpose of having an ultra-compact camera.

Overall I was very happy with the photos produced by the PowerShot SD500. Exposure and color were good, and images had a nice smooth (but not soft) look to them. Noise levels are good, especially considering the resolution of this camera. Probably the only issue (besides a little corner softness) is purple fringing: it's above average (as was the case on the other SD series cameras as well).

Don't just take my word for it, though. Have a look at our photo gallery, and print the photos as if they were your own. Then decide if the SD500's photo quality meets your expectations!

Movie Mode

Like the SD200 and SD300 before it, the movie mode on the SD500 is first rate. You can record VGA video (with sound) at 30 frames/second until the memory card fills up! You will need a high speed SD card for this. A 512MB card can hold a little over 4 minutes of video. You can shoot at the slower 15 frame/second frame rate to extend the recording times. There are also 320 x 240 (at 15 or 30 fps) and 160 x 120 (15 fps) modes available, with the latter having a 3 minute time limit.

There's also a unique "Fast Frame Rate" mode, which lets you record up to 1 minute of 320 x 240 video at a whopping 60 frames/second. This is great for videos of fast moving subjects.

The My Colors and Photo Effects features mentioned earlier can be used in movie mode as well. A movie editing feature lets you trim unwanted footage off the beginning or end of a clip.

You cannot use the zoom lens during filming (it will be locked when you start filming). You can, however, use the digital zoom without a major loss in quality.

Update 3/16/05: I did not experience hear any "high pitched whine" while recording movies in silent rooms. The only thing I noticed was a static-like sound, which I suppose could be a little annoying.

Movies are saved in AVI format, using the M-JPEG codec.

Here's a sample movie for you, recorded at the high quality 640 x 480 setting. It's a little shorter than usual, but you get the idea.

Click to play movie (14.4 MB, 640 x 480, 30 fps, AVI format)
Can't view it? Download QuickTime

Playback Mode

The SD500 has the same, excellent playback mode as seen on other Canon cameras. I hate to sound like a broken record, but the DIGIC II chip makes playback mode VERY snappy.

The camera has all the basic playback features that you'd expect. That includes slide shows, DPOF print marking, image protection, thumbnail mode, voice annotations (60 secs), image rotation, and zoom and scroll. The SD500 supports the PictBridge system for direct printing to a compatible photo printer.

The zoom and scroll feature lets you enlarge the picture up to 10X, and then scroll around in the zoomed-in area. It's nice and fast!

By default, the SD500 doesn't give you much info about your photos. But press the display button and you'll get plenty of details, including a histogram.

The camera rockets through photos in playback mode. It moves from one to the next instantly.

How Does it Compare?

With the PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH, Canon has delivered an excellent ultra-compact, high resolution digital camera that's one of the best out there. It takes excellent quality 7.1 Megapixel photos that rival those from the higher-end PowerShot G6, though purple fringing and corner softness are issue (though minor, thankfully). While it's a bit chunkier than the other SD series cameras, the SD500 is still a very small metal camera that can go anywhere with ease. Build quality is very good, save for the usual cheap plastic door over the memory card and battery compartment. The SD500 has a nicely sized 2.0" LCD display that gains up in low light situations (finally!). I'm also glad to see that Canon hasn't done away with the optical viewfinder on the SD cameras.

Camera performance is excellent, again thanks to the DIGIC II processor. Whether it's startup, shutter lag, shot-to-shot, or playback speed that you're measuring, the SD500 blows away the competition. Low light focusing is also very good thanks to the SD500's AF-assist lamp, and the newly added support for USB 2.0 High Speed is a nice bonus. Both the movie and continuous shooting modes are excellent, as long as you're using a high speed memory card. The movie mode lets you record VGA size video at 30 frames/second until the memory card is full. Similarly, the continuous shooting mode will keep firing away at 2 frames/second until you run out of space on the card. The new My Colors feature is interesting and kind of fun, though I have to wonder how often it will be used after the novelty wears off. In terms of manual controls, the SD500 is a mixed bag. You can create a custom white balance setting and pick a long shutter speed, but other useful things like manual focus or the ability to choose a fast shutter speed are missing. Point-and-shoot lovers will be pleased with the selection of scene modes on thee camera, but again, where's the action mode?

There isn't too much else to complain about, as I've slipped most of the SD500's negatives in the previous two paragraphs. As you'd expect on a camera like this, redeye is a problem. While the battery life is improved over the earlier SD models, it's still not as good as some of the competition. And finally, you cannot swap memory cards while the camera is on a tripod.

In case you didn't notice, I like the PowerShot SD500. A lot. If you want a lot of pixels in a small camera, this is a great choice. If you like what you've read but don't need 7.1 million pixels then the 5 Megapixel PowerShot SD400 is worth a look.

What I liked:

  • Excellent photo quality (though see issues below)
  • Compact and very stylish metal body
  • Blazing performance
  • First rate movie and continuous shooting modes
  • Powerful flash for a compact camera
  • Unique My Colors feature
  • LCD visible in low light (and it's about time)
  • AF-assist lamp; good low light focusing
  • USB 2.0 High Speed support
  • Optional underwater case and external slave flash

What I didn't care for:

  • Some corner softness and purple fringing
  • Redeye is a problem
  • Cheap plastic door over memory card / battery compartment
  • While an improvement over the other SD series cameras, battery life could be better
  • Can't swap memory cards while camera is on a tripod
  • More manual controls would be nice

Some other compact, high resolution cameras to consider include the Canon PowerShot SD400, Casio Exilim EX-Z57 and EX-Z750, Fuji FinePix Z1, Konica Minolta DiMAGE G600 and X50, Nikon Coolpix 7900, Olympus Stylus Verve S and D-630Z, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX7, Pentax Optio S5i, and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P200, DSC-T7, and DSC-T33.

As always, I recommend a trip down to your local reseller to try out the PowerShot SD500 and its competitors before you buy!

Photo Gallery

See how the photos turned out in our gallery!

Feedback & Discussion

If you have a question about this review, please send them to Jeff. Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking for a personal recommendation.

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