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Josh784 Jun 2, 2005 5:33 PM

I'm looking for an ultra portable camera with good image quality. Both of these cameras produce good images, the SD500 being better, but also bigger.

I looked at an SD400 yesterday in Staples and was very impressed with the size, speed, and operation of the camera. I was unable to view any pictures that I took, so I cannot evaluate the quality beyond the images available on the web. I prefer the SD400 in terms of size, and also looks to be honest. The longer battery life of the SD500 doesn't concern me, but the better quality images of stronger flash could be the deal-breaker.

My question is this: are the flash and extra 2 MP on the SD500 worth the extra $100? I think I would like the overall form of the SD400 better, but image quality is an important factor to me. I have an Olympus C-5050Z currently - how would the images taken with these two Canons compare?


rodmeister Jun 2, 2005 10:00 PM

I just bought the SD400 to compliment my Nikon 8400. I'm very happy with the versatility and quality in such a tiny, unobtrusivepackage. , especially the quality of the color. I wanted a carry-anywhere, carry-anytime camera and was willing to sacrifice some quality. I hear that the SD500 has superior image quality but I knew it would be left at home because of it's larger size. I often left my old S230 (similar in size to the SD500) at home while the SD400 goes with me everywhere.

Ramakristan Jun 13, 2005 4:37 AM

It was a bit difficult to choose, the SD400 or SD500, as mentioned earlier about size, sharpness etc etc for me as well.
Thought the SD500 a bit bulkier but in the end, I chose the SD500, guess what,the size is not that big at all after a week of usage, very glad I chose the SD500.
If only if you compare to the SD400, yes, I admit it is very compact, my earlier camera was a Sony T3, it was a terrible mistake buying the T3, flash was terrible, night shots was the worst I seen, compare to the SD500, flash was awesome when I took a picture of a lighted building, I knew I got the right camera, Canon SD500.
Now, I take it everywhere I go and my wife thinks I am going nutty.

tasdisr Jun 13, 2005 10:44 AM

My wife and I just purchased an SD400 this weekend to go along with our Minolta

S404. We wanted something small and easy to carry around. After using it all day Saturday and Sunday, I have to say that I am impressed. The picture quality was

very good and the printed results looked great. It must be a popular camera,

while we were at Best Buy looking at the SD400 they rang up sales for three

of them before we got ours.

redjr Jun 21, 2005 9:48 AM

Ramakristan wrote:

.....Now, I take it everywhere I go and my wife thinks I am going nutty.
Sounds familiar. I picked up the SD500 as well to compliment my Olympus C-5050 and couldn't be happier. It's a quality piece of gear and INMO takes excellent pictures (I'm still expeirmenting). It's so small, I can carry in a holster style case on my belt and not even know it's there! But at least it's available and ready to shoot in about 2 seconds.


Elphman Jun 21, 2005 10:23 AM

Rodmeister and to everyone else who say the SD500 is "big," I couldn't disagree more. Ipurchased it this past Sunday and so far have been very happy. :) IMO, it's small enough. The other SD cameras are nice in their own right, but to me the SD500 is the right size for me and I don't have big hands. That said, it goes with me everywhere I go (FYI, I keep it secured in a small bag). And to those reviewers who said their lcd screen cracked, mine is still in optimum shape.

bigolddog Jun 30, 2005 2:48 PM

Hi Josh784,

Did you ever get any answers about which picture is better: the SD400 or SD500?

Josh784 Jul 8, 2005 4:20 AM

I came to the conclusion that the SD500 images were superior. I found this gallery to be especially helpful in my decision. So far I have been impressed with the SD500.


moondaug Jul 26, 2005 3:52 PM

To answer your question about how the Canon SD400/SD500 will compare to your 5050Z, you will find that the photos will 'feel' softer to you, due to the size and quality of the 'ultra-compact' camera lense. Also the 5050Z is possibly the fastest fixed lense digital camera at f1.8 so no camera I know of takes clearer images in low-light or fast action. That said, the 5050Z is an huge compared to the Canon S series cameras for size. The 505Z is not a pocket sized camera by any stetch.

FYI, Olympus shots tend to be higher contrast than Canon's DIGIC images. But Olympus' processors (as with Nikon, Pentax, etc.) tend to introduce more jaggies/stepping into their images (I suspect this is due to processor sharpening of the captured image). If you wish to compare apples to apples, you need to look your Olympus 5050Z against the Canon equivelent—the G5. Look closely at the darker power lines against the sky in these shots:

Here is the 5050z

Here is the G5

Here is the smaller lensed SD400

That said, the Canon SD series offers the best image quality in its class (when comparing cultra compact cameras from Casio, Sony or Olympus).

Be advised the SD's lenses are not as fast as your 5050 so you will need to take great care to steady your shots. But this is an issue with any ultra compact camera. Size and weight can make hand shake much more of an issue than with most of us trained using an old-school SLR.

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