Reviewers are split about the touch-screen Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS: Some consider it a standout, while others contend it's rather pricey for a point-and-shoot camera. As the successor to the Canon PowerShot SD980 IS (*Est. $215), it packs a larger 3.5-inch PureColor LCD with double the resolution (460,000 dots), though the Samsung DualView TL225 (*Est. $215) LCD has 1,152,000 dots. Touch-screen features include tapping on a subject to focus, scrolling through photos by tapping on the side of the camera, and "hints and tips" text bubbles, but the Nikon Coolpix S70 (*Est. $200) one-ups with pinch-to-zoom. Mike Perlman at InfoSyncWorld.com considers the touch screen among the most responsive and technologically advanced, but CNET's Joshua Goldman says other interfaces offer more options, and nearly all experts say that having to rely solely on the touch screen slows down use. Still, an owner at Canon's site says the big icons are "usable even with sausage fingers."
The stylish SD3500 IS comes with a 5x zoom lens, 720p HD video with an HDMI cable for easy TV playback, and Eye-Fi memory card support for wireless photo transfers. Like the Canon PowerShot SX210 IS (*Est. $300) it has a built-in Eye-Fi interface so you can easily adjust settings. However, there's no optical viewfinder and reviewers say the tiny flash is easily blocked by fingers. In addition to automatic settings, it has a 15-second shutter mode for night photography and new special effects, such as a simulated fisheye lens. Editors at Steves-Digicams.com like the "rather fast" wide angle lens, but despite a boost to 14.1 megapixels, Mark Goldstein at PhotographyBlog.com says image quality isn't noticeably better than the SD980 IS. For more creative shooting options, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX550 (*Est. $210) and the FujiFilm FinePix Z700EXR (*Est. $220) dole out extra features at a cheaper price.
Most professional photography reviewers have standalone write-ups of the Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS. CNET and PhotographyBlog.com provide limited comparison to the Canon PowerShot SD980 IS, while user reviews from Amazon.com and CanonUsa.com help to reveal problems with frequent use.
"My opinion of the Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS is one of indifference," says Joshua Goldman. While the camera offers up decent photos, touch-screen controls and an ultrawide-angle lens, he says the slow shooting times, lack of innovative features and Canon's slipping image quality add up to "just a better-than-average touch-screen ultracompact camera."
Review: Canon PowerShot SD3500 (Black), Joshua Goldman, April 2, 2010
For U.K. reviewer Mark Goldstein, the Canon Digital IXUS 210 (known as the Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS in the U.S.) has "too much style and not enough substance." The camera may have a "slick" touch-screen interface, but he says it's "a lot of money for what is at heart a point and shoot camera" with average image quality.
Review: Canon Digital IXUS 210 Review, Mark Goldstein, March 18, 2010
The editors at Steves-Digicams.com are "happy to recommend" the Canon PowerShot SD3500. Assets include the highly interactive touch screen, good image quality and wide-angle lens, but battery life falls short of the mark, and the flash location is frustrating.
Review: Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS Review, Editors of Steves-Digicams.com , March 24, 2010
Mike Perlman says the Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS has "solidified its place within the point-and-shoot realm as the most successful fully touch-screen model to date." He has no complaints and, unlike other experts, he finds it notably quicker to use than a regular camera "thanks to the stellar touch-screen menu layout."
Review: Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS Review, Mike Perlman, March 2, 2010
"The only thing I wish for was sharper 720p video with optical zoom during shooting," says one Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS owner, who otherwise considers the camera perfect. The majority of users are smitten by the touch screen and great image quality, although several lifelong Canon fans see no noticeable improvement in image quality, despite the boost to 14 megapixels.
Review: Canon PowerShot SD3500 IS, Contributors to CanonUSA.com, As of August 2010
"Is this the best Canon can offer?" says one owner who is disappointed by the drop in photo quality compared to an older Canon model. Complaints about poor image quality and fuzzy HD video populate the reviews, but just as many owners are pleased with the touch-screen functionality, shooting options and ease of use.
Review: Canon PowerShot SD3500IS 14.1 MP Digital Camera, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of August 2010