The SD980 IS is a cute, stylish choice for a pocket camera. The 5x optical zoom is superior to most on cameras this size, and the 720p movie mode is also a fantastic addition. There's also a 12.1 megapixel sensor, an ultra-wide 24mm lens, four color options (silver, purple, gold and blue), optical image stabilization, an HDMI output, SDHC card slot and a 3-inch touchscreen on the rear. At 3.93- x 2.1- x .9-inches in size, this one's definitely not the slimmest of the bunch, and at 4.59 ounces, it's definitely not the lightest. Sure, it's satisfactorily small for those with decently sized pockets, but it could stand to trim down in our eyes.
One of the more curious inclusions here is the assortment of buttons to the right of the expansive touchscreen. It feels as if Canon wanted to have a touchscreen ELPH, but it was deathly scared of shocking its core user group that had grown accustomed to the orthodox rear control scheme. To that end, what you're left with is a hybrid controlling system that enables you to access a subset of tweaks via touch and the full gamut via traditional buttons. Not that we didn't appreciate it -- to be honest, we still preferred the buttons to the screen when it came time to change the options, but we would've much
preferred a pure-touch camera that was half as thick to what we actually have in the SD980 IS.
For example, users can line up a shot and use their finger to touch the focus point, but you'll still have to move your hand up to the shutter button if you want to capture the moment. A simple double-tap feature to focus and take the picture would've been a fabulous inclusion, but alas, we're left with a half-hearted attempt to make the touch panel useful when composing a shot as such a feature is only available when the camera is held vertically. Indeed, most everything about this device is remarkably familiar for owners of previous Digital ELPHs; startup is quick, focusing is decently fast, flipping from still to movie mode requires just the flip of a top toggle and the entire menu system / user interface is simply a polished version
of the same software
that has been on these guys
since the days of the SD200.