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Canon Powershot SD850 IS
Canon Powershot SD850 IS

Hey! You should know that Canon has released a newer version of this product: the Canon Powershot SD1300 IS.

Canon Powershot SD850 IS

We've given the SD850 IS a grade of C+.

Editor's Review

This camera is nearly three years old, which is ancient in digital camera terms. We recommend that you buy one of Canon's newer, cheaper, and more powerful SD series Powershots. Check out the SD1300.

Here's what we had to say about the SD850 when it was released in May 2007:

What more can be said about Canon ultracompacts? People love them, they're sleek, stylish, and chock full of great features. The SD850 IS is no exception. Building on the popular SD700 IS, the 850 retains the vital image stabilization that makes shooting clear shots with a small camera a breeze. On top of that, the 8 megapixel sensor will allow you to print photo-quality images in sizes up to 16" x 22". Printing, sharing, and transferring photos is made even easier by a cute little button that will hopefully alleviate some of the headaches and annoyances associated with moving your pictures from the camera to your computer (and beyond).


  • 8 megapixels
  • DIGIC III Image Processor
  • 4x optical zoom / 4x digital zoom
  • Movie mode with sound
  • Autofocus
  • Auto and manual exposure
  • Shift-type image stabilization
  • ISO 80-1600
  • 2.5-inch LCD display
  • Secure Digital memory storage (32MB card included)
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Part Number: SD850 IS SL
  • UPC: 410100267775
  • Release Date: May 11, 2007

Shop for SD850 IS Accessories

Canon Powershot SD850 IS Reviews

Canon Powershot SD850 IS Reviews by Digital Camera-HQ Users

  • 3.0 out of 5
Decent pictures but two main flaws (systemBuilder — 01/03/2011)
The 4x optical zoom on the SD850 was the sharper of the two cameras released by Canon at the same time (3.7x optical zoom, 28-105 on the SD800), but boy do I EVER regret getting a zoom with > 30mm starting angle !! This camera has a 35-140mm zoom, and I spent the past 3 years backing up to walls in our house, and holding the camera up over my head, trying to get the picture !!! Low-light photo noise (ISO > 200) is totally unusable. TOTALLY UNUSABLE. Don't expect to take even a middling picture in a bowling alley, EVER, without using a flash !! This camera is probably the worst in its class. The controls on the camera make it very difficult to take a long-exposure photo in low light in order to compensate for the rotten sensor and tiny lens. So, this is basically an outdoors-only camera.
  • 2.0 out of 5
What They Don't Want You to Know (Cluke — 01/30/2010)
Wait! Put your hands up an step away from the camera. No... not a really adequate flash, but the color was good. No... images not as sharp as the ads suggest but OK It's the clicks, 5 rapid beeps and resulting words,"lens error, restart camera", you will have to worry about. You are lucky if these words pop up on your screen while still under warranty. Once they DO show up and your focus ceases to work, nothing, NADA, will return your camera to normal. It is extended. Moral of lesson?: a few hundred dollars down the drain. I now have an expensive paper weight. Had I consulted the user reports BEFORE I bought, I could have discovered a swarm of others with the exact problem. So, Canon HAS to know about this. Customer service will act like they don't: reading with fained surprise from page 8 of the manual. It's up to you. I've learned my lesson. I don't HAVE another few hundred dollars bail out bonus for Canon CEO's.
  • 2.0 out of 5
This camera is over-rated (Deby — 09/27/2009)

I read all the reviews before I bought this camera to replace an old Fuji I had. The camera is not worth the money. It performs poorly in low light and not at all at night. You have to fidget so much with the settings you might as well purchase a better camera for a little more and get superior pictures. I find that I am using Photoshop too much to compensate for the quality of the photos produced by this camera.

  • 1.0 out of 5
Dropped on the deck! (tina cofield — 08/12/2009)

My Mom dropped the camera on the deck and the zoom lens bent. It was no longer usable. This camera is not durable at all.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Broke twice--I give up! (Kristen — 06/17/2009)

I was never pleased with the photo quality and then it broke twice with lens errors. Got it fixed once, but not again.

  • 1.0 out of 5
Broken, no support (E T B — 06/07/2009)

This is my third Canon camera, it also my last. Before anybody buys from Canon, learn about the "lens error" issue. Seems to be a common problem. I contacted Canon about support and all they wanted to do was bill me for a repair that is close to the current value of the camera or exchange me a "recertified" camera for about the same amount. Canons take great pictures but you never know when they will lock up. The only thing for sure is that Canon won't lift a finger to take responsibility for their mistakes.

  • 1.0 out of 5
Focus problems (Maryann — 04/03/2009)

I am the only user of this camera and dont use it much. I take still pictures only.
For no reaon it has gone out of focus and every photo is a blurred haze.
It is well cared for and never been dropped ot mis handled.
I am bot happy. It cost me about $600 Australian.
Searching for solutions, I am at the stage of taking it apart.
I have tried cleaning the lens, gently tapping etc.
Since I am out of warrently I have nothing to loose.
I had a minolta that served me well except I left it in a taxi and never saw it again.

  • 5.0 out of 5
The best :] (Haru — 01/04/2009)

I really like this camera. It is great and takes clear and fine pictures. It is really nice and has better qualities than most cameras. I have dropped it about 10x but has never been broken.

  • 2.0 out of 5
Canon SD 850 IS (Fred Lopez — 12/06/2008)

I did a lot of research before I purchased this camera so I thought I made a safe choice. Wrong! It performed great until it erased ALL my pics from my honeymoon with no warning. I sent it back to Canon and they repaired it saying that mold had formed on the telephoto zoom assembly which caused it to malfunction. Now, I do not trust it so it sits unused. Look around before you buy this camera. I'm looking at the Lumix line for my next camera.

  • 4.0 out of 5
I Like It! (Niki — 06/23/2008)

I really like the camera. It is easy to use and takes great pictures. My only complaint is not being able to crop my pictures once I have taken them. My old camera did this and I really miss it. Other than that, Great Camera.

  • 3.0 out of 5
dissappointed (Jess — 06/07/2008)

As a Cannon fan I am sad to report that this camera did not meet my expectations. When viewing images at 100% there were a lot of artifacts and blurriness. I would expect this from a lower megapixel camera in poor lighting.
The auto loves 200 iso and unless you point your camera directly at a light bulb it will select 200. I tested the manual settings (iso, scene selections, etc) and still couldn't get a clean shot.
I got approximately 3 decent shots out of 100, however, there were still artifacts when viewing at 100%. I've had great luck with Canons in the past and hope that my camera was just defective.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Got it Yesterday from Staples for $179 !!! (WhiteKnight — 05/21/2008)

Earlier was sold on the SD 870 but couldn't resist the del. Spent reading reviews and trying hundred of shots overnight and this morning and now I am sure I made the right choice pricewise AND quality. Because of the price you can get 2 years extended warranty for $39.99 Can't beat that. But hurry up, one store was sold out and I had to drive a few miles to find another one that had only two left! Too bad it is discontinued. Anybody knows why?

  • 5.0 out of 5
Canon beats out Olympus (Lyman Lum — 04/18/2008)

I love my Canon 850IS. It has easier to use and has more features than my Olympus 750 and the Olympus 780 I traded up to and the pictures are 100% brighter and sharper than either Olympus cameras. My old Olympus C-50 was an excellent camera that took great pictures, much better than either the 750 or 780.
Only thing I wish is that the 850 had the all weather features/protection (seals) of the Olympus Stylus camera's, then it would be absolutely perfect. A 5 optical zoom would also be nice. Canon has maintaned its quality like a Mercedes Benz (with few major changes) while Olympus appears to be using more plastic in their lens elements to keep prices down and complete.

  • 5.0 out of 5
love it.. (april florendo — 03/19/2008)

i could never ask for anything but my canon 950 IS.. My friends have sony T100, Olympus 790 sw and Panasonic digicams and as i compare among those cameras, my camera excels the most.. maybe i was just a little confuse of the LCD monitor because it always got fingerprints on.. but anyweiz, it is one of the best cameras point and shoot factor..uuu

  • 4.0 out of 5
Sony P-200 takes much better pics (Victor — 12/16/2007)

Me and my friend have a Sony 2005 P-200. We read all the reviews and decided to replace it with Canon Cameras. He bought the G-7 and I bought the 850IS. End result, after we both tested. The Sony P-200 took overall sharper and better colors pics then the the Canon G-7 and 850IS. My friend was greatly disappointed in the G-7 considering it is one of their flagship models being beat out by a sony camera. Now the Sony camera does take bad low level lighting. But in everything else, it was just better. I verified by comparing pics myself and the same result. The sony P-200 had more "breathtaking pics" compared to the 850IS. The canon does have more options, but I bascially traded a 7.2 MP 3x optical camera for a Canon 8.0 with 4x optical. Was it worth the extra expense of $150 after all said and done. NO! Even If it wasn't $150 the sony camera took better pics overall. I gave it a good, cause I realize the Canon is a very good camera, but what it does say is my couple of years older sony camera is kick ass. When I bought the Sony it was on Stevesdigicam as one of their best.

  • 5.0 out of 5
Canon SD850 IS- Great little camera (Doug — 11/04/2007)

It's amazing, a new camera model comes out and 60 days later it's discounted $100.00 or more from it's original ist price. If you've waited for this price drop, you are wise. This camera will not disappoint you. It's performance in terms of picture quality, ease of use, small footprint, and overall construction quality more than equals the more expensive SD870 IS (which hasn't been heaviliy discounted as yet). The 850 menu system is easy to learn and quite intuitive. You may even want to experiment with its semi-manual settings for some spectacular photographs. I have learned that regardless what electronic product you buy- if you don't have to have the latest gizmo today, tomorrow it will be 30% less and the quality will still be on par with whatever it was that took it's place. If you are looking for a good camera, get the Canon SD850 IS. I'm glad I did, and I'm glad I waited till I could get a discounted price.

  • 5.0 out of 5
This small camera offers a lot for the price! (Amy S. — 10/22/2007)

I recently purchased this camera because I was disappointed with the shutter lag in my old camera and wanted an option where I could actually capture the picture before the baby crawled out of the scene. This is it. While there is some shutter lag, it is really not very noticeable with the shots I am taking. The night mode is one of the best I have ever seen. I used it last night in a campfire setting. The camera did a wonderful job in capturing the campfire and faces around it without producing a grainy picture. When I moved away from the campfire to capture my baby crawling through the leaves in utter darkness, it did the job just as well.

This camera is more than most people will need if they are not serious shutterbugs. The price is certainly good for the package that you get. This comes highly recommended!!

  • 5.0 out of 5
Great Buy (Karen Smith — 09/19/2007)

Having gotten past the Canon SD750 fiasco, [see review 16th July] I was still interested in Canon as opposed to other brands. I carefully checked out reviews on this camera at various sites and could find no faults. I physically visited a number of stores and tried a few different models of Canon and Sony. This model came up tops each time. It does everything the average camera buff could possibly want and the image stabiliser is a definite bonus. Brilliant camera and I can highly recommend it.

  • 3.0 out of 5
Missing (Jax — 09/03/2007)

They need a 10 x optical Zoom on the next one and its a perfect Cam.

  • 5.0 out of 5
brilliant digital camera (michael — 07/24/2007)

it is great,wonderful digital camera with 8 mp and 16 combined zoom

  • 5.0 out of 5
yes. it can zoom while taking videos (Jason — 06/13/2007)

so far so good. chose this over the T100 after looking a video samples on youtube between the two. I tested the video on this one. Very nice 640x480 30 FPS. 87MB = 50sec.! Oh well..memory is cheap now anywasys.