Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Canon IXUS 70 - Review and Verdict

Only a week of ownership and I feel confident to write this review.  That says a lot about the simplicity of the IXUS 70 (see earlier post here).

The bottom line - a great little camera that provides quality images coupled with ease of use.  The usual drawbacks with a digital point and shoot apply but overall, better to have this camera in your pocket when leaving the DSLR at home!

  • Size - I bought the IXUS 70 because of its small size.  I wanted a camera that I could carry almost anywhere, particularly when traveling.  This camera is small enough to fit into most pockets or, if I bought a case, strapped to my belt;
  • Price - The IXUS 70 is not cheap but it is good value in that Canon don't seem to have cut many corners.  I bought mine at John Lewis in London - they offer an additional guarantee as well as a discounted price;
  • Lens - the most important feature of any camera - the rest is just a lightproof box!  The lens is a 3x zoom from 5.8-17.4mm focal length, with a maximum aperture of f1:2.8 at the wide angle end of the range.  The lens performs well throughout its range;
  • Color Quality - The sensor is typical Canon and has good color saturation though the dynamic range is a little disappointing (blow outs in bright areas are not uncommon);
  • The Engine - the auto focus and other fancy appointments work well.  I particularly like the way the camera assesses facial tones and will switch on infill flash to improve a portrait taken against the sun.  This really is a very good for a point and shoot.  But it appears that you have only two settings for the flash - auto and off.  "On" would be useful but it doesn't exist as an override option;
  • Response Time - on-line reviews say it is average.  After using the Nikon D200 it is hard to remember what average response time actually means!  Fast moving subjects simply don't wait around long enough;
  • Battery Life - the lithium battery seems to carry a lot of power.  The problem is you don't know how much power is left - there is only a "low battery" indicator.  On the other hand charging this battery when partially discharged has no negative effect on its "memory";
  • Memory Card - I bought a fast 2 GB SD card.  It will hold approximately 1000 images!
  • Build Quality - the metal case appears to be well built but I would not want to drop the camera on a concrete floor!  Overall, the controls seem to be built to last.
  • In Camera Editing - I have only tried out the red-eye correction but I have to say this works a treat.
So, if you are in the market for a quality small digital camera this may be a good choice.  I looked at several other models, all of which were more expensive and with the exception of the Panasonic Lumix range, fell short of what the IXUS 70 offers.  My reason for not buying a Lumix was the lack of a viewfinder - I am an old-fashioned photographer who needs a viewfinder!