Apple has the iPod - Canon has the Ixus. And like Apple, Canon is continually revising and refreshing its Ixus brand. So, is the Digital Ixus 70 a case of a radical product overhaul or just the same chocolates in a different box? First impressions are that the Ixus 70 isn't the most exciting camera to look at. It’s basically a …
Bit late for a review?
I have had one since August and it had been out a few months by then. Excellent little camera.
Sensor size, yay!
OK, so 1/2.5" is pretty average (and typical for pocket cameras, alas), but yay to Rob for quoting it. Personally, within reason, I don't give two hoots about megapixels or precise zoom ranges, but (away from the serious photographic sites) sensor sizes are far too rarely quoted unless particularly newsworthy, yet are probably the biggest contributor to image quality.
That's a coincidence. I bought one a while back for a knock-down price from REDACTED. It was the one with the black trim on the front, because it reminded me of the old APS Ixus from long ago.
Overall it's decent if you treat it as an ooh, aah, look at that gadget. It's tiny and flat and you can rest it upright on flat surfaces. The optical viewfinder is too small to look through. The screen is bright and clear and has a smear-resistant coating. The body feels cold to the touch.
As a camera the lens is okay but the processor tends to smear things if you use the higher ISOs - and you generally have to do this because the automatic maximum shutter speed is something like a second or so, and the lens isn't very fast. You can set a longer speed, at which point it becomes an kind of shutter-priority low-light camera. There are almost no manual controls, you can't set the aperture and you can only manually set the shutter speed from one second to about five seconds or thereabouts.
Amongst all the kiddy features there's a time lapse movie mode, which sounds interesting although I haven't used it. There's a plastic tripod socket.
You'd probably be better off saving up for something like a Powershot A570 or A720 IS however, they have many more features and image stabilisation as well.
No Wide Angle - No Sale
Why are Canon so tardy at putting 28mm (or less) wide angle lenses on their compact cameras?
And it has a viewfinder! (One reason I buy Canons and not Panasonics).
Canon and 28mm equivalents
Why tardy? Fair question, given that 28mm is useful for landscapes, essential for people in rooms, and gives you creative options for putting together foreground and background. If only Joe Punter knew...
I guess Canon can't get the edge quality of the lens off the manufacturing line at the price they want. It took Panasonic a little while, but the zoom on the TZ3 has really low distortion. Nice. Sure it costs a bit more, but less than a wide-angle adaptor lens. As for viewfinders - what use a weeny with 80% coverage? The Lumixen also have a very useful trick which Joe gets virtually for free now - bracketed auto-exposure. Switch it on and forget your exposure worries.
Time Between Pictures
I'll admit I'm not the best photographer in the world, I just take happy family pics of the kids doing something cute.
My main problem with my current camera (A Fuji Finepix) has always been the time from taking a picture, to the camera being ready to take the next picture, I know it's only a few seconds, but that can be enough to infuriate.
How does this camera cope in this regard? I noted in the review it powers up quickly, but it didn't mention time between pictures.
The Ixus 70 (under its American name of SD1000) is one of the many Canon camera models supported by the CHDK hacker community. With open-source firmware loaded via SD-card this camera can do things like 65-second exposures down to 1/10,000 second as well as generate RAW images. You can get more details and downloads by Giggling for CHDK Wiki.
Re: Time Between Pictures
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large SuperFine JPEG: 2.14 seconds
Single Shot mode
640x480 Normal JPEG: 1.99 seconds
Large SuperFine JPEG: 1.33 second (0.75 frames per second);
2 seconds to clear
640x480 Normal JPEG: 1.26 second (0.79 frames per second); 2 second to clear
Flash recycling: 8 seconds
I had an Ixus 800 which died from a shockingly small drop, these things are impossible to repair and seriosuly fragile, I've avoided Canons since although the pics were nice.
All compact cameras are fragile as there's generally no room to spare so the components get the full g-shock on impact. You want non-fragile then get a pro-slr or buy a rubber armour casing.
My boyfriend dropped my PowerShot A410 Digital Elph (early-mid 2004 North American equivalent of IXUS line here in Europe) onto cobblestones in Munich from about 1.5 meters up WHEN THE LENS WAS OUT. After freaking out at him, I realized that all that happened was that the case was dented a little. I still use it for snapshots; 4MP is fine for situations where the best camera is the one someone happens to have on hand.
Far to late !
The Ixus 70 (and the 75 - the same optics but bigger screen) has been around since summer last year. At the rate Canon replace models I expect the new one to be released in the next month or two.
Five by five
"With open-source firmware loaded via SD-card this camera can do things like 65-second exposures down to 1/10,000 second as well as generate RAW images"
That sounds very interesting - I'll have to give it a go. My main concern with the Ixus is that it feels as if the software has been deliberately crippled so that the camera doesn't overshadow the rest of Canon's range. Physically it feels pretty solid and it's an excellent pocket size, but the almost total lack of manual controls bothers me - that, and the .jpg processing, which is smeary at higher ISOs. Hopefully with .raw this can be turned off.
Glad this got a good review. I ordered one yesterday.
It's our policy here at The Register Hardware, that if a product is available to purchase, then it is eligible for review it. Regardless of whether it's the very latest in that particular range or not.
The lack of Wide-angle isn't a Canon compact thing- I have an IXUS 850 and that has a 28mm-equivalent lens.
Thanks for the photos - it's good to be able to look into the refurbished Rotunda and see what they've done to it!
"That sounds very interesting - I'll have to give it a go."
In fact I did, I stuck the firmware onto a card and although it's a bit fiddly (the raw files are in a peculiar Canon-specific format), it's very interesting. Flash sync at 1/1600th of a second, minute-long exposures, and focus bracketing (thus allowing for huge depth of field, if you stack the photos) in a camera costing pennies!
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