Some people want style. Others want simplicity. And then there are those who want both. If you belong to this last group, then Canon’s Digital Ixus 95 IS could be just the ticket. This compact camera is aimed at the point-and-shoot snapper who fancies a camera that looks good and takes decent pictures with the minimum of effort …
An excellent camera
I bought a canon ixus IXUS 960 IS in Singapore last year and highly rate this camera. Its capable of creating some exceptional images. The auto mode is pretty good but there's also a degree of manual flexibility, ISO settings, colour balance etc to ensure that results work under low light and in bright sunshine. I really like the cinematic wide screen format with the black horizontal letter boxing - great for landscapes and streetscenes. Also noteworthy is the panorama mode which allows the creation (using autostich software) of stunning 180/360 degree views. Finally the video mode is great - I got some great atmospheric short clips of the atmosphere at a football game.
The shutter is a bit slow sometimes as is the focussing system and I've had problems of corruption and compatability with the 4gb high density SD card I used.
That aside people sometimes make a false assumption that a bulky DSLR with an expensive lens will enable them to take much better photos than a compact. Actually this isn't always true as the IXUS can in certain situations produce results that match a DSLR and actually there's the advantage of it being compact and discreet - great for natual looking candid shots.
Some examples of work captured with the IXUS 960 -
Panorma created with autostitch -
Another reg review
"However, noise levels jump significantly when you reach ISO 800."
No shit Sherlock. At 35 MP/cm2 pixel density (a 21 MP EOS 5D Mark II has just 2.4 MP/cm2) that's hardly surprising. I also have a G9 that I'm loathe to use above ISO 400 (200 if I can help it). It's a "feature" of compact cameras. It'll only be the Digic 4 helping to keep noise low at ISO 400.
Canon should be encouraged for getting with Panasonic's thinking of not using above 10 MP in a compact though, as it provides jack-all benefit for a good deal of hassle and picture degradation.
It'd be good if the reg could see it's way of comparing the camera to what it has rated the best in the category as it would provide a useful comparison reference point - side by sides in the ISO shots etc.
Liked the photographing of a cop car given their attitude to public photography though.
"That aside people sometimes make a false assumption that a bulky DSLR with an expensive lens will enable them to take much better photos than a compact. Actually this isn't always true as the IXUS can in certain situations produce results that match a DSLR"
A bulky DSLR with an expensive lens shits on a compact I'm afraid, it's no false assumption. The user may not be able to take a better picture (which is probably more the point, compact auto compared with DSLR full control) but the equipment sure as hell can. I'd love to see an IXUS match a 5D Mark II with an L-series lens on the front. The quality of this pairing is truly amazing.
The examples you give are great photos but, trust me, they don't even come close to DSLR image quality and bright light (the fox photo) is the only place it'd have a chance. Massively larger photo-sites coupled with excellent optics offering around 25+ times surface area see to that (visually comparing Ixus 80 with 24-105L).
Where I think you have a point is when you get someone who buys the DSLR rather than the compact for one-upmanship reasons and their photo skills are utter gash. Seen plenty of those. Shutter going like a machine gun, hold the camera like a compact etc.
While you are quite right - my 5d mk1 with EF 24-70 lens produced far higher resolution images than the IXUS (although for posting online as .jpgs the difference is negligable). The noise processing at higher ISO's on a 5d combined with a "fast" lens allow far better (less noisy) results in low light. On the DSLR ability to fine tune & lock focus and exposure controls are also advantages. And the IXUS is unable to create those beautiful portraits where a slender depth of field puts the subject (or even just the subjects eyes) in focus and creates a wonderful (bokeh) blur of the background... (although you can achive the same in camera results with hours of photoshop)
But I forgot to mention one other advantage of the IXUS and thats the fact that by fitting in the pocket its discreet and thus far less likely to be stolen. Which is why the shots i posted links to above where taken with a £200 IXUS and not my two and half grands worth of DSLR + lens which two blokes with knifes parted me from several weeks before.