The Canon post man arrived today with a little package just for me, it contained one of their shiny new Canon Ixus 200 IS compact cameras. The same camera is called the Powershot SD980 in other parts of the world, but for this review, I’m in the UK with the UK model…
Canon released the new 12mp Ixus 200 IS recently and followed it up, here in the UK at least, with a very vigorous ad campaign. I must admit it made me want to know what all the fuss was about! Well, I’ve got to say that after using the camera for a week or so that it’s compact, cute, solid and quite well priced, and I’d be quite happy to have one in my pocket 24/7!
I am a little wary of “touch screen” products and I think this is all because of the iPhone and how very good its touch screen capabilities are. On the iPhone, with a quick finger stroke you can be on another page or another track or another photo, well because of this thinking, the first thing I did when I powered up the little Canon was to take a couple of quick shots and try out the “flip through” of the image review, and I must say that the Canon Ixus 200 IS started out by disappointing me to be honest, because you can’t just lightly touch it to change things, you have to press a little harder to get the camera to realise what you’re after. I’ve since changed my mind on this! here’s why… Imagine if you’re half way through taking a photo and brush a fingertip against the screen and the camera changes its focus to be on a passing car or a running dog or even a flying pig! and you miss the shot you’re after – so, I understand the thinking behind the sensitivity level required by the touch screen, and with that little issue out of the way, let us move on!
The camera is small, but not silly small. It’s a good size to pop into a pocket in fact, I’d say that it’s even better to carry around than my Ixus 960IS which is a little thicker and slightly bulkier. The little Ixus is 99.9 x 53.4 x 22.9mm in physical size and weighs in at about 130g Which isn’t going to break your back. For such a small camera, the 3.0″ 16×9 (230,000 dots) screen is impressive and in various shooting modes holds some of the icons required for setting things like your flash settings in auto mode and exposure in program mode.
The Ixus 200 IS / Powershot SD980 has a 5x Optical zoom and an aperture of f/2.8 – f/5.9 and shift type image stabilisation as well which is all very lovely and seems to work well together. I won’t go into digital zoom because I firmly believe that it should always remain switched off – hey, that’s just me.
The advert on television shows a sprightly group of people running through the forest using the “Face Tracking” auto focus… It actually works quite well on something like a face, it’s a bit tricky on less contrasty scenes but still, works very well! With all of the gadgetry included (There are 20 different shooting modes to choose from, including Foliage!) you’re not going to be lost for things to try out and then switch off, I say this because I think the little camera does a very good job in standard P mode, or even auto mode for that matter, the image quality is great and with an image of 4000×3000 you could print yourself out a nice poster
Canon have packaged HD movie mode into the sleek compact, and it gives you decent enough 720p HD MOV files to pop up onto YouTube if you so desire.. The Ixus 200 IS will record a 10 minute / 4gb movie. I found the automatic exposure to be very slow (About two seconds to evaluate and switch between a dark subject and a bright one) but if you were outdoors (I was inside taking video of my little boy watching television) I would imagine that the semi-constant lightsource would give you a great movie. It does tend to ramp up the ISO and give you a pretty grainy film in less than ideal lighting conditions. I’ve made a quick video and uploaded it to YouTube in HD format so you can see what I’m on about – It’s quick and choppy, but it’s got a great soundtrack! (That’s my friend, Lou Rhodes)
And here’s a quick image or two from the little Canon. I popped down along side the Thames on my lunch break.
You can find the full spec on the little canon here – www.canon.co.uk
If I were in the market for a compact this would be on the list. Four Stars (Of a possible five)
Grab it for yourself at Amazon -