Canon IXUS 850 IS

6 11 2007

This trip I decided not to lug my DSLR and lenses half-way across the world.  Those that know me would understand that wasn’t an easy decision for me to make!  Instead I chose to buy a point-and-shoot, which I’ve been wanting to purchase for a long time.  I’ve always liked the small Canon’s and the IXUS range was an obvious choice for me. 

The Canon IXUS 850 IS

The 850 IS is an image stabilized 7.1 megapixel camera with a 28-105mm f/2.8-5.8 lens.  Small, reliable and tough this is the perfect camera to carry everywhere and take snapshots.  So far it’s been great – colour and focus are accurate, the 2.5 inch rear screen is bright and clear, shutter lag is pretty low, the battery seems to last a long time, the menu and display are well laid out, the image stabilized lens is a gem and even the flash is quite usable.

DPReview rated the camera highly recommended in their comprehensive review.  (Confusingly this camera is also called the SD800 IS in other markets.)

The only real gripe I have is that it doesn’t have full manual override.  Why can’t I set the aperture and shutter speed directly?  There are some workarounds – you can set the shutter speed if it’s over a second with “long shutter” mode and the exposure compensation can somewhat fulfill the role of modifying the shutter speed – but with all the other modes the camera supports (many of which are gimmicks) why couldn’t they just make a transparent manual mode?  I hadn’t realized this was the case when I bought it and it would probably have made me look at other models.  I knew that some other cameras in the IXUS lineup had a full manual override and had wrongly assumed they all did.

Having said all that the need for manual settings where I’m using a point-and-shoot is pretty rare since the camera is pretty accurate most of the time.  Perhaps this issue has more to do with me needing to learn to relinquish control! 

Overall, I’m still very happy with the camera and would highly recommend it to most people.  I just don’t quite understand why Canon wouldn’t supply a full manual mode and, as a DSLR user, find it a little frustrating.




2 responses

20 11 2007

I’ll probably be in the market for a new digital compact soon. We went to Daylesford a few weeks back on a fairly stormy weekend, and our beloved IXUS 55 (enclosed in the faux-leather case) was dropped into a rainwater puddle. At the time I didn’t think more of it; the outside of the case was a bit wet so I gave the camera a wipedown but didn’t turn it on for the rest of the night.

The next day when I tried to use it, it wouldn’t turn on. Initially I thought the battery was flat, so I put the spare in but there was a still a problem. This was when panic set in, and I had a flashback to the camera falling into the puddle the previous night.

I actually managed to turn it on later with a bit of coercing, but it would spontaneously power off, and the LCD had definitely experiencing some internal damage as the image looked quite water-logged. After a few hours, the camera wouldn’t turn on at all anymore.

I took it into the Canon service centre across the road from work, but don’t fancy the chances of it being fixed for < $200. I’m a big fan of the IXUS range, so I’ll have to keep the 850 IS in mind for our next purchase.

21 11 2007

I probably would have cried if it was my point ‘n’ shoot that landed in a puddle. Poor bugger!

Of course, if it was my DSLR there’s a better-than-average chance I would have just continued shooting…the thing is built like a tank!

As for the 850 IS, it’s a pretty damn good camera – and honestly any of the IXUS range is a safe bet. I would try and choose an image stabilized model though if you can. Certainly prioritise it higher than megapixels.

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