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.