Canon Digital IXUS 850IS review

Review Date : Mon, 5 Feb 2007

Author :

Canon IXUS 850IS

Take the wider view with the latest Canon Digital IXUS....

Pros: Speed of use, Stylish design, Image stabilisation, Superb WB and metering
Cons: Lack of image detail, Noise at ISO 1600, Corner softness / fringing at 28mm

Canon’s IXUS range typifies high style without compromising image quality. Its latest addition has something for wide-angle enthusiasts, with a 28mm equivalent focal length.

Features
Like its predecessor – the IXUS 800IS – the 850IS has a slightly more versatile zoom than most, reaching from a 28mm equivalent up to 105mm (3.8x overall). Canon’s Image Stabilisation (IS) is on board to help ensure shake-free images, which is helped by an ISO range stretching to 1600. While the IXUS line isn’t designed to offer the levels of manual control found in the PowerShot range, this doesn’t stop the IXUS 850IS from including a ‘manual’ shooting mode in addition to 10 subject-specific options and fully automatic. Other highlights include the latest Digic III processing engine and Canon’s proven nine-point AiAF focusing, resulting in a blend of high-end features that put the 850IS a step ahead of the competition.

Design
We've always had a soft spot for the IXUS design ethos, and the 850IS hasn’t changed this. The metal body feels solid and I love the tri-tone silver finish. Equally impressive is the control layout with everything falling exactly where you want it, be it the mode dial or zoom control – it’s not often that a ‘style’ orientated camera is so well laid out. A high resolution 2.5in LCD and optical Viewfinder are the icing on an already delicious cake.

Image Quality
‘Bulletproof’ is the only way to describe the white balance and exposure, but the same can’t be said about the image quality. Pictures look fine at a modest print size, but detail such as leaves or brickwork disappears on enlarging, regardless of the ISO setting. ISO 1600 is a waste of time – noise, coupled with in-camera sharpening destroys the image. Thankfully the IS lets you use slower speeds.

Value For Money
The stylish IXUS range has always carried something of a premium price, but with the 850IS you get a lot for your money. I’d say it’s worth every penny.

Verdict

The IXUS 850IS is a beautiful camera to use, with plenty of creative options for the enthusiast. At lower ISO settings and modest print sizes it?s a stunner, but it struggles at higher ISOs.


Digital SLR Reviews

Price as reviewed

£369.00

Scores

Scores
Design 19/20
Image Quality 16/20
Performance 18/20
Value 17/20
Features 18/20
Overall Score 88%