With 10megapixels, Smart Auto mode and image stabilisation, is the Canon IXUS 95 IS the ultimate entry level compact? The What Digital Camera Canon IXUS 95 IS review takes a look...
Canon IXUS 95 IS review – Features
The Canon IXUS 95 IS is an entry level compact camera – but a well-equipped one with all the point-and-shoot options you are likely to need to take decent snaps every time. The 95 model takes benefit of a new layout over the previous IXUS 90 IS which incorporates Smart Auto mode, a setting to provide optimum settings whatever the conditions.
As the ‘IS’ name suggests, the IXUS 95 packs Image Stabilisation to help keep your images sharp. Modes vary from Auto – including Programme Auto (P) options to allow for some manual adjustments for ISO and White Balance – to Smart Auto and Movie Mode. The latter isn’t high definition recording however, instead opting for a VGA (640×480) resolution at 30 frames per second. On the back the IXUS 95 IS sports a 230,000 dot 2.5in LCD screen, which views well through multiple angles; be that in line with your eye level, or more creatively above the head or from chest height for example.
The IXUS 95 IS covers a 3x optical zoom 35-105mm (35mm equiv.) range – which would benefit from a wider angle and longer zoom, but this is reasonably unfounded in entry level models from a number of manufacturers. Where there are subtle lackings such as this however, small improvements – such as the inclusion of a viewfinder – offer ideal reprise. Whilst the viewfinder is only an approximation of actual view (it isn’t electronic and doesn’t take view exactly from the lens), it’s an excellent way to frame your shots as best as you’re likely to ever need from a compact. After using the IXUS 95 you may well find yourself trying to raise other compacts to your eye – even if they don’t have a viewfinder!
Canon IXUS 95 IS review – Design
The Canon IXUS 95 IS reforms the classically retro, ‘boxy’ design of IXUS cameras of old, instead opting for smoothed edges in a compact, slim-line design available in some quirky shades – choose from dark gray, blue, pink, green, light gray or orange. It’s quite an overhaul for Canon’s IXUS range, and certainly makes the 95 look much more up to date.
It’s often the small things the IXUS 95 offers that make the big, notable difference too: the battery flap on the bottom has a small clip which has to be pulled out before it will open – perfect protection from tight-fitting pockets causing the battery to come flying out. Also the presence of a viewfinder is a rarity on many a compact camera, something that the IXUS 95 IS goes one step further in including. Whilst it’s not electronic, nor does it provide any display information, the viewfinder is a good way to gauge reasonably accurate framing at your preference. Very useful in bright sunlight, or just if you prefer to work that way. If you choose to display nothing on the LCD screen this can save considerable battery life too. Even the flash, whilst small, is well placed to the left side, meaning flailing fingers will not get in its way during use.
In use the IXUS 95 IS’s in-camera menus are of a simple and colourful design, and you wont find yourself digging too deep for basic functions. When shooting in Auto mode (Smart Auto takes over all the controls) a simple click of the Function button on the back brings up a list of adjustments – from here it’s possible to change ISO, White Balance, Colours, Metering, Drive and Image Size using the d-pad on the rear of the camera. Playback, Display and Menu each have their own buttons too – all clearly marked and easy to understand.
Performance, Image Quality & Value
Canon IXUS 95 IS review – Performance
The IXUS 95 IS is a good performer, relying on its Auto and Smart Auto modes for best effect. Scene modes take a back seat as Smart Auto will detect backlighting, faces, low light and other scenarios and adjust all settings to fit appropriately. It would seem this automation is the future for compact shooting.
The IXUS 95 also has a rather special macro mode – and not least due to its 3cm from lens capability, but the way it pairs so seamlessly with the onboard flash. Many compacts fail to correctly meter for flash and, as a result, will over expose images, particularly in daylight when attempting fill flash. Not so with the IXUS 95 IS – turn the flash on and it will successfully illuminate subjects even if they are just a mere number of centimeters from the camera. A very nice touch indeed, and a great compliment for macro photography. Of course, as it’s only a relatively weak flash, it wont hammer large bursts a long distance – but its still a top performer for a variety of situations.
Whilst the IXUS 95 IS does have a fairly limited zoom range, with 3x optical zoom providing 35-105mm, it’s ample for most scenarios. A number of competitors’ cameras will offer wider lenses at a similar price point, which sadly lacks from the IXUS 95. Beyond the 3x optical zoom, the IXUS 95 IS also offers a 12x digital zoom – though this is probably best left avoided as, whilst shots may look great on screen, they will lack detail on your computer or in print (best leave the cropping as a post-production option).
Switching between preview and playback to readying yourself for shooting is achieved with a simple depression of the shutter button, or by pushing the playback button on the back of the camera. Or, should you want to shoot multiple frames, the 1.4 frames per second continuous shooting option is available (only in Auto mode by bringing up the options via the Function button). It’s possible to shoot at 1.4fps until the card is full.
The IXUS 95 IS also offers a number of in-camera colour options. Starting with standard colour, there are vivid alternatives, black & white, sepia and some additional creative controls. The in-camera black and white is rather flat and full of mid-tones, but provides a realistic conversion.
Canon IXUS 95 IS review – Image Quality
Following suit with other Canon IXUS models, the IXUS 95 IS takes accurately exposed, well-balanced images. Depending on which metering you opt for there’s a positive tendency for the entire frame to be well exposed, whether using flash in the mix or not – ideal results from a compact camera.
The IXUS 95 also offers an ISO 80-1600 range which, for the most part, provides very clean images with little noise. Certainly ISO 80-400 sensitivities are excellent, with ISO 800 a good performer, though ISO 1600 is fairly noisy and colour becomes muted – though it’s still useable overall. Most, if not all, compacts suffer from similar results at higher ISO settings, so for the IXUS 95 to maintain such smooth, fine-grained images at the lower ISO settings shows its strength.
The IXUS 95 IS has a 3x optical zoom lens which is on par with many other compacts for sharpness. Lens limitations and a small sensors will often fail to generate strikingly sharp images, and whilst the IXUS 95 is very much in the same boat here, results are fine for small enlargements, or sharing on the interweb. There are some chromatic aberrations to the edge of the image, but nothing to cry about as, at this level, the component quality of all image quality elements makes for very strong images overall.
Canon IXUS 95 IS review – Value For Money
Ah, the price… Whilst many have suggested the IXUS 95 IS is a little overpriced, it only takes some shopping around to produce some appealing price points. A list price of £220 is immediately chopped to around the £200 mark in the shops, further trounced by the internet where it’s a sintch to find offers from reputable sellers from as little as £164. At that price, given the all round ease of use and quality, it’s a sure fire bargain.
The Canon IXUS brand continues to remain strong, and with the new cleaner, curvier design it’s a more aesthetically appealing bargain that wont disappoint. Whilst some may be looking for a wider lens with a longer zoom range, this will likely mean putting the IXUS 95 on the shelf and pumping some more pounds in the kitty for a different model. As this is an entry level, the Canon IXUS 95 IS provides all the point and shoot prowess you could hope for at the price point.
If you’re hunting down an entry level compact camera, then the Canon IXUS 95 IS could well be just what you’re looking for. With Smart Auto mode for shooting top notch images in all conditions, the exposures are always on form and the auto flash is one of very few to accurately expose and fill-in (even in daylight) with no faffing around whatsoever. Plus the IXUS 95 has some small and mighty-fine details such as its viewfinder and well-encased li-ion battery that make it all the more pleasurable to use.
Never an effort, always a pleasure – the IXUS 95 IS wont let you down. Of the few pernickety complaints to be made is that the lens range could perhaps be both wider and longer – but then other Canon compacts offer such options if you’re willing to pump a little more cash into the budget. All in all, a mighty fine entry level compact with a price to reflect that’s benefitted from an overhaul in its physical design to appeal to the masses. The IXUS’s curvy edges and swanky colours are likely to be seen in many hand-or-manbags across the country. The Canon IXUS 95 IS is a thoroughly recommended little gem of a compact camera.
If you're hunting down an entry level compact camera, then the Canon IXUS 95 IS could well be just what you're looking for. With Smart Auto mode for shooting top notch images in all conditions, the exposures are always on form and the auto flash is one of very few to accurately expose and fill-in (even in daylight) with no faffing around whatsoever. Plus the IXUS 95 has some small and mighty-fine details such as its viewfinder and well-encased li-ion battery that make it all the more pleasurable to use. Never an effort, always a pleasure – the IXUS 95 IS wont let you down. Of the few pernickety complaints to be made is that the lens range could perhaps be both wider and longer – but then other Canon compacts offer such options if you're willing to pump a little more cash into the budget. All in all, a mighty fine entry level compact with a price to reflect that's benefitted from an overhaul in its physical design to appeal to the masses. The IXUS's curvy edges and swanky colours are likely to be seen in many hand-or-manbags across the country. The Canon IXUS 95 IS is a thoroughly recommended little gem of a compact camera.