The Canon IXUS 110 IS's theme is 'wide' - a wideangle lens, widescreen HD video shooting and a 2.8in wide LCD screen. But underneath it all, how does the IXUS 110 IS fare as a lifestyle compact? The What Digital Camera Canon IXUS 110IS review investigates...
Canon IXUS 110 IS review – Features
The last few compacts from Canon’s IXUS range have all offered something a little different, with their designs and functionalities contrasting against each other. The latest Canon IXUS 110 IS is another example, with the theme being ‘wide’; a 28mm wideangle lens matched by a 2.8in widescreen LCD and widescreen HD video shooting. The IXUS 110 IS’s optic boasts a 4x optical zoom which stretches up to 112mm in equivalent terms. Canon’s optical image stabilisation system promises to counter camera shakes at slower shutter speeds and longer focal lengths, while Motion Detection technology regulates the camera’s sensitivity to do much the same thing.
At the heart of the Canon IXUS 110 IS lies a 12.1MP CCD sensor, which captures images at the full resolution in the standard 4:3 format. Images captured on the 16:9 widescreen setting fall just shy of 9MP, though this is the only option that utilises the full LCD screen. Further options for capturing lower-resolution files helpfully indicate their maximum print sizes upon them being chosen, while two settings for compression allow you to maximise the number of images captured on a memory card.
As with all Canon compacts, colour options are selected via the MyColors option which comprises a range of colour settings including positive film, light and dark skin tones, and settings which emphasise certain colours. So, Vivid Blue for seascapes, Vivid Green for foliage and so on. There’s also a Custom Color option for tweaking contrast, sharpness and tone for example, while the white balance options also allow you to set your own custom white balance alongside a handful of presets.
Sadly this level of control doesn’t feature with exposure, with just Program and Scene options available. You may, however, easily adjust exposure compensation and use the iContrast setting for optimising the exposure in tricky conditions. As is now customary on such compacts, Face Detection has also been thrown in, with the camera adjusting focus, exposure, flash settings and white balance for optimal results. This is joined by Blink Detection and a Face Self Timer mode, the latter recognising when a subject has stepped into the frame before taking the image.
HD movie recording is offered up by the camera, capturing 1280 x 720p clips at a rate of 30fps, with further options for MyColor styles and white balance presets. You can even shoot movies entirely in black and white bar one colour, and there’s also an HDMI output around the side for connecting the camera up to a compatible television.
Canon IXUS 110 IS review – Design and Performance
There’s no viewfinder, but the 2.8in PureColour II LCD screen takes up most of the rear, which is joined by a pair of Menu and Playback buttons. The scroll wheel in between these is centered by a Function button, which brings up the main menu interface. Differeing from the L-shaped menu’s of previous Ixus’s, the camera features a two-tiered margin of options which are navigated via the scroll wheel. This won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s pretty simple to navigate.
The curved side of the body makes handling the camera comfortable, even when using just one hand. Both start up and powering down are pretty speedy, but the zoom does travel relatively slowly through its range. Focusing speed is better, but not by a mile. Speed is, however, impressive when it comes to processing files quickly, with the DIGIC 4 processor doing a stellar job to maintain continuous shooting speed in burst shooting.
Canon IXUS 110 IS review – Value
Despite its steep list price of £350, the camera may now be found for around £250 – and considering what it offers that’s fairly reasonable. It’s perhaps more suited for someone who will habitually shoot in the widescreen format, as the otherwise smaller image format may appear a little underwhelming on such a wide LCD screen.
Canon IXUS 110 IS review – Image Quality
Images from the Ixus 110 IS are, on the whole, of a high standard. At the lowest sensitivity of ISO 80, images are clean and detail is excellent, and it’s only at around ISO 200 that noise reduction artefacts begin to appear. Even with these visible, which given images a slight texture, detail is well maintained, and chroma noise is minimal at higher setting where it would usually be present. Images are generally sharp, right up to the edges and corners of the frame with just a slight drop in corners, while the macro mode allows you to get really close to fine detail, resulting in pleasing sharp images. While some chromatic aberrations are visible in images – particularly those taken in high contrast conditions – they are by no means objectionable and generally well controlled. Barelling is noticeable at the wide end of the zoom, but as with chromatic aberrations, this too is well controlled. Colour and white balance is reasonably accurate, through at times colours are a little flat and in need of a little boost. Fortunately, the iContrast mode works well to lift shadow areas a touch and give colours a slight boost, though there’s scope for improvement in post-production.
A lovely looking camera, with useful features and good image quality. The wide theme won't be to everyone's taste, but those who will appreciate it will no doubt value the camera's other charms too.