The 10mp pinnacle of Canon's IXUS range...
In a market dominated by a ‘more pixels are better’ philosophy the IXUS 900 Ti is undeniable one of the leaders of the pack with its 10mp sensor. But is ‘more’ really ‘better’?
If you look beyond the headline-grabbing 10mp resolution and DIGIC III processor it’s fair to say the IXUS 900 Ti isn’t that revolutionary in its feature-set. The zoom covers a modest 37-111mm range, with no real wideangle or telephoto capabilities, and being an IXUS the emphasis is on automatic capture, so we get a host of scene modes rather than program and aperture or shutter priority. The ISO covers a useful 80 -1600 range, extendable to ISO 3200 (at a lower resolution) using the ‘Hi ISO’ scene mode.
As the ‘Ti’ suggests, the curvy body is constructed from warm-silver Titanium with a compact control cluster on the back that includes a five-position mode selector that doubles as a resting place for your thumb. Shots can be framed on the high-resolution 2.5in LCD or through the optical viewfinder, but the latter is far from satisfactory – comparable, in fact, to my old Box Brownie.
The style of Canon’s IXUS models is often matched by a fine performance and the 900 Ti doesn’t buck this trend, with a super-quick start up, fast and accurate AF system and a shot-to-shot speed that never keeps you waiting. Playback is also pleasant, with only the slightest delay between the highest resolution images that can be excused given their 10mp size.
At the start of this review I asked whether more pixels are better, and with the IXUS 900 Ti the answer has to be an emphatic ‘no’. The main problem is noise, which can be seen in images taken as low as ISO 200 when you enlarge them on screen. Although this doesn’t translate to A4 prints it sets the precedent as the ISO is increased, and above ISO 400 in-camera noise reduction begins to desaturate images and obscure detail while failing to remove all the image texture. Although the exposures and white balance are superb, for me there are too many pixels in too small a space – and that compromises quality.
The IXUS 900 Ti is a fantastic camera to use, but this doesn’t outweigh the high noise and low detail delivered by a sensor that has more pixels than it needs.