Canon Digital IXUS 65
- Brilliant colour, Low Noise, Compact, Huge screen
- Higher than average Chromatic Aberration, A little pricey
An impressive effort by Canon, the IXUS 65 produces solid photographs with sublimely accurate colour along with great features and design. A complete package.
Price$ 629.00 (AUD)
The first words out of our mouth upon getting our hands on Canon's new IXUS 65 were "Canon has done it again". The newest member of Canon's lower end series, the IXUS 65 sports a 6 megapixel sensor, 3X optical zoom and a funky design. Combine these features with excellent performance in most of our Imatest trials and you've got a very solid choice for those after a basic, compact digital camera.
The biggest surprise this model presented was almost flawless colour reproduction. With an Imatest score of 6.66 it blows away the competition. There were no real problems; a series of small inaccuracies in the red and particularly blue spectrums made up what small error Imatest reported, and as almost no cameras score below 6 in this test, these were more than acceptable. Our test shots reflected this, with sublimely accurate colours across the full range. Colour is one of the areas many cameras struggle with - net scores of 12 or over are not uncommon - so Canon really scores some points for performing so well here.
Sharpness was slightly less impressive, but still well above average. With a score of 1239, the IXUS 65s 6 megapixel sensor takes some fairly crisp pictures. Whilst we weren't as impressed with the image sharpness as we were with some recent Olympus models, it more than holds its own, and unless you are blowing the pictures up to huge sizes this will be more than adequate.
Sharpness was somewhat countered by the above average levels of chromatic aberration we found in our shots. This was the one real problem with this model, and the limiting factor that held it back from a higher rating. With an Imatest score of .141% it falls well above the average, which hovers somewhere around .08%. At this level, it won't rear its head on small 4x6 inch prints, but when blown up above A4 you'll notice a small lack of clarity around the exterior of your shots. It usually looks very similar to a lack of sharpness, and it was clearly visible in our detail test shot of a motherboard.
Image noise did not prove to be a problem on this model, for the most part. Its .48% Imatest rating indicates superior performance in this regard, and our shots corroborated this. At low ISO levels up to 200 it performed flawlessly with no noise visible whatsoever. Higher levels however did not scale too well , with ISO 800 scoring 2.27% and leaving pictures under that setting with white speckling. Some other models we've looked at recently have performed significantly better, even as high as ISO 1600, so the IXUS 65's results at this level aren't as good as they could be.
Features and Performance
The IXUS 65 offers a fairly standard array of features which are more than adequate for the average user. With a variety of white balance presets as well as a custom setting, ISO levels up to 800, plenty of colour modes (Sepia, Vivid etc) and widescreen shooting, all the basics are here. We thought the continuous shooting was fairly good, operating at 2.5 frames per second till the memory fills up, but the limit of only four preset shooting modes is a disappointment.
Our speed tests show the IXUS 65 is an extremely quick camera. With a shutter operation time of .09 of a second you won't be missing any of the action, and the startup time of 1.8 seconds complemented this nicely. It also had a shot to shot time of 1.2 seconds, rounding out a fairly speedy package.
The provided rechargeable lithium-ion battery performed as expected, lasting through about 190 shots. This isn't stellar by any means, but it certainly isn't bad.
Despite coming in the colour we have ominously dubbed "Camera Silver", the IXUS 65 really does look pretty good overall. The silver front is contrasted with a reflective black and the body is mostly metal, with a sturdy feel that gives you the confidence to carry it around. This does result in it being quite a heavy unit, but we prefer the tradeoff for a more robust design.
By far the most dominant feature on the camera is the screen. It's been a while since we've had something with such a behemoth of an LCD on it, but the IXUS 65's 3-inch screen falls firmly into this category, taking up most of the back of the unit. It looks stunning, and is a big selling point for entry level consumers who want the assistance framing their shots.
As a result of the gargantuan screen the controls are fairly minimalist. Canon, like other companies, is moving towards a second button for all main photo functions, splitting them from the menu, and this really makes operation much more intuitive. Rather than using a function wheel, the IXUS 65 implements a simple switch to move between Photo, Video and Playback modes. Everything else is accessed through the menu button, which sits with the function wheel on the right of the screen.
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