Canon IXUS 980 IS

Extremely stylish compact with 14.7-megapixel sensor.

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Canon IXUS 980 IS
  • Canon IXUS 980 IS
  • Canon IXUS 980 IS
  • Canon IXUS 980 IS

Pros

  • Very high resolution, sharp images, manual shooting mode, incredibly stylish

Cons

  • Some corner softening

Bottom Line

Another fantastic compact from Canon, the IXUS 980 IS takes everything that was great about past units and adds manual shooting modes, a very smooth design and a higher resolution sensor, making this one of the best high-end compacts on the market.

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One of the more interesting IXUS units to hit the market in the last few years, the IXUS 980 IS adds manual shooting features to Canon’s line of extremely popular consumer models. That isn’t to say it is particularly complicated, as Canon has managed to retain the trademark intuitiveness and ease of use of the IXUS range. As always, the camera captures fairly impressive pictures. It also looks fantastic with a new black design that is sure to go down a treat with fashion enthusiasts.

Another notable feature of the 980 IS is the massive resolution; 14.7 megapixels to be precise. This is one of the highest resolution sensors on the market and in general it performed very well. It captured some of the crispest, sharpest shots we’ve ever seen from a compact and there was little in the way of over- or under-sharpening.

Chromatic aberration performance, however, was mixed. On one hand there was fairly minimal purple fringing or haloing on high-contrast edges, but on the flipside there was a decent amount of softening towards the edges of the frame which was a little disappointing.

Image noise was a little more prominent than usual but nothing too over the top. ISO 200 and 400 all had a touch more graininess than we’d expect but it wasn’t really noticeable at small and medium magnifications. As usual, though, by ISO 800 the noise increased quite sharply and at ISO 1600 there was significant blurring and loss of detail.

Colour balance was typical for a Canon compact. Reds were somewhat over-saturated but many people prefer the vibrant look this creates. Greens were slightly too bright but blues were accurate and the overall balance was vivid and pleasing.

In our speed tests the 980 IS performed solidly across the board. It started up in two seconds and had an identical shot-to-shot time. Shutter speed was fine at 0.09 seconds and the burst mode snapped off a fairly good 2.3 frames per second.

As mentioned earlier, the key thing about this unit is that it is the first IXUS with manual shooting controls. They are a little simpler than those found on an advanced camera, with no aperture or shutter priority modes, but they do give the ability to adjust both shutter speed and aperture via the full manual mode. This will definitely be an appealing feature for people who want to start dabbling with more advanced photography, and it allows for a bit more creativity in your shot taking.

Other features include face detection, custom white balance and a variety of colour, exposure and focusing modes. The 3.7x optical zoom lens is slightly larger than normal and is supported by optical image stabilisation to minimise the impact of hand-shake.

The other awesome thing about the 980 IS is its design. With an entirely black metal body this camera looks incredible. It's extremely sturdy, too, but also a touch on the large side for a camera with a lens the size of this unit's. If you’re concerned with size you may want to look at one of the smaller IXUS units like the IXUS 90IS.

We were impressed by the implementation of the manual mode. One of the IXUS range’s best features is the simplicity of the interfaces; the 980 IS continues this trend keeping things nice and intuitive.

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