IXUS 870 IS
Compact camera with 3in screen and 28mm wide lens.
Following the IXUS ideology of simple, stylish and feature-rich compacts, the IXUS 870 IS is another solid all-purpose consumer camera. It sports all the usual IXUS perks, such as a wonderful menu and speedy operation, but throws in a wide-angle 28mm lens and a slightly larger than usual 4x optical zoom.
- Sharp shots, minimal chromatic aberration, wide-angle lens, 3in display
- Some minor noise issues
A strong all-purpose compact camera, Canon's IXUS 870 IS will suit users looking for a unit with a wide-angle lens, a big screen and good image quality.
While, scarily enough, its 10-megapixel sensor no longer puts it anywhere near the top of the pack in terms of pure resolution, the IXUS 870 IS is no slouch in the image quality department. It performed well in our sharpness tests, capturing crisp clear images with good detail and little in the way of over-sharpening. Its results compared favourably with other 10-megapixel units on the market and should produce prints that are fine for fairly large magnification.
Chromatic aberration was present but not too problematic. There was a little purple fringing outdoors in bright areas but minimal corner softening and overall the lens performed quite well.
Colours were pretty good. Reds and yellows were perhaps a little more over-saturated than on some other Canon units but they still looked good and blues and greens were both well controlled. The overall balance is quite pleasing but if you aren’t happy with it there are numerous colour modes to play with (for example, vivid, standard and neutral).
Noise performance was standard, too. There was a touch more graininess at low sensitivities than we’d expect but it was fairly minute and everything up to ISO 400 is fine. ISO 800 produces a fair bit more grain but it will probably be okay for small prints; by the time you hit ISO 1600 you can forget about retaining any kind of detail.
The speed of the IXUS 870 IS is incredibly impressive. It started up in just 1.4 seconds, which is one of the fastest times we’ve recorded. The shot-to-shot time was almost as fast at 1.7 seconds, while the shutter lag was a slightly more sedate 0.09 seconds and the burst mode snapped off 2.3 frames per second.
One of the key features of this unit is its 28mm wide-angle lens which adds a little more versatility to the unit. It is backed up by Canon’s optical image stabilisation, which helps keep hand-shake under control.
Another feature of note is the massive 3in screen, which looks fantastic. Big screens are always an appealing inclusion and in this case it will be extremely beneficial in helping users frame those wide-angle shots.
The rest of the design is pretty standard for an IXUS unit. It has a chrome face along with a brown back and it looks fairly stylish while feeling sturdy. The buttons are a little different than on past units, with a slightly raised, bubble-like design that makes them more tactile than usual.
As with all other IXUS units, the feature set is fairly robust for a compact model. Optical image stabilisation supports the 4x optical zoom lens, while face detection will ensure your portraits are never out of focus. All the usual focus, metering and white balance modes are present along with a pretty funky scroll wheel/D-pad hybrid that makes menu navigation simple.
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