So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Canon IXUS 80 IS
- Compact, stylish, optical image stabilisation, sharp images, lightning fast start-up time
- A little noisy, burst mode is somewhat sluggish
Another brilliant IXUS unit, the Canon IXUS 80 IS packs image stabilisation and good image quality into a compact and sexy body. A great package for users looking for a new point and shoot.
Price$ 379.00 (AUD)
One of the most popular series of cameras on the market is Canon's IXUS line-up. Many people are looking for a few basic things when purchasing a camera, fairly good image quality, design and style, and the IXUS units cover all of these bases nicely. While it doesn't capture the best shots around they are very solid and the design is both compact and sexy making it a great choice as a day-to-day point and shoot.
It sports an 8-megapixel sensor which is standard for a unit at this price point. Its pictures aren't superb but its flaws are small and for basic happy-snap users they will be just fine.
On the whole the unit captured some sharp images. Resolution was good and Imatest confirmed the IXUS 80 competes really well with other models in this regard. Shots did have a slightly softer, filmic look but we found this worked quite well in several situations.
Chromatic aberration did have an impact, however it was fairly minimal. There was some haloing in our high contrast test charts but it was pretty tame, and purple fringing was kept under control outdoors. Similarly some softening was evident towards the edges of the frame but again it wasn't as bad as we've seen on some other units.
Colour reproduction was fairly good although not quite as impressive as on some of Canon's other models. There is a custom white balance mode which assists in achieving an accurate balance. Blues came out a little paler than normal while reds were dark and rich. The overall balance was fairly neutral but this can be tweaked using the menu options.
Image noise was a little higher than normal even with shots captured at ISO 100 which exhibited some basic graininess. That said, everything up to ISO 400 is fine for standard print magnifications and even ISO 800 will be adequate if you don't mind a slightly fuzzy tone.
In our speed tests the IXUS 80 impressed particularly when it came to start-up time. From power-up to first shot is just over a second, which is one of the fastest times we've seen from a compact. It wasn't too shabby in other areas either, exhibiting a 0.09-second shutter lag and 1.7 seconds between shots. However the burst mode is a little sluggish capturing two frames per second.
The feature set on this camera isn't anything to get really excited about but it is perfectly adequate for point and shoot users. Face detect, which has now become basically standard, makes a welcome return along with the regular array of scene, macro, white balance and colour modes. The big change is the addition of optical image stabilisation; which is a first for the compact end of the IXUS line-up. Canon's image stabilisation is one of the best on the market and while the unit only has a 3x zoom it really helps keep pictures crisp regardless of lighting conditions.
As with past units, the other area the IXUS 80 excels in is design. It is one of the best looking cameras on the market. Available in a multitude of colours, the slightly boxy and metal body is both stylish and comfortable to hold. Meanwhile the interface is simple, quick and responsive making it perfect for novice users. The unit is also just the right size to carry around in a pocket or small bag.
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