Canon's huge-selling Ixus 400 has been given a makeover and rechristened the IXUS 430. It continues along the same vein as the older model, but has been encased in an attractive finished aluminium shell, instead of the metal and ceramic body of the 400.
There's a new feature added too, in the form of a share/print button, which is rapidly becoming a standard feature on digital cameras. The button makes emailing pictures and direct printing a snip, and supports both Canon's Direct Print and PictBridge.
The DIGIC processor has also been updated providing faster shooting and better colour than the previous model while for movie buffs Canon has added a new in-camera movie-editing feature. This allows very simple editing, and is obviously not meant to replace Adobe Premiere, but is useful for deleting scenes and making space on the Compact Flash card. Movies are captured to QVGA size and the camera allows up to 3 minutes of recording with sound.
One of the disappointing aspects of the camera is the tiny 1.5inch screen, other manufacturers are incorporating up to 2.5inch monitors on similar sized cameras, so why is Canon lagging behind? Worse still, the screen isn't as bright as some of its competitors and can be difficult to see in bright sunshine.
The camera is easy to use though, with an automatic exposure system, and a very limited manual mode, but it is really about pointing and shooting, and on this level it does the job. The flash and AF is improved over the 400, with better exposure and less blurred shots in low light.
Picture quality is more than acceptable for a camera of this type, with excellent colour and sharpness, though there is the occasional purple fringing around areas of high contrast, where building edges and bright skies meet for example.
The Canon IXUS 430 is a fashion and lifestyle camera, rather a than an enthusiasts camera. It's attractive, easy to use and looks good next to your iPod, making it more cool than tool.
The formula is obviously working for Canon though, and the IXUS success shows no sign of abating.