Taking the form factor of the IXUS 80 and the specs of the IXUS 90, the IXUS 85 offers 10 megapixels with a whole collection of clever features. But is it worth getting excited about? We get snapping to find out.
It is probably worth glancing over the reviews for the models that sandwich this new entry from Canon, because they do have an amazing number of similarities. In form, the IXUS 85 resembles the 80, although there have been minor design tweakings, and in our opinion, these go in the wrong direction. The subtle curvature of the 80’s front has been lost for a blander, more conformist appearance, not far off the 90; where the 80 was worth a second glance, the 85, perhaps, is not.
It does, however, carry the optical viewfinder, which some photographers will like, but again, it is very small. Making space for the viewfinder means losing some of the LCD screen size, coming in at 2.5in compared to the 90’s 3in. The screen is Canon’s PureColor LCD II, which we have praised in the past, and even on a bright day, the screen remains visible, which is where some models fail.
The remainder of the back of the camera carries the controls, which are the same as the 80, with minor changes barely worth a mention. The power, zoom and shutter button remain on the top, on the silver waist band. One thing we notice with the 85, that we didn’t notice with the 80, is that the battery rattles; it may have been an oversight on our part, or might just be that it is more prominent in the 85.
The Face Detection works reasonably well, identifying the faces it can see, although doesn’t always stick with them. However, you can take superb shots without it knowing that you are capturing a face. The focus check option in review is a good double-up to ensure that you have actually got the right face in focus, although these checks do mean you need more time between shots – perhaps an option when perfect results are essential and you can take your time.
Picture quality, and this is probably where the real decision has to be made alongside the price, is very good and colours a nice and vivid. In bright conditions there is some blue tingeing around edges, marginally more than the 80, especially so on highlights. In suboptimal conditions Canon’s excellent DIGIC III processor, common to both cameras, reduces noise, but the downside is that some detail is lost.
Noise is still a problem with the higher ISO options but up to 400 is just about manageable. We did also notice some blurry corners, perhaps most evident in the river scene image, and barrel distortion which is a shame considering Canon’s good record with optics.
We rated the IXUS 80 highly for its impressive results and ease-of-use, but we feel that something special has been lost in the 85. On performance alone, we don’t feel that the camera is any worse for the additional 2 megapixels, and at the same time, they don’t bring that much extra to the party.
The Canon IXUS 85 is a good little camera, but for some, the price premium might not justify the return over the 8MP offering of the IXUS 80.