Canon has released two new IXUS compacts in the form of the 500 HS and 125 HS. The IXUS 500 HS sets the standard for compact ultra zooms, boasting the thinnest form factor of a 12x optical zoom camera at 19.2 mm. The IXUS 125 HS boasts similar specs but its slightly beefier in size, incorporating a 16 megapixel sensor instead. 

Basic specs include things like a 3-inch PureColour II G LCD screen in both cameras, Full HD movies and intelligent image stabilisation. Form factor is the main difference between the pair, the 500 HS using a metallic slim body and the 125 HS being available in different colours. 

The Digic 5 processor found in both cameras should allow for decent low light performance although we suspect the 500 HS, with its fewer megapixels, should out perform the 125 HS quite easily. Unlike the 500 HS however, the 24 mm 5X optical zoom found on the 125 HS is much wider, making it a better camera for those who want to take landscape, street and family snaps. 

canon launches pair of new top end ixus compacts image 2

Things like intelligent scene detection or as Canon calls it, Smart Auto, should add to the ease of use found in both compacts, as will the facial recognition technology. Simlarly focus that predicts movement and cleverly tracks objects should keep snapping as simple as possible. 

The 125 HS is due to launch in late February priced in at £229, with the 500 HS following soon after in March priced at £309. We will have more on the cameras once we get some hands-on time with them, but for the spec sheet we have in front of us, they look to be rather tasty compacts indeed. 

What do you think to the new IXUS models? Let us know in the comments below ...