Smaller and more compact than the Ixus v3, size isn’t the only difference to the latest compact from Canon.
Breaking with Canon digital camera tradition, Canon has opted for SD/MMC media format to store images on and the camera comes with a 16Mb card in the box. While it has allowed for the camera to be smaller it is an interesting move for Canon, champion of the Compact Flash memory format up until now.
On the outside the camera is slimmer and lighter than its v3 brother but still boasts the same 3.2 mega pixel picture rate and 2x optical zoom capabilities. As you would expect from a camera in the Ixus range, the design is very similar to previous models with the only real change being the movement of the picture selector moved from the top of the camera to the rear. This makes great sense and stops previous problems of flicking the switch by mistake when using the zoom.
Other changes have seen the reduction in size of the d-pad next to the 1.5 LCD screen and the location of the new memory format - it’s now combined in the same housing as the Li-ion rechargeable battery. Ever present is the USB and AV out connectors - located on the side of the camera - and bar the size, people unfamiliar with the two models - the Ixus v3 and Ixus II - would be hard pushed to spot many differences.
Inside and the camera offers 3.2 mega pixel images - the same as the v3 - and a 2x optical zoom with 3.2 digital zoom giving you a 35mm camera equivalent of 35 - 70mm.
When it comes to images, the Ixus II doesn’t always impress. Whites are poorly defined at the edges suffering from chromatic aberration - the blue fringing on the edges of highlights - see man with dog shot right and the while the focus on the subject is good the definition isn’t. Even on landscape shots the image lacks detail with edges hued into one another. Colours are dull even on the bright sunny days that we took the test shots and overall we weren’t that impressed with the quality of our test shots. Yet the camera is capable of processing good detail when it wants to. Detail in the hair has been captured well in the women’s hair (see right) but then is let down again by the top colour bleeding into the skin tones.
While the Ixus II is compact, light and well styled, the image quality just doesn't match. We were expecting an equal to the v3 but unfortunately were sorely disappointed. Transferring to the smaller memory format may offer the chance to have a smaller camera, but if it means a reduction in picture quality then we'd prefer to stay large and heavy.