With so many cameras available on the market, manufacturers are having to come up with different angles by which to pitch their products more and more. Canon's approach with the ixus i5 is to make it ultra small and offer it in a range of colours. However with the tag of “Canon's smallest ever 5.0 Megapixel camera” there is a payoff; the optical zoom. So can the small and beautiful win over your doubts over the lack of technology? We put the camera through its paces.
There are two selling points to this camera, first is the size. There is no doubting it this model exudes the style and charisma of the ixus range, we've got the blood red model on test and it certainly drew plenty of glances when we showed it off.
The size is a tiny 90 x 47 x 19 mm (It's smaller than a pack of 10 cigarettes) and the weight with battery and SD card is a mere 140g. This means that it will happily fit into your jeans pocket, or even a top shirt pocket. For those looking to dangle it around their neck (mirroring some of the early ads) there is even a lanyard included in the box so you can hang away.
The size has been achieved by the lack of a number of things; mainly the loss of a optical zoom, but also the loss of an optical viewfinder and a rather small 1.5in LCD viewfinder on the rear of the camera.
As for the second selling point on this model, it's the 5 megapixel resolution. While the camera doesn't sport an optical zoom, the resolution certainly makes up for it. Can't get close enough when you come to taking the shot then you can always edit afterwards on your home PC or Mac.
Canon has fitted a 6.5x digital zoom, but it would have been nice to see Canon including an on screen cropping facility for those who just want to print and go but most printers with direct memory card access and a LCD support this feature anyway.
Users of other canon cameras will feel at home with the menu interface and for the most part Canon hasn't done anything crazy here. However, movie fans will be disappointed, as Canon has restricted the movie mode to a maximum of three minutes or 40 for hi-res VGA.
When it comes to taking pictures we found the results to be very good. For the novice, and most likely the common user of this model there is a series of scene modes to do some of the work for you; Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Indoor and Underwater failing that the camera has a 9-point AiAF system which you can see actively changing as you move the camera around. We would say this auto focus works 8 out 10 times. Pictures where well balanced and colours vivid. The detail thanks to the 5 megapixel resolution means you can afford to zoom into the image and see have something that you can use as a 6in x 4in or even 10in x 8in.
The aim of this camera is to be small, compact while still producing good images. It manages all three with abundance while still living up to the ixus name.
The LCD could have been bigger and the option of an optical zoom been added, but then the size wouldn't have coped and Canon offers these in other models for those who want it.
If you're looking for a camera smaller than your average mobile phone to have at the ready at parties this is the one to be seen with.
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