Make no mistake; Canon makes some of the best compact digital cameras on the market. While there are smaller models with more features for the same money, Canon cameras typically offer the most compelling picture quality and are among the easiest to use - at least according to us! Weíve been long-time users of the companyís flagship consumer models, the Digital IXUS, so testing the new Digital IXUS 90 IS came as a real treat.
Those who have ever owned a Digital IXUS will immediately notice the Digital IXUS 90ís (£194
) amazing new aluminium body which is both solid and chiselled. Youíll also love the completely flat control buttons on the back of the camera which gives it a totally unique look and feel, in addition to the gorgeous 3.0-inch display which consumes most the back of the camera. The only downside to the cameraís robust design is that itís relatively heavy (155g) and thereís no Optical Viewfinder (OVF).
The Digital IXUS 90 IS (called the PowerShot SD790 IS in the U.S.) is a 10-Megapixel camera with a 3x (35- to 105mm equivalent focal length) optical zoom lens. The camera also sports a lens-shift type optical Image Stabilizer (IS) and enhanced auto focus performance for low-light shooting and to help reduce blur. Canonís Motion Detection Technology comes in handy too, which works in tandem with IS to reduce blur, and Face Detection Technology helps to produce natural-looking people shots in most situations. Essentially, Canon has covered all bases, producing a camera that makes creating great looking shots a snap.
Some other key features which help to enhance the usability of the camera include an enhanced auto focus which performs at up to 1-stop darker, 19 shooting modes including a new Sunset mode and My Colors photo effects, in addition to relatively extensive movie options including VGA 30fps, Long Play and Time Lapse movie modes. Printing independently from your computer is made easy thanks to the dedicated PictBridge button and quick print order settings in playback mode, and optional accessories including a Waterproof Case, Soft Case and High Powered Flash let you further expand upon the cameraís already impressive features list to create a complete travelling partner.
The Digital IXUS 90 ISís 3x optical zoom lens allows everything from landscape shots to close-ups and medium telephoto zooms, though weíre disappointed Canon hasnít managed to squeeze in a 4x optical zoom lens. Nevertheless, excellent image clarity is achieved thanks to the inclusion of Canonís UA (Ultra-high refractive index Aspherical) lens elements. Furthermore, improved low-light AF performance helps you to take advantage of the benefits of IS. The AF is now able to achieve focus in 1 stop less light, so the camera obtains good results even further into the evening - ideal for romantic meal shots.
Activated in High ISO Auto, Canonís intelligent Motion Detection Technology works to eliminate the blur caused by subject motion and camera shake. When these are detected, the system provides an ISO boost between ISO 80-800, counteracting motion blur to improve action shots and night snaps, without compromising shots where no ISO boost is needed. Combining inputs from Face Detection Technology, the optical Image Stabiliser, changes in scene brightness and changes from frame to frame, Canonís Motion Detection Technology is a comprehensive solution to motion blur.
Equally comprehensive is Canonís approach to Face Detection Technology. The Digital IXUS 90 IS includes Face Select & Track, which allows you to select a single face from a crowd of up to 35 detected faces. The optimum focus, exposure, flash and - in a new addition - white balance will then be set for that face, tracking the subject as they move around the frame. Canonís Red-Eye Correction draws on Face Detection Technology in order to eliminate red-eye from photographs - whenever a face is detected in a shot, red-eye is checked for. It can then be either removed automatically while shooting or in playback mode. New AF Point Zoom allows you to magnify the AF frame when the shutter button is pressed half way, so that facial expressions can be checked before shooting.
Several menu features let you manipulate your images in-camera, without the need for computer software. For instance, the Trimming function offers image trimming to predetermined sizes. This function is integrated with Face Detection Technology - if several faces are detected in frame you can jump between faces to create instant trimmed portraits. The Image Resize function is equally useful as it lets you create smaller image files by reducing the number recording pixels in larger images - perfect for e-mailing shots to friends and family. The original image can then be deleted in order to save space on your memory card.
Canonís Digital IXUS range is arguable more concerned with style over substance, but frankly itís not an issue for those of us who simply want to capture quality images quickly and easily. Every Digital IXUS weíve ever used (weíre still using the Digital IXUS 950 IS) has been a dream to use and produced excellent shots with minimal fuss. The Digital IXUS 90 IS is no different, and although thereís no ground-breaking photographic innovation the build quality is second to none and image quality (both stills and videos) is well above par - images are crisp and colours are accurate, at least at low ISO modes. The only big disappointment is that Canon skimps on memory, providing an almost good for nothing 32MB card. Still, flash memory is cheap these days and you can pick up a good 2GB card for under £10
[Best Digital Camera Pricing UK
[Best Digital Camera Pricing US
This entry was posted on Apr 23, 08 and is filed under Digital camera