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This is a great little digital camera, bursting with features and capable of producing some really nice images. It has a 10 mega pixel sensor, 3x optical zoom, and possibly its most stylish feature, a huge 3 inch screen covering most of the back of the unit!
One of the downsides of having this huge screen means that Canon have had to miss out on other features, in this case the eyepiece. So you cant actually look down the lens with your own two eyes, but you do get a nice, bright and large live view on the screen, which is quite easy to view in daylight. It is quite a study camera- i have dropped it quite a few times and it seems to be fine.
The "IS" in Ixus 90 IS means that it has image stabilization, so that your photos are less blurry due to the movement of your hand. The Ixus 90 IS is also capable of recording film with audio, and has a small editor on board so that you can play you movies in reverse, in slow motion, and set the start and stop points with the individual frames.
Right, so now onto the actual performance etc. Personally, I would say that this camera is a family camera. It is perfect for those family snapshots and holiday pics on the beach, as it's robust design, combined with it's myriad of scene modes such as foliage, beach, snow and party means that it is really easy to use, but it isn't so simple that it doesn't have some of the more advanced features you might want in order to step up to the next level of photography in terms of adaptability. It does allow you some limited control over exposure, ISO settings and suchlike, and the option to shoot in smaller file formats.
The scroll wheel that is situated on the back of the camera is not the easiest of controls to use, as you will often find that you have to very carefully maneuver the wheel just to select the right scene mode or function setting.
So, in terms of controls, the canon ixus is not the strongest contender in the compact digital world, even though it is very user friendly. The retro design and somewhat questionable controls are very stylish though, and the huge screen on the back means that you wont be afraid to get it out and show it off.
The ten mega pixel sensor does a good job of picking out the detail in subjects, but it's main downfall is it's fairly poor low-light performance. The camera usually decides to have an exasperatingly slow shutter speed in order to pick up the ambient light, or it will blind your subject with the built in flash. This generally means that either way you end up with very poor quality low-light images.
The buttons on the back are also somewhat questionable, being not buttons as such but small parts of the case that are outlined in rubber that you press down. This is quite a funky look but some people find it quite distracting or annoying to use.
The movie mode is fairly decent, but it’s not going to win any prizes. However, it does have some reasonable movie modes like colour swap, time lapse and a compression mode, which reduces the quality of the footage so that it is a smaller file size. (However, this mode is pretty much made redundant because the quality is really not fantastic as it is, so reducing the quality would produce fairly drastic results.) The time lapse mode is particularly good, and is very fun to play around and experiment with. This is probably the strong point of the movie mode.
The audio recording also is not about to win any awards, but does an average job of picking up sounds, especially vocals. However the quality is fairly poor, and every little knock and bump can be heard, even the depression of the buttons can be heard very clearly by loud thumps and cracks.
So should you buy it? Well, there is no short answer. If you are looking to but a family camera that is also capable of taking good quality pictures then this is certainly worth considering. But if you want something with good features and very good picture quality, something that is a few steps down from a DSLR, then this isn’t really for you.