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I hate to bore you all with my intro of how I am a professional photographer who also tests and reviews cameras for my camera club as I am sure most of you have heard it all before but I do still get messages asking me how come I have so many cameras, so just to be clear I test them, sometimes for the companies that produce them and sometimes for my camera club itself.
Recently I haven't been doing much on the testing and trialing front as this is a very busy time for me and obviously my portrait work comes first, but when I heard the Canon Digital ixus 130 was doing the rounds I was very keen to get my hands on it.
The Ixus 130 has been around since about February this year (2010) but as yet I have not managed to get my hands on one to test but I have heard many good things about it as well it has to be said as a few negatives, so I grabbed my chance to have a go with it and throw my opinion into the mix.
Firstly it has to be said that when the name Canon is mentioned in photography circles everyone instantly expects good quality and this Ixus 130 provides just that at least in build quality. The camera is sleek to look at and feels very robust in hand so the first two box`s are well and truly ticked.
These days people just go mad for megapixels so when you hear that this camera has 14.1 megapixels you can now say for most people out there it has ticked three box`s but lets stop for a second and take this info in. everyone wants their camera to look good but it is not the most important thing, if you are a serious photographer then you want good photos, and as for megapixels, well in cameras like this with very small sensors at least half of those megapixels are wasted, so really all this camera has achieved so far is to be robustly made.
Apart from megapixels every camera these days has to have certain selling points and features it seems with things like smile shutter and face detection being a must, well the Ixus 130 from Canon has multiple face detection but no smile shutter so it's got 50% of what most people seem to want. For me these are not important settings and if I were to have to choose one it would definitely be face detection so for me Canon have done enough.
The really important things you need to capture great images are things like the ability to adjust ISO which you can with this unit (80 - 1600) aperture settings that you can manually adjust, again on this camera you can (f2.8 to
f5.9) and a shutter speed adjustment which again this camera allows (15 to 1/1500 seconds). For me these are the important things and Canon have taken care of them as you would expect.
If you are one of those people who just like to put the camera on auto and click away then this camera of course does allow that although I have to say I found the auto settings to give very poor results in most situations, everything was very washed out looking in bright sunlight and indoors with flash the images were very poor indeed, this can be rectified with a little knowledge in how to set up the camera manually but if you lack that knowledge then you might be looking at a very average outcome for your time using this camera.
Now of course I have to mark the camera down for having a poor auto function but Canon do make their cameras with real photography in mind so I personally have no problem with having to set things up myself and when I did the outcomes were very good and I took some fantastic images with this little camera.
Being photography people, Canon have also given this camera a few other little thngs that can help you get better images such as a continuous shooting mode to help you capture fast moving subjects and a slow synch option on the flash which can be very useful, it also has a macro function which will let you focus in nice and close on subjects so if that type of photography is your thing then this camera does a good job of getting in close.
The Ixus is a nice little camera to use with very well thought out placement of the buttons and controls, there is a mode switch that allows you to flick between the auto, program and video modes with ease and a four way dial to control focus, exposure compensation, the flash and the self timer, I found these very easy to understand and use and the camera felt comfortable in hand at all times.
The Ixus 130 has a 4X optical zoom which is pretty average and I have to say that when used on full zoom the images lost about 30% of their quality so this was a real disappointment for me, another disappointing feature was the speed of the camera, over three seconds to switch on and power up isn't really acceptable these days and about two and half seconds between shooting frames isn't great either.
Earlier in the review you will remember me saying that about half the megapixels are wasted because the sensor is too small well I also found this to create another real problem and that is digital picture noise, because they have tried to cram too many megapixels into a small sensor it means that zoomed photos or those taken in poorer light show huge signs of noise and that is even more noticeable if you dare to up your ISO, although this camera allows you to go to 1600 ISO, the images are virtually unusable after about 200 unless you just want to upload them in very small sizes to the internet, try to crop them or print them any bigger than about 7X5 and you get very poor resulst.
The lens on this camera also lets Canon down a bit, it is very soft around the edges of the image and this is pretty much apparent at all focal lengths and at the widest focal lengths there is pretty bad barrel distortion and there is a slight hint of pin cushion distortion at the longer focal lengths, all this from a Canon camera is very disappointing.
I hate to even bother mentioning the video function, those who have read my reviews in the past will know that I feel strongly that a camera should take still images and video should be left to video cameras but these days almost every compact captures video and most very poorly and the Ixus 130 is one of the worst I have seen in a while, even in good light the video footage has an overall softness and the contrast in the footage is all wrong every time and if you try to use it in poor light then you will get footage like you are watching an old VHS video that the tape has been chewed up on.
I have basically covered everything that should be of importance, I could add that the camera has a good lithium ion rechargeable battery that will allow around 250 shots between charging or that it comes with decent software and a decent manual, I could also say that it is very small and light and will fit into a pocket or handbag nicely but all this to me is pointless because the image quality is poor so nothing else matters for me really.
If you want to print big bold images then this will fail you badly and if all you want is a camera to take photos for your facebook or blogs then you can save about £100 on the price of this and still get a camera that will do as good a job, I feel here you are paying for the Canon name (which for me has been damaged by this camera) and the good looks and design, the body is aluminum rather than plastic and that is of course a good thing but a good looking well built camera that doesn't take a good image is pointless in my opinion.
Pictures of Canon IXUS 130
The stunning orange one
IXUS 130 SPECS:
CCD effective megapixels 14.1 megapixels CCD size 1/2.3in Viewfinder none LCD screen size 2.7in LCD screen resolution 230,000 pixels Live view Optical zoom 4.0x Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-112mm Image stabilisation optical, lens based Maximum image resolution 4,320x3,240 Maximum movie resolution 1280x720 Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps File formats JPEG, MOV (h.264) Exposure modes auto, program Shutter speed 15 to 1/1,500 seconds Aperture range f/2.8 to f/5.9 ISO range (at full resolution) 80 to 1600 Exposure compensation +/-2 EV White balance Auto (including face detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Flourescent, Flourescent H, Custom Additional image controls Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness Manual focus Closest macro focus 3cm Auto-focus modes multi (face detect), centre, single, tracking Metering modes multi (face detect), centre-weighted, centre Flash auto, manual, slow synchro Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer Memory slot SDXC Battery type 3.7V 760mAh Li-ion Connectivity USB 2.0 Hi-Speed HDMI output resolution 1080i Focal length multiplier 5.6x Accessories USB Weight 133g Size 56x92x18mm
TO SUM UP:
It has been a very disappointing experience for me using this camera, I am shocked actually at how wrong Canon have got it with this camera, they have given photographers the right control over what they shoot and they have made the camera look very good as well as have a build quality you can believe in and trust but they have forgotten to make sure of the most important thing of all and that is image quality and for a company like Canon that is pretty unforgivable.
This camera will of course catch the eye and as well as the typical silver, black and pink you also get this camera in a stunning orange colour which looks fantastic but do not get dragged into buying this because it looks good as that simply isn't enough. This camera isn't cheap either, it originally cost about £200 it can now be found for around the £130 mark but there are cameras out there that can outperform this on image quality and more that cost less than £100, there are even a few that can better its image quality that cost around half what this one does so please do not buy on looks alone.
Canon has let everyone down with this unit, including themselves. There are tons of very good Canon cameras available and they continue to be one of the best camera manufacturers out there, they just sadly got it very wrong with this one.
LOOKS - 8/10 BUILD QUALITY - 8/10 EASE OF USE - 8/10 IMAGE QUALITY - 4/10 FUNCTIONS AND FEATURES - 6/10 VALUE FOR MONEY - 4/10 OVERALL - 5/10