Canon’s Digital IXUS range has to be one of the most prolific of recent times, as it was only a blink ago that the IXUS 800 and 850 IS were released. Its latest offspring has opted for more of a leap of style over content.
You’ll know as soon as you open the box that this is a deliberate fashion statement: a cool, stylish brushed titanium case in the now familiar Perpetual Curve design. As titanium is stronger but significantly lighter than steel, the grip feels reassuringly solid and reliable with easy access to the control buttons.
Whereas the 850 IS majored on its 3.8x wide-angle lens and optical image stabilizer, the 900Ti has thrown its weight behind a whopping 10-megapixel CCD sensor, which enables poster-size prints to be produced at high quality with insignificant loss of detail.
In addition to the 3x optical zoom there’s a new Safety Zoom feature which expands to 12x for small images and a Digital Tele-Converter for extra telephoto reach.
As well as a viewfinder (largely redundant in Macro mode), viewing is via the 2.5-inch LCD screen using a 230,000 pixel display that has an anti-reflective coating. Canon includes an Image Inspection Tool which cannily allows a magnified section of your snapped image to appear alongside the full picture so you can check details are correct before you move on.
Like the 850 IS, the 900Ti’s processor is the impressive DIGIC III which is both faster and offers improved image rendering over its predecessor. It’s also taken on board the latest Face Detection AF/AE which utilizes the 9-Point AiAF to identify up to nine faces in a portrait and optimise focus and exposure accordingly.
The DIGIC III has improved Noise Reduction too, so you can shoot at ISO 1600 comfortably in low light and the shooting modes have been expanded to 18 to include ISO 3200 (strangely it’s separated from the main ISO menu, though), Aquarium and Underwater (for which a special water-resistant case is an optional extra). Should you want to fire off a bit of movie footage, VGA videos can be made at 30fps as well as another innovation for the IXUS collection; pin-sharp XGA quality (1024 x 768) recording with sound at 15fps.
The control layout is instantly recognisable, with the Touch Wheel in the centre doing most of the work when shooting, the Menu button at the bottom concentrating on preparation and the shooting mode operations perched at the top. All the controls are easy to access and, once the photos are taken, they can then be catalogued using the built-in My Category automatic image tagging facility which categorizes them according to face detection and shooting mode used.
Instant printing is available through any PictBridge compatible printer and as well as SD and MMC memory cards, the IXUS now supports the new SDHC format for storage capacities of 2GB and above. Shame you still only get a 32MB card to start with.
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