It is entirely possible that ‘Q’ never issued a Canon Ixus digital camera to James Bond, and we feel that is a terrible oversight. The Ixus v3 is a 3.2 megapixel update to the original Ixus and it looks for all the world like a small block of brushed stainless steel that measures 90mm x 60mm x 25mm.
Press the On/Off button and the lens extends, but not very far as this model only has a 2x optical zoom. As this is such a small camera the controls are all close to hand, but they are well laid out and easy to operate. The zoom is particularly neat, as you adjust it with the same fingertip that operates the shutter button.
The battery is Li-Ion and drops out of the camera to charge in a charger that Canon supplies. There’s no option to plug the camera into the mains or use it with a flat battery. The media is regular Compact Flash, which is on the one hand quite chunky and on the other very cheap and cheerful at £30 for 128MB.
We found that indoors shots were clear, sharp and well balanced, but we were less impressed with outdoors photos. They were acceptable but unimpressive; not very sharp, as though the “intelligent 9-point AiAF system” couldn’t quite decide where to focus, and the 2x optical zoom didn’t help matters either.
We were a little surprised that the Ixus wasn’t natively recognised by Windows XP and actually had to resort to the Canon driver CD. We also noted that Canon uses a proprietary port for the USB cable, which can also be used for the supplied AV cable, as well as its direct print devices.
There’s more to taking a photo than pointing and clicking, and the Ixus v3 comes with a full package of software including ArcSoft CameraSuite 1.2, ArcSoft PhotoImpression and ArcSoft VideoImpression as well as PhotoRecord and PhotoStitch. The only way to improve that would be to include the same Adobe Photoshop Elements package that Canon bundles with some of its scanners.
We feel that the Ixus v3 is fundamentally limited by its size, and a fair amount of that is taken up by the battery and compact flash card, but if you work within the limitations of the camera you’ll be very happy with it. The price isn’t extortionate either, and represents fair value for money.
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