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Canon IXUS 200 IS Digital Camera Review

Canon IXUS 200 IS Digital Camera Review - Canon show us how to touch a camera in all the right places with the IXUS 200 IS.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Canon IXUS 200 IS
Price : £263
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Review by Matt Grayson
Canon IXUS 200 IS
Model: Canon IXUS 200IS Panasonic DMC FX550 Casio Exilim EX-H10
Price: £262.99 £219.49 £257.49
Zoom: 5x optical 5x optical 10x optical
Resolution: 12.1Mp 12.1Mp 12.1Mp
Screen: 3in touchscreen 3in touchscreen 3in screen
Macro: 5cm 5cm 7cm
ISO: 80-1600 80-6400 64-3200
Flash: Built-in Built-in Built-in
Image stabiliser: Yes Yes Yes
 

Canon IXUS 200 IS: Features

Looking the business in a slinky, grey casing the Canon IXUS doesn't pull any punches with a 24mm lens giving a 5x optical zoom, DiG!C IV processor and 3in TFT LCD screen on the back. Most interesting, though, is the touchscreen capabilities of the little camera.
Canon IXUS 200 IS rear view
A slim camera with a wide design for the 16:9 screen.
Canon IXUS 200 IS touchscreen
Operating the touchscreen is easy and responsive.
The design has had a bit of an overhaul on the IXUS 200 IS such as the longer, letter box shape of the unit and the mode switch taking on an unusual triangular shape on the top plate. It appears that minimalism was at the forefront of the design team's minds with only a few basic buttons and a wheel to get you through the shooting experience. Of course, it's only a compact so having lots of buttons and gizmos to play with will put the average snapper off.

Touch screen technology starts from the outset allowing you to focus on a particular point of the screen by simply tapping it once. There are three ways to use the touchscreen, single tap, double tap and drag. The screen is very responsive and works well in most conditions and is especially useful if the camera isn't closing in on the subject you'd like or face detection can't manage for some reason.

There are plenty of other features to get the new technology crowd drooling such as the active screen that scrolls through the playback pictures by flipping the camera, although make sure it's firmly attached to you by the wrist strap. It also allows you to turn the camera on it's side (portrait orientation) and take a picture using the red camera icon on the screen. This works really well, working nicely alongside the the touch focus option and it's like taking a picture with a camera phone. One thing that's been forgotten about in the orientation mode is the flash option. It's also touchscreen but remains in landscape orientation while the rest of the camera is portrait.
Canon IXUS 200 IS: Specification
  • Zoom: 5x optical
  • Resolution: 12.1Mp
  • Sensor size: 1/2.3in
  • Sensor type: CCD
  • Max. image size: 4000x3000
  • File type: JPEG
  • Sensitivity: ISO80 - 1600
  • Media type: SD, SDHC
  • Focus types: Face detection, 9 point, 1 point AF, Touch AF
  • Normal focusing:
  • Close focusing: 5cm
  • Metering types: Evaluative, centre-weighted, spot
  • Exposure compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 step increments
  • Shutter speed: 15sec - 1/3000sec
  • Flash: Built-in, 50cm – 3.5m (wide), 50cm – 1.5m (tele)
  • Monitor: 3in TFT colour screen, 230,000dot (76,000px)
  • Interface: USB 2.0
  • Power: Li-Ion battery
  • Size: 99.9x53.4x22.9mm
  • Weight: 130g (excl. battery and card)
Canon IXUS 200 IS slim view
Canon IXUS 200 IS: Build and handling
A metal casing covers three quarters of the camera while a 3in TFT LCD widescreen takes over the majority of the rear. It's a nice, bright screen displaying the trendy black, carbon and orange menus and has no sign of blur or purple banding when faced with a bright window in a darker room. It seems that Canon are looking to place a wheel on all their cameras now as the IXUS 200 IS has a sunken version wrapped around the navigation pad.

Usability is good with easy to understand titles and menus and the only real complaint about using the camera was that it can be a little bit slow to respond to some commands. Once a shot has been taken, the camera will spend a few leisurely seconds showing you the image before taking another few seconds to reset itself ready for more picture taking. For the photographer in a hurry, this can be an age although in usual circumstances, it's unlikely it'll be noticed.

IXUS models have always been well-built and the 200 IS isn't any different although I think a little reinforcement in the battery door wouldn't go amiss.

Despite a relatively small flash, it covers a decent amount of space although it's at the lower end of the performance scale, covering only 1.5m at telephoto. There are only three options in the flash menu on the back of the camera but going into the menu, there's a secondary menu for flash settings which allow you to change red eye correction and toggling the red eye lamp on or off.

Canon IXUS 200 IS: Performance
Focusing on the Canon IXUS 200 IS is pretty good, it's fast and accurate although it missed the subject from time to time, most of the time I was happy with the target it found. The great thing
Canon IXUS 200 IS macro image
Point of focus for this image is manually selected toward the top of the lens.
about this little compact is that if it doesn't hit the area you want to focus on, including faces, all you have to do is touch the screen and the camera will focus on that point. It will also stay there until you say different or until the camera is switched off. This is including when you orient it and the camera won't track focus.

The Canon IXUS 200 IS has a close focusing mode of around 5cm but I found it difficult to get the camera focusing that close. It would do it, but was sporadic in hitting focus in the area I wanted. Still, detail is good and it uses a shallow depth of field to ensure that the part of the camera in focus is more prominent.
Canon IXUS 200 IS colour chart
Primary colours are boosted and red more than most compacts reviewed recently.
In the colour chart test, there's a noticeable boost to the primary colours such as red and blue. Yellow is a little deeper than usual, as is orange but the earthier browns and greens are well balanced. Mono tones are nicely balanced and traces of colour in the pastel tiles are there but only a fleeting amount. The skin tone set towards the bottom of the chart is well recorded but the original skin tone tile looks too pink.

Previous fears of the skin tone aren't necessary as the portrait image has come out nicely. There's a slight lack of detail in the hair suggesting noise reduction but without a menu option to turn it off, it's going to interject it's own influence on the pictures. The exposure is well balanced with some good detail in the darker areas.

Adding a burst of flash has paled out the skin, filled in the darker areas and added catchlights. Despite the flash adding more light to obviate the need for high ISO, noise reduction is still present and smoothing out detail in areas such as the hair.
Canon IXUS 200 IS portrait
Portrait mode gives a good skin tone  and would give good detail if NR wasn't smoothing it out.
Canon IXUS 200 IS portrait with flash
Portrait with flash has solved the lack of light in the shadow areas but the camera hasn't taken the opportunity to lower ISO.
 
Canon IXUS 200 IS landscape image
Colour fringing is present on the white bars that lead into the lock and noise is spoiling the whole image. The noise that is present only really affects the image when viewed close up as detail in the grass looks ok at 25% viewing. Metering has been fooled a little as the sky was more grey and has caused a haze that bleeds over the foliage that frames the sky.

The Canon was tested through all white balance options and the camera works well on every one when compared against the auto white balance setting. Notably, in the cloudy setting there's less warmth than the auto setting which I find interesting. However, on the
Canon IXUS 200 IS cloudy wb
cloudy setting, the green of the grass has come out richer but the sky has a trace of grey to it. In other settings, such as tungsten, there's no noticeable difference between the two so I'm confident that using auto white balance will give decent results throughout.

Despite a relatively small flash, it covers a decent amount of space although it's at the lower end of the performance scale, covering only 1.5m at telephoto. There are only three options in the flash menu on the back of the camera but going into the menu, there's a secondary menu for flash settings which allow you to change red eye correction and toggling the red eye lamp on or off. Coverage is pretty good at the top end with balanced light covering the entire frame. At wide angle, there's bound to be some drop off, but it's very near the edges.
Canon IXUS 200 IS flash wide
Flash coverage at wide angle.
Canon IXUS 200 IS flash telephoto
Flash coverage at telephoto.
 
Canon IXUS 200 IS dynamic range
This comparable image shows the burn out on the towels with iContrast switched off. There's also less detail in the shadow area.
Canon IXUS 200 IS colour picker
Canon have a dynamic range system called iContrast and it's located in the menu system. I tested it on some brightly lit towels and the burnt out areas at the top of the frame were brought nicely under control as well as some extra detail being recorded in the darker areas. It's not as noticeable on the screen of the camera, in fact I was unsure whether it had worked, but it looks great on the monitor.

A number of Canon cameras have been fitted with the colour picker, such as the recently reviewed Canon Powershot G11. It works by sampling an area of colour then only picking that out of an otherwise black & white image. I sampled the orange of the toy lobster and any parts in the frame that share the same tone will come out. Primary colours work best as they have a higher presence in other colours but this can lead to problems such as the ducks beak where only parts are highlighted.


There are six ISO settings for the Canon ranging from ISO80 to ISO1600. ISO80 gives a pretty good result but unless you're manually selecting it in the function menu, it's unlikely you'll get to use it except in the brightest of conditions. Degradation of the image continues steadily throughout the settings but a significant shift only really starts to happen at ISO400 where the petal detail starts to drop and colour starts to creep into the shadowy areas under the petals. Colour invasion at the highest stage is pretty bad with big blobs of purple and green on the grey card. The white card doesn't look too bad, but the black card is suffering just as much as grey.
Canon IXUS 200 IS ISO80 test
The ISO80 test.
Canon IXUS 200 IS ISO1600 test
The ISO1600 test.

Canon IXUS 200 IS: Verdict
Throughout the test, the camera suffered badly from noise and has a problem with colour fringing. For the happy snapper that enjoys the unique features of the touchscreen and the flipping to looking at images in playback, this camera will provide a novel approach to picture taking and viewing.

Apart from the noise issue, the camera is pretty fast, takes sharp pictures and is responsive. For that reason, the Canon IXUS 200 IS is a perfectly decent camera to own. If you're part of the innovation crowd that need the newest stuff first or something that has a novelty feature, then you should get this camera.

Canon IXUS 200 IS: Plus points
Sexy design
Fast touchscreen
Good build
Nice colour reproduction

Canon IXUS 200 IS: Minus points
Noise reduction interferes with resolution too much
Noise is still an issue despite NR
Slow response to certain command buttons

FEATURES

HANDLING

PERFORMANCE

OVERALL



The Canon IXUS 200 IS costs around £263 and is available at Warehouse Express here:

Canon IXUS 200 IS

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