Join ePHOTOzine, the friendliest photography community.
Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more for free!
|Model:||Canon IXUS 200IS||Panasonic DMC FX550||Casio Exilim EX-H10|
|Zoom:||5x optical||5x optical||10x optical|
|Screen:||3in touchscreen||3in touchscreen||3in screen|
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.
A slim camera with a wide design for the 16:9 screen.
Operating the touchscreen is easy and responsive.
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.
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
Point of focus for this image is manually selected toward the top of the lens.
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.
Primary colours are boosted and red more than most compacts reviewed recently.
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.
Portrait mode gives a good skin tone and would give good detail if NR wasn't smoothing it out.
Portrait with flash has solved the lack of light in the shadow areas but the camera hasn't taken the opportunity to lower ISO.
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
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.
Flash coverage at wide angle.
Flash coverage at telephoto.
This comparable image shows the burn out on the towels with iContrast switched off. There's also less detail in the shadow area.
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.
The ISO80 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
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
The Canon IXUS 200 IS costs around £263 and is available at Warehouse Express here:
Canon IXUS 200 IS