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Canon IXUS 125 HS Ultra Compact Camera Review

The Canon IXUS 125 HS is one of the smallest IXUS models available, we find out how this ultra compact performs.

|  Canon IXUS 125 HS in Compact Cameras
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Ixus 125hs Front Angled

The Canon IXUS 125 HS updates the IXUS 115 HS and is one of the smallest cameras available from Canon and would definitely fit into the category 'Ultra Compact' - being just 20mm thick. It features a wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens, 16.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and Canon's High Speed System with Full HD video.

Canon IXUS 125 HS Features

Ixus 125hs Front On

Key Features

  • 16.1 megapixel backlit CMOS sensor
  • 5x optical zoom lens - 24-120mm equivalent
  • Optical Image Stabilisation
  • 3 inch screen, 460k dots
  • Full HD video, High Speed video VGA at 120fps, 320x240 at 240fps
  • 5fps continuous shooting at 4 megapixels
  • ISO100 to ISO3200
  • iContrast
  • 3cm macro mode
  • Available in Blue, Silver, Green, Pink, Red (or black in other countries)

Canon IXUS 125 HS Handling

Ixus 125hs Top On

Handling - The camera is extremely compact with very little grip and therefore a wrist strap is highly recommended. Thankfully one is provided in the box. The camera modes are easily selected using the top switch, video record button and playback button. To change between the shooting and scene modes you press the Func/Set button and this brings up the photo options on screen where you can scroll through each mode such as Program, Auto, Fisheye, Night, Handheld Night Scene, Lowlight, etc. The D-pad and menus buttons are quite small and if you have large hands you may find pressing the buttons difficult.

Ixus 125hs Rear
Ixus 125hs Rear

Menus - The main options are set using the FUNC / set button, with further settings held within the main menus, where you can set focus, digital zoom, flash settings, date stamp, time settings and more. The options are easy to use thanks to the camera having built in hints and tips explaining what the settings and options do.

Ixus 125hs Bottom Battery
Ixus 125hs Bottom Battery

Battery Life - CIPA life is rated at 170 shots. We were able to take over 180 shots before the battery went flat. This isn't too bad for an ultra compact, although better battery life would be nice.

Canon IXUS 125 HS ELPH 110 HS
Canon IXUS 125 HS also known as the PowerShot ELPH 110 HS in the US.

Speed - We tested each camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot-to-shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average, so that consistent results were produced.

  Canon IXUS 125 HS Panasonic TZ25
Shutter Response 0.05 <0.05
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3 0.15
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.35 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 2.0 1.6
Shot to Shot (without flash) 2.0 0.6
Shot to Shot with Flash 3.3 1.2
Continuous Shooting (JPEG) 0.6 10fps (4 shots)
Continuous 4 megapixels 5fps (~ shots) N/A
Continuous AF Shooting (JPEG)
Continuous 3 megapixels
Continuous 2.5 megapixels
N/A 5fps (5 shots)
40fps (40 shots)
60fps (30 shots)
Continuous Shooting (with Flash) 1.3s 2fps (5 shots, 3m)

Focus and shutter response are reasonably quick, although shot to shot time could be quicker, especially when using flash. Continuous shooting is reasonable at nearly 2 fps when shooting at full resolution and 5fps shooting is available at 4 megapixels.

Canon IXUS 125 HS Performance

Here we've taken a number of sample photos taken in a variety of situations, including real world as well as studio test photos. Additional sample photos and information can be found in the Equipment Database.

Canon IXUS 125 HS Sample Photos

Sample photos - The camera produces bright saturated images and performs best in bright sunny weather with good detail in images. Macro performance is good with the camera allowing you to zoom into the subject for extra detail.

Canon IXUS 125 HS Lens test images

Lens Test images - Purple fringing is higher than expected, with it noticeable in areas of contrast. Detail is quite good in the centre of the image, with the corners being quite soft.

Canon IXUS 125 HS ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is quite low at ISO100 and increases at ISO200 and ISO400. At ISO800 noise increases and detail is lost. Colour is strong and it's not until ISO1600 until colour saturation drops. Noise at ISO1600 is high, but images should still be usable when resized. ISO3200 is best avoided if possible with high noise levels and more colour loss.

Canon IXUS 125 HS White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under tungsten lighting and using the auto white balance (AWB) setting the images have a yellow cast, with the tungsten preset giving a much more neutral result. Under fluorescent lighting the image colour is a little warm and again using the fluorescent preset gives a better result.

Canon IXUS 125 HS Digital filters

Digital Filters - There are a number of fun filters include Toy Cam, Fisheye effect, as well as useful options including Low-light and Handheld nightshot modes. Unfortunately a built in panoramic stitch mode is not included.

Video - The camera records full HD video with optical zoom and digital zoom. Slow motion video is also available at 120fps (VGA) and 240fps (at 320x240) without sound. An example can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.

Value For Money

The Canon IXUS 125 HS is up against a number of compact competitors, including the Panasonic Lumix FX90 (with WiFi), Nikon Coolpix S100 (with stereo sound), Samsung MV800 (with rotating screen), Canon IXUS 230 HS (with 8x zoom) and Panasonic Lumix SZ1 (with 10x zoom), nearly all of these are currently cheaper than the IXUS 125 HS. You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Canon IXUS 125 HS Verdict

The Canon IXUS 125 HS is a stylish ultra compact camera with a good set of features and the camera is capable of producing bright colourful images with good detail, although corners are a little soft and purple fringing is quite high. It would be nice if the buttons on the back were a little larger and if the camera featured a built in panoramic stitching mode. Also the high speed continuous shooting mode is limited to 5fps at 4 megapixels - it's a shame the "High Speed" designation doesn't mean that the whole camera is lightning fast. Overall this is a good looking camera that feels overpriced especially compared to other ultra compact cameras on the market.

Canon IXUS 125 HS Pros

Ultra compact 5x optical zoom camera
Handheld Night-Shot Mode
Compact metal body
Good macro performance
Bright saturated colours

Canon IXUS 125 HS Cons

Small rear buttons (d-pad and menu buttons)
Lacks in camera panoramic stitching
High price compared to other cameras
High purple fringing


Canon IXUS 125 HS Specifications

Max Aperturef/2.7 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent24mm - 120mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution461,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest15sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting2fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS24
Stereo SoundNo Data
Optical Zoom with VideoNo Data
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-11L
Battery Life (CIPA rating)170shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsNo Data

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Photographs taken using the Canon IXUS 125 HS

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10 Apr 2013 5:12AM
Which one will provide a better image quality?
* IXUS 125 HS
* IXUS 220 HS
* IXUS 230 HS
* PowerShot A3400 IS
* PowerShot A4000 IS

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