Canon announced the 220 HS in February 2011, adding to their range of premium IXUS digital compact cameras. It is also known in America as the PowerShot ELPH 300 HS. The 220 HS is available in black, silver and red for £169.00.
Canon IXUS 220 HS: Features
The HS system, with 12.1 megapixels, allows the camera to take better pictures without a flash or tripod. The lens is 5x optical zoom, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24mm - 120mm and has image stabilisation to help reduce blur.
To make picture taking easy, there is Smart Auto which selected from a total of 32 different scenes. Using High-speed Burst the camera can shoot at 8fps. For extra creativity there is a variety of filters to choose from, such as: Fish-eye, Miniature, Toy Camera, Monochrome, Colour Accent and Colour Swap. Switch on Movie Digest and the camera will capture up to 4 seconds before a shot is taken and join them all together to create a single VGA movie.
The camera can also be taken underwater to a depth of 3m in a case deigned for the IXUS 220 HS - the Canon WP-DC320L Waterproof Case, which is available for around £50.
The IXUS 220 HS shoots full 1080p HD videos with stereo sound and Dynamic Image Stabilisation, protecting against any wobble and shake. The view videos the camera can be connected via HDMI to a HD TV.
12.1 megapixel HS System
24mm, 5x optical zoom lens
Optical Image Stabilisation
Stainless steel body
2.7 inch PureColor II G LCD screen
Full HD with optical zoom and Dynamic Image Stabilisation
Smart Auto with 32 scenes
Super Slow Motion Movie
Creative shooting modes
Optional Waterproof Cases
Canon IXUS 220 HS: Handling
The Canon IXUS 220 HS has a slim, stainless steel body, although it does tend to attract dust and quite a bit of time is spent keeping it clean, but the finish does make it easier to grip. The buttons are easy to press and fairly typical for a compact camera, there is a dedicated button for recording movies and also one which switches to Smart Auto mode.
The 2.7 inch screen on the rear is bright and clear to see in all lighting conditions and from an angle. The menus are logical and easy to navigate. According to CIPA, the battery is capable of 220 shots, which is OK for a compact camera, although carrying a spare is recommended for a day of shooting.
The camera is ready to take pictures within a couple of seconds of switching on and there is no significant lag from shot-to-shot. Using continuous shooting, the camera is capable of 2.2fps without flash and 0.7fps with the flash. Switching to High-speed Burst gives 6.3fps at 3 megapixel, although Canon claim it is capable of up to 8fps.
Canon IXUS 220 HS: Performance
The camera takes well exposed images, although at its widest, as can be seen below, detail tends to be better in the centre of the images and there is some lens flare and chromatic aberration in the trees. When shooting at its longest length detail is good throughout. The 20x digital zoom takes sharp images thanks to the Dual Image Stabilisation, although they are best served for small prints or on the web, as detail isn't so good when viewed at full size. With a close focus distance of just 3cm the camera is capable of taking very pleasing macro shots.
At ISO100, noise is very minimal, but does start to creep in at ISO200. Viewing these test images highlights some chromatic aberrations in places, particularly with contrasting colours. Noise continues to worsen at ISO400 but it is at ISO800 where images lose a touch of sharpness. ISO1600 and ISO3200 images have plenty of noise and the images produced at these levels are best for use on the web or small prints.
ISO100, 1/3, f/5.9, 21.5mm (35mm equiv: 120mm)
ISO200, 1/6, f/5.9, 21.5mm (35mm equiv: 120mm)
ISO400, 1/13, f/5.9, 21.5mm (35mm equiv: 120mm)
ISO800, 1/25, f/5.9, 21.5mm (35mm equiv: 120mm)
ISO1600, 1/50, f/5.9, 21.5mm (35mm equiv: 120mm)
ISO3200, 1/100, f/5.9, 21.5mm (35mm equiv: 120mm)
Below are examples using the camera in varying situations. Colour reproduction is excellent and the camera performs excellently in different lighting conditions.
Portrait with flash, ISO200, 1/60, f/4.5, 10mm (35mm equiv: 56mm)
The IXUS 220 HS struggles somewhat under the incandescent lighting in our studio, whether using auto white-balance or the incandescent preset. The camera's auto white-balance handled the fluorescent lighting perfectly though.
Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting, ISO100, 1/10, f/4.5, 9mm (35mm equiv: 50mm)
The camera shoots full HD videos and also allows the use of optical (5x) and digital (20x) zoom and is supported by dual image stabilisation. Further videos can be seen on the ePHOTOzine YouTube channel.
Value For Money
The Canon IXUS 220 HS is currently available for £169.00. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX77 has a 12.1 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom and is available for £234.00. The Fujifilm FinePix Z800EXR has a 12 megapixel sensor, 5x optical zoom and is currently available for just £119.00. Other IXUS cameras which have been recently scored well when reviewed on ePHOTOzine are the Canon IXUS 115 HS (12.1 megapixel sensor, 4x optical zoom) for £149.00 and the Canon IXUS 310 HS (12.1 megapixel sensor, 4.4x optical zoom) for £244.99.
Canon IXUS 220 HS: Verdict
The IXUS 220 HS is a really good looking, compact camera which takes pictures with excellent colour reproduction but is let down by chromatic aberration and lens flare at times. The creative modes make the camera really fun to use, as does the full HD video shooting mode. With the underwater case made by Canon, allow shooting upto depths of 3m, it's ideal for shots in the pool on holiday or when out snorkeling or surfing.
Canon IXUS 220 HS: Pros
Excellent colour reproduction
Full HD videos
Nice macro shots
Plenty of creative modes
Underwater case available
Canon IXUS 220 HS: Cons
Chromatic aberration and lens flare at times
Fairly short battery life