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Canon IXUS 870 IS Digital Camera Review

Canon IXUS 870 IS Digital Camera Review - The Canon IXUS 870 IS is a 10 megapixel digital camera with a 4x wide angle lens. It is available in silver and gold. At 23.6mm wide it should fit into most pockets. David Tymon from Cameras.co.uk has reviewed.

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Canon IXUS 870 IS in Compact Cameras

Canon IXUS 870 FrontWhy Buy the Canon IXUS 870 IS?

The IXUS 870 IS is a high class compact digital camera. In terms of design, build quality and picture quality there are not many better smaller digital cameras available.


Image Quality

Canon IXUS 870 Outdoors 1

Canon IXUS 870 Outdoors 2

Outdoor 1 (Medium Zoom)
Sharpness is above average with the brickwork on the building showing up well. Focusing levels are also retained as you move out towards the edges. The colours are vivid and help to create an impressive scene. This bodes well for other landscape shots. Sun glare does give the IXUS 870 IS a problem and some detail is lost from the boats where there are caught by the sun. 

Outdoor 2 (No Zoom)
The number of compact digital cameras with a wide angle lens is increasing. In all the time I have been testing cameras I have felt that the sharpness of a picture taken with a wide angle lens when the zoom is not being used struggles to match pictures taken with a more standard lens. This test shot confirms that view. Although it is inline with many other cameras with a wide angle lens the sharpness does not match a picture taken at the same time with theCanon IXUS 980 IS . There is not a great deal you can do. If you want a camera with a wide angle lens you have to compromise a little in terms of sharpness when the lens is zoomed out.
Canon IXUS 870 Outdoors 3
Canon IXUS 870 Building

Outdoor 3 (Maximum Zoom)
This is a much better effort. Even though this camera only offers 4x zoom there is still plenty of detail to be seen in the trees and bushes. The roof tiles also stand out well showing that the lens is more at home when zoomed in.


Outdoor 4 (Building)
With the lens zoom in to about two thirds of its capacity sharpness is well above average. Not only can the inpidual bricks be seen clearly the shot stays sharp right up to the edges.

Canon IXUS 870 Outdoor Portrait
Canon IXUS 870 Indoor Portrait

Outdoor Portrait
The colours produced for my outdoor portrait have a very natural look to them. Skin colours are just about exactly the correct shade. Focusing is sharp too. You should be able to take plenty of snapshot portraits and be very happy with the results.


Indoor Portrait with Flash
I am impressed by the way this camera is able to determine the amount of flash light to use. With some digital compacts the power of the flash can over power the picture. With portraits that can lead to areas of the face where the light is clearly visible as in bounces back into the lens. There are no such problems for the IXUS 870 IS.

Canon IXUS 870 Indoor Portrait
Canon IXUS 870 Outdoors 1

Indoor Portrait without Flash
Although this shot is not in perfect focus it is about as good as I can get indoors without flash, in late autumn. It goes to show the amount of light required for a compact digital camera to take a noise free, sharply focused shot.

I like the colours this camera produces. The scenic shots are vivid, while the outdoor portrait shot shows that more subtle colours can be used when required.

Canon IXUS 870 Outdoors 1

If taking close up shots is something you plan to do on a regular basis then you will not go far wrong with Canon digital cameras. In my opinion they outperform all other brands in this area. The IXUS 870 IS is able to produce a sharp close up shot with plenty of detail


ISO 400 and ISO 1600 - To be honest there is not a lot to choose between all the digital cameras I review when it comes to noise levels as you push the ISO setting up to 400 and above. The amount of noise produced by the IXUS 870 IS is inline with expectations. There is a limited amount showing in brighter areas at ISO 400. In darker areas noise really affects picture quality. At ISO 1600 noise reduces quality across the entire picture.

Overall - I have no complaints about the picture quality from the IXUS 870 IS. This is one of the better smaller compacts.

Shutter Lag and Recycling Times - To turn the camera on and take a picture took me just 1.08 seconds. That is easily the fastest time I have recorded to date. I was so surprised by this time that I re ran the test on a number of occasions and each time the camera performed within a split second or two of my original test.

General shutter lag times were good without being exceptional. A single picture took 0.3 seconds, while five took 8.29 seconds. Flash slowed the camera down, but nowhere near as much as it does with some Canon digital cameras. With flash the times were 1.06 seconds for a single shot and 16.81 seconds for five shots.

Canon IXUS 870 TopStyle - This camera looks good. It has one rounded end and I like the reflective area around the lens. It is available in silver and gold.

Dimensions - 93.8 x 56.8 x 23.6mm

Weight - 155g

Batteries - Lithium ion (NB-5L). Both a battery and charger are included in the box. Canon estimates you should be able to take around 310 shots in between charges.

Memory Cards - There is no memory built into the camera. Instead Canon provides a 32mb card. I was able to take 14 shots before the card was full. The IXUS 870 IS is also compatible with SD and SDHC cards.

Canon IXUS 870 BackEase of Use Rating - Good. Despite using Canon cameras for a number for years I still do not find them as easy to use as other brands. In this instance it took me a while to track down how to change the number of seconds the self timer would delay for.

Points I Like - Design - picture quality - build quality - start up time

Where it Could Improve - Nothing really springs to mind

Alternatives - The IXUS 870 IS is an excellent camera, but it is not cheap. A less expensive option that can still deliver excellent picture quality is the Fuji Finepix F60fd.

David Tyman's verdict - If you believe you get what you pay for and you don't mind spending a bit more on a digital camera then the IXUS 870 IS is a good option. It does most things very well and has very few weaknesses.

David Tymon works with Cameras.co.uk

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