Canon IXUS 950 IS Digital Camera Review

Rebecca Bradley reviews the Canon IXUS 950 IS - proof that good things come in small packages.

|  Canon IXUS 950 IS in Compact Cameras
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Canon IXUS 950 IS Digital Camera Review Rebecca Bradley reviews the Canon IXUS 950 IS - proof that good things come in small packages. 4.5 5

The IXUS 950 is an ideal choice for the digital camera user who wants a high quality compact in a small and stylishly designed body.

Canon IXUS 950 IS Specifications: Canon IXUS 950 IS front

  • Sensor: CCD: 8Mp
  • Image Size: 3264x2448 pixels
  • Optical zoom: 4x
  • Lens range: 35-140mm f/2.8 - 5.5mm
  • Focus: TTL Auto
  • Macro mode: 2cm
  • White Balance: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Florescent, Florescent H, Custom.
  • Exposure: Program AE
  • Metering: Evaluative, Centre-Weighted, Spot.
  • Shutter speed: 15-1/1600 sec
  • ISO range: ISO80-1600
  • Monitor: 2.5in. LCD (230k pixels)
  • Movie mode: Yes
  • Scene Modes: Portrait / Night Snapshot / Kids and Pets / Indoor / Creative Light Effect / Foliage / Snow / Beach / Fireworks / Aquarium / Underwater
  • Storage: SD, SDHC, MMC, no internal.
  • Batteries: Li-Ion battery pack
  • AF modes: Face Detect / 9-point AiAF / 1-point AF (fixed to centre)
  • Video output: Yes
  • Size/weight: 90x57x26mm/165g
  • Transfer: USB
Competitors within a similar price are the Nikon Coolpix S510 , Olympus mju 780 and Samsung NV11.

Canon IXUS 950 IS Modes and features
Canon IXUS 950 IS Angle The IXUS 950 has features in abundance. Firstly, there is the inclusion of Canon's Image Stabilizer, which uses a lens shift-type system to detect and correct slight camera shakes, reducing image blur often caused by low light levels or slow shutter speeds. This is activated by halfway pressing the shutter release to lock the stabilizing system. There is also Canon's Advanced Digic III Processor, which analyses the scene prior to the image, optimising key camera settings for the best possible result in that situation and for super fast responses. Face Detection technology is also a feature here, designed to detect human faces within the frame and ensure these areas are brought into sharp focus, as opposed to the camera focusing on another object within the frame and missing the main subject.

Buttons and functions are well set out and easy to use. On the top of the camera is the shutter release/zoom rocker function, which is smooth functioning and easy to use. On the back of the camera there is the power on/off switch, viewfinder, and 2.5in pure colour LCD, mode wheel, menu dial and three smaller buttons for printing, display options and menus. On the bottom of the camera is the tripod bush and card/battery compartment, which houses the Li-Ion rechargeable battery and SD memory card.

Metering modes offered here are Evaluative, Centre Weighted Average and Spot metering and the ISO optioCanon IXUS 950 IS LCD panel ns range from 80–1600. White balance options are comprised of Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Florescent, Florescent_H and Custom and the selection of scene modes is vast comprising Portrait, Night Snapshot, Kids and Pets, Indoor, Creative Light Effect, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium and Underwater. Additional modes offered in the manual menus include Stitch Assist (for the creation of panoramic images), Colour Swap, Colour Accent, Digital Macro. Two shooting modes are offered including single shot and continuous shooting mode, and there are several self-timer options including 10secs, two seconds and custom timer.

Canon IXUS 950 IS Build and handling

The IXUS 950 is a sturdy and well-built camera which actually feels a lot heavier than it looks. While it looks extremely compact from the front, it is a quite bulky and wide on further inspection. As is consistent with the IXUS range, the 950 is finished in shiny three-tone metal and stylishly designed, if a little fatter than some of the previous IXUS models.

The 950 is extremely easy to use. Buttons and menus are well laid out, and there is the inclusion of a viewfinder as well as the LCD screen. The zoom function is smooth and easy to use, and there is the inclusion of an unusual mode wheel on side of camera, which makes it easy to select a shooting mode or playback function. Graphics in the menu are high standard and the quality of images in playback is exceptionally good.

Canon IXUS 950 IS side Canon IXUS 950 IS Flash options
The flash options of the IXUS 950 are limited, offering only a selection of either auto flash, flash on, or flash off, and this is one of the only factors that let the camera down. While most digital cameras today have an option for flash with red-eye reduction, with the 950 red-eye reduction is built in, and, once activated in the set-up menu, the red eye reduction will focus which ever mode you choose to shoot in, firing a red beam of light to reduce the pupil size before the actual flash is omitted. There is also a red eye correction function in the menu which allows you to correct any red eye present in images during playback.

Canon IXUS 950 IS Performance
The Macro mode of the IXUS 950 gives good results, functioning as close as 2cm and still retaining an impressive amount of detail and sharpness. In the colour checker test, the blues are rendered lighter and brighter than they actually are, as is the case with most digital compacts, and the skin tones appear slightly warmer than they are, but apart from these mixes, the colours of the chart are extremely accurate. Portrait tests taken using portrait mode give a soft skin tone with a slightly warmer glow than the same shot taken in auto, and any imperfections have also been smoothed out. The landscape shot shows only very mild colour fringing in the area around the steps, which is generally expected in areas of high contrast where darker colours meet lighter areas.

When activating the shutter release, there is a very slight lag before the picture is taken, but all in all the 950 is quite responsive. In the 10 second burst mode test, the IXUS 950 performed remarkably well, firing out 14 successive shots within the time period and still managing to keep on firing afterwards. The LCD screen, which features Canon's Pure Colour technology displays high quality images and is easy to see even in bright and sunny conditions. Zoom functions are also good, activated by a small zoom rocker besides the shutter release and providing a fast and smooth transition between wide angle and telephoto shots and zoom quality is also reasonably good.

IXUS 950 Colour Chart
While the skin tones are slightly lighter, and
the blues lighter and brighter, the rest of
the mixes in the colour chart test are
extremely accurate.
Canon IXIS 950 Macro Mode
This shot of a flower, taken in Macro
mode, shows excellent detail in the petals at
a very close distance.
Canon IXUS 950 Portrait Shot
The portrait shot taken in auto mode
retains a good amount of detail in all areas of
the face.
Canon IXUS 950 Portrait Shot
Portrait shot taken in portrait mode has softened the skin slightly, smoothing out
imperfections and given a
warmer glow to the face.
Canon IXUS 950 Landscape
The landscape shot shows some mild
colour fringing around the edges of the steps
but generally gives a very impressive

Canon IXUS 950 Noise tests
With the ISO tests the Canon 950 really excels. ISO80 to ISO200 have no visible noise, and at ISO400 there is only a small amount visible on close inspection. At ISO800 a little more digital noise is starting to appear, and at ISO1600 there is pixelation in many areas of the picture, but nowhere near as much as you would expect for an image taken on such a high ISO setting.

Canon IXUS 950 ISO80
The IS080 test

Canon IXUS 950 ISO100

The ISO100 test
Canon IXUS 950 ISO200
The ISO200 test
Canon IXUS 950 ISO400
The ISO400 test
Canon IXUS 950 ISO800
The ISO800 test
Canon IXUS 950 ISO1600 TheISO1600 test

Canon IXUS 950 Verdict
Canon IXUS 950 IS bottom view Combining style with substance, the IXUS 950 performed extremely well in all parts of the test. Stylish, compact and easy to use, the camera provided good results throughout all tests. ISO results were excellent, as were performances in burst mode, and the Macro mode gave super sharp and detailed pictures from as close as 2cm. Features such as Image Stabilization, Advanced Digic III Processor and Face Detection all contribute to giving high quality results and make taking high quality photographs a doddle. Simple enough to use, even for newcomers to digital, the IXUS 950 is a good all rounder that comes highly recommended.

Plus points:
Positive ratingEasy to use
Positive ratingStylish and compact
Positive ratingMinimal noise in ISO tests
Positive ratingExcellent Macro mode

Negative points:
Negative ratingLimited flash options
Negative ratingSlight colour fringing in landscape test
Negative ratingOverly bright blues

Highly recommended





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The Canon IXUS 950 is available to purchase from the ePHOTOzine shop here.

All products images in this review were taken with the Canon EOS 400D.


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Why have all of the sample images in your reviews been edited? It is hard to make a good evaluation of image quality without original samples from the camera. I can tell by looking at the meta information that the samples are not originals, but I can't tell how much the image was changed.

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The images have been cropped and resized, and that is all the alterations that have been made.

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