Canon Ixus 255 HS review
The Ixus 255 HS is the third ultra-compact camera we've seen in recent weeks that comes with a 10x zoom and Wi-Fi. It's an appealing combination of features for casual snapping – the extended zoom gives a clear benefit over smartphone cameras, while Wi-Fi means you can transfer directly to a smartphone for instant online sharing.
In most other respects, the 255 HS resembles the Canon Ixus 230 HS, which we loved for its exceptional image quality and stylish design. The new model ditches its predecessor's awkward side-mounted Menu button and mode switch for a more conventional layout of controls beside its bright 3in screen.
Once again, the mode switch only has two positions. This time, one accesses a Movie Digest mode that captures a couple of seconds of video just before each photo is taken, and joins these clips together into a single video file. In practice, our Movie Digest videos comprised lots of fumbling about with the camera mostly pointed at the floor.
We'd much rather have a switch for the Auto and Program modes – the former is fully automatic, while the latter unlocks various controls such as exposure compensation, white balance, ISO speed and continuous mode. The various modes, scene presets and photographic controls are accessed via the Func Set button, and Canon's tried-and-tested menu system is reasonably quick to navigate.
Performance is a little faster than on the Ixus 230 HS, at 1.8 seconds to switch on and shoot, and the same time between shots. That's slower than its main rivals, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ9 and Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-WX200, but it's respectable enough. Continuous shooting is relatively slow at 2fps, but we appreciate how it keeps going until the card is full. There's also a scene preset that captured 3-megapixel photos at 5.3fps.
Wi-Fi transfers are simple and elegant, with apps for Android and iOS giving responsive browsing and transfers at a choice of resolutions up to the full 12 megapixels. The app can also keep a GPS log, and use the data to geotag photos in the camera retrospectively. It's not as neat as in-camera GPS but it's nice to have the option when you find yourself in an unusual location. The camera can also join a home network for drag-and-drop access to files from a PC. There's no remote shooting mode, though. Unlike most Wi-Fi cameras we've seen recently (including the Panasonic SZ9 and Sony WX200), you can't use a phone or tablet as a remote control when taking photos.
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