Canon Ixus 500 HS review

The slim, sumptuous design and 12x zoom lens are a great combination, but other cameras beat it for image quality

8 Mar 2012
Our Rating 
4/5
Price when reviewed 
256
inc VAT

Page 2 of 2Canon Ixus 500 HS review

Specifications

1/2.3in (16MP cropped to 10MP) 10.0-megapixel sensor, 12.0x zoom (28-336mm equivalent), 155g

The proof of the pudding is in the eating, though, and the Ixus 500 HS's photos are actually pretty good. It helps that this sensor is an HS chip, Canon's name for back-illuminated CMOS technology which delivers lower noise than conventional sensors. The higher pixel density of this 16-megapixel sensor does bring drawbacks, though, with some image noise even in bright conditions. Image quality held together extremely well in gloomier conditions, though, standing up to scrutiny at ISO 400 and producing passable snaps at ISO 1600. The Panasonic SZ7 gave cleaner results in bright light, but in low light the Canon's superior noise reduction gave it the advantage.

Canon Ixus 500 HS sample shot

Details here look reasonably sharp at first glance, but there's not much definition to the ripples or dense foliage, and the hull of the boat reveals some noise - click to enlarge

The Canon's lens isn't up to the same standards as the Panasonic's, though. Comparing both at 100 per cent magnification, the Panasonic was slightly sharper at their wide-angle settings, and its higher resolution and wider-angle view gave it a clear advantage. As we zoomed both cameras in, the Canon's focus began to deteriorate, at first just in the corners of frames, but by the full telephoto extension it was a little soft across the whole frame compared to the Panasonic.

Canon Ixus 500 HS sample shot

Focus deteriorates at the telephoto end of the zoom: compare this shot to a similar one in our Panasonic SZ7 review - click to enlarge

The rest of the package is familiar territory, with Canon's usual knack for sumptuous, flattering colours and sensible automatic exposures. Performance was solid, taking 2.1 seconds on average between shots, while continuous mode ran at 2.3fps. Videos are recorded at 1080/24p in AVC format but are limited to 10 minutes per clip. Picture and sound quality were excellent but the zoom motor spoiled the soundtrack slightly.

The Ixus 500 HS is bound to be a bestseller with its eye-catching slim design and 12x zoom. Its owners are unlikely to be disappointed, but the Panasonic SZ7 is a better example of the same basic concept. Meanwhile, if you can live with an 8x zoom, the Canon Ixus 230 HS remains our top recommendation with its exceptional image quality, slim design and sub-£200 price.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
CCD effective megapixels 10.0 megapixels
CCD size 1/2.3in (16MP cropped to 10MP)
Viewfinder none
Viewfinder magnification, coverage N/A
LCD screen size 3.0in
LCD screen resolution 461,000 pixels
Articulated screen No
Live view Yes
Optical zoom 12.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent 28-336mm
Image stabilisation optical, lens based
Maximum image resolution 3,648x2,736
Maximum movie resolution 1920x1080
Movie frame rate at max quality 24fps
File formats JPEG; QuickTime (AVC)

Physical

Memory slot microSDXC
Mermory supplied none
Battery type Li-ion
Battery Life (tested) 190 shots
Connectivity USB, AV, mini HDMI
HDMI output resolution 1080i
Body material metal
Lens mount N/A
Focal length multiplier N/A
Kit lens model name N/A
Accessories USB cable
Weight 155g
Size 54x88x19mm

Buying Information

Warranty one-year RTB
Price £256
Supplier http://www.oyyy.co.uk
Details www.canon.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modes auto
Shutter speed auto
Aperture range f/3.4 (wide), f/5.6 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution) 100 to 3200
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV
White balance auto, 5 presets, manual
Additional image controls contrast, saturation, sharpness, red, green, blue, skin tone, i-Contrast
Manual focus Yes
Closest macro focus 1cm
Auto-focus modes centre, face detect, tracking
Metering modes multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes single, continuous, self-timer, smile detect

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