Canon Ixus 155 review

12 Sep 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
90
inc VAT

A low price for such a stylish camera, but the Canon Ixus 155 is still a false economy

Specifications

Sensor resolution: 20 megapixels, Sensor size: 1/2.3in, Viewfinder: No, LCD screen: 2.7in (230,000 dots), Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths): 10x (24-240mm), 35mm-equivalent aperture: f/16-39, Weight: 138g, Size (HxWxD): 57x95x24mm

The Ixus brand is generally synonymous with stylish, upmarket cameras, so it's a bit of a surprise to find the Ixus 155 available for under £100. It still bears all the usual Ixus hallmarks, with a slim, stylish metal body available in black, silver, red, blue or pink.

Various features have been trimmed back, though. The 2.7in screen has a coarse 230,000-dot resolution. There's no Wi-Fi or HDMI output, and Canon doesn't even include a USB cable. Fortunately, the camera has a standard Mini USB socket, so the chances are you have something suitable lying around. Video recording is limited to 720p resolution, and even compared to other cameras' 720p modes it fared poorly for detail levels in our tests. It struggled in our low-light video tests too, with grubby noise textures in darker areas of the frame.

The controls are minimal, but that's no bad thing. Auto mode lets the user suppress the flash and enable burst shooting, but that's about it. A Live mode offers three controls to vary the image from Dark to Light, Neutral to Vivid and Cool to Warm. There's also a Program mode with conventional ISO, white balance and exposure compensation options. They're reasonably quick to access via the Func Set button, but we don't imagine they'll see much use in a cheap compact. 

A couple of other buttons are more unusual. Pressing ECO toggles the camera in and out of Economy mode, which switches off the screen after 10 seconds to preserve battery life. Otherwise the screen switches off after a minute. It's a useful enough feature but we're not convinced it needs a dedicated button. Another button has a question mark icon and reveals various hints and tips on the screen. It doesn't go into much detail but covers the basics of the available controls. It's also contextual to the selected mode, with different tips in Program and Live mode, and – appropriately enough – none at all in Auto mode.

Performance was distinctly pedestrian, taking 1.7s between shots, rising to 8.3s with the flash set to full power. Autofocus was slower than usual, taking at least half a second to lock onto subjects. Continuous mode ran at 0.7fps – barely faster than taking consecutive shots in normal use.

IMAGE QUALITY

On paper, the Ixus 155's key strength is its 20-megapixel sensor and 10x zoom lens, which we hoped would combine to capture more detail than we'd expect from such an inexpensive camera. Sadly, though, this wasn't borne out in our tests. Focus was sharp in wide-angle shots but deteriorated significantly for telephoto shots. Even after resizing to 1 megapixel, telephoto shots still looked a bit vague. Wide-angle shots were much better but close inspection revealed a smattering of noise in well-lit scenes, and a deluge of noise in low light that was still invasive at modest viewing sizes.

^ Details are sharp towards the wide-angle end of the zoom range – 1/125s, f/3.5, ISO 100, 47mm (equivalent)

^ They're beginning to look hazy as we zoom in, and the distant trees are noisy – 1/200s, f/5, ISO 160, 140mm (equivalent)

^ There's very little fine detail at the full zoom extension – 1/100s, f/6.9, ISO 400, 240mm (equivalent)

^ Even in favourable lighting, skin tones lack definition and show some noise on close inspection – 1/100s, f/3.5, ISO 125, 56mm (equivalent)

^ Image quality really suffers in low light, even at a relatively conservative ISO 640 – 1/20s, f/3, ISO 640, 24mm (equivalent)

It might seem harsh to be so critical of a camera costing under £100. That's still a lot of money, though, and more than we'd be willing to pay for the quality on offer. The Samsung WB350F is only a little more expensive, and while it's not as handsome, it comfortably beats the Canon Ixus 155 for features, performance and photo and video quality.

Hardware
Sensor resolution 20 megapixels
Sensor size 1/2.3in
Focal length multiplier 5.58x
Viewfinder No
Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverage N/A
LCD screen 2.7in (230,000 dots)
Articulated No
Touchscreen No
Orientation sensor Yes
Photo file formats JPEG
Maximum photo resolution 5,152x3,864
Photo aspect ratios 4:3
Video compression format QuickTime (AVC) at up to 13Mbit/s
Video resolutions 720p at 25fps, VGA at 30fps
Slow motion video modes N/A
Maximum video clip length (at highest quality) 29m 59s
Controls
Exposure modes Auto
Shutter speed range Auto
ISO speed range 100 to 1600
Exposure compensation EV +/-2
White balance Auto, 5 presets, manual
Auto-focus modes Multi/face detect, centre, tracking
Metering modes Multi, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flash modes Auto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, red-eye reduction
Drive modes Single, continuous, self-timer
Lens
Optical stabilisation Yes
Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths) 10x (24-240mm)
Maximum aperture (wide-tele) f/3-6.9
35mm-equivalent aperture f/16-39
Manual focus No
Closest macro focus (wide) 1cm
Closest macro focus (tele) Not stated
Physical
Card slot SDXC
Memory supplied None
Battery type Li-ion
Connectivity USB, AV
Wireless None
GPS No
Hotshoe No
Body material Aluminium
Accessories None
Weight 138g
Size (HxWxD) 57x95x24mm
Buying information
Warranty One-year RTB
Price including VAT £90
Supplier www.currys.co.uk
Details www.canon.co.uk
Part code PN937375