Canon Ixus 155 review
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.
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.
|Sensor resolution||20 megapixels|
|Focal length multiplier||5.58x|
|Viewfinder magnification (35mm-equivalent), coverage||N/A|
|LCD screen||2.7in (230,000 dots)|
|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|
|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|
|Optical zoom (35mm-equivalent focal lengths)||10x (24-240mm)|
|Maximum aperture (wide-tele)||f/3-6.9|
|Closest macro focus (wide)||1cm|
|Closest macro focus (tele)||Not stated|
|Price including VAT||£90|