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Canon IXUS 130 review

Tim Smalley
7 Jul 2010
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
172
inc VAT

Canon’s IXUS 130 is a beautifully designed compact camera, but we expect better image quality at this price.

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Specifications

1/2.3in 14.1-megapixel sensor, 4.0x zoom (28-112mm equivalent), 133g

Canon’s IXUS 130 is an incredibly stylish snapper, with rounded contours and the strong, sturdy build that characterises the IXUS range. It weighs under 135g and measures just 18mm at its thickest point, as well as being only 55mm tall and 90mm long – it’s small enough to fit into any pocket with minimal fuss.

Aiding that pocketability are the IXUS 130’s sleek lines, with almost none of the buttons protruding from its body. The only exception to this is the zoom control, which does stick out by a couple of millimetres at most. The overall feel is satisfying enough that one might entirely overlook the quality of the photos produced by it – it’s a fashion item, that’s for sure.

It’s quite a fun camera to use, too, with no awkward mode dials or complex controls. There’s a mode switch, allowing you to move between the Auto, Program and Video modes, and a four-way dial for controlling focus, exposure compensation, the flash and self-timer. There are additional controls available via the ‘Func Set’ button in the centre of the four-way dial, but these are limited to just image size and compression when the camera’s in its auto mode.

Canon IXUS 130 (front)

The 4x optical zoom with a 28mm-112mm 35mm equivalent focal range is a step up from the 3x optical zoom seen on a typical compact camera plus it has a fast maximum aperture of f/2.8. Optical image stabilisation is included for good measure, giving a wider range of shooting possibilities.

Performance is also good, but by no means brilliant. It turns on in just over three seconds and time between frames is about two and a half seconds, which isn’t far off what other cameras can manage in this form factor and price range.

It’s not without its flaws though and chief among them is the 14.1-megapixel 1/2.3in sensor. This simply packs too many pixels into too small a space, creating lots of picture noise in the process. Noise reduction then works overtime, to the detriment of image quality – especially when images are blown up. Low-light performance is also characteristically poor. Even at the lowest ISO settings mid-tones look a little muddy. Tonal gradations suffer from banding, even at ISO 80. Of course, this is nothing unusual, as most cameras equipped with a similar sensor have the same traits, but it's a disappointingly familiar story nonetheless.

The lens isn’t particularly good either, as it suffers from softness around the edges of the frame at all focal lengths and there’s noticeable chromatic aberration too. In addition, there’s a lot of barrel distortion at the widest focal length and the slightest hint of pin cushion distortion at the longest focal length.

Canon IXUS 130 (back)

Video quality is also suspect with an overall softness to the image and some banding in particularly high-contrast scenarios. It records in the efficient h.264 format like most of Canon’s DIGIC 4 based cameras, meaning that you’ll only need around 180MB per minute of recorded video with a maximum file size of 4GB or 10 minutes in length. Audio is clear, but distinctly average which is likely down to the microphone rather than the format its recorded in – we didn’t expect anything more though, frankly.

It’s worth pointing out that the zoom motors are disabled when recording, so in one way they won’t ruin the sound track, but in another way it means you’ve got to rely on digital zoom if you want to get closer to the action once you’ve started recording.

Image quality may not be the be-all-and-end-all for a camera of this kind, and if you only want to take snaps for uploading to Facebook then the image quality isn't a deal-breaker. The excellent job that Canon has done with the IXUS 130’s design does help to brush aside some of its internal foibles. It’s a simple camera to use and feels great in the hand, but at over £170 we'd expect more.

Basic Specifications

Rating***
CCD effective megapixels14.1 megapixels
CCD size1/2.3in
Viewfindernone
Viewfinder magnification, coverageN/A
LCD screen size2.7in
LCD screen resolution230,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom4.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent28-112mm
Image stabilisationoptical, lens based
Maximum image resolution4,320x3,240
Maximum movie resolution1280x720
Movie frame rate at max quality30fps
File formatsJPEG, MOV (h.264)

Physical

Memory slotSDXC
Mermory suppliedN/A
Battery type3.7V 760mAh Li-ion
Battery Life (tested)230 shots
ConnectivityUSB 2.0 Hi-Speed
HDMI output resolution1080i
Body materialAluminium
Lens mountN/A
Focal length multiplier5.6x
Kit lens model nameN/A
AccessoriesUSB
Weight133g
Size56x92x18mm

Buying Information

Warranty1 year parts and labour
Price£172
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.canon.co.uk

Camera Controls

Exposure modesauto, program
Shutter speed15 to 1/1,500 seconds
Aperture rangef/2.8 to f/5.9
ISO range (at full resolution)80 to 1600
Exposure compensation+/-2 EV
White balanceAuto (including face detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Flourescent, Flourescent H, Custom
Additional image controlsContrast, Saturation, Sharpness
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus3cm
Auto-focus modesmulti (face detect), centre, single, tracking
Metering modesmulti (face detect), centre-weighted, centre
Flashauto, manual, slow synchro
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer