On the left side of the casing there’s a rubber bung hiding the USB port and an AV output. Finally at on the base of the camera you’ll find a standard tripod screw mount.
Besides fully auto and manual modes, you also get a panoramic mode, that allows you to stitch lots of images together in order to make a massive panoramic shot. Finally you can also shoot movies with sound. Shooting at 640 x 480 you’ll get 15 frames per second, while dropping down to 320 x 160 gives you the full 30fps.
Even the battery charger is well considered. Instead of just having a power supply that plugs into the camera to charge the battery, the battery is inserted into the charger and charged outside of the camera itself. This means that you can have two batteries and still use the camera while one is charging.
So, there’s not much left to talk about other than the quality of the images. Even the most feature rich and stylish camera can be rendered useless if the images it takes are poor. Thankfully, the Digital IXUS 500 produced superb images under almost any condition. Taking quick snaps in auto mode produces surprisingly good results, showing that Canon has spent a lot of time and effort getting the automatic settings right. But if you want to spend some time and explore the manual mode you can produce some truly great pictures.
The colour reproduction on the images is extremely accurate, while the detail resolution is also top notch for a pocket size camera. There’s a reassuring lack of CCD noise in the images, which is of course helped by the ISO 50 setting that most other digital cameras don’t have. There will be some purists out there who will be put off by the lack of an uncompressed TIFF or RAW mode, but as already mentioned, I don’t think that’s the market Canon is going for with such a small and stylish piece of kit.
It’s not often that I search this hard for something negative to say about a product, and it’s not from lack of testing. The Digital IXUS 500 accompanied me to CeBIT where it performed flawlessly, and I’ve pretty much carried it everywhere with me since Canon sent it over.
Obviously with a product this small and stylish, you expect the price to be correspondingly high and scary, but amazingly that’s not the case. With a street price of just over £300, this camera is an absolute bargain.
Canon started the trend for pocket size, designer cameras with the original APS IXUS and every other manufacturer has jumped on the bandwagon. There is now no shortage of tiny, beautifully constructed cameras on the market, but the Digital IXUS 500 shows that Canon still has the edge.
With the Digital IXUS 500 Canon has shown that it’s not sitting back on its laurels and is still driving the IXUS brand forward. Not only is it one of the most beautifully designed cameras I’ve ever used, but its feature set is stunning considering its size, and the price is just unbelievable. If you’re looking for a pocket size digital camera, this is the one to go for. In fact, I think I’m going to buy one myself.