The back of the 65 features a large 3in LCD monitor, the largest on any current Canon camera. With 173,000 pixels it’s not especially high resolution though, and its reflective surface may cause problems when using the camera in bright sunlight. Unfortunately since everywhere south of Sheffield is currently under a five-mile thick layer of cloud, I can’t test this for certain.
The big monitor doesn’t leave a lot of room on the back for anything else, but the designers have made the most of it by putting most of the controls such as ISO setting, macro focusing, flash mode, continuous shooting and the self-timer around the D-pad, or “Touch Control Dial”. This control is a bit unusual, and consists of a ring around the central function/set button, rather than the more usual array of four buttons. Light pressure on the ring activates a display on the monitor indicating which function is being altered. Fully pressing the control cycles through the list of options for that setting.
Personally I found that the Touch Control was a little too sensitive, and since it is quite close to the thumb grip on the back panel I did accidentally alter the ISO setting a couple of times. However I have very large hands, so others may not find this to be a problem. The rest of the controls were quick and responsive however, and the camera is very easy to use.
Like all of Canon’s compact cameras, the 65 has a function menu that gives quick access to the main shooting options, such as exposure compensation, white balance, colour mode, metering mode, compression and picture size. The main menu is reserved for infrequently used settings such as turning off the digital zoom or activating the composition grid on the monitor.
The IXUS 65’s overall performance is exceptional. It starts up in about a second, wakes from standby in about the same, and in continuous shooting mode at maximum quality and image size it can rattle off an impressive two frames a second and keep it up until the memory card is full. JPEG files are around 3.5MB, which shows a lower than average rate of image compression, and means that a 1GB SD card will be enough for at least 361 pictures.
The video mode is also good, shooting at 640 x 480 (VGA) resolution at 30 frames a second, or at 320 x 240 resolution at 60fps, useful for capturing high-speed movement such as sports activities.