So that’s what I don’t like about it. Now lets move on to the things that I do like. It’s almost redundant to mention that the build quality is fantastic, because I’ve yet to see a Canon IXUS camera where that is not the case. The IXUS 70 has a strong steel case finished in two slightly contrasting matt textures, although it is also available with black trim. The flush-mounted controls and lens have the advantage that there are no protrusions to snag on clothing or pocket linings. One concern however is the battery/card slot cover, which is made of extremely flimsy plastic, including the hinge. The tripod bush is also plastic, so care must be taken to avoid crossing the thread.
The IXUS 70 has a good range of features, including ten scene modes, a wide range of special colour options including settings for different skin tones, an adjustable self-timer and a movie mode featuring a time lapse option. One surprising omission is Canon’s excellent optical image stabilisation system, more surprising since the far less useful face-detection system has been included. The red-eye-reducing pre-flash that annoys the heck out of most people has been dumped in favour of automatic software-based red-eye removal, which I think is a great idea.
If you’re not impressed by its appearance or features, perhaps the performance will change your mind, because it is quite exceptional. The IXUS 70 starts up in well under a second, by far the fastest start-up I’ve ever seen in a compact camera. Focusing is also extremely quick, locking on in less than half a second in most lighting conditions. Low light focusing is especially good. The camera focuses quickly and fairly reliably even in complete darkness thanks to a powerful AF assist lamp with a range of several meters. I did find that the accuracy of the nine-point AiAF system was a bit unpredictable when shooting nearby subjects, often focusing on objects in the background rather than the foreground subject, but switching it to centre-only AF solved this problem.
Shooting speed is also very impressive. In continuous shooting mode it can take a shot every 0.6 seconds and keep this up until the memory card is full, which is well above average for a compact camera. In single shot mode it is just as fast, although using the flash does slow it down somewhat, since it takes between four and six seconds to recharge between shots.
Canon’s promotional material for the camera claims that the 760mAh Li-ion battery has a duration of 210 shots, which I suspect may be on the conservative side. I took around 150 shots, many with the flash, as well as several short video clips while testing the camera and the power meter was still reading a full charge.