So how do you justify spending nearly £200 on a pocket compact, when you can get a good one for £90 less? How about build quality, usually a major Canon strong point? Well the IXUS 75 is beautifully designed, with an attractive two-part metal and plastic body, but it doesn’t have the solid rigidity of some of its IXUS brand-mates, or other recent cameras such as the Nikon S500. There are a few creaks from some of the hatches and panels when squeezed, and the plastic card/battery hatch feels particularly flimsy. The camera handles reasonably well, but the finish is quite slippery and the slightly sloping front panel gives nothing to grip. The token gesture of a tiny textured thumb grip area on the back doesn’t help much. The zoom control, which is as usual a rotary collar around the shutter button, is rather fiddly, especially when operating the camera one-handed.
The other controls are also very small, thanks mainly to the space taken up by that big monitor screen on the compact body of the camera. The four small flush-mounted control buttons and the fiddly little round D-pad are squashed up against the right-hand edge of the body and are quite hard to operate, requiring a press with the edge of a fingernail. The three-inch LCD monitor itself is nice and sharp with 230,000 pixels, and is very bright with excellent contrast and colour. It has a good anti-glare finish, so it can be used in bright sunlight without a problem, but as I noted with the IXUS 900 Ti, it does mark easily and shows up finger marks more than most. Unlike many other models in the IXUS range, the 75 has no optical viewfinder.
As for features, the IXUS 75 has pretty much what you’d expect from a point-and-shoot snapshot camera. On the top panel is a three-position slider switch to select between video mode, scene mode and program auto. The video mode is fairly standard, offering a maximum of 640 x 480 resolution at 30fps, with mono audio. As usual the zoom lens cannot be used while filming. Video is saved in Motion JPEG format, and a 1GB card provides just over eight minutes recording at maximum quality. Scene mode offers ten scene programs, with the usual selection of portrait, night portrait, kids & pets, snow, beach, fireworks etcetera. The only unusual settings are aquarium and underwater, for use with the optional underwater case. In the scene program mode options such as white balance, metering mode and colour adjustment are disabled. You can only access these in program auto mode, via the function menu. The range of adjustments available is much the same as on the other models in the IXUS range. Contrast, saturation, sharpness, colour balance and skin tone can all be manually adjusted, but only within very narrow parameters. There are also a number of presets for various colour effects.