I have at various times been accused of being biased towards Canon, because of the high review scores its cameras often receive. I’d like to assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact I’d say that if anything the opposite is true; because Canon has the largest share of the compact camera and especially the DSLR markets, I tend to hold its products to a higher standard simply because they are so successful. Like most British people I love to cheer for the underdog and boo the over-achiever, but the fact is that Canon cameras get high review scores because they are, almost without exception, very good products. However a reviewer should always strive to be impartial, so I’ll happily point out faults where I find them.
Take this Friday’s review camera for example. It’s the flagship of Canon’s Digital IXUS range, the 900 Ti launched last September. It’s a high-spec pocket compact camera, featuring a 3x zoom lens, 10.0-megapixel 1/1.8" CCD sensor, 1600 ISO maximum sensitivity and a 2.5-in 230k LCD monitor. If that wasn’t enough it also has a titanium body. Titanium, as I’m sure you’re aware, is a metal which is stronger and lighter than steel, and is able to withstand the temperatures and stresses of sustained speeds over Mach 3, which is sure to come in handy. It’s also a very pretty metal, giving the IXUS 900 a lovely matt bronzy-grey finish which is beautifully set off by its chrome highlights. It’s a very sexy looking camera, and it almost goes without saying that the build quality is fantastic. The titanium body is immensely strong and resists marks and scratches, and all the controls feel like they’re made of the same stuff. This is a camera that should be able to survive in any pocket of handbag without damage.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the LCD monitor, which is a great pity. Like most of Canon’s high-end compacts the 900 Ti has one of the best monitor screens on the market. It is bright, sharp and fast, with excellent contrast and a superb anti-reflective coating to make sure it works just as well in bright sunlight. Unfortunately it also also marks very easily. The camera which I was sent for review had previously been reviewed by someone else, and whoever it was should be ashamed of themselves. I always treat review cameras as what they are; somebody else’s very expensive property. I make sure I return them in the same pristine condition in which I usually receive them, but this one arrived looking like it had been put in a sack full of rocks and shaken for a few hours. While the titanium body was largely unmarked, the monitor screen was covered in scuffs and scratches. Fortunately it still worked perfectly, testament to the camera’s durability, although not to the manners of whoever was responsible.