The wide range of electronic or photographic features auto and manual shooting, with auto allowing basic one click shooting, and manual allowing the user to change ISO, bracketing, metering modes and so on. It doesn't offer the options to change shutter speeds and aperture.
The sensitivity covers a broad range over ISO 80 to 1600, and along with an auto and Hi Auto mode features Motion Detector Technology. This detects when the subject is moving so sets the appropriate shutter speed/ISO combination to ensure the subject is sharp (as opposed to Image Stabilisation which counteracts camera movement to ensure image sharpness).
Metering options include evaluative and in manual mode centre weighted and spot metering, while there's the choice to adjust the exposure by up to ±2 EV should the meter get it wrong. The evaluative meter and the AF system are both linked to the cameras Face Detection technology, which recognises, focuses on and correctly exposes any human faces within the image. This is also backed up by the White Balance system, which produces the correct flesh tones in Auto mode.
Other exposure options include a range of scene and subject based modes. As well as covering standard favourites like portrait, night portrait and sport, there are settings such as Sunset, beach, kids and pets and even aquarium! You can also adjust the colour tones of images using the MyColors mode to increase saturation, lighten or darken skin ones, go monochrome and so forth. In all eighteen scene modes and twelve colour modes are included.
The built-in flash has a range of 3.5m with red eye reduction and also offers Face Detection exposure compensation, so when a face is recognised it adjusts the output to prevent over exposure.
As compacts go, the IXUS 80 IS isn't the highest specified, the best or the cheapest. What it doesn't lack though is plenty of style and easy handling. For many people the auto everything option will work, while there is a little more for those who like a bit of control. This is where the interface comes into its own.
The buttons are easy to operate, and though recessed into the body are large enough for the most ham fisted among us. With a separate function menu, you can easily change image size or White Balance amongst others while the four way controller's compass points lets you access the controls for flash, drive, WB and focus.
Similarly the deeper menus are simple to access via the menu button and the menus large typeface and bright colour scheme make for easy read.