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Canon IXUS 860 IS - Canon IXUS 860 IS

By Cliff Smith



  • Recommended by TR
Canon IXUS 860 IS


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The camera's most obvious feature is its large 3-inch LCD monitor. It takes up most of the back of the body, leaving little room for the controls. As a result things are rather crowded at the right hand side, with four buttons and a small D-pad squashed up at the end. Despite this however, the controls do not fells cramped, and the buttons are reasonably large and easy to use. The D-pad is a little fiddly, and it does have a lot of features and options to control, but it's fairly quick once you get used to it. Like most Canon cameras, the 860 IS has a function-button menu which presents the most commonly used shooting options down the side of the screen for quick adjustment. It is basically a snapshot camera, so it's not exactly overburdened with features and options, but it does have a useful list of colour options, including various skin tones, as well as a custom setting with adjustable contrast, sharpness and saturation. As well as the fully-automatic program mode, it also has a useful selection of ten scene modes covering all the usual eventualities, including an underwater mode for use with the optional waterproof case.

The LCD monitor itself is excellent. It is a high resolution 230,000 pixel screen, which is nice and sharp despite its large size. It has an exceptionally wide angle of view both vertically and horizontally, which makes it ideal for tricky overhead shots, as well as for showing your pictures to a group of friends. Like most Canon screens it has an effective anti-glare coating, and is bright enough to use in bright daylight. This is just as well, because unlike some models in the IXUS range the 860 IS has no optical viewfinder.

The other stand-out feature is the lens. The 860 IS is one of those relatively few digital compact cameras to have a wide angle end equivalent to 28mm. Most compacts start at around 35-38mm, so that extra bit of wide-angle comes in very handy. It's useful for getting large groups of people into the frame at parties, and also for capturing panoramic landscape snaps. The 3.8x zoom range means that the telephoto end of the zoom is about the same as most other 3x zoom cameras, equivalent to 105mm. 28-105mm is a nice focal length range, and used to be a standard zoom range on many 35mm cameras, so older photographers may find it reassuringly familiar.

The 860 IS features Canon's acclaimed optical image stabilisation system, and as usual it is very effective. I found no problem with taking hand-held shots at shutter speeds as low as 1/10th of a second at full zoom.


February 11, 2009, 8:47 pm

Bought this camera in January 2008. Always looked after it in the case and never dropped it. Had the lens fail on this camera 3 times and had it repaired 3 times. Could not get a replacement. Thought I was on a good wicket when I bought this camera, but obviously not.

David Bate

October 29, 2009, 11:51 pm

Bought mine 1 year ago.It has developed serious focussing problems in all lighting conditions and I have returned it to my UK supplier under their 2-year warranty. It has been sent on to Canon for repair but I don't have much confidence that the repair will be permanent as I have read of other owners with the same problem. Have advised the supplier that if it fails again after repair I will be seeking a full refund or replacement with the later updated 870 is model. Will report back!


October 9, 2010, 11:20 am

Bought in September 2008, and it has been faultless - a great little camera for travel. Good lens, tough body, small size, fast switch on. The capacity to do some basic manipulation of images (Vivid, Sepia etc) in-camera is fun.

David Bate

October 23, 2010, 2:05 am

Reporting back a year after the focus problems with my 860is and have to say that this gem of a compact has behaved perfectly ever since the repair. I have 2 other more versatile, but bulky, long-zoom cameras but this one lives permanently in my car ready for that once-only chance shot!

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