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Canon IXUS 870 IS


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Stashed on my hard drive I have an interesting graph which shows the relative market shares of the main manufacturers of digital compact cameras between Summer 2007 and Summer 2008. Up until about this time last year Canon was the clear market leader, but since then the number one position has changed hands no less than four times, with Panasonic, Samsung and Sony all claiming market leadership at one point or another. According to the most recent figures Panasonic is in the lead followed closely by Samsung, with Canon trailing in third place.

Naturally Canon isn't going to take that sort of thing lying down, and has unveiled over the past few months its Autumn/Winter camera range, including some very strong models with which Canon no doubt hopes to claw back some of that vital market share. Among them is this, the new Digital IXUS 870 IS, a slim and stylish 10.0-megapixel, 4x zoom ultra-compact with optical image stabilisation and a 28mm wide-angle lens. It succeeds the popular IXUS 860 IS which we reviewed about this time last year.

The stylish ultra-compact sector is a growth area of the camera market, and the 870 IS faces some stiff competition from models such as the Panasonic FX37 (£184) and the superb Nikon S560 (£160), and the 13.6-megapixel Samsung L310W (£160). Compared to these the Canon looks a little pricey at around £200.

Straight out of the box the 870 IS is an impressive little camera. It has a sleek and classy half-metal, half-plastic body, finished in a combination of matt black and semi-matt silver with chrome details, although it is also available in gold. It is a very compact camera, measuring 93.8 x 56.8 x 23.6mm, which is slightly longer but slimmer and less tall than the 860 IS. It is quite heavy for its size though, weighing approximately 180g including battery and memory card. As a result the camera feels very solidly made and expensive.

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November 27, 2008, 6:27 pm

I'm actually surprised to see there are definite improvements in almost every respect over my two year old 850 IS. Now that may sound silly but the glass is probably the same and the sensor just crams more pixels into the same size sensor, which we all know doesn't necessarily improve performance.

However, the level of detail of this latest model is clearly a step up and the ISO range is usefully greater. The iContrast and Face detect timer also seem like very useful additions, rather than gimmicks like seen on so many others.

Tempting to upgrade but I'll resist.

Hitesh Wadhwani

November 27, 2008, 9:18 pm

This model also does not seem to have the manual controls that IXUS owners have been craving for. More megapixels and gimmicks just don't do the trick.


November 27, 2008, 9:24 pm

I've always found them to be of limited use as there's no manual shutter speed control. So I can't particularly imagine missing them.


November 27, 2008, 9:36 pm

I also have an 850IS, previously owning an Ixus between, I briefly had a 7MP Ricoh (briefly as in...a week), which had a 7x optical zoom and supposedly great features but I wasn't convinced of the image quality and it felt plasticky...

say whatever else, these little metal Ixus models ooze pure quality when you're holding them, they are constructed so well out of good Canon don't exactly have a bad reputation for their optics! I think the only thing that could sway me for buying a holiday camera is the monster zooms on those Lumix compacts!

Maybe I'm being a bit of a layman but as a point and click I can't see myself replacing the 850IS till it breaks (if such a thing happens!), it takes great pictures in most conditions, I'm sure this newer model is similar in that respect.

@Ed - I definitely think you should resist the upgrade urge, do you REALLY need the slight improvements? (I think my 850IS pics would look good up to at least A3 size, so for 6x4 it's good enough!). Just think of all the gadgets you don't already have that you could spend the 𧶀 on ;o)


November 27, 2008, 9:53 pm

Hehe, cheers gdawg304 but I'm already convinced I don't need to upgrade. My 850 IS is still going strong and I hope it will continue to do so for a good while yet.


November 27, 2008, 10:28 pm

well they do feel about as fragile as a lump of granite, which is more than can be said for the Ricoh I briefly had!


November 27, 2008, 11:26 pm

The 'IXUS 960 IS' Titanium is 𧴭 at amazon at the moment. You'd be nuts to not go for that.

Geoff Richards

November 28, 2008, 12:32 am

Here is the IXUS 960 IS review:

𧴯.99 as I type. Still, very tempting...


November 28, 2008, 1:24 am

You can get the VAT reduction off that 𧴯.99. You have to use the LOWERVAT code till monday... that brings the price down to 116 or 117. There is a free case with it as well.

Lee Hammond

November 28, 2008, 1:32 am

As Geoff stated, the IXUS 960IS is only 𧴰, and is arguably a better camera, I don't see any reason to buy this over the 960 really.


November 28, 2008, 4:01 am

Wow guys, hang on a minute. The 960 IS is a completely different kettle of fish to the 870 IS. Well, perhaps not completely different but it has one very significant difference - the 870 IS has a much wider wide angle. That's its major selling point. Though it's also slightly smaller and onboard processing seems to have improved on this latest model - reduction of purple fringing etc.

That said, the price difference is hard to argue with, assuming you can cope with the lack of wide angle.

Geoff Richards

December 1, 2008, 7:16 pm

Ed is right about the wide angle but I've taken the plunge - with the new 15% VAT the 960 IS is down to 𧴭.99 :)

Of course, then comes the extras: 㾹 for a nice leather case (why not?) and 㾸 for a 4GB Sandisk SD card (value++). Then delivery because I'm off on holiday this Saturday and can't wait for the super saver free delivery.

𧵎 all-in. Still a bargain. Merry Christmas me! :)

Luan Bach

December 4, 2008, 7:46 pm

Hi Geoff,

Is the 960IS better than the Canon Digital IXUS 80 IS ?


December 5, 2008, 10:45 pm

I had used older Canon models and wanted an upgrade for my Sony P9, so I decided on a Canon 870 as it had a wide angle lens. The first one I received had a number of dead pixels on the LCD screen. I wasn't impressed with the quality of the pictures taken so I asked for a replacement. When the second Canon arrived, it was exactly the same as far as picture quality was concerned. Out of focus or blurry images seemed to be the norm. I was expecting some increase in quality from my old Sony as its been knocked about and dropped a few times over the last few years.

I sent the second Canon 870 back and decided to keep the Sony going for a while longer.

I had tried experimenting with the Canon whilst on a weeks holiday but I just wasn't happy with the results. Paying nearly 𧶀 I really expected some increase in picture quality over the 4MP Sony P9 but there just wasn't.

I have read many reviews of the Canon 870, before and after buying, but my opinion is somewhat different to that of other users. Maybe I was unlucky? Maybe I am expecting too much?, but looking back at pictures taken with the Sony they are certainly better overall.

Craig 8

January 1, 2009, 10:35 am

So can someone tell me which one is better the Cannon powershot SD880IS...or the Canon IXUS 870IS...and what is the IXUS all about? seems like I saw a IXUS SD880IS somewhere along my surfing for a new camera... but I cant seem to find it now...if so...then i am really lost...I just wanna get a really good camera...can someone help me out with an oppinion or advise on what to get?

ken jowett

January 14, 2009, 3:20 am

im thinking about buying canon digital ixus 90 is has anyone got one or used one

Brian Light

January 15, 2009, 6:40 pm

I am undecided between the IXUS 870 IS and the 980.

Any help please?

James 16

June 10, 2009, 11:52 pm

I'm trying to decide on either this Ixus 870IS or the Lumix FS15. Is the Panasonic IA that important? Is it any better than the Canon auto features? I can get the Canon as a refurb for the same price as a new FS15

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