Home / Cameras / Camera / Canon IXUS 980 IS

Canon IXUS 980 IS review




  • Recommended by TR
Canon IXUS 980 IS


Our Score:


User Score:

For the past nine years, the Canon Digital IXUS series (also known as ELPH and IXY in some territories) has been the benchmark for luxury ultra-compact digital cameras, combining elegant styling, superior build quality and the latest technology to produce a range of cameras that have kept Canon at or close to the top of a highly competitive market. Recent models such as the IXUS 870 IS and IXUS 85 IS have demonstrated that industry veterans Canon can match anything that relative newcomers such as Panasonic or Sony can produce.

Canon has recently launched a number of new IXUS models which I hope to review very soon, but there is one important model from last autumn's range that I haven't yet looked at, so in response to numerous reader requests today I'm reviewing the IXUS 980 IS, still the most powerful - and most expensive - camera in the range. It's a 14.7 megapixel ultra-compact featuring a 3.7x zoom lens, a 2.5-inch monitor and that rarest of features on a compact camera, an optical viewfinder.

The first thing that stands out about the 980 IS is its unusual shape. Canon's designers seem to have got bored with making plain rectangular cameras, and many recent models have experimented with soft curves and organic shapes. Some have been less than successful, particularly the 980's immediate predecessor, the IXUS 970 IS, which had the handling characteristics of a well-worn bar of soap. Fortunately the curvy shape of the 980 IS is much easier to hold, and feels comfortable and secure in the hand.

Carl Abudephane

May 14, 2009, 1:48 am

I don't mean to question your facts as you've obviously used it, but are you absolutely positive that the body is all-metal? I only ask as when I had a look at this camera recently, I was reasonably sure that it was plastic. It really did feel like plastic, look like plastic close-up and when I subsequently checked specs online with Canon's own blurbs, other ixus' had metal body mentioned in the specs, but notably not so for this camera.

Can you say for certain that it's metal?

Also, is a review for the stunningly gorgeous new ixus 100 IS due soon?

Geoff Richards

May 14, 2009, 3:46 am

@Carl - I can't speak for the 980 IS but I have my 960 IS right here, and that's definitely metal-bodied. It would imagine the 980 is too, since it's been something of an IXUS trait over the years, hasn't it??

Cliff Smith

May 14, 2009, 8:39 pm

Carl - Yes, the body is definitely metal, Aluminium as far as I can tell. I tested it with a multimeter and it conducts electricity, but it is not magnetic. Science!

I'm expecting an IXUS 100 to arrive any day now, but in the meantime I've got the new PowerShot SX200 IS, which is looking very nice. Review coming next week.

Carl Abudephane

May 15, 2009, 1:27 am

Wow! Tested it with a multimeter! Now there's certainty for you! Many thanks for the confirmation of that and for the news of the Ixus 100. Strange really that up until the I'd clapped eyes on the 100, I thought the 980IS was sexy as hell and my favourite-looking Ixus so far; then the 100IS comes out, is the polar opposite of the 980 - slim & svelt versus curvy & 'fullsome', and to be honest I think it is nothing short of beautiful, a genuine piece of handheld metallic sculpture that I'm hoping takes great photos's to boot.

Keep up the good work, it's appreciated.


May 16, 2009, 3:22 pm

Cliff, Interesting review. I debated about getting a entry level DSLR or the 980. Portability + quality meant the 980 won as I like having a good camera that's always on hand. The only real design flaw I have found is it's one touch replay button sometimes gets bumped, in the bag, on leading to unintended battery drain.



May 17, 2009, 6:08 am

@ Carl Abudephane, get a girlfriend man. :)

Carl Abudephane

May 18, 2009, 12:31 am

@ Ohmz, Ha!! Thanks for the heads-up! Just re-read my post and yep, it screams 'get a girlfriend/life'! Got the girlfriend, so obviously ...!


May 20, 2009, 5:17 am

Does this do geo tagging of photos?

Cliff Smith

May 20, 2009, 4:02 pm

ChristianMonk3y - No.

Oliver Pate

May 20, 2009, 4:45 pm

Hi Cliff.

After your positive comments I decided to order a Lumix dmc fx35 from an internet website. However, one week later the company have informed me they are out of stock of that specific model! Very frustrating. This has therefore given me the chance to rethink my options. I can pick up a Canon IXUS 980 for around £80 more than the Panasonic Lumix I am interested in. Would this be a better choice for the extra money? Bearing in mind I'm just looking for a simple,compact point and shoot camera that takes top quality images?

Kind regards



May 20, 2009, 5:24 pm

They're 'out of stock' because the FX40 is out now :) which I'm *guessing* will be just as good as this Canon.

Oliver Pate

May 20, 2009, 6:39 pm

Okay i've been on Amazon all morning and am looking at purchasing either the IXUS 100, Lumix FX35 (as there are very few reviews of the FX40 + the lens on the 35 is supposed to be superb) or the slightly chunkier IXUS 980 (i am slightly put off by it's dimensions as I am looking for an alterantive to my superzoom)

Any suggestions on that little mix?


James 16

June 11, 2009, 12:47 pm

It's just not wide enough - again Canon! I'd love to have this camera if it's range started at equiv 28mm - 25mm, but having 36mm is a joke for this day and age. This is why I'm probably going to get the Ixus 870IS.

comments powered by Disqus