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Canon IXUS 980 IS - Canon IXUS 980 IS

By Cliff Smith



  • Recommended by TR
Canon IXUS 980 IS


Our Score:


Like all of the models in the IXUS range the build quality is exemplary. The body is all metal, the battery hatch has a strong metal hinge and closes securely, and the controls are solidly mounted, clearly labelled and easily accessible. The five-position main mode dial doubles as a thumb grip, and while the 980 still has that rotary bezel around the D-pad it seems to have been improved and is now much more responsive. The 980 IS is available in silver or the gorgeous matt black finish of my review sample.

The 2.5-inch monitor screen is a little smaller than average, to make room for the viewfinder, but with 230k dot resolution it is very sharp. It is very bright with excellent contrast, and has an effective anti-glare coating for use in bright daylight. It also has a very wide angle of view in all directions.

Optical viewfinders are very rare on ultra-compact cameras; in fact Canon is the only manufacturer to routinely include them in the specification. The viewfinder on the 980 IS is very small and quite dim, has no dioptre correction and only has about 80 percent frame coverage, but there are many people who will buy the camera just for this feature. Personally I'd far rather use the monitor than such a fiddly finder.

The 980 IS has a wider range of features than most luxury compacts. It has four main still shooting modes; a full Auto mode in which only image size can be adjusted, a Program auto mode with a wider range of user options, and a manual exposure mode with a choice of minimum or maximum aperture and a full range of shutter speeds from 15 seconds to 1/1600th. It also has a Quick Shot mode, which is a bit unusual. The monitor is used for a quick menu system, meaning you have to aim using the viewfinder in this mode. It's lees than ideal, because the glare from the monitor at close range is distracting. You can turn the monitor off, but that rather defeats the object of having the fixed quick menu.

The 980's other features are common to most of the IXUS range, including i-Contrast dynamic range enhancement, face detection with face self timer, an adjustable colour mode with contrast, saturation and sharpness control, and of course Canon's excellent optical image stabilisation system. This is one of the best on the market, giving around three stops of extra stability.

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.

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