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Review Price £149.00

Pocket sized digital snapshot cameras, which in a nutshell describes Canon's IXUS 130, are two-a-penny, so what makes this slim-line offering different? Well, for starters it is blessed with the same high-fashion looks that have come to embody the IXUS range, so that particular box is ticked.

Also very appealing is its price; at a current cost online of around £120 (a whopping drop down from its manufacturer's original asking price of £279) it won't cause a serious dent in your bank balance, even if its width and height are almost an exact match for a credit card. In these respects, it goes up against the likes of the Nikon Coolpix S5100 and, for sleekness, the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T99.

Weighing just 133g with card and battery inserted it slips unobtrusively into the pocket of your jeans. As we'd expect of the IXUS range, which has always majored on style as much as features, the build quality is high and, as you'd expect, it comes in a choice of several body colours; silver, black, orange and pink. It may be small but it's sturdy when held in the palm.

Although you wouldn't deliberately drop or bash it, this metal-bodied IXUS feels like it could withstand the punishment of daily use, when most cameras around the £100+ mark feel distinctly plastic-y by comparison. If underwater photography takes your fancy, the WP-DC37 casing is available, though at just shy of £200 you may be better off buying a dedicated underwater/rugged compact.

Save for the lack of a touch screen and 3D shooting ability, the IXUS 130 would appear to incorporate most of the latest must haves. 14.1 megapixels are packed onto a relatively small 1/2.3-inch sensor and, while a 4x optical zoom lens equivalent to 28 – 112mm, is hardly in super zoom territory, it provides a very useful focal length range for everyday photography.

Other Canon regulars such as a swift response Digic 4 processor, blur-reducing optical image stabiliser and subject recognising (and setting optimising) Smart Auto with Scene Detection technology are also on board. Here the camera chooses from 22 presets to allow for pure point and shoot operation with minimal fuss. The camera's i-Contrast option can also be used to even out bring out detail in high contrast exposures, though in practice its results aren't that pronounced.

Subject tracking, a function now commonplace among digital compacts, additionally features, attempting to maintain correct focus and exposure for a moving subject. The optical image stabiliser helps to counteract any external hand wobble and resulting camera shake while Motion Detection Technology will auto adjust ISO to further aid blur-reduction. Rounding off the picture are face detection and automatic red eye detection and correction, the former possessing the ability to recognise up to a frankly ridiculous 35 faces in the same frame and to trigger the camera's shutter with a smile or a wink - useful for self portraiture.

It seems therefore Canon has packed more than you'd necessarily realise into the IXUS 130's diminutive frame. About the only thing we might hope for that's missing is options for completely manual shot taking. No matter how diminutive and consumer-oriented a camera, it's always nice to have the option.

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Critical Friend

January 19, 2011, 5:20 pm

Excellent review, right on the point!

I have been using this camera for a while, bought it in the USA, where it is called Powershot SD1400 IS. Great little camera as it fits into every pocket. For more serious photographing I have a DSLR (which can be uselss if you happen to not having taken it along due to its size).

A couple of things to add to the generally excellent review:

The small size and slickness makes it a great camera to fit into any pocket, but it also makes it prone to being dropped. This has happened several times already and each time I expected the worst. However, in spite of the drops on various surfaces, it still does not have major scars and it continues to function perfectly well. I may have been lucky but the camera does appear to be very well built.

The other point to take into consideration is the autofocus, shutter and writing lag. This may be typical for the class of cameras but makes taking pictures of moving objects like running children or skiers participating in a slalom race very difficult. You have to anticipate the lag, which has led to a number of empty frames.

Overall, the camera is small enough to be taken everywhere, is reasonably priced, and takes excellent pictures far superior to any mobile phone cameras. By the way, I am now looking for an excellent smartphone without a camera, any suggestions?

Brian ONeill

January 19, 2011, 6:18 pm

Hi I was wondering can you clarify if the sound is only mono as the john lewis site says its stereo:

I have the ixus 100 and love it, they are great little cameras.


January 19, 2011, 6:24 pm

@Brian ONeill: Apologies, you are right. Corrected.

Brian ONeill

January 27, 2011, 9:55 pm

Hi Ed I emailed canon support to clarify. They said it shots video with mono.

Do you see anything on the camera that says stereo? Or can you see 2 mics slots?

Very confusing.


January 27, 2011, 11:03 pm

@Brian ONeill: Oh. Apologies. I edited Gavin's review and added the comment about it being mono, as I was under the impression it was. When you refuted it, I checked the specs you linked and you seemed to be right. I'm afraid it's a slapped hand on my part for not actually properly checking at any point. I shall contact the appropriate people and find out for you.

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