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Canon IXUS 130 - Design And Features

By Gavin Stoker

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Design wise, the curved edges, slender 17.8mm depth (making it the slimmest IXUS to date) plus sleek matt black finish of our review sample seem to suggest something special, even though, in combination, these elements actually make it very hard to get a firm grip on the camera. It feels as smooth as a beach pebble. A classic case of style edging ahead of substance perhaps, but we'd be fools to suggest a camera's looks don't heavily influence a purchase decision, and often count for more than mere words in a review.

Announced at the same time as the IXUS 105 and sharing many features, like that model the control layout is straightforward but unobtrusively implemented. Photos and video clips are composed and reviewed via its 2.7-inch, 270,000 pixel, LCD in the predictable absence of an optical viewfinder, which seems to work perfectly adequately under a range of lighting conditions. To maintain a minimalist appearance function buttons are mostly set level with the IXUS 130's body, save for the narrow rocker switch for the zoom on the top plate which stands just proud enough to enable fingertip operation.

Also slightly raised is the slider switch for alternating between the three shooting modes at the back: auto, plus program or video recording. The latter comes in High Def 1280x720 flavour and uses the stereo inbuilt microphone – no external mic option is available, unsurprisingly. While hardly class leading it's an improvement over the 105's standard def 640x480 pixels.

Pressing the 'Func set' button in program mode provides access to a plethora of image adjusting options presented on a toolbar down the left hand side of the screen; in auto mode you're limited to changing image recording size and compression level and that's it. The expanded toolbar allows for manual adjustment of white balance, ISO light sensitivity (here up to a modest ISO1600), Canon's 'My Colours' picture settings (vivid or neutral plus extended variants), drive mode (single shot or continuous burst) plus metering options (evaluative, centre weighted average, or spot). Furthermore, this toolbar allows users to drill down into alternative shooting mode options, such as optimised scene settings for portraits, kids and pets and the ilk, plus dedicated low light mode (with attendant pixel drop to three megapixels to limit image noise), various colour accent options and digital filter effects - more on which later.

It would have been even more helpful to have had a dedicated video record button presented somewhere on the IXUS 130's body, thus enabling recording to commence whichever mode had alternatively been selected at the time. But for the price (and size) again we really can't grumble too much about this omission.

A surprise here is finding an HDMI connection port (is this really likely to be more useful than a dedicated video button?) on the IXUS 130's small frame hidden under a plastic flap at the top right hand corner of its backplate for hooking the camera up to a flat panel TV. Less unexpectedly, the requisite lead is an optional extra, though cables for the standard AV out and USB 2.0 ports are provided. You also get a wrist strap along with a mains battery charger and plug.

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: http://www.johnlewis.com/23106...





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

Ed

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.

Ed

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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