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Canon IXUS 310 - Design and Features

By Gavin Stoker

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

8

Design wise, in its chocolate brown incarnation the IXUS 310 HS looks good enough to eat. Curved edges and bulging face plate disguise what would otherwise be boxy dimensions and make it look almost engorged (clearly it's been indulging in a bit of cannibalism – Ed.). For those looking for the best fit for a pocket, it's marginally wider than the slim-line Panasonic FX77, though near identical in width and height. Neither is ultra-compact but should comfortably sit in most trouser or jacket pockets. Canon claims the body is fashioned from stainless steel, but you wouldn't immediately know it. Though it is indeed robust when gripped in the palm, it pulls off the trick of feeling lightweight at the same time.

If we've one immediate design grumble it's that, once again, there's no definitive hand grip on this IXUS - fingers tend to slide about its smooth front plate as you wrestle to keep a steady grip. There is a slight rasied edge on the rear of the camera to give your thumb some purchase but it's a fairly token effort. Also the thumb tends to slide onto the top right hand corner of the touch screen itself, where Canon has located its virtual video record button. So, a couple of times we would find ourselves capturing bursts of video when a still image was what we sought.

As this camera is an exercise in minimalist design, the top plate buttons are well blended with the bodywork. Set level with the surface is the largest control here, the shutter release button, being ergonomically encircled by the lever for operating the zoom, the merest of raised lips at the front just providing enough purchase for the forefinger. Next to this is a lozenge shaped on/off button, and adjacent to this, a slider switch for swapping between Smart Auto capture and Program Auto, or whichever of the extended shooting modes happens to be in play at the time.

This being an IXUS, we also get the ability to adjust colour tones via the familiar 'My Colors' settings, and furthermore, tucked away beyond the shooting modes, Canon has packed a range of digital effects into the 310 HS that to an extent take inspiration from the 'creative studio in a box' Art Filters and Magic Filters of the Olympus Pen and Tough compacts. These are located with the rest of the main shooting mode icons represented by cartoonish icons of up to six on-screen at once, tabbed through with the aid of left and right arrow keys; the one in use at the time displayed in the top left hand corner of the screen.

Said effects consist of the usual fisheye and pinhole camera style effects, plus a super vivid setting which is Pop Art by another name, and Monochrome for those who want to inject an artistic moodiness, plus our favourite of the miniature effect, which apes the result from a specialist tilt and shift lens, narrowing the portion of the image in focus to give the illusion that you're looking at a photograph of a model rather than an actual building. This can be applied to video clips as well as stills and at 1.5, three or six frames per second to provide a time-lapse movie style effect, thus extending the camera's creative uses.

joose

March 24, 2011, 4:01 pm

Thanks for improving the iso test subject :)

Brian ONeill

March 24, 2011, 6:45 pm

I got the new Canon IXUS 220 HS. I must admit I love the ultra compact ixus models, they rock.

Metalex

March 24, 2011, 6:53 pm

@joose - +1 :)

Mike 39

March 24, 2011, 11:36 pm

Unless I have missed something in your review, there appears to be no mention of battery life on this camera? How many pictures will it take before requiring a recharge on flash and non flash use? Otherwise Canon at last seem to have produced a compact camera that I will probably go for!

Money

March 25, 2011, 1:10 am

@ Gavin: Yeah, the Photo test is better;
but I would prefer to see less white and more darker color sections,
this way, we can judge the level of image noise for ourselves.
Thanks,
and the reviews are getting better.

Cliff

March 25, 2011, 2:04 am

I don't think this point can be laboured - the improvements to this site come from your feedback. Keep letting us know what you want and we'll aim to please.

dantheman

March 25, 2011, 10:08 pm

I don't understand how this can been seen as such great value compared to the other canon compacts. The 220 HS and the 115 HS have pretty much the same specs (full HD video, HS sensor, image stabiliser) and are much cheaper. A quick pricerunner search reveals the 220 HS at £165 delivered! How does a slightly faster lens and larger lcd justify such a hike in price? This model is not nearly as compact as the other two.

Mike 39

March 27, 2011, 2:41 pm

@dantheman,in theory, I take your point, however, having looked at the two other models you mention on paper and at my local store ( albeit only the 220 & 115 ( as the 310 doesn't appear to be stocked) yet, I think it looks heaps better. Personally I actually prefer the slightly larger/chunkier model of the 310 as compared to the other two as I feel it gives a more (pyschological) feeling of a better build and easier to handle!However if memory serves correctly, the 220 does have a slight edge on the 310 with a slightly more pwoerful zoom on it? Anyway, as mentinoed in my last comment posted, I would be very grateful if TR would kindly 'complete' their review of the 310 and indicate what the battery life is like on this model? i.e. how many shots it manages on a full charge with flash used and without flash. The Canon stated spec is about 180 shots, however, always the realist myself, I seldom take much notice of manufacturers claimed performance ( for obvious reasons) and very much rely on independent reviews form bodies like yoursleves to help make my mind up about a product.

dantheman

March 31, 2011, 4:46 am

ixus 220 compared to the 310;

92x55x19 mm vs 100x55x25 mm

Around 30% smaller
Significantly lighter 141 g vs 185 g

More than 20% lighter
Thinner 0.8" vs 1"

More than 20% thinner
Cheaper £173.99 vs £249.99

I suppose it comes down to the 310 having a touchscreen, a larger, higher res monitor and a slightly faster lens. Personally, a touch screen would put me off buying the more expensive 310. A higher resolution monitor is always nice but for me, its not worth £100 more.
It would be nice if trusted reviews did an in depth review of the 220 hs, i think it will be a massively popular camera.

Mike 39

March 31, 2011, 12:27 pm

@dantheman, I guess it comes down to personal taste! I would prefer the option like Panasonic have done and provided an option to use buttons aswell as a touch screen, but since they haven't...! Still I'll go and look at model at my local shop and go from there!

Mike 39

April 10, 2011, 2:49 pm

Interesting that since emailing TR direct approx 3 weeks ago to mention the lack of review on the battery life on this model, this still is apparently not been done or not shown on here, despite being told that they would contact the reviewer and ask them to include it! I notice that this has been left out for the review for the HS 115 & 220 aswell, is this something that you don't include in your reviews as a matter of course? or has it just been overlooked? As I mentioned previously, surely this is as useful information to be included in your reviews as all the other info? as apart from the manufacturer's stated stats for battery life, what other independent information do we have to go on?

Wilson

August 17, 2013, 5:25 pm

Lots of pictures of the camera but none of pics taken by the camera. Pity.
I have one by the way, it's great but not as shap as the lumix compact it replaced.

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