Yesterday Canon held a press event in London to launch its huge Autumn range of new consumer and home office products. Included in the line-up are a load of Pixma photo printers and all-in-ones, several scanners, some fax machines and a nice HD camcorder, but Gordon and Hugo can deal with all of that stuff. The reason I was there was to look at the six new digital compact cameras and the much-anticipated new EOS 40D and EOS 1 DS Mk III digital SLRs.
Digital IXUS 860 IS
One of our best-rated compact of the last couple of years, and one of Canon's most popular cameras, has been the outstanding Digital IXUS 850 IS, so it's not too surprising that the new additions to the range include an update of this highly successful model.
As the name of the new IXUS 860 IS suggests, it is only an incremental improvement over the 850, but then why change a winning formula? The new model keeps the key features of its predecessor, the useful 3.8x zoom, 28-105mm wide-angle lens, DIGIC III image processing and Canon's optical image stabilisation system, but increases the megapixel count from 7.1 to 8.0 and the size of the LCD monitor from 2.5-in and 207k to 3.0-in 230k. In the process it loses the optical viewfinder, something that will probably cause much consternation on the camera forums. Like the 850 IS, the 860 has a maximum sensitivity of 1600 ISO, which in Auto ISO Shift mode works with the IS system to virtually ensure shake-free shots.
The overall body design of the camera is virtually identical to the previous model, with a very tough steel case and a rounded pocket-friendly shape. There are a few cosmetic changes to the trim, but the family resemblance is immediately noticeable. The Digital IXUS 860 IS will be available from September 2007, priced at £299.