Canon has in the past made some questionable design decisions in the IXUS range, sometimes putting aesthetics above handling and ease of use on the list of design priorities. One noteworthy example was the IXUS 970 IS, which was a technically brilliant camera with the handling characteristics of a wet bar of soap. Unfortunately the IXUS 100 IS has also gone some way down this path. The body certainly looks very sexy, but its rounded shape and tiny dimensions make it very awkward to hold, while the stylish flush-mounted buttons are impossible to operate by touch and have very poor tactile feedback.
Whenever I review a new compact camera, there will usually be someone in the comments section who will complain about how modern cameras never have optical viewfinders, before going on to remark about how that rock’n’roll music is too loud and you damn kids get off my lawn. While a good optical viewfinder is certainly a big advantage for any serious photography, the emphasis there should be on the word “good”. The IXUS 100 IS has an optical viewfinder, no doubt in an effort to appease the traditionalists, but to be honest it looks like a token gesture. The viewfinder is ridiculously tiny, only covers about 75 percent of the frame and suffers from pretty drastic optical distortion. It’s far too small to use while wearing glasses, and of course has no dioptric correction.
The IXUS 100 IS has basically the same range of features as the other current models in the IXUS range. It has optical image stabilisation, which while not really essential on a camera of this type is still a welcome bonus. The control interface is Canon’s usual quick function menu system for main shooting options, with a simple and easy-to-use main menu system. Like most new compact cameras it can shoot HD video, in 1280 x 720 resolution at 30 fps with mono audio via a built-in microphone. Optical zoom cannot be used while recording, but can be pre-adjusted before you begin. Video playback on a digital TV is possible via the HDMI socket.