As usual, it is overall performance that is the IXUS 75’s saving grace. It starts up very quickly in approximately one second, and shuts down again nearly as quickly. The AF system is exceptionally quick, one of the fastest on any compact camera (although check out the review of the Casio EX-Z75), and its low light performance is equally impressive, focusing almost as quickly in the dark thanks to a good AF assist light. It is worth pointing out however that the AiAF multi-point focusing system isn’t the most reliable in the world, and often focuses on the wrong subject, especially at close range. For more reliable focusing it is best to turn it off and use the centre-spot focusing instead. Face detection focusing is about as useful as such systems usually are; it will detect human faces in the frame as long as they are looking straight at the camera and the whole face is clearly visible and well lit.
The shooting performance is also extremely impressive. In single shot mode it has a shot-to-shot time of approximately 1.5 seconds, and in continuous shooting mode it can maintain a brisk 1.7 frames per second until the card is full. With a 1GB card the will be 322 shots at maximum quality and resolution. The battery is surprisingly small at only 760mAh, and even Canon only claims 210 shots on a full charge, which is well below the average for this class of camera.
Unfortunately, as it was with the IXUS 65, the camera’s main downfall is its image quality. It has some good points, in particular the brilliant colour reproduction, reliably accurate metering, good dynamic range and the distortion-free quality of the lens especially at wide angle, but for some reason the final images simply lack fine detail when compared to similar shots from other 7MP compacts. Image compression artefacts are also visible, despite the average file size of 3MB, and there are also problems with image noise at ISO settings above 200, although to be fair it is no worse than most other similar compacts. However if I was paying £90 over the going rate for a camera I’d expect it to produce better than average results.
The verdict is virtually the same as for the IXUS 65. The Canon IXUS 75 had the potential to be the best pocket compact on the market, with ultra-quick performance, attractive styling and excellent optical quality, but image quality problems including lack of detail, compression artefacts and image noise are big handicaps, especially considering its high price compared to other similar cameras.