Of course the camera’s big party piece is its wireless connectivity. As features go I’m still not sure it’s that useful, but I have to admit I was very impressed by how easy it was to set up. I experienced some slight technical difficulties when I tried the Nikon P1, but with the IXUS Wireless it was simply a matter of installing the supplied software, connecting the camera via the USB lead to set it up to talk to my computer, and then the wireless link was established.
Although it is a 5MP camera, the file sizes at the Superfine quality setting are quite large, averaging around 2.2MB. Nonetheless the download speed was quite respectable, copying over a dozen images in just a couple of minutes. The range on the connection was quite good too, and I was able to send images to my laptop in the next room with no problem, although this may vary depending on the wireless hardware in your computer.
The IXUS Wireless also comes with a wireless printer adapter, a clever little gizmo that is supposed to plug into the USB port of your printer, and allow you to print your pictures wirelessly direct from your camera. Unfortunately if, like mine, your printer has a standard Type B USB socket then you won’t be able to use it because the Type A plug on the adapter won’t fit. And yes, my printer is a Canon. It’s also worth noting that the wireless communication feature is only compatible with computers running Windows XP SP2. Sorry Macintosh owners, looks like you lose out again.
Of course all this clever technology wouldn’t be much use if the picture quality wasn’t up to snuff, but thankfully the IXUS has no such problem. The small lens does produce some slight blurring in the corners of wide-angle shots, but overall the picture quality is superb, with good contrast, very high levels of sharp detail and minimal barrel distortion. The DIGIC II image processor is fast and accurate, with very accurate metering producing excellent colour reproduction, and very good noise control at 50 and 100 ISO, and only a little noise at higher settings.
Although it is very expensive for a 5MP compact, the Canon IXUS Wireless is an extremely high quality camera that is versatile but easy to use, and is capable of taking superb pictures. The WiFi connection is easy to set up and use, and works well. The only question is whether wireless downloading would be sufficiently useful to you to justify the price.