[REVIEW—CANON Ixus 500 HS compact]

Canon Ixus500HSPrice: $400

A little ripper

THE LOW-DOWN: This 10 megapixel camera with a 28–336mm (film equivalent) zoom lens is very compact indeed. It has a face area exactly that of a credit card and it is a mere 19mm thick. It weighs in at 155 g and easily fits in any pocket or bag. In spite of the small size every important control is easily accessible through the nine buttons arranged logically around the body. Although the buttons are necessarily small they are well spaced and pleasant to use. The small body feels rugged and looks good with its squared-off corners. The 75mm 461k dot LCD screen is bright enough to be visible in most light conditions. The memory card is the Micro SD type typically used in mobile phones. Video mode is full 1080 HD. There is no printed user manual.

LIKE: Good image quality. Both noise and noise reduction effects are well controlled The zoom range is overly optimistic but the pixel density is about right. At the full zoom extension drop-off in sharpness is noticeable but acceptable.

DISLIKE: The Micro SD memory card is a small, fragile pain in the posterior, requiring an SD card adapter to slot into computer memory card sockets.

VERDICT: When a tiny, brilliant ruby camera comes from the box we automatically think “fashion accessory, non-camera”. While the pixel density is sensible the long zoom range rings alarm bells — it can’t possibly be useable at 336mm. To say we were surprised by the performance is an understatement. The Ixus 500 just about fills the bill for those who demand all the contradictory qualities of miniaturisation without image compromise. It’s a little ripper.

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