The compact Ixus 310 HS is big on features and creative modes.
By JENNIFER NG
Looking for a compact digital camera that's fuss-free and reliable? Canon recently unveiled three new models for its Ixus range. One of the models that I tested on a recent trip to Bangkok is the Ixus 310 HS.
It's a compact with manual control, stainless steel body, touchscreen interface and HD movie capture.
The camera takes impressive photos, is fun and easy to use and has basically all you need in a compact, and it bears Canon's stylish trademark Ixus look and feel.
It also boasts Canon's High Sensitivity (HS) System and Digic 4 imaging processor which allows users to take sharper, better and more stunning photographs even in low lighting conditions.
You'd be surprised to know that the Ixus 310 is actually slightly smaller than the iPhone 4 in terms of width and height. However, it is thicker which makes it a bit bulky.
Still, the camera fits snugly in your hand and does not feel too heavy as it weighs about 185g.
The Ixus 310 stays true to Canon's stylish sleek design but has a little more curve compared to its predecessors, making it more comfortable in your hands. The candy-bar shaped camera is available in three attractive colours - silver, chocolate and pink.
There are only a total of four buttons on the camera. The buttons for Power, Shutter release/zoom and the auto-program mode are located on top. The back of the camera comprises the 3.2in touchscreen and a single playback button.
What I absolutely love about this camera is that it fires up and is ready to shoot in two seconds! In other words, you are able to capture shots almost instantly after pressing the power button.
If you are an advanced user, you will appreciate the control over aperture or shutter speed offered by Av and Tv modes respectively. But if you just want to point and shoot with your compact, the camera comes with an intuitive Smart Auto mode which lets you shoot in all kinds of conditions.
Whenever I encounter difficult shooting situations like low-light conditions, back-light or fast movements and cannot get a good shot, switching to Smart Auto never fails to produce a good image. Canon's Smart Auto can detect up to 32 different scenes and adjust the exposure and focal settings accordingly to the various lighting conditions.
The camera comes with a fast f/2.0 wide aperture and this means that you can achieve the bokeh or shallow depth of field effect on a compact.
As this is my first time using a touchscreen on a camera, I did not know how to switch the camera from still imaging mode to shooting videos. There is no physical button for you to select Image or Video shooting mode. Instead, to shoot a video you press a red movie button on the screen itself. Once you've discovered that, you can shoot 720p HD movies on your compact.
Canon sweetens the deal on this compact by adding its Dynamic IS System, a function previously only available in high-end Powershot cameras to give users enhanced stability. This allows you to shoot video footage while walking.
There is also a function called Super Slow Motion Movie that enables you to record videos in slow motion.
Another cool function is called the Movie Digest which enables you to record four seconds of video clip before you capture your pictures.
This ultra-compact also comes with a plethora of shooting modes and creative functions. My favourites are shooting in Super Vivid mode which makes colours in your photo stand out and Poster mode which adds clarity and contrasts to your images.
Another cool effect to try out on the camera would be Colour Accent. Shooting in this mode lets you quickly give photos a dramatic look by converting it into black and white, while your chosen subject remains in colour.It gives your monochrome image a splash of colour and all this is achievable without any post-processing.
This camera also comes with two of Canon's new creative filters - Toy Camera effect and Monochrome, both of which are self-explanatory.
Canon's latest Ixus compact camera does not disappoint.
The Ixus 310 HS starts up really fast and makes it easy to shoot pictures even in challenging situations with its Smart Auto mode.
On the whole, there are no major complaints, battery life is sufficient for a day-long shoot and it does not take ages to charge the battery pack.
Pros: Quick start-up time; takes excellent pictures; Smart Auto works very well; plenty of shooting modes and creative functions.
Cons: Touchscreen lags at times; menu not very user-friendly.
IXUS 310 HS
Viewfinder: 3.2in touchscreen
Shutter Speed: 1 1/1600 sec
ISO Range: 100 - 3,200
STORAGE: SD/SDHX/SDXC, MMC/MMCplus/HC MMCplus
OTHER FEATURES: Image effects, movie modes, face detection, Smart Auto mode
Battery: Rechargeable lithium-ion NB-6L
Dimensions: 100.6 x 55.4 x 25.0mm
Review unit courtesy of Canon Marketing (M) Sdn Bhd, (03) 7844-6000