“ Shockproof construction, auto focus on land and adjustable focus on water, large viewfinder and over-sized controls for easy use. „
The IXUS X-1 is Canon's underwater camera. It is based on the M-1, but with a waterproof housing. It has all of the great features that the Canon IXUS cameras have, but is more rugged. Features include the different picture shapes, red-eye reduction, self-timer, night photos, date stamping, captioning and so on (captions are rubbish by the way, you can only select from 5 pre-determined messages and not all photo developers can add them). The waterproof housing of the camera does make it larger than the non-waterproof versions. I would say it is about 50% bigger, but that is still small. It fits very neatly in your hand, and the shape is very ergonomic - much more so than the normal rectangular shape of cameras. The housing is not just good for underwater, but any other hostile conditions like sand, dust, high humidity. The only disadvantage is that it is only rated to go to 5m (15ft) underwater, so it is only good for snorkeling, not scuba diving. To load film, and play with more unusual functions (e.g. changing the date and time), you open the bottom of the camera. This is a hinged door, with an O-ring round it that you must take care to keep clean. The door is held in place by a simple latch, which is probably the reason that it is only rated to 5m depth. A catch that physically pulls the door closed might have given a better seal, but I have not found it a problem whilst snorkelling anyway. The picture quality on land is great, as with all of the Canon IXUS cameras. The camera basically take cares of everything. You just point and click. And it does a damn good job of it. If you want to get fancy with focusing at different points (with the normal method of half pressing the shutter button to get it to lock focus on something), or extend the shutter speed for night time photos, or turning the flash off, then the camera can do all that too, but lets face it, most of the time, we just point and click. The underwater picture
quality takes a bit more skill. In underwater mode, the camera has a fixed focus of about 30cm. This is reasonable since if you are any further away, any fish would be a small speck. The flash is not powerful enough to work underwater at greater distances either. I have had mixed success with the underwater photos, probably because I am a novice at it. My main problem has been camera shake. Trying to keep the camera steady while you swim towards a fish is very hard. The viewfinder and button are nice and easy to use underwater, but I found myself wanting to hold the camera at arms length to get a closer picture. This did not produce great results. I think with a bit of practice you could get consistently good underwater shots (in shallow water when it is sunny), but I need more practice yet. With regard to the price, I found it on the web much cheaper than some shops or catalogues where I have seen it sold for up to 150 pounds! It's worth hunting around a bit.