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Quick specification list:
- 24mm wide lens and 5x optical zoom
- 3.5" LCD
- SD card slot
- lithium ion battery
Like virtually all cameras of this generation, the ixus 210 has no viewfinder (if this is something you want - have a look at the ixus 100, but be warned that they won't be around for much longer), however due to the large size of the screen (3.5" which is bigger than my smart phone!) this shouldn't present too much of an issue for the majority of people. The reason the screen is so big is that much like the ixus 200 model it is a touch screen camera. The LCD actually takes up the whole rear of the camera and this makes me very wary about scratching or otherwise damaging it, so some form of LCD protector is advisable. Unfortunately this touch screen function does have the side effect of attracting fingerprints, further more I have found that the touch screen isn't the easiest to use (its easy to press things accidentally etc.) and young children/older people/someone with parkinsons or other such issues may find this camera very hard to use indeed. I also feel like this means it is less durable and in general more likely to break (by breaking I don't mean say the lens unit, I'm specifically talking about the LCD which will of course affect the unit as a whole) than a camera with a more traditional layout.
There are a small number of buttons - primarily these are the power button and the shutter and I have to say I'm glad that the shutter hasn't been relegated to the position of a virtual button on the LCD. Most of the shooting options are however menu based, which could be considered not particularly good for quick accessability.
There are a large number of random scene options such as 'minature effect' which are quite fun but rather gimmicky in nature and alot won't serve many useful purposes. Like the ixus 200, this camera also has a selective colour option and this has been much improved over the previous model as it is far easier to set the selected colour you desire. There is a fish eye setting which alot of people will find enjoyable, but the effect is not as strong as a true fish eye lens.
Using the indoor scene selection mode, I found resulted in flat and lifeless looking images as they lacked both colour and contrast, not only this but the flash is very noisy, however in most other conditions such as natural lighting situations, the camera copes well and gives good quality results that are on par with most other compact cameras in this price range. The automatic exposure is quite good, but if I was being picky I would say it's possibly 1/3rd of a stop dark, although this is a setting that is adjustable by the user if you feel it is necessary.
The ISO is adjustable up to 1600 and in my opinion you can get a useable A4/10x8 print at ISO 800 without too much distracting noise and I find this quite impressive for a compact as many are only useable up to 400 before the noise becomes overwhelming. This means that you should be able to take more natural looking images in low light conditions.
Overall the image results are decent and there are lots of shooting options, however for what this camera can do (ie no full manual modes) it is on the expensive side at around the £300 mark in shops or £180 from amazon - I've noticed them selling alot of different ixus models recently for well below RRP price and can't work out how they can do it). The canon powershot 210 is a far superior camera, with a bigger zoom and manual shooting options, and comes in at £70-£100 less (if you are buying on the highstreet). I believe the high price is due to the touch screen capabilities, which to be honest I'd much rather live without and I say this as a person who has a touch screen phone. I also feel that this camera is probably one of the less durable on the market and as such is probably not suitable for more clumsy people.
Buy this camera if: you love the idea of touch screens and a very large screen, you want a camera that's fashionable, you want good noise levels at higher ISO's
Don't buy this camera if: you have shaky hands, are clumsy, likely to scratch the LCD, find navigating menus annoying/difficult, want to be able to change shoot modes quickly and efficiently
As nice as this camera looks (and it does seem to sell on the basis of looks more than anything else) I'd advise you to save your money and buy something else.