Product Type: Canon digital cameras
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A Canon that lacks firepower. (MY 100TH DOOYOO REVIEW)!!
Canon Digital Ixus 980 IS
Member Name: thebigc1690
Canon Digital Ixus 980 IS
Date: 24/01/09, updated on 24/01/09 (544 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to use, well built and looks good (in silver at least) !
Disadvantages: Poor image quality in some lights and not great value for money .
This point and shoot digital camera has a huge 14.7 megapixels and it uses Canon's latest DIGIC 4 processor, it allows simple automatic operation or can be used on almost full manual controls giving the user a real opportunity to take their photography to another level.
Unlike most digital point and shoots this offering from Canon has a full metal body rather than the cheap plastic we have all had to become used to, it feels great in the hand even for a professional like me who is used to much bigger and heavier DSLR`s.
On first examination I would be shouting from the rooftops about this camera but after using it will I be so happy? Read on and find out!!
When I agreed to test this camera for my local camera club it was becoming the first compact I had tested in a while but I was eager to have a go with it because it promised so much. I have to say that when used on automatic this camera is a very clever piece of equipment and it gets just about everything right as it sets itself for what it sees through its lens, but once looking at the images on my laptop I quickly noticed that it had overexposed about 30% of the images taken on auto.
This overexposure was very minimal and probably would go unnoticed to the untrained eye but it was there and should be mentioned. Most point and shoot digitals struggle a bit in certain light to get the exposure perfect so this is not unusual but for such an advanced unit it was a bit of a letdown.
So now that I know I cannot rely on the auto setting to get things perfect for me I have to have a go at setting things up for myself so I delve into the menu system for the first time. The menu system is friendly and fairly straight forward and with a simple quick flick through the user manual should be easy enough to start to operate for most although when it comes to setting everything manually a further read of the instructions will be needed.
If you have used a Canon of any sort before then the menu will have a lot of similarities for you and will be much easier to pick up, if you are a Canon newbie then more time will be needed to familiarise yourself with its many controls. The function button gives you quick and easy access to the most commonly used settings such as flash compensation, scene modes and the likes, then once into the menu system you can start to go through the sub menus and find the settings to go fully manual and start to set the shutter speeds, ISO and aperture.
Once you have familiarised yourself with where all the menus and sub menus are you will need to use some trial and error to get yourself up to scratch with the setting of all the manual controls unless you are a fairly accomplished photographer already, then you should find this camera very easy and straight forward to use.
One thing that is becoming better and better in digital point and shoots these days is their start up and shut down speeds. DSLR`s have been very fast for a long time now but compacts are catching up and this canon can take its first photo after start up in around 1.8 seconds which is ok but still no competition for the 0.6 seconds of some DSLR`s and the flash takes slightly longer to ready itself so if you are shooting in poor light you need to allow 2.6 seconds from start up which really is still quite good.
Once used the flash recharge time is quite quick at only 3.4 seconds and the flash operates at a slightly lower power when used in continuous shooting mode to allow it to keep up with the cameras 1.5 frames per second when use in this mode.
The camera is not at all noisy and in fact if you turn of the beeps in the setup menu it becomes almost silent. The zoom makes a slight buzzing noise but it is not clunky and does not sound mechanical at all which for me is a great advantage as the one thing I despise in many point and shoots is the clunky sound and feel of their tiny zoom lenses, it seems so unnecessary when lens manufacturers can make almost silent zooms for DSLR`s.
Running through all the settings on the camera quickly shows that some work excellently but others are not nearly as good, again this is common in compact digitals that try to perform miracles by recreating all the settings and offerings of a DSLR through one tiny lens.
The flash compensation settings seem to work very well and shooting in almost any light is possible due to the cameras ability to focus in near dark. The ISO settings which are designed to offer better shots in the poorer light conditions however are not great. The idea of ISO is that in perfect day light you would always wish to shoot at 100 and as the light gets poorer you may need to raise it.
Most DSLR`s will produce images with little or no noise up to about 800 ISO but this and many other digital point and shoots will fail to do so and indeed although this camera offers 3200 ISO speed which is very high for a compact, it starts to render serious noise in the images from as low as 400 and the noise is so bad above 800 ISO that the images would be almost unusable.
One of the other settings that may as well not be here is the Macro or close up shooting setting, DSLR`s use special lenses to shoot macro and that is really the only way it can be done properly and for me the macro setting on this camera is little more than a gimmick.
There is an image stabilisation setting on this camera which works fairly well, image stabilisation is designed to allow you to shoot at slower shutter speeds or at longer zooms and in poorer light without getting bad camera shake which leads to blurry images and the function on here works quite well and will allow you to hand hold without blur at almost full zoom and at shutter speeds of about 1/80th of a second whereas without it you would have to shoot at speeds of about 1/125th of a second to avoid blur.
The zoom on this camera is not all that big at only 3.7x optical it is one of the smaller zoom lenses today but still offers enough manoeuvrability to be classed as useful and it can be used at full zoom without reducing image quality which a lot of larger zoom cameras cannot cope with. As with most compact cameras there is a video function on the Canon 980 but unlike many other compact cameras it actually works quite well.
I am a great believer that cameras are for still images and cam corders for video but this camera does a decent enough job of videoing to be useful for capturing those special moments. Operating at 30 frames per second the image quality is good as long as the light is quite good if it gets grey dark then so does your video and serious grain can be seen. The image stabilisation can be used when videoing too and it is almost always needed.
So with the camera tried and tested and having mostly good things to say about how it operates it is time to take a close look at the images it produced, which after all is the most important thing. I had a few problems with the images produced by this camera and none more so than the purple fringing which was very noticeable in some of the images taken in bright light.
I also found that the photos with a lot of light and shadow were always over or under exposed in areas no matter how much I altered settings, thus proving that the lens just could not cope with everything thrown at it and when compared to photos taken on my DSLR at the same time in exactly the same settings the difference was huge.
Now there will always be a difference between a DSLR`s images and a compact so I retested this using a Sony cybershot compact and the Sony produced much better quality images than the Canon also.
The colour detail in the images taken in outdoor lighting was very, very good but as soon as the light diminished so did the colour quality. Even used under professional studio lighting the colour quality just was not there, again this would probably go unnoticed by most amateurs but I though it worth mentioning.
Every shot of a person had red eye when using the on camera flash because of how close the flash is situated to the lens this was always going to be the case and even t on the red eye reduction setting the red eye was very bad. All compacts suffer from this but I found this particular camera to be very bad for red eye and it lost overall points for this for sure.
Most amateur photographers would probably be very happy with the outcome of the images from this camera if they have only ever used compacts in the past but anyone that has used a DSLR or a decent bridge camera will probably find that the images are a bit of a letdown, normally this would be acceptable for a compact point and shoot but when you consider that this one costs £250 which is more expensive than some of the excellent Fuji bridge cameras and only £50 cheaper than a Sony A200 DSLR both of which will produce images of a much higher quality, I feel that it is a bit of a poor show by Canon.
THE MAIN FEATURES AND SPECIFICATIONS:
14.7 Megapixels CCD Sensor
3.7x zoom with optical Image Stabilizer
Face Detection Technology
Anti-blur Motion Detection
i-Contrast - boosts brightness in dark areas of an image.
My Menu - Customise the menu system with My Menu for rapid access to the functions you use most.
2.5" LCD and OVF
Manual Control and 20 Shooting Modes
VGA (640x480, 30fps) movies
Scenes: Portrait, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Sunset, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Underwater, ISO 3200, Digital Macro, Colour Accent, Colour Swap, Stitch Assist
Histogram available: Yes
Optical viewfinder: Yes
WHATS IN THE BOX:
Lithium-Ion rechargeable Battery NB-5L (3.7v, 1120mAh)
32mb SD Memory card
Software CD ROM
Basic Printed Manual
As you will see from the info above this camera uses a Lithium-Ion rechargeable Battery which is a very good thing and a real strong point of the camera as most compacts rely on AA`s which will run out on a very regular basis.
This camera will allow around 300 photos between charging which is excellent and this does not drop much no matter how much zooming in and out you do or even when you do a lot of viewing the images you have taken.
It uses an SD memory card and although it comes with a 32MB one to get you started, you will need to get yourself a much bigger one as the 32MB one will hold less than 40 images. I recommend at least a 2GB one so you never have to worry about running out of space.
The software and manuals that come with this camera are both very good, the software is easy to install and operate and the manual very helpful and easy to understand.
MY OVERALL OPINION:
To sum up my review of this camera I would have to say that it looks good and it feels good when using. I would also say that it seems very robust and I believe it would stand the test of time; other good points would be the amount of functions available and the wealth of features. It also gets good marks from me for its quick start up time and its reasonable video capabilities. I felt it was an easy camera to use and the menus were very straight forward and all the buttons and controls were easy to use and well positioned.
There are many setbacks though and none more so than the poor image quality when used in anything other than perfect light, this can of course be improved somewhat by setting everything up manually but even then it is not perfect. The poor macro performance and the terrible red eye means the camera drops more points in my final evaluation of it and the fact that it carries such a high price tag means it is not one I would be quick to recommend.
It is by no means a bad camera but there are better and less expensive options out there and you should not be sucked in by the huge megapixels on offer from this camera as many people are. Megapixels are not everything and indeed I have used 6.1 megapixels DSLR`s that produce much better images than this compact ever could.
LOOKS - 8/10
BUILD QUALITY - 8/10
EASE OF USE - 7/10
FUNCTIONS AND FEATURES - 7/10
IMAGE QUALITY - 6/10
VALUE FOR MONEY - 6/10
OVERALL - 7.5/10
Thanks for reading
Summary: Theres much better available for your money!
|Ease of use:|
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