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I bought this camera about 8 months ago as i wanted a small camera that i could carry around in my handbag every day. I previously used a Canon 350D, which was just too big to fit in my handbag, and i was getting so fed up of not having my camera with me to capture the spontaneous moments with my children when down at the park or visiting friends. This camera is so small and light that i love being able to carry it everywhere. One of the features i have found myself using more and more is that video capture, taking short little movies of every day things as my children grow up so fast. The quality of the photos is obviously not quite as good as a DSLR, but i am happy enough with the quality that i am happy that this camera has become the one i use most now. My children also like to use this camera, and it has proved robust enough to handle bumps and drops, and easy for them to use. It does struggle with low lighting situations, but all in all its a great little camera that i wouldnt be without.
I've had this camera for a year, with a fairly heavy use, I still continue to use it the same pleasure without any failure.
It is small and functional, rather intuitive.
Two basic modes are quickly disconnected by a cursor: auto and manual with a wide range of options and not too many gadgets.
The screen is large for shooting and a very comfortable viewing with several modes of formats.
The keys are nice.
The handling is excellent thereby you avoid movements and thus blur.
Zooming is precise and correct.
In terms of color quality, this camera stands out with a dive, a color reproduction and stunning lights, especially for shooting simple mode without flash ... Canon is the quality!
Another highlight: The battery life is good and low battery is largely prevented because of an icon on the screen, but it is less stressful to have a second to spare!
The only weak point in my opinion: there is no eyepiece sight, always nice when the sun is behind you! But I must say that the screen is so big that it takes up all the space ...
A few years ago I had a Fujifilm Finepix J30 which I absolutely loved, but it broke twice so it was replaced with a Fujifilm Finepix JV100 which I also liked, but didn't love it as much as the J30, but then that broke, (not a good advert for Fujifilm) so they replaced that with a Nikon Coolpix S2500 which I hated, couldn't get on with it at all, so I sold it on eBay (really didn't want to go back to the shop and complain again).
So we wanted to be sure that the next camera we bought was going to be completely amazing, and after much research and questioning people 'in the know', we chose the Canon Ixus 115 HS. And it really is amazing, I absolutely cannot stress enough how much I love this camera.
As I may have mentioned in my previous camera reviews, I'm not good with technical information, so I will try and keep this review basic but full of useful, relevant information.
The CANON Ixus 115 HS has 12.1 megapixels, a 4.0 x optical zoom, and a 4.0 x digital zoom. It is small & compact, fitting nicely into my handbag, and even a jeans pocket. I find it really transportable, and really handy for those days out when you have enough stuff to carry without worrying about where to put the camera - it just fits in your pocket. It feels nice to hold, although sometimes it feels so smooth that I worry it might fall out of my hand, but this is where the handy carry strap comes in. The LCD screen on the back is 3.0 inch, so it's a good size and also really clear.
It comes with a rechargeable Li-ion battery (I've no idea if this is the same as a lithium battery) which you have to remove to charge, and the charger is supplied with the camera. Whilst writing that I really had to think about when I last charged it up, which is a good indication of how well the battery lasts, because I use my camera all the time! It requires an SD card, which is not supplied with the camera.
Where do I start with the functions of this camera, well I think I'll start with the basics, for example what I think the most common functions are. On the camera you will find a minimal amount of buttons, which is a good thing, nothing confusing for a novice or someone who just likes to point and click.
On the top is the On/Off switch, the shutter button (for taking the photos, is shutter the right word?), around this button is the zoom function, so it is easy to zoom in and out fractions of a second before you take a photo; and finally a slide switch which allows you to choose 'auto' - where the camera selects the correct mode for you after assessing the conditions, or you can choose 'camera' - which allows you to chose for yourself the mode with which you would like to take the photo (more on this later as there as several different modes, some of which are amazing!).
On the rear of the camera next to the LCD screen there are the usual buttons which allow you to alter the flash settings, macro (interesting enough there is an opposite to macro on this which allows you to focus in on a point in the distance rather than up close - so this is quite a handy feature!) There is also a menu button which is a window into altering various shoot modes and settings on the camera, something which I rarely delve into for fear of altering something and having no idea what I have done. Finally there is a record button which is for recording HD movies. This is a great idea because rather than having to hunt through a menu to find the video setting, you just press this button on the rear of the camera and it starts recording a video straight away.
The camera comes with all the usual stuff you would expect from a standard digital camera, and these are not things I am going to list in this review.
If you are like me and you like to faff a little bit when taking pictures, then you will love this camera, it comes with so many different modes that sometimes I annoy myself by taking the same picture several different times to see what mode looks best. More often than not, the image would probably not be worthy of a place on my wall, but I still enjoy using the effects, and sometimes the final photos really do look fantastic.
I'm not going to bore you by going through each and every mode, but I will let you know about a couple of my favourites. First of all I will list the different modes to give you an idea of what's available on the camera:
Programme - allows you to programme the camera (never used it)
Movie Digest - I have never used this either but apparently it takes a short movie when you take a photo.
Portrait - speaks for itself
Kids and Pets - good for catching moving subjects
Smart Shutter - I think this takes a picture when someone smiles or opens their eyes
High-speed Burst - never used it
Best Image Selection - couldn't figure out how this worked
Handheld Night Scene - takes clear pictures in the night
Low Light - takes clear pictures in low light
Fish-eye Effect - makes the subject look like it is inside a fish bowl (very unflattering!)
Miniature Effect - blurs the edges of the shot
Toy Camera Effect - kind of puts a dark blurry frame around the image
Monochrome - speaks for itself
Super Vivid - speaks for itself (its pretty god damn vivid)
Poster Effect - makes the image look like a poster (I'm not keen myself)
Colour Accent - my favourite mode, allows you select a particular colour for the image and turns everything else black and white.
Colour Swap - you can swap two colours in an image (not particularly good quality, but fun all the same)
There is also Beach, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter and Stitch Assist.
So as you can see, if you are interested in different photo techniques then this camera has a lot to offer, now I understand that using some of the novelty modes will probably ruin the quality of the final image. But I am not trying to win any prizes; I just like to be a bit creative when taking pictures and I am really enjoying using this camera.
I have found that when I am outdoors taking pictures of the kids, then using the Kids and Pets setting is perhaps beneficial, because kids don't keep still, and this mode is supposed to capture them when they are on the run. But to be honest I've not really noticed a difference between this setting, or when I've had it on Auto. So if I'm taking general pictures of the kids I do usually keep it on Auto. However, if we are in a lush garden, or on the beach, or even in the snow (I took some lovely photos of the kids and their snowmen back in February), then I will select the relevant setting because it really does accentuate the image and brings out the best in whatever climate you are in.
I also use the Low Light setting quite a lot, and this is so much better than the old 'Night Mode' that so many cameras seemed to have. We recently went to an Aquarium, and as you may know camera flashes are not allowed in such places, so I set mine to 'Low Light' and I managed to get some crystal clear shots of the fish (even through the glass), and I also got a very detailed shot of a starfish stuck to the glass in a darkened room, it even picked out the starfish's little tentacles. My previous photos in this place have always been terrible and blurred, not anymore!
I use the novelty settings when I am taking pictures of scenery, such as the toy camera effect, or the miniature effect, I'm usually just experimenting, but it's interesting to see how the photos look, and we were at the Humber Bridge recently and I used the Miniature Effect whilst taking a photo of the bridge, and everything was blurred apart from the bridge (you can adjust the frame size of the part that is in focus), and the effect was brilliant - it really made the bridge stand out, well I know it's not hard for the Humber Bridge to stand out in a photo, but this added effect made it look even better.
My favourite mode on this camera is the Colour Accent. It took me a while to figure out how to use it, I even had to consult the manual (something which I hate doing, I like to instantly know how to use everything without reading instructions) but once I had it figured out, I was using it all the time (much to the annoyance of my kids!). You have to select a colour from the scene where you are going to take a photo. For example, if I wanted to take a photograph of my daughter and I wanted to pick out the red on her dress, I would have to set the correct mode on the camera, set it up ready to select a colour, point the camera at the colour, press the button to select the colour, then move back and take the picture. Before you take the picture, the screen will flash between a full colour version and the enhanced version (showing you what your picture will look like once you have taken it).
When you take the picture most of the image will be black and white, apart from your chosen colour. I've found red, yellows and greens work really well, although red tends to get picked out on the face as well, so sometimes you end up with the red dress, and red lips too! I love using this mode when my kids are playing, I recently took some photos of my youngest playing outside with her skittles, and I was picking out the colours of the skittles, and because they were so brightly coloured, the final image was really striking - a black & white photo of my daughter throwing a ball at some bright red skittles. I also took a photo of her throwing a yellow ball into the air, with just the yellow picked out - it was really effective.
I have also used the Colour Swap mode, which works on a similar theme, but this time you can select two colours and choose to swap them. For example if I wanted to take a photo of an orange and an apple, I could select the two colours from the fruit, then take the photo, and the final result would be that the orange was green, and the apple was orange. I thought this would be a handy tool to have when messing around with photos, but I have found the colour swaps to be really grainy, and I think it only works really well on solid colours, such as large plastic toys. I attempted to swap my daughter's face for green, and well, the result was simply terrifying!
The images are absolutely fantastic, for the price we paid (£80 from eBay) I cannot actually believe the high quality images that I am getting. The colours are amazing, they are crystal clear, and this includes ones that are taken indoors as well as outdoors. I now have so many amazing photographs of my children that I will treasure forever.
As you can see I have extensively used this camera, trying many of the different settings. I found it really easy to use, and really easy to get the image I want. The camera is really responsive, and when you decide to take a picture, the picture is taken almost instantaneously (none of this taking the picture after the kids have run off malarkey), so you really can capture the images you are intent on capturing! I found the camera to be really user friendly in all aspects, and I think it is suitable for a novice because they can just keep it on Auto and still get brilliant images; but it is also great for someone like me, who likes to experiment and is perhaps just a little bit more than a novice!
Not sure I really need to write this section, because after re reading everything above, I think it is pretty clear what my overall opinion of this camera is - I love it, and whole heartedly recommend it to anyone looking for a new digital camera. It is far and away the best compact digital camera I have ever owned or used.
**Price and Availability**
After a quick online search I can see that this camera is available on Amazon for £134.99, but on eBay you can get it for around the £90 mark (April 2013)
If there's anything you think I may have missed out of this review, please let me know, because there are so many things to say about a camera that I'm not sure if I've included everything that's relevant. It takes good pictures, that's all you need to know really!