Product Type: Canon digital cameras
Newest Review: ... the camera and this simply slides to open, which is considerably less fiddly than the A/V port opening. The Ixus 130is has an impressive 1... more
A sleek and stylish point and shoot
Canon Ixus 130
Member Name: ms_123
Canon Ixus 130
Advantages: Great shots, fun settings, stylish, sleek
Disadvantages: fiddly A/V port, stitch assist program, no viewfinder, zoom button
As I really loved my old Ixus 100is I had initially hoped to replace it with the same model. However it turned out that Currys no longer sold this model as it was an older one. I therefore decided to go for the newer version they had - the Ixus 130, after having done some research online prior to visiting the store.
One thing I really liked about my old camera was that fact that it was so sleek and slim. It meant that I didn't have to think twice about taking this out with me. Well, I was amazed to see that Canon have shaved off another 2mm had managed to make the Ixus 130is even slimmer at a mere 17.8 mm! However despite it's sleekness it appears well-built.
The model is available in 4 different colours: Pink, Orange, Black and Silver. I found the pink and orange to be a bit too garish and the silver to be a little boring so I opted for the black. This colour, along with the cameras smoothed edges results in a sleek and stylish finish. The Ixus 130is has a slightly bigger screen compared to its predecessor coming in at 2.7". This does mean that the camera is slightly longer length-wise than the previous model but I think it's a good price to pay as the larger screen makes viewing photos so much better and it gives me a good idea of whether the photo I have taken is a good one or needs to be retaken.
The other buttons on the back of the camera are standard for most cameras - a dial, which allows you to move back and forward between photos, set the flash on or off, erase photos and scroll through the various menu options, which I will describe in more detail later in the review. I have found the dials to be just the right size for me (I have fairly small hands) but I can see it being a bit fiddly for those with larger digits, so it may be worth testing this out in store before purchasing.
Rather disappointingly the Ixus 130is does not have an optical viewfinder. Now, you're probably thinking "Why do you want a viewfinder when you've got such a large screen?!" However, there are times when I find it easier to take pictures through the viewfinder rather than using the screen, particularly under bright light. The lack of viewfinder seems to be the case with most new cameras, as most of the models that I researched did not have one.
Just as with my Ixus 100is, the 130is also has a rather fiddly A/V port where you put in the USB cord to download your pictures. It requires a bit of forcing to get open and I am always scared that I will rip it right off! Once open it just hangs on a piece of plastic string and doesn't quite open far enough so that you have to force it back a little. I generally tend to feel quite nervous when trying to open this and usually try to avoid doing so. Luckily my laptop has a SD reader so the memory card can be slotted directly into it. The battery and memory card compartment are at the bottom of the camera and this simply slides to open, which is considerably less fiddly than the A/V port opening.
The Ixus 130is has an impressive 14.1 megapixels, which is slightly higher than the previous one. Most cameras on sale these days have megapixels in the 10-14 range, though this isn't really an important requirement for me as I believe the megapixel count is only really important if you're going to be blowing up your pictures to poster size or if you want to crop them without losing too much detail. However, I just want to print standard 6x4 photos and perhaps at a push 7x5 so I didn't pay too much attention to this. In fact to save space on my memory card I reduce the number of megapixels down to 9 megapixels and the photos still come out great. If I compare the photos taken at 9 megapixels with those of my very old Sony Cybershot, which had 5.1 megapixels, I can't really tell the difference!
The camera also has a 4x optical zoom. This is an improvement on the previous model and I find that when taking scenic pictures I can zoom in closer and get a better shot. The design of the optical zoom is completely different from the previous model. Whereas before, the zoom was operated by a lever at the top of the camera, which had to be pushed to zoom in an out, this has been replaced by a small raised button which is slided back and forth to operate. Although still easy to operate I preferred the older version as for some reason I found that more intuitive.
That's enough about appearances... what's it like taking photos? I'm not one to trawl through manuals before using an item, preferring to test it out myself first to see if I can get it going. In this regard the camera is exceptionally user friendly and intuitive to use. All the menus and settings are logically layed out so things are easy to find. Of course having used a previous Canon model also helped.
The camera comes with a wealth of inbuilt features all geared to helping you take the perfect shot without too much effort. As with my previous model Canon have included 'Scene detection technology' so that the camera automatically determines the brightness of the subject, the contrast, the distance from the subject and the overall hue. It then searches its inbuilt library of settings to select the perfect one for the scene. I think that's pretty clever. It takes the guesswork out of taking the shot and I get a great picture everytime. I'm pretty snap-happy especially when on holiday and this means I can just point and shoot without fiddling around trying to work out what settings I should choose. However for those who are more technically minded there is the option to manually select which setting to take pictures with and these include low light, night, beach, snow and underwater. The camera also has an inbuilt fish-eye lens and a miniature effect, which I have had great fun with. I am pleased to note that there is no noticeable delay from pressing the button and the picture being taken. This is really useful, especially when taking pictures of young children who are unable to keep still so that the picture you think you're taking is actually the one that comes out!
All the pictures that I have taken with this camera have come out really well. The colours are always crisp, sharp and accurate. The camera also has motion detection technology so that things that are moving do not become blurred. I put this to the test recently when wandering around in central London. I wanted to get a shot of traffic along Oxford St and managed to get a picture of some taxis driving past without any blurring!
I have also taken the time to play around with some of the colour settings on this new model. The camera has the ability to take pictures in black and white and sepia, which has resulted in some quite classy looking shots. In addition there is the colour accent feature which is really quite fun to use. Basically what this allows you to do is to select a colour which you want to keep in the photo whilst the rest of the picture is taken in black and white. I'd seen some shots like this in Covent Garden, particularly of London buses or phone boxes in bright red whilst the rest of the shot was in black and white and always wondered how this was done. I had a go at shooting some of my own shots like this and they came out a treat! I had great fun walking around Central London spotting all the things that were red and making these the focus of my black and white pictures! The other interesting feature is the colour swap. Have you ever wondered what your room would look like painted a different colour? Well, you can use the colour swap feature to try out different colour schemes! It's quite a useful feature I think and one that I will no doubt be using in the next few weeks as I will be moving into a new house.
The 130 does not have a panoramic lens so if you want to take scenic pictures that are bigger than the lens you have to use the inbuilt program called Stitch Assist, which the 100is also had. This will let you take a series of shots and join them together, rather like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I can't say that I am too impressed with this. I find it fiddly and it's very difficult when you've taken your first shot to find the point where the second shot should join on and often I either miss a bit so the picture looks disjointed or capture part of the image twice (though this can be edited afterwards using programs like Photoshop). As such it's not something I use very often, but I thought it important to include this.
The camera also allows you to record short movie clips, though these do inevitably take up a lot of space on the memory card. For this reason it's not something I do very often, but when I have done so I have found the movies to be clear and the sound quality to be quite good.
The camera takes a lithium ion battery, which can be charged separately using the supplied charger. I think the battery life is quite good and I can usually go at least a week without the battery being charged if for example I take it on holiday and use it everyday.
Overall then although I was quite disappointed with the untimely demise of my Ixus 100is the 130is has become a very good replacement. I love the fact that it is sleeker and has a bigger screen. The photo quality is great and I've had great fun with the colour features in this camera. Unfortunately I am not too impressed with the change in design when it comes to the zoom as I found the previous mode of operation to be much better. I also am disappointed by the lack of viewfinder on this model. The Stitch Assist program is also a bit amateurish and I think this could be improved upon. I also am not too impressed with the fiddly A/V port. For these negative points I have knocked off two stars. If you've got this far I'd like to thank you for reading this review and hope that you have found it useful. This review will also be posted on ciao with some sample photos.
Summary: A great point and shoot
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