Product Type: Canon digital cameras
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Canon Ixus 220 HS
Member Name: Zmugzy
Canon Ixus 220 HS
Date: 28/09/12, updated on 08/09/13 (131 review reads)
Advantages: Small and compact
Disadvantages: Photos lack sharpness
I'm not going to go into any technical jargon. Detailed specifications can be found on many other websites and are meaningless to most consumers. This review is a short summary of my experience and impressions after using this camera over a two week period.
On first site and touch the camera appeared impressive. Upon seeing it for the first time in store it was smaller than I expected and fitted snugly inside the palm of my hand. The design and size along with the close proximity of buttons would favour those endowed with slim and nimble fingers. There are however a number of design flaws. The flash light is positioned at the top right of the camera and beneath this is a tiny AF assist/self timer lamp. This positioning means that holding the camera in both hands risks your forefinger of the left hand blocking the flash. Another minor flaw is the battery/flash card compartment or more specifically the hatch door to this compartment that must be slid open. Upon opening the hatch on a few occasion I accidentally pressed the power button - this causes the lens to automatically extend and possibly push against your other fingers gripping the camera. The hatch is also quite flimsy and unlike the rest of the stainless steel casing is made of plastic - I can imagine it breaking sooner than later. So you have to take extra care when opening/closing this compartment.
The images at first seemed impressive, but only when you view them in the reasonably sized and brightly lit LCD screen on the back of the camera. The camera seems good at processing light and colour and produces a nice balance especially in sunlight. However, it fails miserably when it comes to sharpness. On close inspection I noticed halo effects in areas of contrast. This is worse near the edges of an image but is present throughout. It's very noticeable for example if you take a picture of black text on white paper. The text looks blurred. The 5x 24-120mm zoom lens with built in optical image stabilisation is supposed to enable consistently sharper results when shooting in telephoto mode. No it doesn't. Despite experimenting with different functions and exposures, different flash settings and even using a tripod, I could not get rid of the blurred/halo effect. In essence, the camera was utterly useless for the handheld macro shoots I specifically wanted to use it for. I suspect these flaws are due to a cheap lens elements and I can't believe a company like Canon would use such a poor shoddy components. Despite the digital age, for me the lens should be the most important part of a camera - something that manufacturers these days seem to have forgotten.
Some might be impressed with full 1080p HD movie recording and stereo sound. Incorporated with this are a lot of special effects or gimmicks as I call them. I was quite impressed with these at first but the novelty soon wears off and the results were often disappointing. For example, the HD video has a slow motion effect but I was hugely disappointed when I tried to view my first slow-mo video on screen - you can only view your recordings in a 2.7 inch window the same size as the screen on the back of the camera. Another drawback is that the video runs on QuickTime only making it a hassle to edit your videos in non-Apple editing suites. The quality of the video is OK but I bought this as a still camera and a video function on a still camera is always a novelty item as far as I'm concerned. Such videos are only ever good enough for YouTube.
It's a shame I couldn't get a decent sharp image with this camera because there were some aspects that I liked such as the compact size, the photo colour balance and the battery life. I never had to recharge the battery during the two weeks of medium usage that included several short 5 minute videos. Many might be quite content with the quality of the photos that this camera produces, but for me this is a kid's camera pretending to be something 007 might use. If you require sharp photos then don't buy the Canon IXUS 220 HS. After my experience I would never buy another Canon IXUS camera.
Summary: Any half decent camera should produce good quality photos - this camera fails totally.
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