Compact Digital Cameras Under $300 (Part 3) - Canon IXUS 125HS

10/8/2012 3:02:36 AM

Canon IXUS 125HS

It is well-nigh impossible to talk about the Canon IXUS 125 HS without listing a bunch of jargon that describes the different technologies at work inside this sophisticated compact camera. That can get terribly boring (and confusing) so we will resist the temptation once we have got a mouthful of gobbledygook out of the way.

The HS suffix on the model code refers to the High Sensitivity sensor which helps you capture decent photos in low light. This is allied with the back-lit CMOS sensor, rather than the CCD that is used in the other four cameras.

Inside the IXUS 125 HS there is a DIGIC 5 processor which is Canon's standard processor for compact cameras. Some EOS models use DIGIC 5+.

Naturally the Canon uses a lens-shift image stabilizer and finally we have iSAPS technology which stands for 'intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space'.

Actually there is one more piece of technical-ese that is worth mentioning: The IXUS 125 HS has 5x optical zoom and 4x digital zoom but also has a ZoomPlus 10x rating which is somewhere between the two and appears to add extra optical zoom without throwing away data.

This is, relatively speaking, an expensive camera that sells for about $294. However, Canon has packed in a number of goodies to deliver extra value. For example, you get a Mini HDMI output, and happily this is a regular connection rather than a proprietary port of the type used by Samsung.

Adding to that the quality of the LCD screen is super with a resolution of 461k dots. It even manages to work well in bright sunlight as well as displaying a crisp and bright image.

We expected great things from the Canon, but it didn't quite live up to expectations. For example, the quality of video is very good but the IXUS 125 HS has a distinct advantage over the other cameras as it shoots at Full HD rather than 720p. On the downside, the mechanism of the 5x optical zoom is clearly audible on the movie soundtrack. Unfortunately you won't hear a great deal else as the microphone records the voice of the person shooting the video but doesn't seem to pick up any sound from in front of the camera.

You will find that Full HD video eats your SD or SDHC card at a rate of 250MB per minute. Changing settings to 720p reduces the rate to 190MB per minute.

Description: Canon IXUS 125HS
Canon IXUS 125HS

The list of modes that you can choose for taking photos will feel immediately familiar to anyone who has previously used an IXUS. It consists of Movie Digest, Portrait, Smooth Skin, Smart Shutter (uses face detect to take pictures), Night Scene, Low Light 4MP, Fish Eye, Miniature, Toy Camera, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster, Color Accent, Color Swap, Underwater, Snow, Long Shutter, Stitch Assist for Panoramic (L to R and R to L) and iFrame Movie. That's quite a list, but most of those modes are little more than useless gimmicks.

We quite like Super Slow Motion Movie, which shoots at 240fps and then plays back at standard speed, but the 320x240 resolution is too low to make it compelling.

One mode that works well is High-Speed Burst which drops the resolution to 4MP and takes a rapid stream of photos as long as you hold the shutter button.

We found that the best plan was to leave the flick switch on top of the camera in Auto and to simply ignore the individual modes, unless you want to do something special such as swap a color or take a mono photo.

Using Auto has the added advantage that you can pretty much ignore the navigation jog pad which is small and flat, and that in turn means you need to push the buttons carefully when you change any settings.

It was noticeable that the quality of the colors in the Canon photos was head and shoulders above the other cameras in this group.

Overall the build quality of the Canon is good. If you leave the IXUS 125 HS in Auto it makes a decent point and click camera with Full HD video. But you pay a high price of $294 for the privilege.


Price: $294

Manufacturer: Canon


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