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Customer Review

220 of 224 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marked improvement over IXUS 750, 22 Jun. 2006
So what goes on, the IXUS 750 was 7.1 Mega pixels and the new IXUS 800IS is only 6.0!? Well don't worry about it, the key to the previous sentence is the "IS" the image stabilisation system. The good and the bad.

The Good

Stunning sharpness of the pictures compared to the IXUS 750. The 7.1 mega pixels was great with the 750, but the real problem was trying to take advantage of them without a tripod. Not so with the 800IS, every available pixel is exploited even without a tripod. The major problem with the 750 was blur, as with most compact digital cameras today. It is fine having 7.1 Mp but if you can't use them due to blur then they are useless. I found, even with extensive experimentation (ISO levels, AiAF, AF, ways of bracing the camera, etc), that on average 1 in 5 pics with the 750 would be blurred free handheld. My partner, who has the steady hand of someone who could defuse bombs or carry out brain surgery, could manage 2 in 5 blur free. The blur would become even worse if the zoom was used. The 800IS on the other hand manages 9 out of 10 shots blur free. In addition you can make full use of the increase in zoom range (x4), when handheld. You can even take blur free macro shots one handed at full reach with ease. OK I'll stop banging on about that now.

The battery life of the 800 is much improved over the previous model.

It is ever so slightly smaller and lighter, and I do mean slightly.

The resolution of the LCD has been upped to a reasonable level now, which was a failing on the previous model.

The ISO range has been increased but this is really of limited use (see the bad).

Improved macro range. The macro mode is now quite stunning for a compact camera allowing you to take sharp shots from 2 cm handheld. Again the IS allows the use of telephoto macro mode as close as 40 cm without a tripod.

As before, the My Colors feature allows you to play with contrast, saturation, sharpness and colour balance to some degree.

The few manual adjustment allowed are very useful for acquiring the shots you want in difficult conditions. Although as always with the IXUS range more manual adjustments would be nice (e.g. aperture/shutter speed priority).

Continuous shoot mode speed is excellent (as 750), with a little over a second to wait between shots with a fast SD card.

Button placement and function is generally fine, but be careful not to place a finger over the flash.

In short, it is a very easy camera to take very good quality snaps with.

The Bad

The extended ISO range is nice but noisy at the high end. So yes, you can have faster shutter speeds in low light condition but the noise your pics will gain, at the ISO800 setting, may not make it worth it. (The image stabilisation probably helps more with usable low light shot than the increase in ISO range). Having said this, if you are happy to spend time post processing to remove the noise from the shot, you may find the high ISO settings are useful.

On the noise front, I can't point at any specific evidence but I got the impression the fully automatic mode tended toward using higher ISO settings than the 750 model. So the low light pics seem a light noisier than the IXUS 750 produced when fully automatic, but I could be imagining it. You can always select the ISO in manual mode though.

The flash is not as strong as the previous models, which can take a little getting use to. It is however good enough, 3m instead of 5m say. Still reasonable compared to competitors though.

There is, as before, a little chromatic aberration (purple fringing). The 750 and 800 seem to handle it in slightly different ways though. This may be due to the sensor chips involved or the different optics or both. The 800 seems to be better in high contrast situations and worse in low contrast situation.

There is some barrel distortion in wide angle macro mode. Worse that the 750 but then the range of the macro is better, 2cm (800) compared to 5cm (750).

As with the IXUS 750 I feel the landscape shots could be a little sharper, but a mainly automatic compact camera can only do so much.

Red eye is a problem but can be remove post processing.

To round up.

If you are a mega pixel fanatic and just can't cope with the thought of a loss of 1.1 Mp, think about the following. Will you miss the 1.1 mega pixels of the IXUS 750? Well if you love to carry a tripod with you every where you go perhaps. However, the point of a compact camera is it is compact, which tripods are not. To be honest it is very hard to see the difference in pixels between the 750 and 800 when you zoom in on a shot. This is probably due in part to the x4 zoom compared to the old x3 in shots when using telephoto. However, even without the extra zoom the 800 would be the better option because there is no point in having 7.1 Mp if you can't take easy advantage of them. I'll take a 6.0 Mp shot over a blurred 7.1 Mp shot any day. In the end, I think the x4 zoom covers any short fall in Mp anyway.

The image stabilisation system is a major improvement over the previous model allowing you to take full advantage of the cameras abilities, even taking into account the reduction in mega pixels.

Is it worth the extra money? Oh yes! Will I happily live with this as my compact camera? Certainly!
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