The Canon IXUS 700 is a stylish, well made digital camera. It has seven megapixels and a three times optical zoom lens. It is aimed at anyone who is looking for a digital camera with a fairly standard set of features and is prepared to pay a bit more for the build quality.
The IXUS 700 manages to strike just about the right balance between features and ease of use. It will take care of all the usual photo opportunities such as holiday snaps, parties, general social gatherings and photos for the family album.
The IXUS 700 produced a very pleasing set of results from my tests. The highlights are strong colours, a good indoor portrait and a very impressive macro shot.
Running through the outdoor photos the IXUS 700 does a good job in bringing out detail. Often darker areas of a shot cause a digital camera to struggle, but in this instance the camera performs well and little is lost in a print. The colours are impressive too especially blues and greens. This is likely to lead to vivid landscape photos. The outdoor portrait comes out well with good skin tones.
The specific test for colour test works very well. The majority of Canon digital cameras that I have reviewed have all handled colours well and the IXUS 700 upholds that tradition.
Indoors the portrait shot is one of the sharpest I have managed to produce. Usually there is a loss of detail in the darker areas of the hair, but this is not the case here. Again skin tones come out well. The only downside is the amount of red eye that has occurred. The indoor picture of bottles is taken in almost complete darkness. Unlike a number of cameras the picture produced is well focused, but the flash has overcompensated and the resulting picture is a touch overexposed.
The macro picture is possibly the most pleasing of the set. It is bright, clear and sharp and is one of the best macro shots I have produced during testing. This bodes well for close up photography.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
Shutter lag is the time it takes to take each picture. A constant criticism of digital cameras is the delay in between clicking the shutter button, the picture being taken and also the camera being ready to take the next picture. From a pure shutter lag view the IXUS 700 took a picture and recorded it in 0.34 seconds. This is a relatively new test, so I feel a degree of caution is called for, but I have to say early indications are that this is an average time.
In terms of recycling times I was able to take five pictures in the space of 7.33 seconds. That works out at a rate of 1.46 seconds per picture. I am not claiming that this is the most scientific tests, but it should give you an indication of the recycling speed of the camera. This is a faster than average time. My test is carried out indoors under standard conditions and it is possible that you would see better results outside.
When you first use the camera the likelihood is that you will just want to turn it on and start taking pictures. There is a fully automatic mode that lets you simply point the camera and press the shutter button, with the camera making all the necessary decisions relating to the exposure. Automatic mode is backed up by a number of pre programmed scenes. These scenes help the camera to take the best possible shot in a variety of different photographic conditions. There are pre programmed scenes available for Portrait, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Underwater, Indoor, Kids & Pets and Night Snapshot.
The three times optical zoom lens has the equivalent focal length of 37-111mm in a 35mm camera. This is supported by a four times digital zoom. For close up work the camera can focus from 5cms away from the subject.
For composing shots you can choose to use the viewfinder or the 2" LCD screen. You can adjust the brightness of the LCD screen too. This can come in handy in either bright light or when it is dark.
When the light gets low the built in flash unit has a range of up to five meters. This reduces to nearer three meters when the zoom lens is in use. The flash can be set to automatic, on or off. There are also settings for red eye reduction and slow sync speed. Slow sync is often used at night when you would like both the subject and background illuminated. To boost the power of the flash unit you can link the camera to Canon's High Power Flash. The High Power Flash has to be bought separately. Lowlight photography is also aided by an Auto Focus Assist Beam. This helps the camera to focus properly.
TV quality movies can be recorded. The maximum resolution is 640x480 with a top speed of thirty frames per second. The duration of each movie is limited to 1GB of storage.
You can add different effects to your shots with settings for Vivid, Neutral, Low Sharpening, Sepia, Black and White, plus My Colours. You can also add up to sixty seconds of voice memo to a shot and set the self timer for when you would like to appear in a shot yourself.
Canon supplies all the necessary cables and software to connect the IXUS 700 to a PictBridge compatible printer, a computer and a television set.
There are a number of more advanced features available too. These include metering modes (Evaluative, Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre)), exposure compensation (+/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments), ISO equivalents (50, 100, 200, 400) and shutter speeds between 15 - 1/2000 seconds. White Balance can be set to Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H or Custom.
There is also a continuous shooting or burst mode that lets you capture two frames per second until the memory card is full.
You can also buy a waterproof case to go with the IXUS 700.
Ease of Use
This is a pretty easy to use digital camera. It is not overloaded with features in the way that an advanced digital camera is, so finding your way around is that bit easier. The main controls are found on the back of the camera with a dial covering the shooting mode (automatic, semi manual, scene, movie or image review). There are also buttons for setting the macro, self timer and flash.
When you need to access the menu system it is well thought out and it shouldn't take you too long to find your way around.
You can pick up a Canon IXUS 700 for around £275. This compares to around £245 for a Nikon Coolpix 7900, £235 for a Sony DSC P200 and £265 for a Casio EXILIM Z750.
The IXUS 700 does not quite make the ultra slim category, but it is still a very compact model. You should have no problem carrying it around with you. A little darker in colour than most shiny, silver digital cameras it has an excellent build quality. It is well designed and is a very stylish number. It has dimensions of 89.5 x 57.0 x 26.5 mm and weighs around 170g.
Batteries and Memory Cards
Power is supplied to the camera by a lithium ion battery. This battery is rechargeable and Canon supply one and a charger with the IXUS 700. A rechargeable battery helps to keep costs down, but this type of battery is expensive if you want to buy a spare. Therefore it pays to make sure you recharge the battery before you set out to take any important shots.
Images are stored on SD cards. Canon supplies a 32mb card with the camera. While this is as generous as any manufacturer you will soon fill the card taking seven megapixel shots. Therefore you should consider including a high capacity card in your budget. Click here to save money on SD cards.
Points I like:
Depth of colours
Where it is not so hot:
The Canon IXUS 700 is an impressive digital camera. In looks good and it takes good photos as well. It has no obvious weaknesses and I would be more than happy to own one myself. Seven megapixel models have become more common in 2005 and you may wish to check out the Sony DSC P200 and the Nikon Coolpix 7900.
Canon IXUS 700 Front View
Canon IXUS 700 Back View
Canon IXUS 700 Top View
Click for: Specification