Canon IXUS 100 IS digital compact camera

A tiny 12.1-megapixel compact camera with 720p video recording

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Canon IXUS 100 IS
  • Canon IXUS 100 IS
  • Canon IXUS 100 IS
  • Canon IXUS 100 IS
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5


  • Good image quality, 720p video mode, endearingly petite


  • Awkward zoom control, occasional noise issues, no Active Control

Bottom Line

The Canon IXUS 100 IS digital camera is a worthy addition to the IXUS line that impresses on most fronts. Its few flaws are made up for by an arresting form factor and solid image quality. Highly recommended.

Would you buy this?

The Canon IXUS 100 IS is an ultra-compact digital camera designed with the social photographer in mind. It shares much in common with the Canon IXUS 990 IS, including a 12.1-megapixel CCD sensor, optical image stabiliser and a 720p high-definition movie mode. However, it has traded in its sibling’s 5x optical zoom and three inch LCD screen for a substantially smaller body. (In its place are a 3x optical zoom and 2.5in display.) While the loss of a 5x zoom is regrettable, it does make for a more compact and affordable camera. Otherwise, both models offer a very similar performance across the board.

The IXUS 100 IS digital camera has been designed with style and portability in mind. Measuring just 18.4mm at its thickest point, it is currently the slimmest camera in the Canon IXUS line-up. It’s definitely one of the smallest cameras we’ve ever had the pleasure of testing, with dimensions that fit comfortably inside a cigarette box (no exaggeration — we tried it). The camera comes in a choice of three colours; red, gold and black. We tested the black version which is refreshingly free of gloss. While not as classy as the Canon IXUS 990 IS, it remains a very attractive camera. It’s sure to receive admiring glances from friends and passersby, if only for the eye-catching dimensions.

For navigation, the Canon IXUS 100 IS digital camera uses a traditional control wheel with dedicated buttons for playback, movie and auto modes. Regrettably, the IXUS 990’s nifty Active Display mode has been removed from this camera; a pointless but fun gimmick that let you flick through photos by shaking the camera. Overall, we were satisfied with the user interface with the exception of the zoom lever; which is small and awkwardly placed. Apart from this one caveat, the camera was a joy to use.

When it came to image quality, the Canon IXUS 100 IS digital camera gave an identical performance to the IXUS 990 IS. Image sharpness and colour accuracy were both excellent, with plenty of detail in complex areas. Our high contrast photos also stood up well, with purple fringing kept to a minimum. Unfortunately, noise became quite prevalent at ISO 400 and above; a side effect of the high pixel count and relatively small sensor. This shouldn’t prove too much of an issue though, unless you’re making poster-sized prints. The 5.9mm wide angle lens doesn’t offer much coverage for panoramic fans, but it remains acceptable for intimate group shots and the like. The inclusion of anti-shake and a robust flash are great for nocturnal shooting. This will ensure your Facebook photos remain bright and pristine; even in the dingiest club.

Despite its diminutive appearance, the IXUS 100 IS is packed with a solid array of features. Canon has even managed to cram a viewfinder on the camera — something that the flagship IXUS 990 IS lacked. Other highlights include an anti-shake system with inbuilt motion detection, a Smart Auto mode (similar to Panasonic’s Intelligent Auto), improved face detection that detects up to 35 faces, advanced digital effects (including a cool zoom blur filter), continuous shooting and 19 scene modes. Manual controls are considerably less exhaustive, though this falls in line with the IXUS 100 IS’s point-and-shoot status.

The Canon IXUS 100 IS also comes with a new tool called blink detection. If one of your subjects happens to close their eyes when you press the shutter, the camera will alert you with an onscreen warning. It doesn’t actually do anything to salvage the photo, though. (By contrast, Nikon’s rival camera, the CoolPix S620 automatically takes another photo when it detects someone blinking.) In this case, you’ll need to take the secondary photo yourself, by which point the photographic opportunity may have passed.

Another standout feature on the IXUS 100 IS is high-definition video recording. This is quite a feat for such a tiny compact camera. It records video in the Quicktime MOV format at a maximum resolution of 1280x720. We found its output to be perfectly suitable for high-def Youtube uploads, though it naturally won’t replace a standalone camcorder. Audio is significantly poorer — unsurprising perhaps, but disappointing all the same. On the plus side, the included HDMI port means you can watch movies on your HDTV direct from the camera.

So there you have it: the Canaon IXUS 100 IS offers most of the same functionality as its premium 990 IS sibling in a smaller, cuter package. It's also $200 cheaper, which makes it a far better deal. If you're looking for a versatile compact camera to chronicle social outings, you could do a lot worse than this.

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