Canon Ixus 700

26 May 2005

Product: Digital camera
Price: €599.99
The Ixus 700 is Canon’s new flagship camera at the compact end of the scale. Design wise, it is not a radical departure from the previous incumbent, the Ixus 500, except it is 8pc lighter and has a rounded right side or a “perpetual curve”, as the public relations blurb puts it, for greater shooting comfort.

However you choose to describe it, its tiny frame is what makes this camera so appealing. The size of a credit card and barely an inch thick, it can be easily slipped into a jacket or shirt pocket and weighing just 170g it shouldn’t ruin the lines of your suit.

The diminutive frame does not mean you have to compromise on either features or image quality: the Ixus 700 uses the same Digic II image processor that powers Canon’s EOS 1 digital SLR cameras and its 7.1 megapixels (MP) produce images that are large enough to blow up to A3 size and more.

Other features include a 3x optical zoom, large 2.0-inch LCD, good-quality VGA video clips at 30 frames per second, high-speed USB 2.0 connection, in-camera colour editing, a print/share button for easy PictBridge direct printing, integrated flash, red-eye reduction and TV output.

The Ixus 700 is a pleasure to use. Canon seems to have the knack of making cameras simple and intuitive such that you find yourself reaching for the manual less often than you might imagine. In any case the small amount of real estate on the back of the camera lends itself to a simple and clutter-free layout.

The camera is powered by a neat rechargeable lithium-ion battery that is good for about 160 shots or 210 minutes in playback mode. It slides into the base of the camera alongside the 32MB SD memory card supplied as standard.

The quality of the photos from the device are well up to standard, although we found the shots taken indoors to be less consistent even when the special indoor setting was used. A little practice will be rewarded by more consistent results.

The one lingering question needing to be asked is: who is the target user for this device?

Given that 3MP or 4MP is sufficient to yield excellent-quality 5×7-inch prints in most digital cameras these days, who really needs to venture into 7.1MP territory? It is not an idle question because the hefty price tag reflects the cost of delivering such firepower in such a small device. The answer is that while few of us need such a high MP rating, many want it — if only to flaunt in front of their friends and colleagues. In the world of digital photography at any rate, it seems size still matters.

By Brian Skelly