By Tan Chong Yaw
|Canon Ixus 200 IS
|» Price: $599
» Available: From authorised dealers
THIS Ixus is Canon's first touchscreen camera.
The 200 IS is a late but worthy addition to the touchscreen arena. Nikon and Panasonic had models last year. Sony's N1 came out four years ago.
A 3-inch touchscreen dominates the back of this longish camera which is also a high-definition camcorder.
The wide 16:9 ratio display - unlike the usual 4:3 - allows HD-ready (720p) videos to fill the entire screen.
But photos being shorter will playback with dark bars on both sides.
This Ixus, whose roots hark back more than a decade to the first film-based model in 1996, is smooth on the eyes and in the hands.
At 152g (with the battery and SD card), this camera will not look out of place hanging around a supermodel's neck. It fits easily into my shirt pocket.
The 12.1-megapixel snapper starts up quickly, taking less than 1.5 seconds.
The touchscreen is responsive. I enjoyed using the sliding exposure shift bar but there is a split second pause before the screen shows the exposure change.
Playback offers oodles of fun.
Brush the screen with your fingertip to move to the next photo.
Or, use the control dial. Spin it fast and the photos get smaller so that you breeze through them faster. Flick the camera and that will also bring on the next frame.
The 200 IS's 24mm wide angle is a rarity among compacts.
I am a sucker for a wide angle lens - it livens up your perspective like fresh air in a musty room.
There are just about a handful among all of this year's compacts with such an ultra-wide angle.
I could shoot my two nephews and daughter tuckered out and sprawled on the last row of my MPV from the second row.
Using a compact with 36mm at its widest - common for compacts - I would have had to move about 1m back to get the same wide coverage as this Ixus.
The 5x zoom - a very versatile range for a small camera - extends the lens to 120mm.
The teensy buttons - for power and mode - on the camera's top bugged me. The narrow wedges which did not rise a millimetre above the body were difficult to use.
Lovely aesthetically but frustratingly small to use.
The image quality does not break new ground but is on par with the Ixus standard. Expect crowd-pleasing colours but not so sterling results indoors unless the flash is fired.
The 200 IS comes in silver, purple, brown and blue.
This Ixus is pretty, urbane and smart and it responds well to touch.
This story was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life.
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