Stop! Please! (aka Spot the Difference)

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The image you see above is the result of a small torrent of Canon IXUS cameras that cascaded into the office today. There’s an IXUS 80 IS; an IXUS 85 IS; an IXUS 90 IS; and an IXUS 970 IS.

You’ll notice they all look rather similar.

You’ll notice they’re all emblazoned with Image Stabilizer and AiAF logos. You’ll notice they all have zoom rings around their shutter buttons.

ixuses-300x184What you won’t notice purely from the picture is that they all have megapixel ratings between 8 and 10, near-identical menu systems, screens of either 2.5in or 3in, image quality that’s a gnat’s particulars away from the same, and super features like face detection and tracking.

Granted, the 970 IS has a better zoom range, with 5x rather than the 3x of the other three.

But really.

Canon, by all accounts, is one of the top three companies in the world when it comes to R&D. But it seems to be turning into a slave to product lifecycles, which are now almost literally measured in weeks. The press release for the IXUS 80 IS, for instance, dropped into my inbox on 24th January. The release for the IXUS 85 IS arrived on 13th March.

That’s barely a month and a half.

Canon, of course, will argue that the two models are complementary, not competitive. I’d argue that they’re just confusing. The salesman down Tottenham Court Rd would argue to the punter that this one is five better than that one.

Whichever argument you plump for, I’m pretty sure the world could do without at least one of these – admittedly fine – digital cameras. And that’s (literally) not the half of it. Pop over to the IXUS product page on Canon’s website and you’ll see that the current line-up consists of the IXUS 70, IXUS 75, IXUS 80 IS, IXUS 85 IS, IXUS 90 IS, IXUS 860 IS, IXUS 950 IS, IXUS 960 IS and (pause for breath) IXUS 970 IS.

And then there’s the PowerShot range – a further 12 models.

There’s choice, and then there’s sheer bewilderment.

I. Am. Confused.

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