Canon Digital IXUS 55 review

Price when reviewed

The IXUS 55 is the same size as its predecessor, the IXUS 50: 55mm high and 24mm deep, making it perfect for trouser pockets, yet still packing in a 3x optical zoom. The preview screen on the back has gained half an inch diagonally, now standing at a generous 2.5in.

Canon Digital IXUS 55 review

Picture quality is generally excellent, with only a few minor points for concern. Foreground subjects were well detailed, but more distant objects, such as brickwork or foliage, showed the slight mottling of JPEG artefacts when the photo was examined at 100 per cent. Brightly backlit subjects revealed slight purple fringing too. On the plus side, colours were vibrant without being oversaturated, and when printed on 6 x 4in paper, we had to look closely to spot texture averaging. The macro mode is superb, and can take pictures from less than 3cm away with no difficulty.

All the expected exposure metering options are present – evaluative, centre-weighted average and spot will cater for just about any situation.

White balance is similarly comprehensive. The automatic setting captured images to our satisfaction, but there are also manual modes to choose between two fluorescent settings, tungsten and two daylight settings, as well as an evaluative option.

The bad news is the lack of a fully manual mode or shutter/aperture priority settings. There’s a Long Shutter option, which will be sufficient for night-time or flash-free snaps, but anyone looking to explore more creative or demanding situations will find it a frustration.

But it’s the added features that make the IXUS 55 our compact digital of choice. Select the continuous shooting mode and you’ll be able to shoot at two frames per second until your memory card is full. And although there’s no panorama-compiling feature on the camera, there’s a stitch assist mode that saves the last fifth of an image to help with alignment, and then Canon’s user-friendly PhotoStitch software does the rest when you get to a PC.

The IXUS 55 is a natural A List resident. Good looks, stacks of features, excellent image quality, plus a battery life best measured in days means this is a camera that will keep both beginners and enthusiasts happy.

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