Review: Canon Ixus 1100 HS
Canon’s Ixus 1100 HS is a premium compact camera that’s designed to make capturing high-quality photographs as simple as humanly possible.
Ashley Kramer | Wednesday, February 29 2012
Product type: Digital compact camera
RRP incl GST: $599
- Long 12x zoom lens
- Touchscreen operated
- Sharp, well rendered images and video
Canon’s easy to use and sharp Ixus 1100 HS is much improved over the previous model. While it’s not exactly cheap, it fits in nicely at the higher end of the compact market.
Canon’s Ixus 1100 HS is a premium compact camera that’s designed to make capturing high-quality photographs as simple as humanly possible. It doesn’t offer enthusiasts the least degree of manual control, or any manual controls for that matter; what we have here is a point and shoot device all the way.
The target market won’t notice that the advanced controls have been left out but they’re certain to appreciate the far-reaching 12x optical zoom lens and 3.2-inch touchscreen housed in a slim, stylish, yet solid body. This camera’s predecessor was burdened with a lens that only managed 36mm at the wide end, so it’s a relief to notice that the lens here has been widened to 28mm, which is a real improvement. The sensor is a 12.1MP rear illuminated i.e. high-sensitivity CMOS unit, hooked up to Canon’s DIG!C 4 image processor. Full HD video capture is also on the features list as you might expect.
The heart of the 1100 HS is the afore-mentioned touchscreen, which replaces most of the buttons and dials found on your average compact camera. The only remaining physical controls are the power switch, the zoom/shutter control, a playback button and a sliding switch to flip between Auto or Program mode. The 461,000-dot touchscreen is reasonably responsive and gives the user access to everything they’ll need to drive the camera via menus, albeit with a number of taps being required to get anything done. Like any touchscreen however, it’s a tad difficult to see in bright sunlight, which is where a more typical control layout would have an edge. That said, in a point-and-shoot environment, the 1100 HS is no worse off than its competition.
Image quality is excellent, especially at the lower ISO settings where test shots were as sharp and as detailed as could possibly be expected from a sensor this size. Noise and softening set in progressively from ISO 400 but this is well controlled and again, from a small sensor this is a good showing. As far as real world performance goes, the 1100 HS proved to be a pleasant companion on trips around town, where it coped well with low-light social situations or high-contrast sunsets, either when left to its own devices in the auto mode or when the scene modes were employed. Colours popped with vibrancy and the auto focus system was accurate, although it’s not exactly speedy in low light conditions. The 336mm long end of the lens makes it easy to zoom right into distant detail, but macro performance is only average. The video quality was also of a very high standard but that’s entirely typical of the current generation of Canon compacts.
The easiest way for Canon to improve the 1100 HS would be to take a leaf from the book of smartphone design and stop thinking of this as a camera with a touchscreen interface and to start exploring the possibilities of making it a truly innovative and connected device. Build in some Wi-Fi, get some ex-Apple engineers on board and break some new ground. Failing that, the Ixus 1100 HS is still a good choice for someone in the market for a simple, yet luxurious point and shoot compact.
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