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Canon Ixus 950 IS compact digital camera

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Images are generally impressive. Colours look sharp and accurate, even at the Ixus' lowest ISO settings. There isn't any noise until you reach ISO 200, but even this is just a light covering of slightly off-colour splotches that's barely evident on computer displays and won't show on prints. It's much the same at ISO 400, with a just-about-detectable increase that still won't hash up your hard copies. Noise becomes more noticable at ISO 800 resulting in the loss of a little detail, and adding a little grain to prints.

To our surprise darker colours started to become washed out at this point. However, a reasonable amount of shadow detail still remained. At the camera's highest sensitivity setting, ISO 1600, most fine detail is obscured by noise, and a lot of shadow detail is lost. Rather than a fine grain, the noise is larger and causes a blotchy appearance. It's probably a good idea to stay below ISO 1600 if you plan on making prints and below ISO 800 if you plan to make prints larger than about 10 x 8 inches.

Test image taken with Canon Ixus 950IS (click to enlarge)
Standard landscape auto-focus image taken with the Canon Ixus 950IS

Test image taken with Casio Ex Z1200 (click to enlarge)
Standard landscape auto-focus image taken with the Casio Ex Z1200

Test image taken with Pentax Optio M30 (click to enlarge)
Standard landscape auto-focus image taken with the Pentax Optio M30

Test image taken with Pentax Optio S30 (click to enlarge)
Standard landscape auto-focus image taken with the Pentax Optio S30

Test image taken with Pentax Optio T30 (click to enlarge)
Standard landscape auto-focus image taken with the Pentax Optio T30

Verdict

Canon's Ixus 950 IS offers great performance, good image quality and solid image stabilisation, with the convenience of face detection, which seemed to work quite well - better than we expected, truth be told. On the downside, the quality of images at ISO 1600 is a little poor and there is no manual exposure control, plus the on/off button is a little awkward to switch on, though the flipside of that is that it will never get activated by accident. Overall though, the Ixus 950 IS has just about everything you could possibly ask for in a compact camera all contained in a very stylish, durable three-tone metal casing.

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90%

Canon Ixus 950 IS compact digital camera

An all-round high-quality, mid-range compact - albeit at the high end of that market
Price: £329/€484/$646 RRP

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