Canon Digital Ixus 980 IS compact camera
Review There’s an ‘R’ in the month, so it must be time for another Canon camera. Okay, we exaggerate a little, but you have to admit, Canon does churn out new models at a rate of knots. At the time of writing, the 980 IS is the top-of-the-range Ixus, so what does it offer to earn this position?
Canon's Digital Ixus 980: enhanced with a DSLR-oriented image chip
When Canon launched the Ixus 970, many of us thought the company had signalled an end to the pixel wars. You know the story: company A beings out a camera with the largest number of pixels only to be trumped a month later by a product by company B. It was good for the advertising copy and it sounded great on the shop floor, but in reality, adding more and more pixels to a camera’s CCD chip isn’t always a good thing.
First, there’s the law of diminishing returns, and we suspect few people would notice the difference between say, an 8Mp and 10Mp image, even when printed out. The second problem is packing more and more pixels onto a small CCD increases the problem of noise. The Ixus 970 is a 10Mp model; the 960, a 12Mp product; so guess what the Ixus 980 offers? Well, it has 14.7 million pixels (effective). Remember, this is a compact camera and not a DSLR. Canon says the 980's Digic 4 processor - the same processor used in the EOS 5D Mark II - keeps noise levels low, but as the saying goes, we’ll be the judge of that.
The Ixus 980 shoots JPEG images up to a resolution of 4416 x 3312 pixels and down to VGA (640 x 480). There are also three compression settings. An image shot with the highest resolution and least compression is about 6.3MB in size, so it’s hardly generous of Canon to provide users with a 32MB SD card that struggles to hold four images at this resolution. Come on, Canon, with memory prices being what they are, surely you could chuck in a decent-sized card?
Chunky compared to some compacts
The Ixus 980 comes in silver or black and has a metal body with the inevitable plastic fixtures and fittings. It’s not the smallest compact on the block, measuring 96.7 x 62.2 x 27.9mm and weighing around 188g when loaded with battery card. Canon has given it a gorgeous curvy shape - from the right-hand side, it looks like a figure of eight - and it feels nice to hold. It’s a pocket-sized camera, but if you’re used to one of the ultra-slim products on the market, it might feel a tad large.
The more pixels, the better
Sheesh, am I tired of the same more-pixels-is-a-marketing-department-ploy rants.
More pixels allow you to :
-increase the focal length (give me a 100Mpixel photo taken at 100mm and I'll make it a 5Mpixel photo at 1000mm -or whatever-) yeah I know not depth-of-field-wise, but also with lower risk of shake
-increase the sensitivity (give me a noisy 100Mpixel photo taken at ISO 3200 and I'll make it a sharp 5Mpixel photo at at ISO 100 -or whatever).
- improve IS capability (use/waste more of the sensor area to allow for shake correction)
So go after small sensor sizes and noise as much as you want, since those should indeed be scrutinised, but I say bring on the 100Mpixels sensors!
Uhhmmm, isn't this a consumer rather than professional or keen amateur photographers camera? From a 'snapper's aspect the images are fantastic - I'd love one of these little beauties to use for 72dpi images of items for sale on my website - I have over 180,000 of them.
Let's get real, if you sell A3 image prints, invest in a professional camera. If what you want is to be able to pop a camera in you pocket, snap the kids on the beach or take a few more than halfway decent pictures, this is a great tool.
Negativity is a curse and there seems to be a fair amount on this thread
The same consumers who demand 14 megapixels...
...will downsample their pics to 0.8 megapixel to share them on FaceBook.
Yeah, thanks for the 100% crops.
The ones here did not convince me at all. I wonder what the ISO was when those were taken, because even the seemingly well-lighted shots look noisy. And except for the macro example, they are also a bit blurry/lacking detail -- in my DSLR (Pentax K10D) experience, that's the noise reduction's fault, for which RAW is the answer (and you later choose how much, if any detail you want to trade for lower noise). So I guess noise reduction must be the culprit here too, what with the stupid 14 Mpix count. Useful for crops, in my opinion, but what goods are crops that look crap?
My Canon SX100 IS (8 Mpix) @ ISO 80 or 100 is *very* clear. And it has 10x zoom (36-360 in 35mm), which is the minimum I want. AND for a much lower price. It's maybe a little fatter than the Ixus 980, but still pocketable if you're not too small/wear tight clothes.
I would rather recommend that people buy the SX110 IS that came out recently instead. Still point and shoot if you want, much better manual controls of everything. Only downside I see compared to the Ixus: no optical viewfinder.
@ac - Try the equivalent 870 for wide angle
she prefers wide to long.
Apparently likes them small both ways from the videos