Canon Digital IXUS 70

Small size, excellent image quality, and a solid, though not extensive, feature set make the IXUS 70 a great choice for a compact camera.


7.8
CNET Rating
8.3
User Rating

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Design and features
Last year marked the 10th anniversary of Canon's IXUS cameras. Though the line started with a film camera, the company's IXUS line of digital compacts still carries the IXUS moniker, prefixed by "Digital". Canon positions the IXUS 70 as a replacement for the IXUS 60, which also puts it below the IXUS 75 in the company's line. Resolution has been bumped up to 7.1 megapixels from the IXUS 60's 6MP, but despite an almost identical controls layout (though different cosmetic design), Canon made a few changes on the inside.

The most noticeable internal change is the switch to the new Digic III processor. Canon says it enables longer battery life, faster startup, autofocus, and shutter response (we call this shutter lag). Plus, the processor adds enough number-crunching power to add face detection, red-eye reduction (in playback mode), and lets the IXUS 70 reach further heights of sensitivity -- in this case ISO 1600. To Canon's credit, we did see some performance improvements over the IXUS 60 (see our performance paragraph below for more).

While cosmetic differences abound, the IXUS 60 and IXUS 70 actually have very similar control layouts. Canon places all buttons on the right half of the body. A slider lets you switch between still image capture, video recording, and playback. Other than three dedicated buttons, for Menu, Display, and Direct Printing, the only other control is the circular four-way rocker with a Function/Set button in the middle. We found the four-way rocker somewhat difficult to use. Since it's recessed and the rocker's ring isn't all that wide, on a number of occasions we hit the Function/Set button when we meant to hit the rocker.

The IXUS 70's new cosmetic look harkens back to the original IXUS with the big black circle around its lens, but drew mixed reactions from the people to whom we showed our sample. Some were turned off by the overall boxy shape, though just as many admired the tiny, simple shape. Likewise, about half felt the look was too retro, while the other half admired the throwback design. If you don't like the black-on-silver design, Canon also offers a silver-on-silver version.

To date, Canon hasn't seen fit to include manual exposure controls in any of the cameras in the Digital IXUS line, and the IXUS 70 continues this trend. On one level, it makes sense, since the target audience for these compacts is snapshooters who often don't know an f-stop from a shutter speed. While we can't hold this against Canon (its competitors do the same thing), with more and more pros and advanced shooters looking for pocketable back-up cameras, it might be time to broaden the scope of these models.

Fourteen scene modes help you tackle specific situations, such as portraits, fireworks, and snowy scenes. Some of these appear in the main function menu, but Canon makes you press the menu button again to see them all. In addition to scene modes, there's also a full auto mode, as well as a mode marked manual, which lets you choose certain options, such as exposure compensation, white balance, and metering mode (evaluative, centre weighted, or spot).

Performance
Covering an equivalent range of 35mm to 105mm, with a maximum aperture range of f/2.8 to f/4.9, this camera's 3X optical zoom lens is on par with the competition. However, we saw very little coloured fringing in our test images, which leads us to believe it probably has higher quality glass than some compacts. The 2.5-inch LCD screen has a special coating intended to prevent glare, scratches, and fingerprints.

We saw very little glare, but plenty of fingerprints. Thankfully, these were easily wiped away, though you'll probably want to carry a small microfiber cloth with you if smudges bother you. We were pleased to see that Canon still includes an optical viewfinder. Even if it is tiny and tunnel-like, it'll still come in handy in those situations when you've got your back to the wall, or you don't want the light from the LCD to bother others.

Performance was relatively speedy in our tests. The IXUS 70 took 0.98 second to start up and capture its first JPEG. Subsequent JPEGs took 1.48 seconds between shots with the flash turned off and 2.44 seconds with the flash enabled. Shutter lag measured 0.45 second in our high-contrast test, which mimics bright shooting conditions, and 0.9 second in our low-contrast test, which mimics dim shooting conditions. Continuous shooting wasn't quite as fast as its 6MP predecessor. We measured approximately 1.7 frames per second regardless of image size. Canon's face detection system quickly and accurately detected most of the faces we tried. It seems to rely largely on eyes, as it got slightly confused when one of our lovely models closed hers.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance.)
Typical shot-to-shot time
Time to first shot
Shutter lag (typical)
Canon Digital IXUS 70
1.5
1
0.5
Nikon Coolpix S7c
2.1
2.2
0.7

Typical continuous-shooting speed
(Longer bars indicate better performance.)
Canon Digital IXUS 70
1.7

Image quality
Image quality from the IXUS 70 was excellent in our tests, with accurate colours and plenty of sharpness. The camera's automatic white balance yielded slightly yellowish images with our test lab's Tungsten lights, though the Tungsten white balance preset compensated, producing very neutral colours.

Canon keeps noise well under control from ISO 80 through ISO 200, though the company's noise reduction algorithms seem to pull out a minute amount of sharpness at ISO 200. At ISO 400 noise becomes more apparent, manifesting as a light covering of mostly bluish, off-colour speckles. ISO 800 brings significantly more noise, though images may be usable for smaller prints (4x6 inch).

However, a large amount of sharpness, along with a hefty amount of shadow detail is lost at this setting. ISO 1600 looks like shooting in a snow storm. At this top setting, sharpness becomes a distant fantasy and shadow detail rescinds into another inaccessible dimension. We suggest staying below ISO 800 whenever possible and don't suggest using ISO 1600 at all. Of course, that still puts this camera on par, or better, compared with its competition in terms of ISO noise.

Despite our minor gripes, the IXUS 70 is a top-notch compact camera for its price range. Most users will be pleased with its excellent image quality and the useful, if not extensive, feature set. The most significant feature you won't find here is optical image stabilisation, though at this price, you'd be hard pressed to find it elsewhere while maintaining a decent level of image quality at the same time.

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LachlanS1 posted a comment   
Australia

Pros! Quick start up, constant focus, the capacity to take high quality images long battery life and ultra-light. Oh! the styling

Cons: late in life lens errors, poor low light performance

Bought in 2007 (twice due to theft) and has served me admirably through a range of conditions, a few continents and taken some stunning images in that time.

A brilliant little quickshot camera - and to be honest i let it down first, by losing it in a national park in March 2013. probably someone else's now

hi
10
Rating
 

hi posted a review   

The Good:Everything

The Bad:I lost it somewhere in the house

Its great!

 

taldora2008 posted a comment   

I will never buy a canon again! "Lens error" after 18 months. My MV 100 lasted only 24 months. My old Olympus is still going after 4 years....

 

baciclo posted a comment   

What to do when lens error? Is there like reset button?
Thx

 

marion posted a comment   

bought 2 cameras for my sons(ie ixu 70) within 6 months lens error appeared in both cameras. canon australia will not honour warranty as due apparently due to foreign body. This must be a fault of the camera for foreign body to enter so easily in 2 cameras within short time. Is this a common problem?

 

Luke posted a comment   

The Good:Easy to use, small, light and top pics

The Bad:Lens errors, won't work well in the cold!!

As below!!

spinel
9
Rating
 

spinel posted a review   

The Good: super easy to use
super small/compact
tough
awesome pics (the colours)

The Bad:-VERY unstable

it's awesome. i've used this camera for a year and a half. Verey little complain. Tough stuff. Drop it, soak it... it's still okay. Did i mention the screen? it's super bright! (a bit fake, tho. The images looked slightly underexposed when transferred to my laptop.)

it is not anymore the best compact camera out there, (i doubt if ppl are still selling this camera) but it the best camera when i bought it. Three shops recommended this product.

Jonny appleseed
9
Rating
 

Jonny appleseed posted a review   

The Good:Solid construction, Price, Dependable, Picture quality, battery life is great.

The Bad:Non

Love it, Great value for money and performance I thought I would not have got, but did !!

aravi_992
9
Rating
 

aravi_992 posted a review   

The Good:Compact
Lightweight
Different shoot modes
Has a viewfinder

The Bad:Sometimes in viewfinder u can see purple like lines. it does not appear in photos.

Awsome cam! absolutely love it. canon rokz.

yannoula
8
Rating
 

yannoula posted a review   

The Good:there are plenty of good ratings which is terrific

The Bad:very few people have poor ratings

i am planning to purchase this camera if all goes well. i would give it an 8/10 since my friend has it and is very pleased with it


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User Reviews / Comments  Canon Digital IXUS 70

  • LachlanS1

    LachlanS1

    "Pros! Quick start up, constant focus, the capacity to take high quality images long battery life and ultra-light. Oh! the styling

    Cons: late in life lens errors, poor low light perform..."

  • hi

    hi

    Rating10

    "Its great!"

  • taldora2008

    taldora2008

    "I will never buy a canon again! "Lens error" after 18 months. My MV 100 lasted only 24 months. My old Olympus is still going after 4 years...."

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