Canon has long been king of stylish digital compact cameras, but as more manufacturers produce sexy-looking numbers that go from evening soiree to beach party without so much as batting an eyelid, the IXUS has often been overlooked.
This new model, positioned at the high end of the IXUS range, sports a 10x optical zoom in a compact body, competing with the likes of Panasonic's ZR and Nikon's S series of slimline cameras.
Design and features
Sporting the largest diameter lens we've seen on an IXUS camera in some time, the 1000 HS wears its heart on its sleeve when showing off all its features. Particularly when it comes in the hot pink colour like our test unit. Power and shooting mode selection controls are found at the top of the camera, with a three-way sliding switch to flick between movie, program/scene and full automatic modes.
The sensor is a 10-megapixel CMOS unit coupled with the Digic 4 image processor that makes an appearance on most of the high-end Canon compacts and SLRs. The lens itself, while extending to 10x optical zoom, isn't the widest it could be — just f/3.4 at the wide end to 5.6 at the telephoto. All of the standard connectivity options are provided as well, including HDMI output and AV/Digital out.
Click through for a complete photo gallery. (Credit: Canon)
Controls at the back continue the angled, almond-style shape that we first saw way back when on the IXUS 870 from a few years ago. There's a control wheel that also functions as a four-way directional pad, a dedicated video record button, and a menu and playback button alongside the 3-inch, 16:9 widescreen.
Given the length of the lens, this camera isn't exactly lightweight for a compact; it's 167g without the battery or memory card.
Looking underneath now, and the battery has been redesigned from previous IXUS compacts to morph into a slimline, almost AA battery size unit that slots in separately from the memory card (SD/SDHD/SDXC) at one corner of the camera. While it's pleasing to see the battery reduce in size to accommodate the lens — which sits flush with the front camera panel — it's not good news to hear that Canon only rates the battery for 150 shots on a full charge.
In terms of scene modes, Canon equips the 1000 HS with a handheld night scene mode that helps photographers get a steady shot without needing to use a tripod. There are plenty of modes to choose from including typical fisheye, vivid colour and selective colour options. The sensor also supports full 1080p movies at 24fps, and slow motion movies.
The high-speed burst mode on the IXUS 1000 HS. (Credit: CBSi)
Don't expect manual controls on this camera, like the high-end IXUS range of old; there's just Program and scene modes to choose from.
General shooting metrics (in seconds)
- Time to first shot
- Shot-to-shot time
- Shutter lag
- Canon 1000 HS220.127.116.11
Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)
- Canon 1000 HS3.3
Editor's note: as we review similar cameras to the IXUS 1000 HS, comparative performance metrics will be added to this review.
There was an odd anomaly we encountered when testing the continuous shooting mode; the camera slowed down significantly when shooting a dark or dim subject rather than in ample light.
Image and video quality
Pictures from the 1000 HS are what you can generally expect from a compact camera of this class — good colours, but appearing a little fuzzy at full magnification. Chromatic aberration, or fringing, was pronounced on high-contrast areas, again characteristic of a lens this long in a compact camera. At full 10x optical zoom images aren't as clear as expected, even with image stabilisation turned on.
There's a fair amount of processing noise, which is unusual given the camera's sensor and resolution, but it is nothing too noticeable on standard or reduced magnification images. Still, bear this in mind if you need to make large prints from your photos — in particular, see our examples below.
High speed burst is pretty effective in real-world situations; even though the images are only at a reduced resolution it's still enough.
Video and audio quality are pretty decent for a compact camera, but there is a bit of wind noise picked up by the stereo microphone. Super slow motion produces low-resolution videos that are cute, but only really useful for fun applications. Given the reduced resolution, it's best to avoid using this mode for any critical applications.
Click each image below for JPEGs straight from the 1000 HS. No post-processing has been done to alter these photos.
Exposure: 1/2000, f/4.2, ISO 125
Exposure: 1/60, f/3.4, ISO 250
Exposure: 1/60, f/3.4, ISO 200
Exposure: 1/1244, f/4, ISO 125, miniature effect
The IXUS 1000 HS takes decent pictures, but benefits from some tweaking to eke out its best shots. For a slimline 10x optical zoom camera, it ticks a lot of boxes, providing you can live with its short battery life.