Canon IXUS 220 HS

Canon delivers with the gorgeous 220 HS, a slimline compact camera that will suit every point-and-shoot enthusiast with a hankering for decent low-light shots.


8.3
CNET Rating
6.5
User Rating

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Lexy spent her formative years taking a lot of photos and dreaming in technicolour. Nothing much has changed now she's covering all things photography related for CNET.


Design and features

Canon has long been the doyen of the slimline, compact camera market, with previous offerings proving that style can walk hand-in-hand with photographic substance. This latest camera, the 220 HS, sits comfortably in a pocket thanks to its diminutive size and weight of 122g.

It feels particularly nice to hold, and is surprisingly ergonomic despite its tiny footprint. Large hands shouldn't have too much trouble, as the buttons are significantly larger than on the previous slimline IXUS cameras that we've seen. The HS in the camera's title denotes "High Sensitivity", which comes thanks to a new 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and a range of in-camera options for better low-light performance. More on this later.

A 5x optical zoom pops out from the front of the chassis, with the lens opening to 24mm wide angle. At the rear, you get a 2.7-inch LCD screen with a fairly low resolution of 230,000-dots. Buttons sit flush with the back panel, including the mode selector switch that alternates between full automatic mode and various functions in program mode. There's also a dedicated video record button that flicks the 220 HS into its full HD, 1080p and 24fps recording mode.

Those functions include: movie digest mode, which takes four seconds of video before the shutter is pressed, stitching it together at the end of the day into a small VGA resolution movie; portrait; kids and pets; smart shutter; high-speed burst; best image selection, which takes the best image in a sequence; hand-held night scene; low-light mode, which takes images at a reduced 3-megapixel resolution; fish eye; miniature; and toy camera. There are plenty more modes to discover in the camera menus, just in case you didn't think these were enough.

Connectivity options are located underneath a small plastic flap on the side, covering a mini-HDMI and mini-USB port.

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Time to first shot
  • Shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag

Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)

  • Canon 220 HS3.4
  • Sony WX710

Canon rates the battery for 220 shots. The 220 HS can also shoot at 8fps in high-speed continuous mode, but the resolution drops to 3-megapixels.

Image quality

As the 220 HS is advertised as a camera that excels in low-light situations, we decided to put it through its paces. There are several modes in the camera that are designed specifically with evening photography in mind, including a long exposure mode with increments selectable up to a maximum of 15 seconds, and a mode that reduces the resolution to 3-megapixels.

IXUS 220 HS low light

An example of a shot taken using the low-light mode, reduced for web display.
(Credit: CBSi)

This camera does an excellent job of delivering strong, accurate colours even in low light, with deep blacks and reasonably natural skin tones produced with the flash turned on or off. The flash is also bright enough to illuminate both foreground and background subjects in a room. Autofocus is less accurate when the light drops off, so a few attempts might need to be made to lock the focus onto the appropriate subject.

IXUS 220 HS long exposure

We were able to capture this shot by using the long exposure setting at 1 second.
(Credit: CBSi)

While the 220 HS isn't going to replace the quality results delivered by a digital SLR when shooting at night or with long exposures, it certainly produces some of the best low-light images that we've seen from a compact. As would be expected, images look best when viewed at a reduced resolution for web or small print sizes. There is also a decent amount of noise visible on low-light images, which is to be expected as the ISO climbs.

As for images in normal, everyday situations, the 220 HS delivers the same punchy colour rendition that Canon is known for in its compact range. Photos look bright and vivid, with strong blues and reds in particular. Lens sharpness drops off towards the right-hand side of the frame, not uncommon on compact cameras, and there's a reasonable amount of distortion at the widest end. The camera also has a small tendency to blow out highlights in bright situations.

Video quality is good, with decent sharpness, although you cannot use the optical zoom while filming. The sound is reasonably clear, and voices can be picked up without too much difficulty in quiet situations.

Image samples

Exposure: 1/100, f/4.5, ISO 200

Exposure: 1/640, f/2.7, ISO 100

Exposure: 1/15, f/4.5, ISO 400

Exposure: 1/30, f/3.5, ISO 200

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

Canon delivers with the gorgeous 220 HS, a slimline compact camera that will suit every point-and-shoot enthusiast with a hankering for decent low-light shots.

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Add Your Review 3


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Post comment as
 

sarah20 posted a comment   
Australia

Hi, i am considering purchasing this camera, and i was wondering what the memory or storage capacity is without a memory card?

Thanks

sarah

FadiB Facebook
7
Rating
 

"Nice, Easy, Powerful compared to other compact cameras."

FadiB posted a review   

The Good:Long Shutter mode in low light is GREAT!, you can zoom while video shooting.

The Bad:SmartAuto is not so Smart. Battery heats up with shooting for long.

"although you cannot use the optical zoom while filming"
This statement is wrong, actually you CAN optical zoom while filming.

junbug
6
Rating
 

"Decent camera for its price"

junbug posted a review   

The Good:Very portable, decent battery life, good photos in decent lighting, good video

The Bad:Noise of the lens when turning on and zooming, placement of the flash can be annoying, slow shutter speeds (compared to other digital camera)

I bought this camera because my dslr was just too heavy to take it to school everyday. I wanted a camera that can handle close ups, fast shooting and good photo/video quality. For a $270 compact camera, Ixus 220 HS is excellent. If there is decent amount light the photos looks great but not spectacular. Video quality is very good. It is not the best camera in the world but for everyday user, canon ixus 220 hs is great.

But as a pro-sumer point of view, I was disappointed that the high burst mode drops the image quality to 3M, which is very bad seeing that my 5 year old ixus 65 can shoot at a faster speed. The settings and modes can take a while to find and change, I really wish there was a favourite tab of somesort. The auto mode can be very annoying, especially when I try to take a close up as it can't decided what mode it wants to stay on!!!

Overall I am pleased with the ixus 220 hs, because of its good photo and price. If it was anymore expensive I would have returned it.

 

DanY posted a reply   

HOW ABOUT THE FOCUSING IN VIDEO? i HAVE HUGE TROUBLE. iT JUST WON'T STAY FOCUSED!




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User Reviews / Comments  Canon IXUS 220 HS

  • sarah20

    sarah20

    "Hi, i am considering purchasing this camera, and i was wondering what the memory or storage capacity is without a memory card?

    Thanks

    sarah"

  • FadiB

    FadiB

    Rating7

    ""although you cannot use the optical zoom while filming"
    This statement is wrong, actually you CAN optical zoom while filming."

  • junbug

    junbug

    Rating6

    "I bought this camera because my dslr was just too heavy to take it to school everyday. I wanted a camera that can handle close ups, fast shooting and good photo/video quality. For a $270 compact ca..."

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