Canon Digital Ixus 70 review

A decade on, can Canon go back to the future?

TechRadar Verdict

A rehashed design, too few controls and the image quality is decidedly lacklustre. Disappointing from Canon


  • +

    Well built and solid

    Fast starting up


  • -

    Light on features

    Indifferent image quality

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To celebrate ten years since the first Ixus appeared, Canon commissioned ten, special, diamond-encrusted models of what has become the world's most iconic camera sub-brand.

Cool looks and brand caché have made the Ixus a firm favourite with jetsetters and supermodels the world over... perhaps they're the sort of people that Canon hopes will buy such a gaudy bauble as a diamond-encrusted compact.

For the rest of us - those without an agent, personal trainer or a telephone-number salary - there's a cheaper way to celebrate a decade of Ixus. It's a more affordable model that draws its inspiration from the very first Ixus camera, and although the technology in this retro-looking compact isn't ten years old, it does look a bit rickety on paper.

The Canon Ixus 70 isn't cheap at £249, but for that money you do get Canon's slimmest ever Ixus, a 3x optical zoom, 2.5-inch LCD and an optical viewfinder. But where's the image stabilisation? Where's the extra zoom range? Where's the fancy gadgetry that we've come to expect from any self-respecting compact camera in this price bracket?

Well, it seems Ixus is so beautiful and such an object of desire that it doesn't need all the fancy, hi-tech knobs; it's too busy hanging around with supermodels air-kissing each other to include any new technology. Anyway, why would you want to take photos with it, darling?

Canon: All in the name

The sad truth is that the Ixus 70 is an ordinary camera that's trading on its brand image and coolness. Underneath the slightly dated, square body there's very little to rave about.

Image quality is noisy at anything over ISO 200 - although you do have the option of racking up things to an unbelievable ISO 1600. However, we suggest you leave that setting alone, unless you're photographing the Loch Ness Monster and want some really grainy and indistinct shots to show off.

The lens fitted to the Ixus 70 is passable, but it does suffer from a little softness towards the edges and some purple fringing. On a more positive note, the colours produced are great, thanks to Canon's new generation of DiGIC III processor. You can switch colour modes for a more natural look, extra saturation or even sepia shots... if you must.

Starting up and taking pictures is quick, effortless and with very few signs of shutter lag. Focusing is swift and although the built-in face-detection technology works most of the time, it can't compete with Fuji's version.

There's a slight tendency to overexpose, but at least you have the choice of three metering modes for those awkward situations where you need a bit more control. Speaking of control, there's something called Manual mode, but that's really a semi-manual mode, enabling you to do really radical things like, er, turning off the flash.

It's almost unbelievable that in a camera at this price point there's no image-stabilisation technology as standard. Canon has put shifting CCD units in other Ixus models, so why it's left it out of this version isn't altogether clear.

It may have something to do with Canon wanting to make the Ixus 70 as slender as Victoria Beckham, but that's a cut too far in our opinion. Likewise, a 28mm lens would have been preferable, but that's also been eschewed in favour of a slimmer profile.

So, what conclusions can we draw from all the omissions from the Ixus 70? Well, it would seem that Canon has opted to remind us of the early Ixus heritage and, in order to package those looks in a very small box, it has left out much of today's latest digital technology.

That sounds a little like style over substance to us. By all means have one to schmooze with at your next cocktail party, but if you're really serious about your photography then look for another partner with a bit more meat on its bones.

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