Canon's IXUS range has become synonymous with slim, stylish metal compact cameraa that are easy to use and deliver good quality images. The Canon IXUS 1100 HS attempts to continue the trend set by the IXUS 310 HS, IXUS 220 HS, IXUS 115 HS and other cameras, while adding a 12x image stabilised zoom lens, touchscreen interface and 1080p HD movie recording into the mix.
Available for around £350, it's one of two new Canon IXUS cameras, the other being the cheaper Canon IXUS 230 HS.
Canon's HS system incorporates a 12.1MP backlit CMOS sensor and the latest DIGIC 4 image processor with the aim of producing good image quality at high ISO sensitivities. Backlit CMOS sensors have the circuitry on the rear of the sensor, out of the optical path, increasing the surface area of each photosite available to receive the light forming an image. This should provide a higher signal for the camera to work with, which in turn should help to reduce image noise levels.
Canon's DIGIC 4 processor processes the information captured by the camera, reducing noise levels and improving the responsiveness of the camera in comparison with earlier models.
To help keep the camera reacting quickly, the DIGIC 4 sensor also incorporates iSAPS technology (Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space). This analyses the scene in real time to help set up focusing and exposure slightly in advance of the shutter being pressed. The Smart Auto feature takes this a step further by automatically selecting the appropriate automatic scene program for the circumstances.
High-speed bursts can be taken by the Canon IXUS 1100 HS at speeds of up to 7.8fps at a reduced resolution of 3MP, which is ideal for capturing fast action. A super slow-motion movie feature shoots video at very high frame rates and plays them back at the normal 24fps, producing an eerie slow-motion effect.
Standard video recording is possible at 1080p resolution, at a frame rate of 24 frames per second. Apple's popular iFrame video format can also be recorded, but at a reduced resolution of 720p. A mini HDMI connection is supplied, for watching high definition footage directly from the camera on any HD-ready television.
Two main unique selling points of the Canon IXUS 1100 HS are the 12x image stabilised zoom lens, and the touchscreen interface. The zoom lens provides a range equivalent to a 28-336mm lens on a 35mm camera, which is quite a feat in a camera only 22mm thick.
Having a touchscreen interface has enabled Canon to keep the exterior design very sleek and simple, with only a button to enter the playback mode on the rear beside the screen.