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Canon IXUS 700 seven megapixel digicam

Too big?

Review Before you even think about buying this camera you have to ask yourself one key question: do you really need seven million pixels in a compact digital camera? That's what the IXUS 700 offers: a seven megapixel resolution in a body the size of a bar of soap.

Canon Digital IXUS 700So you've decided that you might you might need the megapixel count - after all, the higher the number the better the shots, right? Well sort of. Unless you're likely to be constantly printing photos that are bigger than A3 (the size of a tabloid paper) then 7mp might just be a tad over expressiv. Even in pixels - 3072 x 2304 - it sounds big. The high megapixel count will have also mean that the paltry 32MB card Canon has included in the box will give you just seven images before you run out of space. If you had a 1mp camera, you would get 265 pictures for the same space - a considerable difference.

Space-conscious users and Canon will point out that to maximise your memory card by reducing the quality of the picture, but we say if you are going to reduce the quality of the picture you might as well buy a 5mp camera instead. Reducing the quality would be like buying a Ferrari and never going over 50mph - you're not going to do and so you shouldn't have to here.

So you've bought a 1GB card to increase your picture capacity and looking to take some pictures. Well, the IXUS 700 is your party option. Small and compact - its dimensions are 9 x 5.7 x 2.7cm and the weight is 170g - the camera follows previous IXUS models in its design. While that means a stylised case, for some reason the buttons on these things are never in the same place. This time our bugbear is the switch that allows you to alternate between playback, camera, movie modes. The problem is, it's just a little bit too small even if it fits in with the rest of the compact design. Flick back from playback to camera and eight times out of ten you'll find you've over shot the camera mode and the movie mode is kicking in.

Image wise, the camera takes a good shot with plenty of detail, as you'd expect from 7mp. The IXUS 700 features the Digic II processor found in the 350D and the 20D, giving you a quick response time for those moments when speed is of the essence and the ability to shoot two frames every second until the memory card is full. Combine this with the camera's several automatic modes and you've got a camera suitable for most situations. Those with a photographic streak can manually set most elements if they want to. We found the flash to be a tiny bit too powerful, although we've found this on most IXUS models.

Colour wise, the camera coped well with the different subjects we tested it with. The multiple amount of greens on in the garden shot shows plenty of definition although highlights - see the flowers were slightly high compared with the midtones and shadows.


So should you be rushing out to buy the IXUS 700. This is the important question and we can't help but feel the answer is 'no'. Yes the camera's results are good. Yes, the size and the style are equally as impressive - on paper, you'd think this would be a resounding 'yes'.

But it all comes down to do you really need seven megapixels in a compact digital model if all you're planning on doing is printing the odd 6in x 4in prints?

Heck, even the Canon's entry-level 350D only has one more megapixel on this model and Olympus' professional DSLR one megapixel less. And lets face it the sort of people that are going to want that sort of megapixel count to reproduce those A3 prints are likely to want to opt for the DSLR anyway. Add that to the need to by an SD card before you start, and it makes this an expensive proposition, no matter how cheap SD cards have become over Canon's 5mp brothers.

Review by

Canon IXUS 700
Rating 70%
Pros The styling, image quality and megapixel count.
Cons The high megapixel count will eat memory cards for breakfast.
Price £300
More info The IXUS 700 site

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