The Canon IXUS 115 HS is a classy looking, pocket digital camera. At around 20mm wide it should slip into more or less any pocket. Canon have produced four different coloured versions of the IXUS 115 HS. These are pink, silver, grey and blue. It has 12 megapixels and a 4x zoom lens.
The IXUS 115 HS is a mid priced pocket camera. In order to justify this price point Canon have added in a number of extra feature compared to more basic models.
Why Buy The Canon IXUS 115 HS
There is a lot to like about this camera. It looks good, gives the impression it is well made and produces high quality photos. It is hard to beat in terms of all round quality at this price point.
93.1 x 55.8 x 19.9 mm
The 4x optical zoom lens has wide angle capabilities. This helps you squeeze wider scenes into your photos. The focal length of the lens is equivalent to 28 - 112mm in 35mm format.
The LCD screen is 3 inches in size. There is no viewfinder. For close up work the IXUS 115 HS is able to focus from 3cm away from the subject. This lets you get closer in than most pocket cameras do. If you are planning to shoot fast moving subject the burst mode is likely to be a useful feature for you. When you place the IXUS 115 HS in burst mode it is capable of firing off a short burst of consecutive shots at a rate of 3.4 frames per second.
One area where this camera stands out from many of its direct rivals is when it comes to shooting movies. The IXUS 115 HS is capable of shooting Full High Definition movies at a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The frame rate at this resolution is 24 frames per second. This should provide you with high quality movie footage. The maximum recording time for a High Definition movie is 10 minutes or 4GB file size. You can also shoot lower resolution high speed movies. The benefit of this is that you are able to play back these movies in slow motion.
Compared with other pocket cameras Canon have added one or two extra options for shooting still images as well. For example you can select from three different light metering modes. These are spot, centre-weighted and multi point.
Although the IXUS 115 HS is basically a straightforward point and shoot digital camera you also have access to a wide range of predefined scene types. If you match a scene with your photo opportunity the camera will optimise its settings for the type of scene you are about to photograph.
The IXUS 115 IS is fast to turn on and be ready to take your first photo. Shutter delay was roughly in line with my expectations for a pocket camera, although it slows down considerably and disappointingly when flash is used.
For a relatively small model I found it easy to get a good grip of the camera. I found the quality of the LCD screen to be very good too. This is likely to help you with composition. The screen performed well in sunny conditions.
To turn the camera on and off there is a button on the top of the camera. Next to this is a slider to select the shooting mode. Also on the top is the shutter button. Encompassing the shutter button is the zoom ring.
Using a zoom ring instead of adding zoom buttons to the back of the camera creates extra space to give you room to rest your thumb. This helps you hold the camera steady.
On the back of the camera is a dedicated movie button. This means you can start shooting a movie without changing the shooting mode first. Beneath the movie button is a central rocker. This has controls for exposure compensation, placing the IXUS 115 HS in macro mode, choosing the flash setting and changing the information displayed on the LCD screen. There is also a dual purpose button for accessing camera functions and confirming a setting.
There are two other buttons on the back of the camera. One accesses the menu system. The other places the camera into review mode so you can view photos and movies you have already captured.
If you are looking for a digital camera you can use under water there are two optional cases you can buy to compliment the IXUS 115 HS. One gives you protection to 3m. The second protects the camera to depths of 40m.
One area I think could be improved is that options are stored in two places. Some sit in the functions section. Others are stored within the menu. As a rule of thumb the functions area houses more advanced, fine tuning options such as metering, white balance and ISO. There are 11 different setting in the functions section. The menu is made up of more basic settings. For example you can select the focusing frame or turn on Digital Zoom. There are 14 options in the main menu and a further 17 in a separate setup area. The menu screens are very clear and easy to read.
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
My first thought is how impressive the levels of detail showing across the picture are. With plenty of very light areas and dark areas in the shot cameras often struggle to show a great deal of detail. In this photo even the white boats show a high level of detail as the camera manages to get exposure levels just about spot on. The photo is also pleasingly sharp. Very little of that sharpness is lost as you move away from the centre of the photo.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
Wide angle shots with the lens zoomed out are always the most challenging shots for smaller compacts. The IXUS 115 HS has its plus points here plus one or two negatives. The upside is the sharpness of the photo. Levels of sharpness are maintained well as you move towards the edges of the shot. In this respect the camera compares very well with most point and shoot models.
One concern is that the building on the left hand side is starting to fall in on the shot as the IXUS 115 HS struggles to maintain straight lines at the outer edges of the picture. There is also a tiny bit of purple fringing. This is at such a low level it is unlikely to concern you unless you are planning to make super sized prints.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
With the zoom fully extended the quality of the shot in terms of sharpness again exceeds what most direct competitors are capable of. Levels of sharpness are very good right up to the edge of the shot. I also like the colours. There is a depth to the colours especially with some of the trees that similar cameras find hard to match.
Once again the IXUS 115 HS shows an extra touch of quality. If you increase the picture size every single brick on the building can be made out. Picture sharpness and clarity is a strength clear strength of this camera. Colours also have that extra zest as mentioned previously.
This is a fairly standard effort. There are no issues to report. You should have no problem producing standard portrait type shots with this camera.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
Just occasionally I come across a digital camera where at first glance it is difficult to work out whether flash was used when a picture was taken. This is the case with the IXUS 115 HS. That's a big plus point if you take a lot of pictures using flash. With this type of camera it is a bonus to be able to produce shots that look almost as if they were taken in natural light when in fact flash was used. Canon are very good at producing digital cameras that have a way of using flash light subtly and therefore not overpowering your photos.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
The IXUS 115 HS does well without flash too. With any digital camera you do need as much light as possible when shooting indoors, but as long as light is reasonable you should be able to get away without using flash.
Compared to a lot of other snapshot digital cameras this camera can get in closer to your subject for macro shots. It is also capable of drawing in plenty of light for close up photos. This is an area where cameras can struggle.
Colours produced by the IXUS 115 HS and other Canon digital cameras have a bit of extra zip to them. Combined with the way this camera handles light you can expect to capture a range of bright, colourful photos.
Noise levels are kept to a minimum in the areas that usually cause problems. Typical examples are in shady areas of photos and once lighting levels begin to dip. Looking at the first outdoor test shot there is little evidence of noise around the name of the front boat. This is a key area for assessing noise levels. Likewise the indoor portrait without flash produces virtually no noise.
Picture Quality Summary
You will be hard pressed to find much better picture quality than this at a similar price point.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
Splitting the menu and main functions into different areas, with different looking screens makes this camera more complicated. Even so all the options you need for basic point and shoot shooting can be controlled by buttons and switches without you needing to dip into the menu system.
Points I Like
Easy to read menu screens - picture quality - advanced movie features - LCD screen - build quality
Where it Could Improve
Shutter delay with flash
The Canon IXUS 115 HS ticks most of the right boxes for a pocket camera. It has a good set of features without adding too many gimmicky ones that you might not use. Build quality seems to be good. Picture quality is hard to beat by other point and shoot cameras. Recommended.
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