Canon IXUS 125 HS Review

Ultra Compact

16 Megapixels    5x Zoom

Dimensions: 93.2 x 57 x 20mm    Weight: 135g

Good Points: Picture quality, build quality, movie features

Bad Points: Shutter response times with flash are slow

Canon IXUS 125 HS Shutter Lag Rating par Ease of Use par Camera Name Rating


The Canon IXUS 125 HS is a high quality pocket camera. Picture quality is amongst the best in class. This camera is easy to use and also has a very stylish look. It is hard to beat if you are looking for a mid-range pocket camera.

Canon have placed the emphasis on standard photography as the camera lacks some of the additional features that some cameras offer such as 3D pictures and 360 degree panoramas.

Compared with other pocket digital cameras at this price point the IXUS 125 HS has the following:

Plus Points

  • Image Stabilisation for still photos and video shooting
  • Full 1080p high definition movies
  • 3cm macro focusing
  • 3 inch LCD screen

Negative Points

  • No 3D Mode
  • No 360 Degree Panoramas

Why Buy the Canon IXUS 125 HS

This is a digital camera that compares favourably with most of its rivals when it comes to the design, picture quality and build quality. It is not the cheapest pocket camera around, but you do get a touch of class for the price.


Megapixels and Zoom

The IXUS 125 HS has 16 megapixels and a 5x wide angle zoom lens. The lens has a focal length equivalent to 24 - 120mm in 35mm format.

Memory Cards

You can use SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.


A lithium ion battery is used to provide power. Canon provides the battery and a charger with the camera. They estimate you should be able to take around 170 shots in between charges.

Movie Mode

Compared to other digital cameras the IXUS 125 HS offers a few extra movie features. To start with it can shoot Full High Definition Movies at 1080p. Other movie options include the ability to shoot 30 second slow motion clips and iFrame movies. Canon have also included a number of predefined movie modes. These are Portrait, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Colour Accent, Colour Swap, Underwater and Snow. Image Stabilisation is available for video shooting too. This can improve the quality of your videos, especially if you are shooting a movie while walking

LCD Screen

The LCD screen is 3 inches in size.

Shooting Modes

There are a wide range of pre-set scene modes. These are Portrait, Smooth Skin, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, Face Self-Timer), High-speed Burst (4.0MP), Handheld Night Scene, Low Light (4.0MP), Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Colour Accent, Colour Swap, Underwater, Snow, Long Shutter and Stitch Assist.

Macro Mode

For close up shots the camera can focus from 3cm away from your subject.


Canon tends to provide some extra flash control compared to other brands. You can use flash exposure compensation and flash exposure lock. An external flash unit to further boost the power of flash is available to be bought separately.

Image Quality

Picture Quality Summary

For a pocket camera picture quality is outstanding. There are no major weaknesses and you should be able to use this camera happily in a variety of different situations. When it comes to picture quality this is one of the best pocket cameras around.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 1

In terms of colour, sharpness and the overall clarity of the shot the IXUS 125 HS gets off to a very good start. Compared to a lot of other pocket cameras the shot is that bit sharper. Very little of that sharpness is lost as you move away from the centre of the shot.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 2

I have reviewed plenty of much larger and more expensive cameras that achieve nowhere near the level of sharpness that shows in this shot. When zoom is not being used it is always a tough test for a digital camera, especially when they are pocket sized. The IXUS 125 HS is very impressive in this test.

Outdoor Scenic Shot 3

As with the previous outdoor shot the colour and the contrast in this scene is captured very well. Once again the shot is much sharper than average.

Outdoor Building

This is another shot taken some distance away from the main subject. Despite this the IXUS 125 HS produces a shot with edge to edge sharpness. If you look at a full sized version of this photo you will see a degree of purple fringing, but it is not to a level that you are ever likely to notice it with a reasonably sized print.

Outdoor Portrait

Moving in close presents the camera with no problems. This is another sharp shot.

Indoor Portrait With Flash

What the IXUS 125 HS does very well here is to retain so much skin colour. Flash can often produce photos that look washed out, but that is not the case here. The amount of light used is just about strong enough to light the shot evenly.

Indoor Portrait Without Flash

Without flash the camera manages to keep noise levels down. This goes a long way to ensure there is plenty of detail showing in the shot. With this type of camera you are likely to need to use flash for most indoor photography unless lighting levels are good.


When you consider this is a small, point and shot digital camera the macro performance is outstanding. The camera was able to focus from close in and isolate the subject. With some blurring of the background the shot works very well.


Compared with other pocket cameras the IXUS 125 HS packs a bit of extra punch to its colours. Looking at the scene shots in particular the pictures are also bright and vivid.


There is no real issue with noise. This camera produces shots without haze and with pleasing clarity, even when you are looking at sizeable prints.

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Sony DSC TX55 Rating 85/100

If the touch screen was perfect then the Sony Cybershot DSC TX55 would be a truly outstanding digital camera. As it is picture quality is hard to beat for such a small camera. Style and design is very impressive and the features on offer give you more or less everything you are likely to want in a point and shoot pocket camera and a bit more on top. It can be very hard to find the perfect touch screen so if touch control is important to you then this camera is well worth a place on your short list.

Read Review: Sony DSC TX55 Review

Panasonic DMC FX90 Rating 79/100

Panasonic offers some excellent digital cameras and can normally be replied upon to produce crystal clear photos. As with previous reviews of cameras in the FX part of the range the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX90 just does not match up to those usual high standards. Focusing is softer than it should be and you are likely to see the results of this even with relatively small sized prints.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX90 Review

Panasonic DMC FX70 Rating 79/100

The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70 does not quite match up to the picture quality I am used to seeing from Panasonic digital cameras. It does have a lot of other plus points, but if you are looking for true clarity in your photos there are better pocket cameras around.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX70 Review

Related Pages

Canon IXUS 125 HS Specification

Canon IXUS 125 HS Sample Images

Digital Camera Reviews

Canon Digital Cameras

Review Date

Review Date: May 2012


If you are looking for a pocket camera and you are prepared to pay extra for picture quality and build quality then the Canon IXUS 125 HS is a good choice. Although it doesn't have all the latest features like 360 degree panoramas it does an excellent job when it comes to taking pictures. It is straightforward, easy to use and will fit into just about any pocket.


Ease of Use:
Movie Mode:
Build Quality:


Photo Quality:
Value for Money:




Main Features

LCD Screen:
HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Memory Cards:

3 inches
93.2 x 57 x 20mm
Lithium-ion Rechargeable

Shutter Lag Times

Single Shot:
Five Shots:
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:

0.42 seconds
11.66 seconds
1.69 seconds
20.52 seconds
2.59 seconds

Shutter Lag Table


General Handling

At 20mm wide the IXUS 125 HS is small enough to slip into a pocket or purse. Despite its small size there is enough room for fingers and thumb to hold the camera steady when taking a photo.

Flash Positioning

The flash unit sits in the top corner. This means you have to take extra care that a finger does not block out light from the flash unit when taking a picture.

LCD Screen Quality

The LCD screen is good quality. It is easier to view than the screens on a lot of pocket cameras.

Turn on Time and Shutter Delay

The time taken to turn the camera and take the first picture and the time taken for subsequent shots is similar to a lot of pocket cameras without matching the fastest models. When flash is turned on the camera becomes quite slow to respond.

Design, Build Quality and Finish

The design of the cameras is uncomplicated. There is not a lot to mark out the IXUS 125 HS as being particularly different to look at compared to other pocket cameras. It has a fairly standard rectangular shape. It looks good though and its metal body gives the impression of it being well made. The red review model has a matt rather than shiny finish.

Camera Controls

On the top of the camera is the on / off button, a switch to select the shooting mode, the shutter button and a ring to zoom in and out.

The back of the camera has buttons for shooting a movie, reviewing images and accessing the menu. The main circular control area gives you access to exposure compensation, setting flash, changing the LCD display, activating macro mode, accessing main functions and confirming a setting.

Product Shots

Front View

Canon IXUS 125 HS Front View

Back View

Canon IXUS 125 HS Back View

Top View

Canon IXUS 125 HS Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4