The Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS, (IS stands for Image Stabilizer) is exceptionally compact, and features a striking, modern design. It is more than clear that Canon have invested considerable thought and effort into the camera's design, in order to give it that unique look. The colour mainly consists of two tones of silver, with a shiny and matted finished, and a broad black frame surrounding the LCD monitor. The corners are elegantly rounded, and the housing features stylish lines, which ensure the camera is particularly easy on the eye. In my opinion, the Canon IXUS 800 IS is without question one of the most successful designs from the current Canon camera assortment. The camera's measurements of 90.4 x 56.5 x 26.4 mm and its weight of approximately 190 grams (including memory card and Lithium Ion battery) ensure the Canon IXUS 800 IS is compact enough to carry along at all times without experiencing any hindrance.
Canon IXUS 800 IS - Rapid start-up time
The solid camera housing is pleasant to hold, although it should be said the material does feel somewhat slippery. In fact, so slippery that I once found myself in a situation where the camera actually slid through my fingers. Once your fingers are in the right position, however, the risk is instantly reduced, and the camera proves quite stable to hold. The camera features a rapid start-up time, and it takes less than two seconds for the 4x optical zoom lens to fully extend from the housing. The Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS is equipped with the powerful DIGIC II image processor, which not only contributes to the actual start-up speed, but also plays an important role when it comes to focussing speed and the image processing speed. The IXUS 800 IS features a 6 Megapixel image sensor that offers more than sufficient resolution to guarantee attractive prints.
Canon Digital IXUS 800 - 4x optical zoom lens
The front side of the Canon IXUS 800 IS is taken up primarily by the 4x optical zoom lens, surrounded by a shiny ring, which makes it prominently present. The zoom lens has an average brightness of f/2.8 - f/5.5 and a focal range of 35 - 140 mm (equivalent of a 35mm camera). At the top right, we see the built-in flash, with a LED that serves as AF assistance illuminator, red eye reduction and self-timer indicator on its left side. Practically at the top of the centre, we find the optical viewfinder, a feature of which Canon remain an advocate. Consequently, the majority of Canon's compact cameras is equipped with an optical viewfinder, as opposed to the competition, to whom a viewfinder is a thing of the past. The miniscule hole left of the optical zoom functions as a microphone.
Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS - Shutter release
When looking at the camera from above, we see only one single button; the shutter release, which is surrounded by a ring that serves to operate the zoom. The loudspeaker, neatly positioned in the black part, is located on its left. The side right of the shutter release button holds a concealed lid, behind which the USB and A/V out interfaces can be found. It should be said that this small lid cannot be opened without using a fingernail. In addition, this side also features an eyelet to which the camera strap can be attached.
The bottom side of the Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS shows a metal universal tripod connection, with next to it a very durable lid that provides access to the compartment in which the Canon NB-5L Lithium Ion battery and the Secure Digital memory card are placed.
Canon IXUS 800 IS camera - Control centre
The control centre of the Canon IXUS 800 IS can be found on the camera's back side. It is in fact quite prominent; not only because of the large format 2.5 inch display, but also because of the presence of the black frame that surrounds it. This black frame extends to the camera's top side, after which it changes into silver with a semi-circular curve, a particularly attractive design. The 2.5 inch LCD monitor offers a very decent, high resolution of 173.000 pixels, which is a clear increase compared to the previous generation; such as, for example, the IXUS 55 (115,000 pixels). Above the monitor, we see a small so-called "Real Image" optical viewfinder, for those who require it. Beside the viewfinder, we see two lamps that indicate the sharpness and the flash status. The on/off switch is neatly hidden from sight in the black frame, and features a small LED that signals the camera activation. The well-known multi-controller is found next to it, surrounded by three buttons. The mode dial, often found on the top side of the camera, is located on the back side of the Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS. The dial extends slightly towards the side, and can be turned to one of the main programmes with a click. The dial is quite small, and its notched edge feels hard and rigid.
Canon Digital 800 IS - IXUS concept development
With their Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS, Canon show once again that they still find ways to continue the development of the IXUS concept. I am particularly positive about the fact that Canon, in the battle against jitter, have decided to apply the strength of the optical image stabilizer to their compact cameras in addition to the increase of the ISO value. We first saw the significant advantages of these systems in the era of the Canon Pro90 and, of course, in the PowerShot S3 IS, which was introduced only a short while ago, but until recently the compact camera segment lacked this type of solution.