The Canon Digital IXUS concept is designed for the contemporary photographer in search of a digital camera with a modern design and a simple operation. Furthermore, the camera should be both of a compact size and light weight; to ensure the user does not experience any hindrance when carrying the camera along. The Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS is a typical example of a camera that fits this type of description perfectly. However, the Canon camera is not the only one to meet these requirements; over the years countless Asian "IXUS copies" have been pushed into the market, and in addition to this, many rivalling camera manufacturers have also risen to the occasion, each designing their own style icon. Therefore, we may conclude it takes more than mere outward appearance, a message that Canon -for one- certainly do seem to understand.
Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS - 4x zoom lens
The operation of the Canon IXUS 800 IS is both friendly and easy, which results in a low entry-level. Upon taking the camera into your hands, briefly pressing the on/off switch, and turning the small dial to the red camera symbol, it is ready to capture your first shot. The zoom lens of the Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS features a 4x optical range, which equals the range of the, for instance, PowerShot A540 digital camera. When we compare the Canon IXUS 800 IS to the IXUS 60 and 65 cameras, we see the range has increased from 3 to 4x optical zoom. In comparison: the 4x optical range is the equivalent of 35 - 140 mm with a 35mm camera. The ring that serves to operate the zoom lens is easily located, and proves pleasant to work with. The ring has a short turn, and allows the lens to zoom in from wide-angle to tele in 8 steps with small taps.
Canon IXUS 800 IS - Mode dial & Multi-controller
The mode dial, positioned half into the side/backside of the camera, holds several main functions. The green arrow symbolises the play mode, whilst three red record functions for photo can be found below. A small red symbol for the video mode completes the picture. The multi-controller provides direct access to, among other things, ISO, flash settings, self-timer, continuous shooting mode and macro. Use of the quick functions will reduce the amount of times the menu needs to be activated, which means you are free to focus all your attention on the actual photographing. Should you somehow have to resort to the menu after all, you will find it is both clear and swift to navigate.
Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS - FUNC button
A feature that has by now become more than familiar to Canon digital camera users, and can also be found on the Canon 800 IS, is the FUNC button, positioned in the centre of the multi-controller. This quick button is a very fast and handy asset to instantly alter important camera settings. In fact, the button provides access to a type of quick menu. According to the selected main programme, the FUNC mode provides either more or less settings. The so-called M mode might come across as a manual setting, but do not expect settings such as aperture or shutter speeds. The M signals a mode which gives access to light metering, resolution, compression, exposure compensation, white balance, and the My Color mode. You could say it is an extensive automatic programme offering the option to influence the image.
Canon Digital IXUS 800 - ISO & Flash settings
The multi-controller on the back side of the Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS camera allows quick and direct access to, for example, the ISO settings. Pressing the upper ring in the record mode shows a large display of the ISO setting. After a second, it decreases in size and is transferred to the background. Quickly pressing the upper ring a second time, enables you to navigate through the ISO range, which runs from 80 up to 800 ISO. The ISO HI setting prefers a higher ISO value as opposed to the AUTO ISO setting. This to ensure the shutter speeds are as fast as possible, and jitter is prevented. The right ring holds the flash settings. In addition to the standard settings such as red-eye reduction, fill-in flashes, or flash with slow shutter speeds, you also have the option to lock the flash exposure. Simply select Flash On, point the camera at the subject, press the shutter release button half-way down, and you will see FEL (Flash Exposure Lock) appear on the screen. The flash has just taken a test flash, and you are now able to create your composition and capture the image with the locked flash setting. In the play mode, the lower ring serves as recycle bin, whilst the upper one offers a handy function that enables you to jump to certain folders or locations on the memory card very rapidly indeed. This can, for example, be done by setting it to "Go to the next 10", which prompts the camera to jump with 10 images at a time, or to "Go to date", which allows you to jump to the first image of each recording date.
Canon Digital 800 IS - Wide-screen function
Just like the IXUS 60 and 65 cameras, the Canon IXUS 800 IS features a wide-screen function. This function sets the resolution to 2816 x 1584 pixels, instantly transforming the image to a wide-screen format (16:9). This means you now have the option to print a wide-screen image directly onto wide paper via one of the Canon SELPHY photo printers. The camera can be connected directly to a PictBridge or Direct Print supporting printer via the fast USB 2.0 Hi-Speed interface, whereupon the Print button allows you to produce a print without interference of a computer or notebook. This combination of camera/printer would be great fun to take along during a family outing or holiday.
Canon 800 IS - User friendly operation
The amateur photographer will be able to operate the Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS without any camera know-how. Granted, the meaning of certain pictograms and specific functions will have to be looked up in the manual, but after that it can be quickly returned to the box. The Canon IXUS 800 IS really does feature a simple operation, and the clear menu and logically positioned buttons ensure the camera will appeal to a large group of consumers.