Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS | Digital Camera Review | Adjustments
The Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS is a camera that emphasises user convenience, which is accentuated by the large amount of settings that are selected automatically by the camera itself. Besides the fully automatic settings, the camera does offer an M setting, to ensure the user can exercise a certain degree of influence on the decisions that are made, although it remains limited. This should, however, not come as a surprise; after all, a Canon IXUS camera is generally purchased to ensure effortless capturing of all the wonderful moments around you, as well as -of course- to be seen with. Manufacturers such as Canon more or less describe the 6 Megapixel resolution as standard, although certain others have already moved on to the high 8 - 10 Megapixel class. In six months time, we'll be able to see who was right.
Canon IXUS 800 IS - Built-in optical image stabilizer
With a resolution of 2816 x 2112 pixels, the image information will guarantee an excellent A4 format print. The 4x optical zoom lens enables you to bring the subject quite close indeed, and the range easily suffices to shoot a beautiful portrait of the kids. The built-in optical image stabilizer ensures the unwanted effect of blur caused by movement of the photographer's hand finally belongs to the past. The Canon IXUS 800 IS features three image stabilization settings: Continuous, Record and Pan. The difference between Continuous and Record is in fact quite simple; the first setting ensures the image stabilization is active continuously, which means that capturing a composition via the monitor becomes particularly easy. All movement is superbly corrected. When using the Record setting, the image stabilization will become active from the moment the shutter release button is pressed. This means the subject might come across rather chaotic on the monitor before the actual photo is taken; after all, the image stabilization has not yet been activated. The Pan setting limits its stabilization solely to the upwards and downwards camera movements. Consequently, this option is very suitable for subjects moving horizontally, such as races. The first setting also applies to the recording of video clips, and has been selected as a default setting in the factory. Virtually all images taken with the image stabilizer prove successful, an indisputable surplus value that will undoubtedly be appreciated by the consumer intent on effortless, carefree photography in all circumstances.
Canon 800 IS - Ultra High Refractive Index Aspherical lens
The 4x optical zoom lens has good optical qualities. The Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS camera is equipped with a so-called Ultra High Refractive Index Aspherical lens, or in other words: an UA lens. This lens, manufactured from glass, features a higher refractive index than the standard aspherical lenses, which is particularly beneficial to its compactness. The ultimate goal of the UA lens is to visibly reduce the chromatic aberration. And it should be said Canon more than manage to do so! Those picky enough to put their nose right smack on top of the pixels might succeed in finding traces of chromatic aberration, but the effect is virtually negligible. In fact, the only chance of finding these miniscule traces would be in the wide-angle range.
Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS - Pre-programmed Scene modes
In addition to the auto mode and the so-called M-mode, the mode dial can also be turned to the Scene mode. This mode holds 9 pre-programmed scenes, each offering assistance in situations with tricky exposure. The user is presented with, for instance, options such as Portrait, Sport, Children - as well as Beach and Underwater. Naturally, the latter only works in combination with the underwater housing WP-DC5, as the Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS is not waterproof. The scenes turn out to be handy to work with, especially as they enable the user to create the ideal settings for a certain composition, without requiring any photographic expertise. Those who want to take things one step further, may opt to experiment with the exposure compensation. The Canon IXUS 800 IS does occasionally tend to underexpose when capturing certain subjects indoors. Setting a correction of +07 EV helps achieve a slightly better result than one would get from the standard exposure.
Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS camera - ISO values
The images taken with the camera in practice show an excellent sharpness and are properly exposed. Virtually all images can be used for a print, without the need for any editing afterwards. The picky user may perhaps still want to - as one says - dot the i's and cross the t's, but that means he might just have gone for the wrong camera. As said, the optical image stabilization produces flawless results, and once you have experienced the joys of this undeniable asset, you will simply refuse to go back. The ability to enjoy photography without the constant risk of jitter, or the relentless watching of your breathing, proves to be an exceptionally pleasant experience. In addition to the image stabilization, the Canon IXUS 800 IS also features an ISO range, running from 80 up to 800 ISO. The 80 - 400 ISO images turn out to be fantastic, and have an excellent noise/signal ratio. Although noise does become slightly more visible at 800 ISO, it should be said that the images turn out much better than expected, and it seems that Canon are truly gaining grip on the noise ratios and the small CCD image sensors.
Canon IXUS 800 - Colour rendition & My Color mode
The colour rendition is superb, and it are the skin tones in particular that prove entirely true to nature. The camera succeeds in producing feisty colours that ensure a striking, colourful print, without exaggerating the colour saturation. The combination of the colour rendition and the excellent sharpness leads to an outstanding end result. Just as the IXUS 60 and 65 cameras, the Canon Digital IXUS 800 IS is equipped with the My Color mode. This My Color mode offers a variety of settings to the user, in order to help achieve a more creative end result. The assortment of digital effects and the option to alter specific colours, give the Canon 800 IS that little extra boost of functionality. Working with the My Color mode is both very direct and easily accessible.
Canon IXUS 800 IS camera - Automatic white balance
When looking at the performance of the white balance, we see the automatic white balance produces a very decent result. Although it is not entirely neutral, and tends to lean somewhat towards the warm side, it is far from disturbing. The Canon IXUS 800 IS camera converts various light sources to a reasonably neutral rendition. The only exception is formed by images in which fluorescent light is overly present. However, this hurdle is easily conquered by adjusting the white balance to the correct light source. Those who are not yet satisfied, and wish to achieve the very best result, may opt to set the white balance manually through the Custom setting. Simply access the AWB (white balance) setting via FUNC, select Custom, point the camera to -for example- a white piece of paper, and press MENU.