The Canon Digital IXUS 50 is ultra compact and exactly what we'd expect from the IXUS series, a neatly designed digital camera. The metal housing shows its quality and the design is recognizable as a 'real IXUS'. It is rather smart from Canon to have introduced a design some years ago, to give it a name, to set a trend with it, of a compact size and design and, not the least important, Canon manages to keep the price interesting at the same time. I can imagine that competing manufactures have scratched their head many times. The IXUS 40, 4 Megapixel model, lend its format to the new Canon Digital IXUS 50. Same sleek design and beautifully curved lines at the edges. The size of the camera lets you take the camera with you any time and wherever you go. Despite the compact size your fingers easily find their way on the camera.
Canon Digital IXUS 50 - Housing
The metal housing feels solid. The only disadvantage of this type of material is the fact that many fingerprints stay behind on the camera, which I find a pity. The camera has a speedy startup time and a 3x optical zoom appears from the small housing. The image sensor consists of a 5 Megapixel CCD sensor which delivers sufficient resolution to enable fantastic enlarged prints.
Canon IXUS 50 - Front of the camera
The front of the Canon Digital IXUS 50 is dominated by a compact 3x optical zoom lens with top right from it, a small internal flash. The undersized optical viewfinder is placed right above the lens, and on the left a small light with various functions like an AF assist illuminator or self timer indication. And for those who wonder what that tiny pin-prick is left of the lens; it is the microphone. When we turn the camera towards us to view the top side of it, we also find a few buttons here. The on/off button, tucked inside the housing but easily accessible, is of course meant to activate the camera. Next to it a combined button to handle the zoom with in the centre the large release button.
Canon Digital IXUS 50 - Hiden compartments
The side of the camera features an eye to attach the delivered carrier strap for your wrist. If we watch this side closer we'll find a nicely hidden cover on top that opens towards the top. Underneath this cover we find two interfaces, one is the USB connection, and second is the audio/video connection. We are impressed by the finishing touch here, stunning! When we look upon the bottom of the camera we find a universal (metal) tripod connection, placed off-centre. The large cover on the side of the Canon IXUS 50 serves as a cover for the combined battery and memory compartment. The cover is quite long and feels rather vulnerable compared to the housing. The ultra flat rechargeable battery and the tiny Secure Digital memory don't come falling out spontaneously when the compartment cover is opened; they stay neatly in their place.
Canon IXUS 50 - Control centre
Coming to the back of the Canon Digital IXUS 50 we find the control centre. The amount of buttons increases but stays well-organised. The 2 inch format LCD monitor featuring 118,000 pixels strikes your eyes immediately. Compared to earlier years, the increase in size of these monitors is a vast improvement. I can't imagine how we ever settled for the smaller monitors! The other buttons for operating the camera we find on the back. Above the LCD monitor we find a undersized optical viewfinder. To be honest; the size of this viewfinder is so small I can't imagine the use of such a viewfinder, especially when I look at the beautiful size LCD monitor. Next to the monitor all buttons are placed, also the key button; the multi control dial. Right on top a small switch is placed to select the record or play menu or to turn the camera into a digital video camera to record video clips. The multi control dial offers direct access to for example the flash settings and the Macro mode, and also many other settings. The button is also used for navigating through the camera's menu. Right at the bottom a so-called Print/Share button is placed, a strong trump on this Canon digital camera when the camera is connected to a so-called PictBridge supporting printer.
Canon Digital IXUS 50 - Small jewel
The design of the Canon Digital IXUS 50 is neatly finished and its appearance is solid and of high quality. Not only thanks to the metal housing but also the ergonomics and the comfortable way of holding the camera play a main role. This camera is the result of a few generations of Digital IXUS digital cameras which shows the success of these series. The Canon Digital IXUS 50 is a small jewel from Canon's digital camera assortment.