Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS Review

September 30, 2007 | Mark Goldstein | PhotographyBLOG | 12 Comments | |

Canon Digital IXUS 860 ISThe Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS compact digital camera features a wide-angle 28-105mm zoom lens complete with optical Image Stabilizer to help ensure shake-free photographs. Known as the SD870 IS in the USA, other standout features include a 3.0” PureColor LCD, improved Face Detection Technology and 8 megapixel sensor. Billed as “the photographer’s IXUS” by Canon, the Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS retails for £299 / €449 / $399, but can already be found for a lot less online. Find out why we think this is the best ever IXUS camera by clicking the link below.

Website: Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS Review

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12 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Paul

Wrong image used for 860 IS review; 960 IS picture shown on main review page.

7:46 pm - Sunday, October 21, 2007

#2 Mark Goldstein

Thanks for letting me know Paul!

9:17 am - Monday, October 22, 2007

#3 Marcelo Bertin

Este site é excelente!!! Graças aos comentários do Mark eu e minha namorada conseguimos decidir pela nossa primeira câmera digital, a Canon SD870 (SD860). Pesquisei muito aqui e em outros sites, e concluímos que a melhor escolha para começarmos seria esta máquina! Estamos ansiosos para fotografarmos através de uma lente de 28mm, parece que será muito bom!
Abraços e gratos pela ajuda!

6:27 pm - Friday, October 26, 2007

#4 rita

this camera rocks!
this is the first camera that i acually liked

4:32 am - Saturday, January 5, 2008

#5 Maddie

I don't understand the higher overall rating for this camera, over the (USA 850is) IXUS 950is (I think).

Image quality for the 850is was rated at 4.5, but the overall review was a 4 star. Image quality fot the 870is (US) was 4, with an overall rating of 4 1/2.

I understand with the 870 -you get wide angle, but with the 850 - you get an optical viewfinder. So with each a matter of personal prefrence, doesn't it all boil dpown to image quality at the end of the day?

3:03 am - Friday, February 22, 2008

#6 Trond

Thanks Mark! You did a very good job on this review.Thorough and neutral, that`s what i prefer. Now I bought this camera in London for only 187 GBP and I am very happy about it.

8:29 pm - Sunday, August 10, 2008

#7 Deivaraj

I would like to know whether is model IXUS 860 has zooming facility in Video mode of operation and if so to what extent.

8:54 am - Saturday, August 30, 2008

#8 Deivaraj

I would like to know the details in respect of zooiming facility while taking video using this Digicam IXUS 860. Thanks and will be greatful.

8:57 am - Saturday, August 30, 2008

#9 Olivier


Many thanks for the site and the very useful articles.

One thing bothers me though: sample movies are mostly done on busy streets, which makes the evaluation of the sound quality very difficult. A good sound is very important for scenes like children first words or such. It would be therefore very helpful to have someone speaking in the sample movies.

8:29 pm - Wednesday, September 17, 2008

#10 David Bate

I'm now an ageing ex-35mm buff who went digital a few years ago and have owned several, mainly Canon, digicams.I bought an IXUS 860 about 6 months ago as a back-up for my S5IS. Since then I have used the 860 more often than the S5 due to it's very compact size and, for me, perfect focal length range of 28 to 105(equiv.)in 35 mm terms.The LCD is brilliant and all setting options are easily accessed in the clearly organised Canon menu system. Even at higher ISO settings (up to 400) picture quality is good at A4 print size and who actually goes bigger than that? I do wish the Flash level were adjustable as on the S5, but this can be compensated for by adjusting the exposure level, so all is not lost.For me, a brilliant back-up camera, superbly made. What a contrast with the 35mm era I was part of when ISO400 was as fast as you could get and SLR cameras were as large as a brick! I am astounded by the number of digicam variants being introduced by all makers in attempts to capture the market and often wonder how many of each variation are actually sold!I am not specifically interested in the video modes many cameras offer but have used them occasionally, mainly at air shows. Any comments?

12:24 am - Friday, May 22, 2009

#11 Patrickv

Well I never owned a digital camera, and this is my first one. I am not disappointed by any means. However a nice tripod will do as some images can be difficult to take. All images I took with it is on my blog @

6:57 pm - Monday, September 14, 2009

#12 Ron Graves

Just bought an Ixus 860is based on this review (used but mint - most of the bits in the box never even unpacked).

Despite the fact that some degree of image compression is impossible to avoid (on that basis I'd have preferred the G12 for its RAW capability, but it's out of my price range), image quality is on a par with my dSLR. Auto white balance is perfect, and sharpness is exceptional.

I've never been fond of digital compacts, as they always seemed to be something of a compromise between what I wanted and what they'd do, and shutter lag was almost impossible to avoid, but here - whatever it might be - it's imperceptible.

IS works brilliantly too - I'm disabled and have a tremor, and would normally use a neck tripod for my dSLR), which doesn't have IS. It does the job, but it's just more to carry.

I had to run my test pics through PS as they were VERY slightly underexposed - to be honest, I don't think most users would have noticed/bothered, but I'm a bit picky, and as the pics were of freshly baked loaves which will eventually appear on my blog, I wanted them perfect. Took seconds to tweak, and I've added 1/3rd stop exp. comp. - see how that works out.

I've read - possibly here - that the 860is is a hard camera to get on with (which might be why the previous owner unloaded it so quickly, because there's nothing wrong with it at all), but if anything I find the menus less comprehensive than they might be (but face detection is right at the top of the list, so the lack of a dedicated button is no biggie), but I got my first digital (Oly E20 - great camera, too damn heavy!)almost 10 years ago, so I think I've got the hang by now.

For a couple of years, my pocket camera has been a Fuji Z1, which is OK, but the Ixus is just so much better it's off the scale, so it'll be pensioned off. I've treated the Ixus to a hard case, too.

Another reason I wanted the 860is (or something very like it), is to add video to my bread-making blog. My kitchen is very small (w-a lens pays off), so a camcorder on a tripod is out, but this is just the job, mounted on the worktop, on a hide clamp it takes up almost no room at all, which I think will work very nicely.

All things considered, I couldn't be more impressed (and trust me - impressing me isn't that easy), and I really think it deserves the other half-star.

Now all I need to do is decide whether to sell my dSLR outfit and buy a G12 (having used 35mm SLRs for so long, I'd rather like a camera with knobs for the basic stuff!).

7:55 pm - Wednesday, December 22, 2010