Canon IXUS 132 Review
The Canon IXUS 132 is a point and shoot digital compact camera featuring fully automatic modes for simplicity, an 8x optical zoom starting from 28mm, fun shooting modes and a 16 megapixel sensor. Top that off with a Digic 4 processor and the IXUS 132 promises to be a camera to take great pictures for you. Available in blue, black, silver and pink, the Canon IXUS 132 costs around £80.
Ease of Use
Harking back to the days of film cameras, the IXUS range is synonymous with good looks, great build quality and ease of use. Back then, IXUS cameras were APS (Advanced Photo System) cameras and signalled a new level of camera for Canon. As soon as the IXUS was released, there seemed to be a kind of “them and us” in-house rivalry between the feature laden Sureshot range – later to become Powershot – and these IXUS cameras which were (and still are) a luxury line; more style over substance.
The design of the Canon IXUS 132 is typical of many others in the range. The face is dominated by the large lens bezel in which sits a surprisingly small 8x optical zoom lens considering the amount of real estate it occupies. Canon like to keep things simple on the IXUS range and there's only two buttons on the top plate to reaffirm this. The power button to the left is smaller than the shutter release. The latter also has a slim, stylish zoom ring around it. The kind that you don't really get on Powershot models unless you spend a decent amount of cash on it. Things like this are standard on IXUS, though. The buttons on the back are either larger than normal or it's an optical illusion due to the diminutive size of the body making them seem bigger.
At first it seems that Canon have done away with typical scene modes on the IXUS 132 that you can choose yourself. The switch in the top right corner flicks between intelligent Auto and Program mode. The intelligent Auto mode will be able to select the appropriate scene mode suitable for the scene it sees when pointed at something. There's a very high margin of success with these systems, so don't worry about getting the settings wrong on too many photographs. With the switch up, the camera will analyse what it's looking at and select the correct mode for the scene. There are 32 for it to choose from and this is probably where the IXUS 132 got most of it's name from.
With the switch down, if you press the Function (FUNC) button and go into the Function menu, you can select from various modes and scenes in there including traditional modes such as Portrait mode, Low light, Snow and Fireworks. They're mixed in with some of the newer features such as Toy camera, Miniature and Fish-eye effect. What functions appear in the Function menu will be determined by the mode you select. Choose program (P) and they'll all be available. This is the most versatile mode to use as it allows you to adjust areas such as ISO sensitivity, white-balance, focusing and metering. The shutter speeds may not go as low as they will in the Night mode and this is something we'll look at in more depth when we test the camera at night.
An interesting feature on many Canon digital compacts and also on the IXUS 132 is the ECO mode. It works by reducing the operating time of the screen so as to reduce power consumption. This could be especially useful for holidays and days out as it increases the amount of photographs available on a single charge. It also makes for a useful camera for taking travelling. To switch ECO mode on, you need to go into the Set-up section of the Main menu. There are actually two menus to use when taking photographs using the IXUS 132.
The aforementioned Main menu is used for making permanent changes to the Canon IXUS 132 as well as the core features. It's split into two sections to help you work out where to go. The Shooting menu (designated with a camera) will allow you to change settings associated with general shooting and everyday use of the camera such as flash, i-Contrast, blink detection and focus options. The Set-up menu (indicated by the spanner and hammer) will go more in-depth and change areas you don't deal with on a day to day basis, such as language, date & time, volume, ECO mode and formatting the card.
To make changes to the actual shooting settings of the Canon IXUS 132 that will directly affect the picture you're about to take, you can press the FUNC key on the back of the camera and the Function menu will pop up at the left side of the screen. Because it's designed to change much used features such as ISO, white-balance, drive modes and self-timer it still lets you see the picture in the background, where the Main menu blocks it out. This is likely to avoid too much distraction so you don't accidentally format the card.
We managed to get the Canon IXUS 132 switched on, focused and taking a picture in 1.9sec. That's not bad going for a camera at this position in the market. The average has been about 2.5sec for a few years now, although we have noticed a decrease in the times recently. On the other hand, the continuous shooting mode certainly can't be called a burst mode. Canon specify a 0.8 fps (frames per second) continuous mode, but we got more 0.6fps. Either way, it's a poor show being the only continuous mode on the camera.
Playing back the pictures you've taken already is a simple affair. You can press the blue arrow button on the back of the camera at any time, whether the camera is on or off. The most recently taken picture will be displayed unless you've looked at the pictures previously and not taken a photo since. In that scenario, the most recently viewed picture will be displayed. There's no information shown unless you select it. To do this, press the DISP button on the bottom of the navigation pad.
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There are two more options to choose from. You can select basic info which consists of the date and time, resolution and file number. Or you can choose detailed information which even brings up a histogram. Playback also has it's own Function and Main menus which can be brought up the same way as when you're shooting.
The Set-up menu remains available even when in playback but there are two extra tabs. The first one is denoted by the playback icon of an arrow in a square. In here, you can erase, protect and rotate pictures as well as perform some basic editing, such as adding i-Contrast, correcting red-eye, cropping or resizing them. You can also create a slide-show and it's good for a bit of fun, but if you're considering doing it on a regular basis, look at a dedicated slide-show suite. The middle tab is dedicated to printing. Here you can select the pictures you want to print, how many of them you want then link up to to a compatible printer directly.
In the box with the Canon IXUS 132, you get a tightly sealed pack with basic start up instructions as well as a safety leaflet, warranty leaflet and a promotional leaflet. There should also be a CD included, although there wasn't one in our test sample. Review boxes sometimes come without all the contents. Under this you'll find the camera which is accompanied by a lithium ion battery, dedicated charger, USB cable and a wrist strap.
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