Canon Digital IXUS 950 IS Review
(also known as the Canon SD850 IS)

Review Date: August 16th 2007
Author: Gavin Stoker

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Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 8 megapixel SuperFine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3.5Mb.

Noise

There are 6 ISO settings available on the Canon Digital IXUS 950 IS which you can select at any time if the camera is in the normal shooting mode. Noise starts to creep in visibly above ISO 200, becoming more pronounced at ISO 800 and really quite intrusive at ISO 1600. That said, the IXUS 950 IS is pretty good at avoiding the effects of camera shake under such circumstances, and even at its highest ISO setting the effects are not quite as obviously Impressionistic, even 'pointilist', as some of its competitors. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting:

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are just a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   
   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon Digital IXUS 950 IS handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with small levels of coloured fringing mainly present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the examples below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)
Example 2 (100% Crop)
   

Macro

The Canon Digital IXUS 950 IS offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 2cms away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject in Macro mode (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

   

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon Digital IXUS 950 IS are Auto, On, Auto Red-eye Reduction, Slow Synchro and Off.. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (35mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (35mm)

ISO 64
ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (140mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (140mm)
ISO 64
ISO 64
   

And here are some portrait shots. Neither the Auto setting or the Red-eye reduction modes caused any amount of red-eye.

Auto

Auto (100% Crop)
   

Auto & Red-eye reduction

Auto & Red-eye reduction (100% Crop)
   

Night Shot

The Canon Digital IXUS 950 IS's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/30 second, aperture of f/2.8 at ISO 1600. I've included a 100% Crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)
   

Overall Image Quality

In short, if well saturated, flatteringly colourful and healthy images straight out of your camera are what you're looking for from a snapshot digital compact, then the Canon Digital IXUS 950 IS doesn't disappoint with the results looking particularly vivid to this reviewer, having come off the back of reviewing the much more naturalistic results from the likes of Olympus E-410 and E-510 DSLRs. Though the camera gives its best performance under clear blue skies, such conditions also result in a loss of highlight detail the creases on a white shirt for example while, inevitably perhaps, there are also instances of pixel fringing between areas of contrast. Still, the IXUS 950 IS' reds, greens and blues really 'zing'. However, when it comes to low light shooting without flash it's another matter. Noise starts to creep in visibly above ISO 200, becoming more pronounced at ISO 800 and really quite intrusive at ISO 1600. That said, the IXUS 950 IS is pretty good at avoiding the effects of camera shake under such circumstances, and even at its highest ISO setting the effects are not quite as obviously Impressionistic, even 'pointilist', as some of its competitors. Generally speaking this is a camera you'll be able to leave on auto and 90% of the time be rewarded with results that you'll want to keep. Shame it doesn't shoot wider at the wide angle end of the zoom for those groups shots and landscapes, otherwise you'd have a camera that encompasses just about all you'd want from a point-and-shoot pocket digital these days.

Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

DIWAPhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Canon Digital IXUS 950 IS have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.

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