Canon Digital IXUS 85 IS review: Canon Digital IXUS 85 IS

Typical Price: £180.00

Canon Digital IXUS 85 IS

(Part #: CNETCanon Digital IXUS 85 IS)
4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Elegant and reliable; fine images and films; very approachable.

The Bad Slightly pricey; doesn't boast the latest spec.

The Bottom Line Canon continues its habit of creating well-made cameras with a select few features on board. There's nothing earth-shattering on offer here -- just a solid, simple camera that takes lovely, stabilised pictures and movies. It's all the better for it

8.3 Overall

For all the achingly hip advertising froth surrounding the IXUS range of stylish compacts, the Canon Digital IXUS 85 IS has a curiously old-fashioned feel to it, emphasising build and image quality and ease of use. The spec is bang up to date, though, with a 10-megapixel sensor, face detection and even image stabilisation. It's out now for around £180.

Here's a camera you wouldn't be afraid to take home to your parents. For a start, it looks and feels like a camera, from the tips of its cosily rounded metal edges to the charmingly retro viewfinder plonked above the 64mm (2.5-inch) display.

The IXUS 85 sports the standard compact camera control layout with a clickpad and menu button to access options

Canon is the only maker to routinely still put optical viewfinders on its cameras and this one is a beaut: small but perfectly sharp and a real benefit if you're shooting in very dark conditions or a burst of continuous shots -- when screens are virtually useless. The screen itself, while verging on the small side, is bright and incredibly crisp in all but the dimmest indoor conditions.

The IXUS 85 feels very civilised in use. The zoom is whisper-quiet, the buttons respond almost instantly and menus are laid out logically. There are literally dozens of scene modes, some hidden away in the Func menu. The 3x lens is fine for a compact with no obvious distortion or other optical problems. Image stabilisation works well or at least as well as you need with such a modest telephoto setting.

Image quality has that typical Canon magic, wringing a good amount of detail from the 10-megapixel sensor while keeping a nice natural feel to colours and exposure. Movies are lovely too, topping out at VGA resolution. Despite having a short quoted flash range -- only 2m at telephoto -- we found the built-in unit to push out a good quantity of light -- evenly, too. Battery life is more than fine, at 300 shots per charge.

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