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Cameras

Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS: Born with style

The Canon IXUS 860 IS has (nearly) everything we want in a compact. Optical image stabilisation and a big screen top the bill on this stylish package

We're not fussy here at Crave. All we want from our compact cameras is that they're pocketable, have optical image stabilisation, plenty of manual control, a big screen, simple menus, classy styling, a wide angle lens and built-in icemaker. It's not much to ask. So we're pleased to see that the Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS ticks most of our boxes.

The numbers: 8-megapixel sensor, wide-angle 3.8x zoom lens equivalent to 28 by 105mm and optical image stabilisation. This works in three modes for different occasions, including a mode that only cancels vertical movement so you can pan horizontally after a fast-moving subject, like a Crave journalist heading for the door when the bar bill arrives.

Manual control is limited but nobody's perfect. There's no aperture or shutter priority, sadly. But you do get a number of clever-clever features. Colour Swap allows you to pick a colour in your frame and change it for an entirely different hue. So if any Liverpool fans accidentally wander into your shot, you can swap them into Evertonians at the touch of a button. Colour Accent enables you to show one colour while the rest of the picture is in black and white, for that Schindler's List/Sin City effect.

The Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS can be bought now from shops or Web sites, and will cost you around £220. Click through for more pics, and expect a full review rapidamente.

Update: A full review of the Canon Digital IXUS 860 IS is now available. -Rich Trenholm

Pleasingly, there's a giant 76mm (3-inch) LCD screen with 230,000-pixel resolution. Face detection and noise reduction work their magic -- although like television, sport and alcohol, noise reduction is best enjoyed in moderation.

The 860 IS continues the IXUS tradition of elegant styling with this rippling silver lens ring and a tactile black stripe around the circumference of the camera.

The menus are colourful and accessible, with large clear type making the most of the large screen.

Simply resting a feather-light fingertip on the function wheel calls up an onscreen display of the different options on the 76mm screen.