Canon Digital IXUS 200 IS review: Canon Digital IXUS 200 IS

Review Sections

The touchscreen interface is pretty good. Three big icons down the right-hand side control the shooting mode, flash mode and EV compensation. You adjust the EV by dragging left or right across an exposure bar that appears when you tap the relevant icon.

You can't control everything with the 200's touchscreen -- sometimes you have to rely on the occasionally frustrating physical controls

You tap on the main part of the screen to start the touch-autofocus mode. The camera locks onto the subject you've selected and tracks it around if either it or the camera moves. It's quite quick in use and it tracks subjects well, so it's not just a novelty.

In playback mode, you can touch the screen to move in, and then drag the image with a fingertip to pan around and check the details. The panning movements work well, but zooming in and out seems rather haphazard.

Bar job
The trouble with using a widescreen display is that, when you're shooting stills, which are in the 4:3 aspect ratio, you get black bars on either side. The touchscreen icons have to go somewhere, of course, but, even so, you only really get full value out of the 76mm (3-inch) display in the HD movie mode.

Our test chart shows unusually crisp fine detail for this type of sensor, and part of the credit for this must go to the quality of the lens. You need to shoot at low ISOs to get the benefit, though (click image to enlarge)

Like the recently reviewed Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX550, the 200 goes only halfway towards offering a full touchscreen interface. Some set-up functions have to be handled using the main menu system and Canon's usual 'func/set' button. The spinning control dial can also be frustrating to use.

The Canon Digital IXUS 200 IS is attractive, its 5x zoom has a very useful range, and its picture quality is good too, within the usual limits of these tiny 1/2.3-inch sensors. But there are just too many Digital IXUS models to choose from, and it's too difficult to work out why this one might be any better than one of the others. Worse is that there's nothing new and exciting here, just cautious evolution.

Edited by Charles Kloet