Fashionable form factor and generous features aside, the i7 zoom begins to lose appeal. As soon as we powered up the camera, we found ourselves impatient with the time it took to "wake up". There was considerable shutter lag, and shot-to-shot time was slow, painfully so when using the flash. The burst mode was also very slow, and we were tempted to say it could have been omitted altogether.
However, the movie mode did please us quite a bit. Capable of up to 640 x 480 resolution (VGA) and 60 frames-per-second (QQVGA) we found our video recording to be clear and accurate, as well as capturing sound very well. Even in low-light we were able to shoot decent movies -- if you shoot a lot of video on your digicam and aren't fussed about still image quality, the i7 zoom might work as a great -- and extremely small -- camcorder.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
|Typical shot-to-shot time||Time to first shot||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Performance charts courtesy of CNET.com
The i7 zoom's photos were its biggest downfall -- not something to be taken lightly as you can have all the bells and whistle you like, but when it comes to the crunch, that is a digital camera's primary function. Although our images were bright and colours were accurate, the auto white balance leaned a little towards the yellow side, sometimes making subjects look slightly jaundiced. Clarity also didn't fare too well, with noticeable image noise on lower ISO settings and an extremely grainy effect when trying to use the impressive-sounding ISO 1600 sensitivity.
All in all, the i7 zoom isn't much more than an incremental upgrade from the i zoom -- however we would recommend it over its predecessor, if not for the increased megapixel count, new image chip and suave sepia tone, for the mere fact that it retails for AU$50 less than last year's model.
If you care more about what your camera looks like than what your photos look like, need something compact, and will take advantage of the video recording features, the IXUS i7 zoom may be worth a look.