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Canon IXUS 115 HS review: Canon IXUS 115 HS

The IXUS 115 is a nifty compact that will fit in your pocket, but won't dent it with a heavy price.

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Lexy Savvides
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Lexy Savvides

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Lexy is an on-air presenter and award-winning producer who covers consumer tech, including the latest smartphones, wearables and emerging trends like assistive robotics. She's won two Gold Telly Awards for her video series Beta Test. Prior to her career at CNET, she was a magazine editor, radio announcer and DJ. Lexy is based in San Francisco.

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Should style matter equally to one's photography as substance, then perhaps one should closely investigate the Canon IXUS series of compact cameras. Thanks to the long line of lascivious models that have come before it, the IXUS 115 HS inherits a very good-looking body that belies its inexpensive asking price.

Canon-IXUS-115-HS_1.jpg
7.9

Canon IXUS 115 HS

The Good

Compact, lightweight and stylish. Comes with 1080p HD video. Well priced.

The Bad

Autofocus struggles in low light. Some images can be soft. Slow performance.

The Bottom Line

The IXUS 115 is a nifty compact that will fit in your pocket, but won't dent it with a heavy price.

Design and features

This camera is all rounded curves coupled with a flat rear panel that almost makes the LCD screen look bigger than its stated 3 inches. The 115 HS fits neatly in the hand, and can just as easily slip into a pocket for portable photo taking. It comes with a 4x optical zoom lens and image stabilisation, as would be expected, plus a 12.1-megapixel "high-sensitivity" sensor (this is what the HS stands for). This is a backlit sensor as found on other Canon cameras denoted by the HS tag. Pleasingly, the lens is reasonably fast, with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 closing down to f/5.9 at the telephoto end.

Thanks to its slim stature, shooting options are reasonably simple. At the top is a simple switch that moves between standard shooting, such as program auto and scene modes, to full automatic mode. At the rear is an instant-on record button, and a simple four-way directional pad, similar to many other Canon compact cameras.

Shooting modes include the same functions on other IXUS cameras from 2011, such as low-light mode, which takes images at a 3-megapixel resolution, fish-eye effect, miniature mode, toy camera, monochrome and super vivid. These are on top of the regular scene modes, such as landscape and portrait. The 115 HS can also take full HD video at 1080p. Connectivity is provided via mini-HDMI and an A/V out port.

Performance

General shooting metrics (in seconds)

  • Time to first shot
  • Shot-to-shot time
  • Shutter lag

Continuous shooting speed (longer bars indicate better performance)

Image quality

Colours from the 115 HS are particularly vivid and punchy. This is most certainly a point-and-shoot camera, given its ease of use and impressive images straight out of the box. Overall, images from this camera look great at reduced magnification, which is ideal for web use and small prints, but look soft at full magnification.

115 HS

A comparison between images taken on the 115 HS in standard automatic mode (left) and foliage mode (right) which, as you can see, intensifies colours dramatically.
(Credit: CBSi)

Like many compact cameras of its class, the 115 HS struggles with noise as the ISO sensitivity climbs beyond 400, with shots taken at ISO 1600 and 3200 (the camera's maximum) being pretty much unusable for any sort of important photos. At times, the autofocus is twitchy and doesn't quite lock on to a subject, resulting in occasional out-of-focus images. The autofocus also struggles in low light if the flash is not used.

Flash provides a decent illumination in low light, particularly for portraits. Indoor white balance does look overly warm when using the flash. The lens also shows some chromatic aberrations when shooting certain subjects in high-contrast environments, but it is only prominent when looking at images at full magnification. It's hardly anything that point-and-shoot photographers would be concerned about.

Video quality is decent for a camera of this price, but definitely not the best in class that we've seen, or the best from Canon compacts, either. There's no optical zoom during video recording — just digital zoom. The 115 HS stores its video files as MOV, which does take up a lot of space.

Image samples

Exposure: 1/60, f/2.8, ISO 320

Exposure: 1/640, f/5.9, ISO 100

Exposure: 1/200, f/3.5, ISO 100, toy camera filter

Exposure: 1/640, f/8, ISO 200

(Credit: CBSi)

Conclusion

The IXUS 115 is a nifty compact that will fit in your pocket, but won't dent it with a heavy price. Point-and-shoot users will enjoy the images it takes, and the addition of decent, but not class-leading, HD video adds to the appeal. The 115 HS is available in pink, blue and silver.