- Part 1 of this PhotographyTalk.com articlefocuses on that styling and one of the camera’s most interesting capabilities, its 3.5-inch, touch-sensitive LCD screen. With a quick tap of a fingertip or fingernail, you select and control many of the settings. Part 2 reveals additional functions and operating characteristics of this pocket-size, big-featured camera.
Although the IXUS 210 is built with a Digic 4 processor, the camera’s continuous-shooting mode can only record at a meager 0.7 frames per second. The upside is the processor has the kick to shoot high-definition mono-movie clips, in a 16:9 widescreen ratio and Mov format (H.264 compression level), with 1280x720 pixels resolution, at a maximum of 30 frames per second. Be aware that optical zoom does not function while recording video. This means your image will have the same framing prior to starting to shoot a movie clip.
As mentioned in Part 1, the playback button (in combination with the power button) is one of very few exterior controls on the IXUS 210. In fact, it is part of a three-setting slider switch on the top of the camera. That switch also controls Smart Auto capture and program and video recording modes. Fortunately, Canon made the shutter release button large and easily recognizable. The zoom control level circles the shutter release. It takes just a bit more than a second for the camera to reach full power. The operation of the zoom lens is very satisfactory, as it only requires two seconds plus to move through its focal range to maximum wide-angle, without jerks or hesitations.
Canon’s Smart Auto, with scene-detection technology, is essentially the same as other camera’s intelligent auto mode. The camera reads the scene or subject framed, and selects exposure or focus levels that will render the best image and with very little interaction required from the photographer. In fact, he or she only has control of image size and resolution. If the camera decides macro mode is needed, for example, it has the capability to choose from as many as 22 scene categories to find the one that matches the close-up you’ve composed. Here is a case where the computer can do the job faster and more precisely than the photographer.
Moving the slider switch to the program-shooting mode does provide the photographer with more opportunities to interact with and control the IXUS 210. From program mode, he or she has access to the alternative built-in scene modes, such as portraits, kids, pets, fireworks, aquarium or other scenes with low light that require an ISO setting of 3,200.
The photographer can also manually choose and change common settings in program mode, such as ISO (80–1600), white balance, drive mode (single-shot or continuous-shooting), focus range (normal, macro and infinity), metering (evaluative, center-weighted or spot), image size and compression. Canon's “My Colors” modes are also available, so the photographer has a wide choice of settings to create vibrant colors in his or her digital photos. These include neutral; sepia; black and white; positive film; lighter skin tone; darker skin tone; vivid blue, green or red, and a customizable setting.
The true beginner will find that using the IXUS 210 can be a learning experience. Whenever photographers select a setting, the “hints and tips” feature appears in the form of text boxes. These provide operational instructions as well as explaining the value of that function, so photographers will expand their technical understanding. Canon had the wisdom to design this feature, so photographers could disengage it.
It’s easy to conclude that the Canon Digital IXUS 210 compact camera is a pocket-full of fun, with all the features and capabilities, and more, that any consumer in this category could want in a point-and-shoot. Plus, the price is right at less than $300. Some will think the learning curve of the touch-sensitive technology is too time-consuming. Those that do take the time to learn how to use it will certainly take better pictures and will enjoy the experience more.