The Canon IXUS 185 is a new budget compact camera. The Canon 185 features a 20 megapixel 1/2.3-inch CCD sensor and a 10x optical zoom lens which is equivalent to 28-224mm in 35mm terms, 720p movie recording, and Intelligent Image Stabilisation for stills and movies.
Positively, the IXUS 185 also manages to squeeze an 8x optical zoom lens in, providing a 28-224mm equivalent focal range, despite the camera’s depth being only roughly the width of an adult finger. There’s the further option to digitally/artificially extend this reach to the equivalent of 16x if so desired – this simply runs on after the extremity of the 8x optical zoom has been reached.
‘Movies’ are offered here too, albeit at HD 1280×720 pixels quality – a fact this IXUS proudly displays via a logo on its top plate – as opposed to the now more common Full HD or 4K-video found in pricier options. At a manufacturer’s suggested £119.99 the cost of this model already felt fair, though inevitably most major UK retailers had dropped it lower and were selling the 185 at under £100 at the time of writing. It’s been a long time since we reviewed a digital camera under £100 and, it feels, a good while since any one of the major players actually made one.
Specification here is as basic as one might expect in this ‘beginner’ market segment. User selectable light sensitivity options range from ISO100 through ISO1600, though the Canon IXUS 185 will choose between a more restricted ISO100 to ISO800 range if left on auto setting. Thus, whilst one may avoid image noise/grain, it’s not always possible to avoid blur when shooting handheld. That said, we found the images the IXUS 185 delivered to be well exposed under normal daylight shooting conditions – if anything we found brighter conditions occasionally resulted in over exposure; luckily there is the option to dial down (or dial up) exposure settings within the camera’s function menu displayed at the left hand side of the screen, where the available range available to the photographer is +/- 2 EV. What did impress us is the camera’s ability to achieve well-defined macro shots as close as 1cm from a subject. Thus we were able to capture a bee collecting pollen from a flower, to give but one example, which might be beyond what most may assume a compact camera in this price range is capable of.