A few years ago, when I was planning to graduate from my 1982 vintage Sears Electra to a digital camera, a 3.2 megapixel Canon was considered state-of-the art. Now, when even DSLRs are fiddling in the 8-megapixel to 12 megapixel range, Canon has come up with a point-and-shoot, sporting a 14.7-megapixel image sensor and promising a shot that can put even professional cameras to shame.
But the Canon IXUS 980 IS is not just about megapixels; it is a complete package. In fact, this compact and sturdy camera is the next best thing to a DSLR. To start with, Canon has improved on most features in its IXUS and Powershot ranges and added a few new ones too. While the 980 doesn’t have a touchscreen, the new dial, which reminds one of the iPod, more than makes up. It helps you shift through the picture styles and change the values with ease on the 2.5-inch LCD. The camera comes with the regular auto, quickshot, manual/ programme/ scene and video modes. But I did find the camera a bit tough to get used to in the manual mode, though it offers shutter speeds up to 1/1600 and two preset apertures.
The 980, however, is not meant for those who will ponder over shutter speeds, for this is an aim-shoot-forget camera all the way. And this is where Canon scores with an easy to use interface and reduced shutter lag. The camera also treads into Photoshop territory by presenting a colour accent mode, which allows you to take away all but one specified colour—however, the option can be unleashed only after a good read of the manual. The widescreen mode is ideal for squeezing in the entire family on a single frame and clicking landscapes. The digitised macro function is great if you like to zoom in on your neighbourhood ant family while the underwater shooting mode can capture your submarine exploits, provided you get a waterproof case along with the camera.
Canon’s night shooting capabilities have only improved, and the 980’s flash assures a bright shot even on a dark night. Moreover, there is the option of the adjusting the flash, so that pictures don’t suffer from burnouts due to excess light.
The playback function now comes with a timeline interface, which lets you skip to specific dates on which the camera has been used. You no longer have to waste time trying to find shots tucked away somewhere between the hundreds you have clicked with the camera. There is also the option of cropping the pictures in playback mode.
While Canon has got most of its features right, the Rs 23,995 price tag spoils the picture for the IXUS 980 IS.
If you are looking for printer to add some sting to your digital camera check out the Canon Pixma iP100, a full-featured, compact, mobile business printer. The IP 100 boasts print speeds of 20 ppm for B&W and 14 ppm for colour and comes with the new 5 Colour ink system. The iP100 also features the Full-photolithography Inkjet Nozzle Engineering (FINE) printhead to provide better quality print.The PictBridge compatible printer can spit out 4 x 6” borderless photo in around 50 seconds.