Canon IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS verdict
The IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS is the new 'upper entry level' model in the 2013 IXUS / ELPH range. Canon has replaced one model in the 2012 range - the IXUS 125 HS / ELPH 110 HS, with three new models all based around the same 16 Megapixel CCD sensor and Digic 4 processor.
All three entry level ELPH / IXUS models sport the same 8x 28-224mm optical zoom, a boost on the 5x zoom of the earlier model, but lacking its 24mm super-wide angle. The IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS is the best of the bunch, with a 3-inch 461k dot LCD screen and wi-fi connectivity which allows you to connect to the Web and upload photos as well as connect to your smartphone and tag images with GPS postitional data. The IXUS 135, which isn't available in the US, is the same, but with a 2.7 inch, 230k dot LCD screen. Then there's the IXUS 132 / ELPH 115 IS, which is identical to the IXUS 135, but lacks the wi-fi.
All three models feature Canon's intelligent IS optical stabilisation which uses scene detection to apply the appropriate IS mode, they also share a best quality 720p25 movIe mode, Intelligent Auto, Creative Effects filters and the renowned IXUS / ELPH stylish design. The switch to the higher resolution, but less capable, 16 Megapixel CCD sensor and Digic 4 processor combination won't please everyone, in fact it's hard to see this move in a positive light from any angle, although it does make these entry-level IXUS / ELPH models more affordable. If you still yearn for the quality and features that were introduced with the HS models, you'll need to look to the next model up, the IXUS 255 HS/ ELPH 330 HS. I've compared that below and also the PowerShot A3500 IS, which is considerably cheaper, but uses the same sensor and processor and offers a similar feature set, albeit with a 5X optical zoom.
Compared to Canon IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS
The IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS is the next model up in the range from the IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS and costs around 30 percent more. The two models are similar in size (the IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS is a tiny bit bigger and heavier) and have a virtually identical control layout, but there are big differences on the inside.
First, there's the sensor. The IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS sticks with the back illuminated CMOS sensor that has been the mainstay of the IXUS range since 2012. As well as providing better image quality and high ISO noise performance the 12.1 Megapixel sensor in the IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS is combined with the newer Digic 5 processor. Compared with the older Digic 4 that Canon has chosen for the IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS, this provides a wider range of scene detection modes, the Handheld Nightscene stacking mode, faster low resolution burst shooting, and a higher upper sensitivity limit of 6400 ISO.
The IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS has a longer, wider 10x optical zoom with an equivalent range of 24-240mm, so not only do you get a longer telephoto, but you also have a wider wide angle that will allow you capture panoramic landscapes (though not true panoramas, something Canon has steadfastly ignored despite its popularity on other compacts), interiors and big groups. Both models feature Intelligent IS optical image stabilisation.
It also provides the IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS with full HD video at 1080p24 compared to 720p25 on the IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS. Futhermore, the IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS has built-in stereo microphones and an HDMI output, so it's a more capable video camera than the IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS which has a mono mic and no HDMI port. And for the video icing on the cake, there's the IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS super Slow Motion video mode.
In its favour, the IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS is significantly cheaper than the IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS and provides an affordable entry point into the classy IXUS / ELPH brand (especially if you go for one of the cheaper variants - the IXUS 135 and the IXUS 132 / ELPH 115). Essentially, what you get for the extra money is a wider, longer zoom and a better sensor and processor providing improved image quality, more versatile exposure modes, and superior video.
See my Canon IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS review for more details.
Compared to CanonPowerShot A3500 IS
The PowerShot A3500 IS is the second from top model in the PowerShot A-series. Though not widely available in the US, it shares a lot of similarities with the next two models down, the A2600 and A2500, both of which are.
The PowerShot Range has been growing progressively closer to the IXUS / ELPH design ethos over the years and, at a casual glance, you be forgiven for mistaking the PowerShot A3500 for an IXUS / ELPH. The size and weight are almost identical and the shape and styling differences are fairly minor.
And that's not all these two models have in common, they both share the same 16 Megapixel CCD sensor and Digic 4 processor. In my image quality tests the two turned in a similar performance, though the PowerShot A3500 IS fared less well at higher sensitivities, probably as a consequence of its more highly compressed JPEGs - it lacks the Superfine compression option of the IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS.
As a conseqence of sharing the same sensor and processor, the two also have a lot of features in common. Both offer intelligent Auto with scene detection, they share the same sensitivity range with a maximum of 1600 ISO. The PowerShot A3500 IS lacks the Smile shutter options of the IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS, but does have face self-timer and can also offer Live View control for simple jargonless exposure and colour control. Bar a few scene modes, though, the shooting modes are broadly the same. Video capabilities are also very similar with both models providing 720p25 HD and VGA resolution modes.
Both models have a 3 inch LCD screen, but the IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS has a higher resolution 461 dot panel compared with a 230k dot screen on the PowerShot A3500 IS. With the PowerShot A3500 IS also sharing the IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS's wi-fi features you may by now be wondering whether there are any substantial differences between these two models beyond a higher resolution screen, a few scene modes, superficial design differences and branding. The answer is of course the lens. The Powershot A3500's 5x zoom, lacks the telephoto reach of the 8x IXUS 140 / ELPH 130. Both start at a 28mm equivalent wide angle, but the Powershot A3500 extends to 140mm while the IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 keeps on going to 224mm - a substantially longer focal length that'll get you much closer to distant action. Both models feature Intelligent IS optical image stabilisation.
So, if you can live with a shorter zoom range, the PowerShot A3500 IS, the A2600 (without wi-fi) or the A2500 (no wi-fi and a smaller 2.7in screen) offer a very similar package to the IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 (or the IXUS 135 or IXUS 132 / ELPH 115) at a substantially reduced price. I'd say this makes them the sensible choices at this end of the Canon compact range.
See my Canon A3500 IS review for more details.
Canon IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS final verdict
The IXUS 140 / ELPH 130 IS is one of three basic IXUS / ELPH models in the bottom half of the range. Until 2013, the entire IXUS / ELPH range carried the HS suffix and all had CMOS sensors paired with the Digic 5 processor. That meant that even the lowliest IXUS / ELPH model shared similar characteristics with the flagship model, but now the picture is very different with Canon deploying an older 16 Megapixel CCD sensor and Digic 4 processor in many of the more affordable 2013 IXUS / ELPHs. So if you want features like 1080p full HD video, an HDMI port, stacking modes and hi-speed burst shooting, you'll need to look up to the IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS.
That split in the range also means the lower-end IXUS / ELPH models also have more in common with the less expensive A-series PowerShots. So if an 8x zoom isn't all that important to you, the PowerShot A3500 IS, A2600 or A2500 will deliver much the same quality and features, and therefore represent much better value for money. It also looks like Canon intends to keep the older IXUS 125 HS / ELPH 110 HS in the line-up, but with prices that are significantly lower than the IXUS 140 ELPH 130 IS it's an opportunity that won't be around for long.
As for the IXUS 140 / ELPH 110 IS, it could be described as a sheep in wolf's clothing. It looks and feels like a high-end IXUS / ELPH, but in reality, aside from the longer zoom there's little to set it apart from the less expensive, but equally capable PowerShot A3500 IS. As such it's hard for me to recommend it over the cheaper model. So again if you don't need an 8x zoom, go for the A3500 IS, A2600 or A2500, and if you fancy an IXUS / ELPH that sports the feature-set the brand deserves, go for the IXUS 255 HS / ELPH 330 HS.
8x stabilised optical zoom.
Built-in wi-fi and GPS via a smartphone.
Compact, lightweight and stylish.
Older Digic 4 processor.
Lacks 1080p full HD.
Lacks movie digest mode.
Lacks stacking and burst shooting.
Noisy image quality.
(relative to 2013 compacts)
17 / 20
15 / 20
16 / 20
16 / 20
16 / 20