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Canon IXUS 105 / PowerShot SD1300 IS Ken McMahon, May 2010

Canon IXUS 105 / PowerShot SD1300 IS verdict

The Canon IXUS 105 / PowerShot SD1300 IS is a 12.1 Megapixel compact with a 4x zoom lens and a 2.7in screen. Successor to the best-selling IXUS 95 / SD1200 IS, it adds 2 Megapixels of resolution and, most usefully, a wider zoom to its predecessor's specification. The optical viewfinder may now be gone, but the upside is room for a slightly larger screen.

Canon's lower priced compacts, the IXUS 95 / SD1200 IS in particular, have proved immensely popular and the company clearly wants to keep it that way. By swapping the average 3x zoom of that earlier model for a more powerful 4x range with genuine 28mm wide-angle coverage, the new IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS takes a big step in the right direction.

The loss of the optical viewfinder in favour of a larger LCD panel is perhaps inevitable, but with it goes the extended battery life option provided by turning off the LCD. And the styling of this new model is arguably a little fussier and less elegant than it's predecessor, so part of the appeal of owning an IXUS - its classy distinctive styling - has been diluted in our view.

At this price point you won't be getting HD video or an HDMI port either - for that you'll need to make a jump to the ultra-slim IXUS 130 / SD1400 IS. But the IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS does what it sets out to do by delivering decent image quality with very simple operation in an affordable package. And despite the loss of optical viewfinder from its predecessor, the broader zoom range with wider coverage, not to mention larger screen and updated auto modes, should more than make up for it for most buyers. So before wrapping-up, how do Nikon and Sony's rival models compare?



Compared to Nikon COOLPIX S3000


The Nikon COOLPIX S3000 looks like extraordinarily good value for money: after all, you're getting the same resolution, the same sized screen and much the same lens coverage, but all for a comfortably lower price point.

Even the size of the two cameras is near-identical, though the COOLPIX will feel considerably lighter in your pocket. And in our our outdoor image quality tests the COOLPIX actually outperformed the IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS. So, same package, better quality picture's, lower price, what's the catch?

Well if you take all your pictures in bright sunlight and don't really like to get to involved with settings, preferring to stick to auto exposure modes, then there isn't one. The COOLPIX S3000 will serve you every bit as well as the IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS in these conditions. It won't look as cool, but style comes at a price.

If, on the other hand, you want to take indoor pictures without flash or shoot at dusk, then the low light performace of the Canon is well worth the extra money. The COOLPIX lacks image stabilisation and it's high ISO performance can't compare with the IXUS 105. And, if your going to be changing the ISO sensitivity and other settings, the IXUS menu system is much easier to use. The Canon screen may also be the same size, but it looks much better in use. But for sheer value, Nikon has once again delivered a great compact which delivers quality that's much better than its price suggests.

See our Nikon COOLPIX S3000 review for more details.

Compared to Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310


Sony's Cyber-shot DSC-W310 is another key rival for the Canon IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS, and in many respects a similar proposition to the Nikon S3000.

Once again we have a camera with the same resolution, same screen size and (this time) exactly the same lens range as the Canon. And again, the Sony shares very similar dimensions and weight, but like the Nikon S3000, comes-in comfortably cheaper than the IXUS 130 / SD1300 IS. So what's the catch this time?

Well like the Nikon S3000, the W310's screen may share the same dimensions as the Canon, but the quality isn't anywhere near as good. More importantly the actual image quality itself of the Sony proved to be the worst of the three cameras in our tests - it wasn't exactly bad, but it was out-performed by its rivals.

But the Cyber-shot W310 isn't without merit, and many will prefer Sony's styling - and of course while the quality wasn't as good as the Canon, the Sony does cost a great deal less.

See our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W310 review for more details.


Canon IXUS 105 / PowerShot SD1300 IS final verdict

Canon's earlier IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS was one of the best-selling compacts of 2009, a feat the company clearly wants to repeat with the 2010 version. As such it's not surprising to find the new IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS slightly increasing its resolution and screen size to keep up with marketing demands, although the larger screen has sadly come at the cost of its predecessor's optical viewfinder. These viewfinders may be small and slightly inaccurate, but they do let you squeeze a few more shots out of a failing battery, so it's a shame to see them all but banished in 2010.

But more than making up for its loss for most people is a broader 4x optical zoom range which now crucially features genuine wide-angle coverage – something sorely missing on the earlier IXUS 95 IS / SD1200 IS.

The restyled body shape and some unusual-looking controls may not look as good as its predecessor, but the IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS remains a classy well-built camera, and its screen is also a noticeable step-up in quality over rival models. So while we can gripe about the loss of an optical viewfinder, slightly less elegant styling (in our personal view) and the fact it remains slow in terms of continuous shooting, you really can't underestimate the difference that extra zoom ratio brings to the package.

Add to that the excellent quality images, impressive low-light performance and again that good-looking screen, and the IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS adds up to a capable compact that's a pleasure to use. Yes it's a price notch above similarly equipped competitors, but you're not just paying for the brand as the IXUS 105 / SD1300 IS has a real quality and performance edge.

Good points
4x zoom with wide angle coverage.
Effective optical image stabilization.
Very good image quality.
SDXC card compatible.

Bad points
Slow continuous shooting.
No optical zoom while filming.
Optical viewfinder now gone.


(relative to 2010 compacts)

Build quality:
Image quality:


18 / 20
16 / 20
16 / 20
17 / 20
16 / 20


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