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Canon IXUS 1000 HS / PowerShot SD4500 IS Gordon Laing, March 2011
 
   
  Canon IXUS 1000 HS / PowerShot SD4500 IS verdict

Canon's IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS delivers a satisfying overall experience, packing a 10x optical zoom, 1080p video recording and a number of neat modes along with a sensible resolution into a relatively slim body. The zoom range may not extend as far, or even as wide, as the leaders in the compact super-zoom market, but the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS delivers its range in a slimmer body while enjoying the fruits of stepping back from the Megapixel race.

Starting with the lens, the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS offers a 36-360mm equivalent range. Annoyingly this lacks the 28mm or even wider coverage of rival super-zooms, not to mention their often longer total reach, but that's part of the compromise of having a slimmer body. The upside is respectable optical quality with few artefacts to worry about beyond a small amount of fringing when zoomed-out and the usual reduced contrast of a long range when zoomed-in. We're also relieved to find Canon allowing you to adjust the optical zoom while filming, with only minor drifting in focus as you do so.

Speaking of filming, it's great to find 1080p Full HD capabilities on a compact, and the quality is certainly a step-up from the 720p of most models. The IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS also enjoys a couple of neat video options, including a 240fps mode which plays back eight times slower than normal (albeit in QVGA resolution), and a new Miniature option which applies a digital tilt along with increased saturation and speed to deliver an attractive-looking toy landscape effect. The latter easily delivers fun results which your friends will think required expert time-lapse and optical trickery to achieve. We have examples of both in the Movie Mode section on the first page.

   
   


As the second HS branded camera, the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS claims superior low light capabilities. Its predecessor achieved this with a modest resolution of 10 Megapixels and an optically bright lens. Due to its super-zoom range, the focal ratio of the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS has become average, but the sensible sensor resolution remains. In our High ISO Noise results page you can see how noise levels are lower than the leader of the super-zoom compacts, the Panasonic Lumix TZ20 / ZS10, which unsurprisingly continues to bump its resolution up with every generation.

It's refreshing to find Canon step back from the Megapixel race and judging from the results we'd say it was a sensible decision, although it's revealing to note the latest HS models in the range couldn't resist boosting their resolution a little from 10 to 12 Megapixels.

The use of a CMOS sensor also allows the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS to enjoy reasonable continuous shooting speeds which were out of reach to its CCD-based predecessors, while also avoiding their vertical streaking when filming very high contrast subjects like brightly backlit windows or sunlight rippling on water.

 
 

In a very welcome move, Canon's taken inspiration from Sony's recent models by offering a mode which stacks multiple images taken in a burst and combines them into a single image to reduce noise or shake. This new Handheld Night Scene, like Sony's Handheld Twilight before it, operates completely automatically without any control over sensitivity, but delivers genuine benefits. You'll enjoy smooth, noise-free images at surprisingly high ISOs, where the only requirement is your subject remaining still during the burst.

The IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS may not enjoy Sony's latest development of Multi Frame NR, which allows you to manually choose the sensitivity, nor any of its rival's other innovative composite modes including in-camera panoramas, but it remains a very welcome addition to the IXUS / ELPH capabilities.

For us, the only real downsides to the camera were the lack of true wide angle coverage and a shorter than average battery life along with the use of a 16:9 widescreen display, which may be great for shooting HD video, but involves thick black bars running down each side of the image when set to take stills in the best quality mode. We also missed the bright lens and exposure control of the earlier IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS. Which brings us to our comparison with rival models.

 

Compared to Canon IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS

 
 
 
     

Canon's IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS was the first model in the company's 'HS' range and has a number of things in common with the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS. Both cameras share the same 10 Megapixel CMOS sensor, which means both enjoy around a one stop advantage at higher sensitivities than typical 14 Megapixel compacts. Both models also offer the slow motion video mode and fast continuous shooting options, and both share the same 3in / 230k widescreen displays. So what's the difference?

The major difference between the IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS and IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS concerns the lens on each camera. The IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS features a fairly basic 3.8x zoom (28-105mm equivalent) with a brighter than average f2.0-5.3 focal ratio. In contrast, the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS boasts a much more powerful 10x zoom (36-360mm equivalent), albeit with a slower f3.4-5.6 focal ratio.

But while the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS lens zooms-in over three times closer than its sibling, it starts at a much less wide 36mm equivalent. The focal ratio is also much less impressive at f3.4-5.6, making it just under two stops darker when both are fully zoomed-out. So under the same lighting conditions and shutter speed, the IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS could use a sensitivity of 400 ISO, while the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS would need to operate at 1250 ISO, making a huge difference to image quality.

The longer lens range isn't the only string in the newer model's bow though: while both models share the same sensor, the top quality video mode on the IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS is 720p, while the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS boasts Full HD at 1080p, interestingly at 24fps. While both cameras offer a 240fps slow motion mode, the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS additionally features a neat Miniature video effect. And while the earlier IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS may have a brighter lens, the new model enjoys the Handheld Night Scene mode which combines several images taken in a burst to effectively reduce noise.

It's beginning to sound like a win for the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS, but beyond a wider and brighter lens, the earlier IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS also sports Aperture and Shutter Priority modes which are curiously absent from the latest model. These along with a lower price could ultimately make it more attractive. See our Canon IXUS 300 HS / SD4000 IS review for more details.

 

Compared to Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10

 
 
     
 

Panasonic kick-started the compact super-zoom category with its TZ / ZS series, and these continue to be the models every rival has to measure-up against. The latest Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 is thicker, heavier and more expensive than the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS, but packs in a significant array of features.

Most obviously, the optical range is broader and crucially wider. The 16x zoom offers an equivalent range of 24-384mm, which is simply much, much wider when zoomed-out, while also reaching a fraction further when zoomed-in. It's an incredibly compelling range to have in your pocket, and the difference in wide coverage is dramatic.

While the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS is essentially automatic only, the Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 also offers the choice of Program, Manual, Aperture and Shutter Priority. Both cameras may offer multi-frame noise reduction capabilities, but the TZ20 / ZS10 also has a stab at 3D capture.

The IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS may offer quick continuous shooting for a Canon compact, but it's 3.8fps falls way short of the Lumix TZ20 / ZS10 which can shoot at its full resolution at 10fps, or even for short bursts up to 60fps at reduced resolution.

Both cameras feature 3in displays, but we prefer the 4:3 shape of the Panasonic's, not to mention its finer resolution and touch-screen capabilities. A touch-screen isn't the only gadget on the TZ20 / ZS10 either, as the camera also features a built-in GPS receiver which stores your location on images and even looks them up against a database of landmarks for reference. On a more practical note the TZ20 / ZS10's battery also lasts considerably longer, rated at 260 shots to the Canon's measly 150.

Crumbs, that's a considerable amount in the TZ20 / ZS10's favour, but there are several key advantages to the Canon. First, its resolution may fall short of the Panasonic by four Megapixels, but this in turn allows it to deliver better quality images in low light. It's also slimmer and a little lighter, while sporting simpler controls and a neat Miniature toy effect for video. Crucially it's also around 25% cheaper too. But the juggernaut of Panasonic's travel zoom gets bigger, faster and more unstoppable with every generation, and anyone in the market for a compact super-zoom will find it hard to resist.

See our Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ20 / ZS10 preview for more details and look out for our full review coming soon!

 

Canon IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS final verdict

Canon's IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS is certainly a very nice compact super-zoom camera. It's smaller and a little lighter than most rivals, while also enjoying better quality in low light thanks to its modest resolution. Add 1080p video, neat slow motion and miniature effects, along with a mode which stacks a burst of images to effectively reduce noise, and you've got a compelling package.

As described above, the only real flies in the ointment are a lack of true wide angle coverage and a shorter than average battery life. The absence of its predecessor's manual control and the continued use of a wide display were slightly annoying, but hardly deal-breakers.

The really big issues facing the IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS though are its compact super-zoom rivals, lead by Panasonic's Lumix TZ20 / ZS10. The TZ20 / ZS10 may be thicker, a little heaver and one third more expensive, but that gets you a broader 16x range with much wider coverage, full manual control, a more detailed display with touch-screen capabilities, built-in GPS, 3D capture, longer battery life and more besides. The Canon retaliates with a slimmer body, better low light performance and a cheaper price, but if you're in the market for a compact super-zoom it's hard not to have your head turned by the Panasonic, not to mention models from Sony.

Ultimately these rivals models outgun the Canon IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS in terms of features, but that's not to say they're always going to be the better choice. The IXUS 1000 HS / SD4500 IS delivers better than average quality in low light from a slimmer than average body, which also happens to be cheaper than many. It's sufficient to earn it our Recommended rating, although the modest battery life and lack of wide angle coverage means it falls short of our highest rating.



Good points
Slimmer and a little lighter than most compact super-zooms.
Sensible resolution means better than average low-light quality.
1080p video, slow motion at QVGA and miniature effect at 720p.
Handheld Night Scene mode greatly reduces noise at high ISOs.

Bad points
10x range falls short of some rivals and lacks true wide angle.
Relatively poor battery life has you recharging frequently.
Best quality 4:3 mode looks small on wide display.
Highly compelling rivals from the likes of Panasonic and Sony.






Scores

(relative to 2011 compacts)

Build quality:
Image quality:
Handling:
Specification:
Value:

Overall:

18 / 20
17 / 20
17 / 20
17 / 20
15 / 20

84%


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