We've seen mixed results from Canon's Ixus range, but this latest addition has to be the best point-and-shoot compact model yet - and we don't just mean from Canon. While keen hobbyists may baulk at the lack of manual exposure options, everyone else will admire its durability, speed and beautiful shots. And you can even find it online for
a lot less than £399.
It's good to see the Ixus range get curvaceous. The lack of angularity is pleasing on the eye, and there's an ergonomically satisfying feel. We occasionally knock Canon models for their cluttered jog-dials, but the Ixus 700 avoids this by only using the jog-dial in tandem with a context-sensitive function button and four-way navi-pad, for a much cleaner and more user-friendly interface.
Also impressive is the 2in LCD. It handles the light/dark and panning/zooming transitions beautifully.
Canon's Digic II processor makes the 700 one of the fastest compact cameras around, speeding up startup time, focusing, playback, onboard editing, image erase and write speeds. We spent a good five minutes turning the Ixus on and off - we couldn't believe how quick it was.
Also of note is the lithium battery, which can manage 550 shots with the LCD off - although you'll need far more than the 32MB Secure Digital card if you want to take that many at the maximum resolution.
Image quality was mainly first-class. Shots taken in natural indoor light produced a misty finish, but flash and outdoor light offered vibrant natural colours. The CCD has enough pixels to clearly fill A3-size posters.