First impressions: Canon IXUS 255 HS – Digital Compact Camera. A must have for your MoJo bag?
March 19, 2013 1 Comment
Ethics statement: Canon Ireland sent a review model of the IXUS 255 to me, I am not being paid for or receiving any form of sponsorship for this review. I am giving my impartial opinion at face value as I think the IXUS is potentially a worth while addition to a mobile journalist’s equipment.
I have a confession to make – Ive been an IXUS owner for a number of years. I also bought the IXUS 220 for my better half a bout a year ago in anticipation of the arrival of our baby girl. Yes Im a big supporter of iPhoneography. Yes I have filled my iPhone several times over with shots of my baby but I still use the IXUS even now and I have to say I would buy again. Its been robust, reliable and it has never left me down.
So you ask, why would someone who travels around evangilising and pontificating about the iPhone and mobile journalism even need a pocket camera? Heres one BIG reason 10 X ZOOM. Not massive by any standard but one hell of a lot better than trying to strap a dslr lens onto an adapter etc to compensate for the lack of zoom in the iPhone. Anyway the key thing to note is that you can always use the IXUS as a second unit camera when shooting mojo content…
Let me give you a scenario:
Im a journalist (not true) and I pick up a trend on Twitter that suggests there is a very large collision on a nearby motorway. I know from my iPhone geolocation that Im relatively close by so I head to the scene. When I get near, the traffic jam is bedlam, there is no way of driving anywhere near the actual scene of the crash, this also means there is no way a SNG sat truck is getting near either. I have my iPhone, with my MoJo Bag and I have my pocket camera too. Heres what the pocket camera adds to the scenario…
With the iPhone I have connectivity, so I can file an audio report from the scene for our Radio service and I can even broadcast live on radio using Luci Live or Report It Live. I can shoot some pictures and sequences of the traffic jam for our online team but what they WANT is pictures of the crash. With the IXUS I can use the 10 X zoom to see whats really going on at the scene but without putting myself in jeopardy. I can shoot 1080p h.264 HD video at the end of the zoom without picture quality loss and I can now transfer the video and stills to my iPad via the integral WiFi so the footage can be edited with iPhone footage in iMovie or Pinnacle studio. You will need to download the Canon CAMERAWINDOW App for wireless transfer (Free)- Ive tested this by the way and its beautifully simple and works a treat. Then I can FTP the finished video back to my station for online or even for use on our TV output and Finally use an App like Quicklink LNG or Dejero Live to broadcast a Live Q&A for our TV service. Having a pocket camera like the IXUS in my MoJo bag gives me greater flexibility and it dramaticlly compensates for one of the biggest weaknesses with the iPhone: Lack of Zoom (Did I mention that already?). I’d also like to point out that unlike the Samsung Galaxy Camera, the IXUS allows you to zoom WHILE recording video.
Anyway lets get back to the camera. Heres a snapshot of the features:
There is a substantial list of “dynamic” photography modes available in the IXUS 255. Smart Auto, Hybrid Auto, P (Program mode), Portrait, Smooth skin, Smart Shutter (where a wink at the camera will trigger the face detection system to fire the shutter!) High Speed Burst mode (at 3Mpx) Night scene, Fisheye, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera mode, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster effect (high contrast) Colour accent / swap, Snow mode, Fireworks mode Long Shutter and Stitch Assist for Panoramas. Interestingly there are a number of these that work in movie mode also: Smart auto, Portrait, P (Program mode) Miniature Effect, Super Vivid, Poster effect (high contrast) Colour accent / swap, Snow mode, Fireworks mode Super Slow Motion Movie. Add to this the fact that if you drop the resolution of the video from HD to 640×480 you can shoot at 120fps.
In summation there is a lot packed in to the IXUS 255 for the RRP of €289. If you consider that an Olloclip lens adapter for the iPhone is about €70 – just for three alternative shots (wide, Fisheye and Macro) this is potentially a substantial addition to your kit list. Yes I accept its an extra piece of gear to charge and carry etc etc, but one of the biggest gripes I get from journalists is how much the battery life of the iPhone drops when shooting video and at the end of the day the journalist MUST be able to stay in touch with base, so having a spare, versatile pocket camera in the bag may be just the solution.
Its clear that Canon have put a lot of thought into the IXUS 255 in an attempt to claw back some of the pocket camera market share from the smart phone space. Just a comment though, it would have been really nice if there had been a provision made for using an external microphone with the camera, lots of the entry level dslr have this by default and its becoming more common on point and shoot cameras in general. It would have added one important extra feature: good sound into the equation.
Bottom line: I would buy one again.
Click Canon IXUS 255 HS – Digital Compact Camera – Canon UK. to go to the Canon UK site for more info.