Since the advent of digital cameras, there have been many attempts at reducing its size and packing in as many features as possible. As convergence devices have started overlapping the functionalities of standalone ones, the urgency of developing outstanding products is being felt more than ever. And Canon seems to have responded to this admirably.
The Digital IXUS i7 Zoom is a camera so small that it makes some cellphones look bulky!
With an uncluttered button layout and an easy-to-use interface, this camera is a delight to hold and carry. While the size of the camera will certainly appeal to the target audience, people with slightly larger hands may find it a slight struggle getting used to the form factor. It just doesn’t feel substantial enough. Available in some very young and vibrant colours, the camera is an attention-grabber and clearly aimed at the young and upwardly mobile!
Under the hood, it has a 7.1megapixel sensor that’s good enough for most casual uses. It has a 2.4x optical zoom lens (38mm to 90mm zoom) and a 4x digital zoom. Given the size of the body, it is no surprise that the optical zoom is almost half the digital zoom, but to be fair, it’s not all that bad compared to some larger cameras.
The i7 Zoom has no viewfinder and the LCD screen on the back has to be used for this purpose. Not the best option when one may be trying to conserve battery life, but that’s a situation which won’t arise too often. The performance of the Li-ion battery is rather impressive and considering our consistent use of flash, it was a revelation and a pleasant surprise.
There are two main modes—still and video. Video duration depends on the amount of memory available on your card. The camera comes with 16MB built-in memory and a 16MB MMC card; rather measly, if you ask us! One of the reasons we think this is inadequate is that the average size of a still photo shot at the highest resolution (3072x2304pixels) is approx 1.4MB. This means that even if you use the internal and the flash memory, you can shoot about 22 photos at the best quality but no videos. So, investing in a higher capacity card (at least 512MB) is a necessity.
The camera offers a rich feature set that has presets for landscapes, portraits, night-shots and many more. A nice little feature is the configurable slot on the preset modes where one can choose from some of the lesser-known shooting modes like aquarium, kids and pets, foliage (for plants and the like) and even fireworks. In manual mode (and some preset modes), one can adjust the exposure compensation by up to two stops either way. Auto White Balance is the best mode to run with although there are more options for this setting as is the case with the ISO speed setting (100 to 800). For battery conservation, the LCD switches off after about two minutes of no use, although the camera itself is still ‘on’ and lightly touching the shutter-release will bring it back to life.
Shooting with the camera was a pleasure, but we have one grouse—the focusing. When shooting in low light conditions, the AiAF didn’t work too well and we did get a few dark frames. The same problem persisted when using the Macro mode and zooming beyond the optical zoom limit. Logical, one may think, since the camera is not really zooming at this point, but users are not going to worry about this and will expect the functionality to work.
Our best shots were during the day, using the Auto mode and capturing friends and our surroundings. If you intend to use this for family or holiday purposes, go for it. If you are planning on doing some serious photography, this may not be the one for you, simply because of the limited lens capabilities and slightly suspect focusing mechanism.
Rating 3/5 (Good buy)