I’m sure most readers are familiar with the IXUS, as it’s become one of the most popular compact cameras in Australia, and has been holding onto that spot for some time. The IXUS 210 takes the same great photos you would expect from any camera in the range, but navigating its touchscreen interface does put a dampener on the experience.
Like most IXUSes (IXII?), the 210 is a small, solidly built piece of machinery. The back is all screen (3.5in of it) – except for a small lip that, matched with a slight curve on its right-hand side, means the camera fits perfectly in your hand (unless you’re a leftie).
There’s a three-way mode switch on top that allows you to select video, photo, or auto-photo modes, alongside a Play button to review your shots, On/Off button, and a zoom toggle around the shutter button. While the controls don’t feel like they’ll break any time soon, there is a slight cheap-plastic feel to them, which is a little disappointing on a relatively expensive compact camera. But it’s hardly a deal-breaker.
There’s a 14.1-megapixel CCD, 4.3–21.5mm (5x) zoom and image stabilisation, and all the specs you’d expect from an IXUS. It’ll also record video at 720p (1280 x 720) resolution at 30 frames per second.
Photos taken on the IXUS 210 look great. Without a lot of fuss (read: when set to Auto), images come out crisp and clear – exactly what you would expect from a camera in this price range. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to keep it on Auto all the time. There are a few nifty features hidden away among the 210’s menus that allow everything from a fish-eye effect (not the best) to a miniature effect (very convincing) and colour swapping (if you’re into that kind of thing).
On the whole, there isn’t a lot to say about the 210’s photo quality. It consistently produces clear shots, and occasionally you’ll get one that looks stunning (but that’s more a result of the photographer than the camera itself).
Where the IXUS 210 IS is let down is in its touchscreen. Far from the intuitive experience you may be used to navigating an Apple-made touchscreen device, making your way through the 210’s menus can make you wish for old-fashioned buttons. You sometimes have to press quite hard to register a touch, and scrolling through menu items is unpredictable.
I did get used to navigating this way, but I still longed for the ease-of-use my iPhone affords me. Similarly, when viewing images, I wished I could pinch-to-zoom rather than double-tapping and struggling to move to the actual area of the photo I wanted to see.
Australian Macworld’s buying advice
The IXUS 210 IS is most certainly not a bad camera. At $499, it is more expensive than other cameras without touchscreens (from Canon and other manufacturers) but with otherwise similar specs. Given the responsiveness of the touchscreen on this model, it may not be worth the extra cash. You should definitely check the 210 out to see if you like its navigation, though you won’t be disappointed with the pictures it takes.