I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the compact snapper, probably because it offers pretty good images and videos, without costing a bomb.
But the definition of the inexpensive compact digital camera seems to be changing, or expanding to say the least. Not only are they becoming more powerful, but also more expensive at the same time. Dangerously close to the DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) price range, but they are there nevertheless.
The latest high end digital camera on offer is from Canon’s stable- the IXUS 300 HS.
Is it any good? Lets snap to find out!
Package and Contents
The 300 HS box pack contains the digicam, the lithium ion battery, the battery charger with power cable, video cable (but no HDMI cable), the wrist strap and the software CD.
Took the snapper out of the box, and heaved a huge sigh of relief (maybe so much that people around me would have thought I was deflating like a shredded car tyre, on purpose!). The 300 HS comes in a matte finish. There really is a God!
The glorious matte finish (the review unit which I got was in black color) gives the snapper a really classy look. It feels solid as well. The 3 inch screen at the back is really clear and is flanked by a few buttons on one side. The on/off, snap and mode controls are on the top panel. The battery and memory card slot can be accessed on the bottom panel, while the video out (including HDMI) ports are on the side panel. While the battery/memory card bay are protected by a sliding cover, the video out bay cover does not feel very classy or sturdy.
The specs of the IXUS 300 HS do look really good, at least on paper- 10 Megapixels, paired with 3.8x zoom and the capability of recording 720p video.
Once you start using the camera, you will take some time getting used to the various function/settings buttons, since a lot of them are unmarked. But the moment you do get used to it, its time to reveal the hidden capabilities of the 300 HS. There are 3 modes- auto, manual and video. Most people use their cameras on auto, but slide to the manual mode, and you will find a plethora of options you can tweak- High speed burst, fish eye effect, color swap, miniature effect etc. Photography enthusiasts will certainly want to select that one!
Multiple image setting options let you choose the perfect setting for the best picture, whatever the lighting scenario may be. For me, the 300 HS did a very good job in all lighting conditions.
Talking about video, and me being an HD fan, I immediately bumped up the video recording resolution to 720p. And the resultant video was fantastic. Ultra smooth, heavenly sharp and warm in color- all ingredients for the perfect video! Even at non HD resolutions, video recording was excellent, but if you have HD recording capabilities in your hands, will you still record in SD?
The only niggle I have with the snapper is the fact that if you seriously blow up the size of an image while taking a close shot, then you land up on the snapper’s only weaknesses. The resultant image is blurry and not very sharp. Move away from the image a bit, and you instantly see an improvement in the clarity.
The 300 HS did well in all different lighting conditions, which is creditable, since that is not something I can say for a lot of the snappers out there. HD video recording is a feature which should entice a lot of potential buyers, but the price is the only thing which I see can put off a lot of them.
Price- Rs 24995
10 MP camera
Compact digital camera type
Optical Image Stabilizer
3 inch Pure Color LCD
3.7fps Continous shooting
8.4fps High speed burst shooting
HD Movie recording (720p)
Lithium Ion battery
Superb images in all lighting conditions
720P HD videos are amazingly lifelike
Features like High Speed Burst for images
A tad expensive for a few buyers