by R. K. Bloom

Canon Digital IXUS 500

Canon Digital IXUS 500

Nowadays it is difficult to surprise amateur miniature camera – Dimensions amateur digital photography came to a natural limit. Crossing this limit, the producers are at risk to offer the market products, the ergonomics are suitable except that primary school children – in the hand of an adult so the camera simply “lost.” And quite a few people believe that the class of ultra-compact camera has existed since the very inception of amateur digital photography, and in some ways they are right.

The first more or less mass model of digital camera may be called amateur Kodak DC-20 (OEM-version of the camera, Chinon ES-1000), which appeared in 1996. “Democracy,” the price of this camera (less than $ 300) was explained by Spartan equipment – was not a replaceable memory, no LCD screen, even the flash was not, so shooting indoors or at night was very difficult. Of course, neither of which could not have autofocus and speech – a lens with a focal length of 47mm (in 35mm equivalent) has been the focus of the free, but in order to “bring” hyperfocal plane optics, the aperture “covered” up to f / 4 . However, despite all the shortcomings, the camera is in great demand, and the reason is not only funny (for the standards) and a decent price (again, on those standards) resolution of 493×373. Model DC-20 had a minimum at the time dimensions (31x102x61 mm) and weight (133 g), which is undoubtedly a positive impact on the popularity of this camera. In fact, it is with this development can begin the story of Kodak ultra-compact amateur digital cameras.

The first truly mass Amateur Canon digital cameras also could not be described as “cumbersome” – aluminum case appeared in 1998 PowerShot A5 is compact (103x68x33 mm) and not too heavy (320 g). Unlike the Kodak DC-20, supplied with camera Canon autofocus lens (35mm equivalent 35mm camera) decent aperture (f / 2,5), flash, color LCD display and a compartment for modules CompactFlash. Resolution of the matrix is ??also quite satisfied with most of the users of that time and was 1024×768. According to various estimates, the IT outsourcing can save 15 to 30% of the costs of maintenance IT-infrastructure.

As time evolved into the PowerShot A5 models A5 Zoom, and A50, Get a zoom lens and a matrix of higher resolution. Then, as the development of this line there were two – and trehmegapikselnye models S10 and S20, and, finally, in 2000, was created by the founder of the famous series of ultracompact cameras Canon – Digital IXUS, known as America PowerShot S100 DIGITAL ELPH, and in Japan – IXY DIGITAL. The name was chosen without reason – as a basis for the design was taken by film camera IXUS II. In a miniature (87x57x27 mm), durable and lightweight (190 g) stainless steel housing, fit autofocus zoom lens (35-70 mm) and a two-megapixel matrix. The frames were recorded at a resolution of 1600×1200 module CompactFlash, and then could be transferred to a computer via port USB. Luminosity optics was sufficient for this class of camera (f / 2,8-f / 4,0), and in low light conditions used a small but powerful flash.

Series Digital IXUS continuously developed – first appeared megapixel Digital IXUS 300, which is due to the increased number of dimensions (95x63x30 mm) autofocus zoom lens has a greater multiplicity – 35-105 mm (f / 2,7-f / 4,7). “Original version” – Digital IXUS – after the cosmetic changes in 2002 called Digital IXUS v?, And his version of trehmegapikselnaya – Digital IXUS v3.

Then in 2003 the market was represented trehmegapikselnaya Digital IXUS II – even more compact (85x56x24 mm) and lightweight (185 g) camera. Further miniaturization was made possible by, first, the transition from the bulky CompactFlash module on smaller maps of MMC / SD, and secondly, the use of more compact lithium-ion battery. In the autumn of that year, was released the next ultra-compact model of the Digital IXUS i. Stylish miniature (90x47x19 mm) and lightweight (100 g) package of four colors (white, silver, bronze and black) contained chetyrehmegapikselnuyu (2272×1704) CCD and a lens with fixed focal length 39 mm (f / 2,8).

In turn, in 2002 the Digital IXUS 300 trehmegapikselnuyu got into a matrix and IXUS 330. Then came chetyrehmegapikselnaya version of Digital IXUS v3-Digital IXUS 400, while the weight and size characteristics have remained the same (87x57x28 mm, 185 g), and autofocus zoom lens settings have changed – increased multiplicity (36-108 mm), but decreased aperture (f / 2,8 -f / 4,9).

In the spring of 2004 Canon introduced-Megapixel (2592×1944) version of ultra-compact camera-Digital IXUS 500, which was the subject of this review.

Despite its modest dimensions of the housing (87x57x28 mm), the camera fits in your hand. The reason for this was the displacement of all nodes in the front panel to the right – while holding the camera the photographer is not at risk to close the fingers “pupil” of the viewfinder or the emitter flash. In turn, the right side of the back of the building noticeably convex, which is analogous to the ledge to hold the “SLR” cameras. In addition, there is a kind of “edge” at the edge of the panel that prevents slipping his hand.

Durable and lightweight (185 g) camera body is made of stainless steel. Of course, the material of the body does not mean that the camera can be dropped from three meters high – the lens of any model is not designed for shock overload even in the “march” (retracted inside the body) position.

On the left side of the camera is sling swivel, which is attached to the strap-strap. Sling swivel gives the impression of solid parts, in addition, its form is organically combined with the overall design of the IXUS 500.

Autofocus zoom lens design IXUS 500 (36-108 mm equivalent 35mm camera) is almost the same node copies the very first model, Power Shot A5. “Trunk” of the lens in the “stowed” position is located within the enclosure, while the outer lens cover shutters. When you turn the camera shutter is automatically diverge, and the “trunk” pushed forward. It happens all extremely fast, and IXUS 500 can be safely described as part of the record for bringing in “combat” situation – by pressing the power button until ready is less than two seconds. When turning off the “trunk” “drawn” into the body and is covered by curtains automatically.

Lens aperture is typical for a miniature digital camera – f / 2,8-f / 4,9 – and raises no objections. The main disadvantage of the other optics – camera very reluctantly leads to the sharpness of the lens. When the autofocus can not perform its task, the LCD displays a green rectangle area, which was produced by “pointing”. However, the camera is often unacceptable helplessly blinking LED next to the viewfinder eyepiece.

However, the situation in which the camera “honestly confess” that it is impossible to put on the sharpness of the lens is better than “cheating”, which are some of the models – they signal that the autofocus coped with, when in fact the subject is blurred. If the LCD IXUS 500 appeared green marker, then the user can be absolutely sure that the lens is focused exactly on this area of ??the frame.

The right side of the front panel, with a shift to the left of the optical axis of the lens is “pupil” telescopic viewfinder. To the right is a backlight auto-focus – it helps put things in orange light on the sharpness of the lens in low light, in addition, this lamp is used as an indicator of the self-timer. When shooting with a flash light bulb makes light autofocus narrowed eyes photographed people and thereby reduce the risk of appearances of “red eye”, it also helps that the emitter is biased flash in the upper right corner of the front panel.

In general, the flash power enough to capture subjects located in the wide range of the lens at a distance of 3.5 m, and at telephoto – a distance of about 2 meters when shooting indoors, dimly lit by sunlight, sometimes there is an interesting effect – the flash does not work in the “lights”, and “filling” mode.

At the same time, white balance the camera, trying to compensate for “cold” light flash, the image shifts the color temperature to “warm” area. The final picture looks as if the subject is covered very powerful bulb.

The largest governing body, located on the top of the camera is shifted to the left of the shutter button, combined with the zoom lens control lever. The same lever in playback mode is used to enable the index mode and zoom. Nearby there is a button on the camera, near which there is a green LED that lights up when you turn on the camera. Closer to the right, under seven holes in the hull is a speaker, which allows to listen to voice comments to the frame, as well as “sound track” video, to record which, in turn, is a microphone. The microphone is also located on the top panel, and above it there is only one hole in the hull.

At the right edge of the bottom panel is the battery cover, located on the opposite side tripod socket. In principle, this arrangement makes it possible to change the battery without any problems, but as a result of the slot is too biased relative to the optical axis of the lens, making it difficult to panoramic photography, in addition, for macro stand with a miniature camera is very unstable. Tripod mount “a long-lived” because made of metal – it is quite natural for the camera with a steel hull.

Camera controls, which are located on the rear panel, for the most part shifted to the left. Due to this, the user, on the one hand, securely holds the camera and on the other – can use most functions with the thumb holding hands.

The greatest area of ??the back panel has a color LCD display with a diagonal of 3.8 cm, composed of 118,000 pixels. Above him are the telescopic eyepiece viewfinder (right) and switch shooting modes (left). Viewfinder is equipped with a pair of LEDs – the top can be lit with green light (camera ready to shoot), green flash (read / write to memory, or communicate with the computer), burn orange (camera ready to shoot, and will be used in flash) and flash orange (camera ready to shoot, and an excerpt will be “long”). The lower indicator can be lit with yellow light (auto-focus brought upon the sharpness of the lens) or a flashing yellow (trouble focusing).