Last month I mentioned that I bought a new pocket camera, the Canon IXUS 300 HS (or Canon Powershot SD4000 as it is known elsewhere), but have so far failed to tell you much about it.
In Europe Canon has two ranges of pocket cameras, IXUS and Powershot, where the former is aimed at those who just want a simple camera for holiday pictures.
As you can see below, the camera completely botches up night shots by overexposing the hell out of it, but I figure it was intended to do that. Lots of holidayers take pictures in the evening and may wish to do away with the flatness produced by flash. This is what you get in return, but at least you get something in return. (And if that is not good enough, buy a much, much more expensive camera. As long as you are the best photographer in your circle of friends, hauling all that DSLR equipment around won’t necessarily lead to you being shunned outright from parties.)
It’s much better than my old camera at close ups (macros). I can get as close as 1 centimetre with this one, whereas my previous pocket camera stopped at about 5 centimetre. I have been getting complaints that my photos don’t show the single life that I lead because my house looks so clean in them, but I assure you—and you can verify this with the answering machine close-up below—that was just because of the quality of the photo equipment!
My previous pocket camera was much better in pretty much anything else. The 300 HS has a very nasty tendency to blur towards the corners. It also seems to have a barrel distortion throughout most of its zoom. The screen is much better, but it cannot be tilted, so that I’d need to carry a mirror with me at all times for those ‘over the crowd’ shots (not going to happen).
One more nice thing about this camera is that its predominant type of noise is luminant rather than chromatic. I understand that chromatic noise is good for sharp pictures, but it is also the sort of thing you cannot ‘unsee’ once you have started noticing it.
I would assume that the intended audience for this camera would tend to buy one of them newfangled superzooms, so I really wonder why Canon would bring out such an expensive camera in its low-end pocket range.
Did I make the right trade? I think it about evens out. Keeping in mind that my primary aim with this camera is making simple product shots for web sites, and that my secondary goal is making HD videos, I think I did OK. The better camera for me would have been the Canon Powershot S95, but that one wasn’t out yet when I bought this one.
The photo below of Zydeco Fever performing at De Nieuwe Anita was the only sharp shot of the bunch, but it was taken under circumstances where even my SDLR would have struggled.