Canon launches its new low-light-capable HS system with the ten-million-pixel IXUS 300 HS
Images are generally punchy, and both the white balance and auto meter readings are accurate. There is no manual-focus mode, but the AF (nine-point and fixed-to-centre one-point) is responsive and performs well. However, I would have liked the option to select the active focus point in the one-point setting.
Images have detail in high-contrast scenes, such as sunny skies and shadows, indicating that the IXUS 300 HS has a high dynamic range. In extreme high-contrast scenes the i-contrast mode can be activated to brighten shadows and increase midtone contrast, but overall images tend to look flatter. In backlit conditions there is a little fringing, but these issues are minor as they will only be noticeable on prints of A3-plus in size.
Image: In scenes of high contrast, detail is retained even in areas of shadow
Chroma noise is virtually non-existent and at ISO 3200 luminance noise is handled quite well, with only a hint of smudging. In fact, the camera scored an impressive 18 at ISO 100 and 14 at ISO 3200 in our resolution chart tests. In low-light shooting mode ISO 6400 is available, but the pixel count drops to 2.5 million so few photographers will use this option. In continuous shooting mode, 3.7fps can be achieved at full resolution, but to achieve the maximum 8.4fps the pixel count again drops to 2.5 million pixels.
Having used both the scene selection and semi-auto shutter/aperture priority shooting modes, I found that the Smart Auto mode accurately produced optimal settings, including white balance. I was generally happy to settle for this as a default, and when the Smart Auto mode wasn’t suitable I found the menu simple and easy to navigate.