Canon IXUS 300 HS review

Full review: Stylish high-speed camera, with great low-light performance

Image 1 of 5 Canon IXUS 300 HS front silver
Canon IXUS 300 HS front silver
Image 2 of 5 Canon IXUS 300 HS back
Canon IXUS 300 HS back
Image 3 of 5 Canon IXUS 300 HS front black
Canon IXUS 300 HS front black
Image 4 of 5 Canon IXUS 300 HS front
Canon IXUS 300 HS front
Image 5 of 5 Canon IXUS 300 HS main
Canon IXUS 300 HS main

Meet Canon's new high style, high speed IXUS compact

With it's new back-illuminated CMOS sensor and high speed shooting system, the IXUS 300 HS promises low noise at high ISOs and high speed continuous shooting - find out if it delivers.

The IXUS 300 HS certainly has style with it's expensive looking minimalistic design, available in: blasted steel silver, glossy white, high gloss red and matt black. The latter being our understated favourite. As we've come to expect from the IXUS range, build quality is high, its curved, stainless steel body is robust and feels study in the hand, however the buttons feel cheaper than we're used too.

View our Canon IXUS 300 HS gallery here:

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Although the 28mm wide-angle lens on the IXUS 300 HS is a bright f/2.0, we're really quite disappointed with it's 3.8x zoom range, when many cameras are 5x - like the Sony DSC-W380, or even 10x - like the Fujifilm F80 EXR. The lens features optical image stabilisation to reduce blur, which works well, it's just a shame there isn't a longer lens to use it with.

The 3-inch LCD screen dominates the back of the IXUS 300 HS, the 230,000 resolution is decent enough but not exceptional in spec terms, however colours look bright but not unrealistically so, it's exceptionally clear and easy to see (even in bright sunlight). It's great for shooting HD movies.

Canon IXUS 300 HS: High speed shooting

Speed is the biggest headline feature of the new IXUS. Thanks to the new back-illuminated CMOS sensor found in this HS camera (HS standing for High Speed), it is capable of continuous shooting at up to 3.7 shots/sec at 10MP or 8.4 shots/sec at 2.5MP, which is astonishingly fast, making it a great compact for sports fans.

Overall, picture quality is impressive. Perfect for low-light shooting, the back-illuminated CMOS sensor does a really good job keeping image noise to a minimum - the IXUS 300 HS offers ISO speeds of up to 3200 and noise is handled better than most cameras through the whole ISO range. It's barely visible until ISO 400 and although images get softer with reduced detail after ISO 800, you expect that. Colour and contrast are handled well: colours are punchy but natural looking. Skin tones are very flattering indeed. Auto white balance works well too and detail rendition is great.

The IXUS 300 HS records movies in 720p HD format with stereo sound - there's even a dedicated movie button on top of the camera. In addition, and continuing on the speed theme, there's 240fps slow-motion capture mode, which is lots of fun, although the comparatively low resolution of at 320x420 is disappointing.

Canon IXUS 300 HS: Other features

Using the IXUS 300 HS is relatively simple. As there are very few controls actually on the camera's body you do have to jump in and out of the menu system frequently. As the menu is easy to navigate and intuitive that isn't so much of a big deal though.

Canon’s include a host of features to make things easy. Smart Auto mode does everything for you. There's also Smart Shutter mode, which triggers the shutter when you winking, smiling, or even when an extra face enters the frame. Smart Flash Exposure, alters the flash for optimum results and also works well. There's also lots of fun to be had with the camera's creative modes, which include Fish-eye Effect and Miniature Effect. Moving on from fully automatic modes, Av and Tv modes give some manual control over aperture and shutter respectively.

Canon IXUS 300 HS: Value for money

You can buy a IXUS 300 for around £300 online, making it a pricey and at this price point, we'd expect more. Sure, it's certainly a great little compact, it looks sexy and it certainly is fast, but for the same money you could buy yourself a really advanced compact, like the Panasonic Lumix TZ8 with it's 10x optical zoom or for a little more get the feature-laden Canon PowerShot S90. Still if you're after a compact camera that takes great pictures in low light, it's worth a look.

The Canon IXUS 300 HS is available now, find out more from Canon

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SPECIFICATIONS
Megapixels: 10MP
Sensor: 1/2.3 CMOS
Lens: 3.8x optical, f/2.0, 28-105mm,
Battery: Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-6L , 250 shots per charge
Storage: SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HCMMCplus
Video res: 1280 x 720, 30 fps
Screen size: 3-inch
Anti-shake: Lens shift-type image stabilsation, 3-stop
Face detection: 9-point face detection
Max ISO: 3200
Connections: Hi-Speed USB, dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible), HDMI Mini, A/V output
Dimensions:100x 54x 24mm
Weight:Approx. 175 g (including battery/batteries and memory card)

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