Have a scour around the net and you’ll see countless glowing reviews for the Canon Ixus 220 HS camera. Sadly I can’t add to them. The Ixus range has long been synonymous with quality compact cameras from the Canon stable. I’ve owned and enjoyed APS and digital variants of Ixus cameras in the past so I was looking forward to getting my hands on the Canon Ixus 220 HS. This is less of a full on ‘review’, more of a cautionary note…

I’ve got a Nikon D40 SLR which I use as often as possible but I wanted something a little more ‘pocketable’ for occasional snaps where a phone camera just won’t do. The Canon Ixus 220 HS looks and feels as you would expect. Small, sleek and elegant. The menu system is clear, fast and easy to get to grips with. It also has a separate button purely for starting and recording 1080P video – really nice. I’m not going to produce noise and colour tests for the camera, nor am I going to list the various functions and features of the camera. Instead I’ll get to the point of why you might want to choose another model…

The images lack sharpness. Everything looks slightly out of focus. At first I thought this was related to settings but after resetting all settings, the problem remains. To illustrate the point I used 3 cameras; the Canon Ixus 220 HS, the Nikon D40 and my old compact, the Pentax Optio S (2004 3MP version). I took successive shots on each camera, onto the same memory card of exactly the same subject. Every camera was on the ‘auto’ setting so it was a true ‘point and shoot’ exercise, the thing most people (myself included) want to do with compacts. The Canon shot appears closer to the subject but I’d just used the optical zoom there a little. Looking at the full size images it’s hopefully easy to see how much ‘foggier’ the Canon is. Look at the writing on the back of the honey for example. This ‘soft’ effect is perhaps even more apparent with people – they all just look a little out of focus.

I tried shooting outdoors, indoors flash and no flash, manual and auto but to no avail. The conclusion being either I was unlucky enough to receive a camera where the lens was slightly ‘off’ or the Canon Ixus 220 HS just takes shots that way. At this point, I’m inclined to believe the former as a quick look at the reviews on Amazon shows another user reporting the same issue.

Reviews (this one included) are only useful to a point. When it comes to cameras I always subscribe to the view that if a shot looks good, it is good. Sadly, for me the shots from Canon’s Ixus 220 HS just don’t cut it.

Here’s the 2007 6MP Nikon D40 (click to view full screen)

Taken with Nikon D40

Here’s the 2004 3MP Pentax Optio S (click to view full screen)

Taken with 2004 3MP Pentax Optio S

And finally here’s the 2011 12MP Canon Ixus 220 HS (click to view full screen)

Taken with Canon Ixus 220 HS