Canon is calling it the 'ultimate Digital IXUS' (or IXY or ELPH or whatever it's called where you live), and the titanium-cased IXUS 960 IS / SD 950 IS - successor to last year's IXUS 900Ti (aka SD900) - certainly scores highly on the bling factor. We're pleased to see image stabilization arriving (the lens range has been stretched to a 3.7x zoom) on the flagship IXUS, but we doubt anyone really looked at last year's model and thought 'if only it had 12 megapixels - ten just ain't enough'. Megapixel and lens boost aside, there's a few minor tweaks here and there, and a new intervalometer, but the essential spec and features remain roughly the same.

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Press Release (European):

Supreme style and imaging power: Canon introduces the ultimate Digital IXUS

Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 20 August, 2007 - Canon today launches the new flagship model of its Digital IXUS range, the Digital IXUS 960 IS. Sporting a stylish new curvature design sculpted in pure titanium, the Digital IXUS 960 IS features a range-leading 12.1 Megapixel sensor. A new 3.7x optical Image Stabilizer zoom is complemented by Auto ISO Shift and high ISO 1600, offering Canon’s total anti-blur solution. With a DIGIC III processor powering Canon’s Face Detection AF/AE/FE* and improved Red-Eye Correction, the Digital IXUS 960 IS comes fully equipped for superb people shots. Extensive movie options include XGA recording, Time Lapse Movie and Long Play modes.

“With the Digital IXUS 960 IS Canon sets new aesthetic and technical standards for digital compact cameras,” said Mogens Jensen, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging, Europe. “Its supreme titanium build quality and elegant design are complemented by powerful, innovative features that deliver premium-quality imaging. This is a camera that will appeal to consumers who demand the best.”

Features at a glance:

  • Titanium body with Touch Control Dial
  • 12.1 Megapixels (1/1.7” CCD)
  • 3.7x optical zoom with optical Image Stabilizer
  • ISO 1600 and Auto ISO Shift
  • DIGIC III* with Face Detection AF/AE/FE and Red-Eye Correction in playback
  • 2.5” high resolution PureColor LCD with wide viewing angle, plus optical viewfinder
  • 18 shooting modes including ISO 3200 scene mode and My Colors photo effects
  • Extensive movie options including high resolution XGA, Long Play and Time Lapse modes
  • Safety Zoom and Digital Tele-Converter* for extra telephoto reach
  • PictBridge and Print/Share compatible

*See Technologies Explained

Titanium IXUS design

The Digital IXUS 960 IS takes Canon’s unique Perpetual Curve design and renders it in a high quality, pure titanium shell, creating a more tactile and ergonomic photography experience. Used extensively in technologically advanced industries such as aerospace and medicine, titanium is stronger than steel but significantly lighter. Its strength and anti corrosion properties combine with the camera's high build quality to offer durability without compromising size or weight. A
Touch Control Dial offers fingertip access to all the camera’s key functions.

Exceptional image quality

The Digital IXUS 960 IS features a new range-leading 12.1 Megapixels of resolution, allowing users to create poster-size prints or crop sections of photos without loss of detail. Imaging power is furthered by an ultra-compact 3.7x optical zoom with optical Image Stabilizer (IS), which incorporates Canon’s aspherical lens technology (UA)* for maximum sharpness and clarity. Users can take zooming further with Digital Tele-Converter and Safety Zoom – features which combine the benefits of digital zoom with a reduced risk of image quality deterioration. Captured images can be viewed on the high-resolution 2.5’’ PureColor LCD, with increased colour reproduction and a wide viewing angle for easy sharing with friends. For situations with difficult lighting or where added stability is needed, the Digital IXUS 960 IS features a real-image optical viewfinder.

To provide a closer look at images, Canon’s improved Image Inspection Tool is also included. For the first time, this can be used in playback mode as well as shooting. The function incorporates Face Detection Technology for automatic close-up inspection of faces in shots.
*See Technologies Explained

Total anti-blur solution

The Digital IXUS 960 IS includes a range of ISO features that combine with the camera’s optical IS to virtually eliminate the risk of image blur. Both optical IS and Auto ISO Shift deal with the blur caused by camera shake. When selected by the user, Auto ISO Shift boosts the ISO setting just enough to reduce the effects of unintended camera movement. Two further features – manually selected high ISO settings up to ISO 1600 and High ISO Auto – combat the blur caused by typical subject movement, as well as camera shake when poor light would normally require a longer exposure.

DIGIC III for better photos

At the heart of the Digital IXUS 960 IS is Canon’s DIGIC III image processor. As well as ensuring fast performance, superior colour reproduction and white balance, DIGIC III powers a range of features to improve the photographer’s success rate. Canon’s Face Detection AF/AE/FE locates up to 9 faces in any scene before automatically adjusting focus, exposure and flash for optimum results. The undesirable effects of flash are quickly removed with improved Red-Eye Correction during playback. This innovative system uses Face Detection Technology to automatically identify and correct red-eye – while ensuring that no other elements of the picture are accidentally altered in the process. Users also have the option of manually adding or removing Red-Eye Correction frames. Advanced Noise Reduction Technology, powered by DIGIC III, safeguards images against graininess when shooting at high ISO speeds while maintaining image detail.

Every subject and size

The Digital IXUS 960 IS incorporates 18 different shooting modes for stills and movies. Amongst these are several presets for tricky shooting environments – such as snow and beaches – and an ISO 3200 mode for producing flash-free shots at 1600x1200 resolution in low light. My Colors can be used to apply effects and enhancements in both shooting and playback mode. In addition, with Canon’s new Image Resize function users can downsize full-resolution images to 1600x1200, 640x480 and 320x240 sizes – perfect for instant uploads to blogs or auction sites.

Larger, longer movies

With the Digital IXUS 960 IS, users can capture movies with sound at an extra large XGA (1024x768 pixels) resolution at 15fps – the highest movie resolution in the Digital IXUS range. Alternatively, VGA and QVGA quality movies can be shot at a smooth 30fps. Canon’s innovative Time Lapse Movie function enables users to capture changing scenes for accelerated playback as smooth VGA-quality movie clips. And for occasions when longer movies are required and storage space is limited, a new LP (Long Play) mode offers VGA movie capture at 30fps – producing movies at half the file size with no loss in resolution or frame rate.

Ultimate ease of use

The Digital IXUS 960 IS benefits from several enhancements aimed at creating a more straightforward shooting experience for all users. These include an image range selection feature, which allows users to easily select several images for printing, protecting, categorising or erasing; the addition of a 3 level battery indicator; and a small size AF frame option for more precise focusing on slim, distant or macro subjects.

Additional Information

Printing

The Digital IXUS 960 IS features a dedicated Print menu for quick access to direct print options. Full PictBridge support means users can print directly to any PictBridge compatible printer without the need for a PC. A Print/Share button allows one-touch printing and easy uploads to Windows or Mac systems.

Language

The Digital IXUS 960 IS user interface supports 25 languages: English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Romanian and Ukrainian.

Memory Card Support

In addition to SD, SDHC and MMC memory cards, the Digital IXUS 960 IS supports the new MMCplus and HC MMCplus card – a format for high-volume shooting that allows capacities up to 32GB. It comes supplied with a 32MB memory card.

Software and CANON iMAGE GATEWAY

The Digital IXUS 960 IS comes bundled with the following Canon Software:

  • ZoomBrowser EX 6.0 (Windows), ImageBrowser 6.0 (Macintosh): For organising and editing images, movies and slideshows, or creating and printing digital photo albums.
  • PhotoStitch 3.1 (Windows) and 3.2 (Mac): For creating panoramic photos from multiple images.

The bundled software supports Windows 2000 (SP4) XP (SP2) and Vista and Macintosh OS X v10.3-v10.4. The camera supports PTP for driverless transfer to Windows XP and Macintosh OS X, along with MTP for image and movie transfers to Windows Vista. Purchasers of the camera are eligible for membership of CANON iMAGE GATEWAY*, 100MB of online ‘personal gallery’ space for sharing stills and video with family and friends.
*CANON iMAGE GATEWAY is not available in all European countries. Please see www.cig.canon-europe.com for available countries. Movie upload requires users to download and install the movie upload task, available after registration from the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY site.

Optional Accessories

An optional Waterproof Case (WP-DC19) allows users to bring the Digital IXUS 960 IS to a depth of up to 40 metres for compelling underwater shots. Specially designed Weights (WW-DC1) are available to control camera buoyancy. Other accessories include:

  • High Power Flash (HF-DC1)
  • Soft Leather Case (DCC-70)
  • Digital IXUS Metal and Leather Neck Straps
  • Compact AC Power Adapter (ACK-DC30)

Canon PowerShot SD950 IS specifications

Sensor

• 1/1.7" Type CCD
• 12.1 million effective pixels

Also known as PowerShot SD 950 IS Digital ELPH
Image sizes • 4000 x 3000
• 3264 x 2448
• 2592 x 1944
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
• 4000 x 2248
Movie clips • 1024 x 768 @ 15fps
• 640 x 480 @ 30fps
• 320 x 240 @ 30fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15fps
• Time Lapse (640 x 480 @ 0.5/1fps, playback @15fps)
Maximum clip length • 1024 x 768, 640 x 480, 320 x 240: 4GB or 1 hour
• 160 x 120: 3 mins
• Time lapse: 120 mins
File formats • JPEG (Exif v2.2)
• DPOF 1.1
• AVI (Motion JPEG + WAVE)
Lens • 36-133mm (35mm equiv)
• 3.7x optical zoom
• F2.8-5.8
Image stabilization Yes (Lens-Shift)
Conversion lenses No
Digital zoom up to 4x
Focus TTL
AF area modes • Face Detection AiAF
• 9-point AiAF
• 1-point AF (center)
AF lock Yes (on/off selectable)
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance Closest focus distance 5cm
Metering • Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame)
• Center-weighted average
• Spot (center)
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• High ISO Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
AE lock Yes (on/off selectable)
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
Shuttter speed 15-1/1600 sec (longer than 1 sec available in Long Shutter Mode only)
Modes • Auto
• Manual
• Digital Macro
• Color Accent
• Color Swap
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
• Special Scene
Scene modes

• Portrait
• Night Snapshot
• Kids & Pets
• Indoor
• Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Aquarium
• Underwater
• ISO 3200

White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom
Self timer 2 or 10sec, custom
Continuous shooting Approx 1.5fps until card is full
Image parameters My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)
Flash • Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye reduction
• Face Detection FE compensation
• Flash exposure lock
• Range (Auto ISO): 50cm - 4.6m (wide) / 2.4m (tele)
Viewfinder No
LCD monitor • 2.5-inch P-Si TFT
• 230,000 pixels
• 100% coverage
• 15 levels of brightness adjustment
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• AV out (PAL / NTSC switchable)
Print compliance PictBridge
Storage • SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus , HC MMCplus compatible
• 32 MB card supplied
Power • Li-Ion battery pack NB-5L
• Optional AC adapter ACK-DC30
Weight (no batt) 165g (5.8 oz)
Dimensions 95.9 x 59.9 x 27.6 mm (3.8 x 2.4 x 1.1 in)

Technologies Explained

DIGIC III

Canon’s DIGIC III (DIGital Imaging Core) image processor manages all of the camera’s primary functions to optimize operating efficiency. Advanced image processing algorithms deliver superb image detail and colour reproduction with accurate white balance. High-speed processing results in outstanding responsiveness, rapid auto focus and extended continuous shooting ability. DIGIC III also powers advanced Noise Reduction Technology and Face Detection AF/AE/FE.

Face Detection AF/AE/FE

Canon’s Face Detection AF/AE/FE system automatically detects up to nine faces within a frame before adjusting the focus, exposure and flash to ensure optimal results. It is able to determine which faces are intended to be the subject, instantly reverting to the partnering 9-point AiAF system if no face is the primary subject.

iSAPS

iSAPS (Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) automatically optimises key camera settings before every shot. Each scene is analysed and cross-referenced against Photographic Space – a vast in-camera library of photographic data. This enables the camera to make optimal adjustments to auto exposure, auto focus and auto white balance before image capture occurs.

Ultra-High Refractive Index Aspherical (UA) lens technology

Canon's UA lens was the world's first ultra-high refractive index glass molded aspherical lens. Made from glass with a higher refractive index than other aspherical lenses, it allows for an exceptionally slim and compact lens unit. The glass molded aspherical shape delivers remarkable image quality and helps avoid the image aberrations that can occur with spherical lens designs.

Optical Image Stabilizer

The Digital IXUS 960 IS uses a lens shift-type Image Stabilizer (IS) system to detect and correct slight camera shakes that can cause image blur. Minute vibration gyros detect lens tilting caused by hand shake. These signals – 4,000 per second – are processed by a single-chip IS controller, which discriminates between hand shake and intentional camera movements. Shake signals are sent to the IS unit, which moves one of the lens elements accordingly to deflect the light rays and cancel out the effects of shake. For improved accuracy and responsiveness, the moving lens element is supported on tiny ceramic spheres. In addition to minimising friction, ceramic spheres avoid some of the problems that can affect metal systems, such as thermal expansion and magnetism. The optical IS of the Digital IXUS 960 IS allows photographers to shoot at shutter speeds up to 3 stops slower with no perceptible increase in image blur due to camera shake.

Digital Tele-Converter and Safety Zoom

Similar to placing an accessory lens on the front of the camera, Canon’s Digital Tele-Converter adds a constant digital zoom to every shot (1.5x / 2.0x). While optical converter lenses cause a reduction in aperture and consequently require a slower shutter speed, the Digital Tele-Converter maintains aperture size, reducing the risk of image blur.

Safety Zoom protects the image from interpolation at high levels of digital zoom, allowing users to extend zoom magnification without sacrificing image quality.

Level of Safety Zoom possible at each image size setting without loss of image quality:

Large
Medium 1
Medium 2
Medium 3
Small
SD950 IS
3.7x
4.5x
5.7x
9.3x
15x