We gave the original Digital IXUS much praise for its design and build quality. The stainless steel case is cool to the touch and immediately gives you an impression of quality and strength. Designed to be a functional item you can take everywhere, it has an automatic lens cover and a "flat surface" design ethos. This, combined with its ultra-compact size means it's the ultimate pocketable digital camera.
And here's the IXUS v compared to the rest of the current Canon compact digital range, as you can see it's a little smaller than the IXUS 300 and quite a bit smaller than the A10 / A20. For another example of just how small the IXUS v really is click here for a picture of the IXUS v beside a Compact Flash card.
Interesting to note that all the cameras here (except for the G1) are direct print compatible, they can be directly connected to a compatible Canon printer (such as the CP-10) for direct prints without a computer.
Despite not having a hand grip the IXUS v is easy to grip, it's so small that your forefinger covers the entire front, the base resting on the crease of your thumb. Once in your hand all controls fall under your fingers, the shutter release and zoom controller combined to one switch it's easy to zoom and shoot within seconds.
Main LCD Display
Identical to the viewfinder found on the previous Digital IXUS it's relatively small with no parallax error lines, just a set of brackets to indicate the center of the frame / left and right focus points. There's also no dioptre adjustment. Good job the rear LCD is so good.
The lights beside the viewfinder indicate:
|Green Steady (top)||Good AF Lock|
|Green Blinking (top)||Compact Flash activity / camera busy|
|Orange Steady (top)||Flash charged / will use flash|
|Orange Blinking (top)||Shake warning|
|Yellow Steady (bottom)||Macro focus mode|
Once again Canon have used their tiny NB-1L Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. Rated with an output of 3.7V @ 680 mAh (25 Wh) tiny power-pack is good for about 90 minutes. The battery compartment opens by sliding the door to the left and then swinging open. A small brown clip holds the battery in place, just flip this to remove the battery.
Compact Flash compartment
The only plastic component in the design is the Compact Flash compartment door. Flip the CF Open catch down and the sprung door will pop open. As you can see the camera itself is only a little bigger than the CF card, it's amazing how they packed all that in there. The CF eject button is powerful enough to ping the card right out of the camera.
Power and size constraints mean that the IXUS v doesn't support Type II CF cards, and thus doesn't support IBM's Microdrive. That said, the price of Type I CF cards are coming down month by month and you shouldn't have to pay more than $80 for a 64 MB card (something you'll probably have to consider as Canon only supply an 8 MB card with the camera).