Overall Image Quality

Overall the Digital IXUS returns average 2 megapixel images, fairly sharp with excellent white balance (apart from certain flash situations). Metering sometimes errs towards under exposure but that's certainly more preferable than over exposure.

The smaller case, CCD and lens structure has had an effect on resolution, the S10 keeping the edge there. I also definitely noticed a moiré problem which became apparent in brightly lit / high contrast outdoor shots, certainly not something that would be apparent in every day shots.

The Digital IXUS isn't aimed at the "prosumer" it's a true consumer camera, some compromises have been made.

Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)

The Digital IXUS does well in our new fringing test, although it exhibits a small amount of fringing it's certainly impressive for such a small lens system. Performing significantly better than other 2 mp digital cameras.

Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

The Digital IXUS does exhibit very slight barrel distortion, but again this is good by digicam lens standards, adding the small size of the lens to the equation and Canon have done a good job addressing this issue. No pincushion distortion can be seen (though this is probably down to the fairly conservative 2x zoom - 70mm).

Full Wide Angle (35 mm)
1 .2% Barrel Distortion
Full Telephoto (70 mm)
No visible Pincushion Distortion

Moiré Pattern

One thing that became noticeable in certain circumstances was a definite moiré pattern as image detail goes beyond the resolution of the camera.

Typically the image processing internal algorithms take care of this (or at least make it less visible), however on the Digital IXUS (especially this shot) it was easily apparent.

Here's a highlighted image (click to see highlighted areas) which shows the problem a little more clearly. It's also visible on specular highlights which would ordinarily be white (or overexposed 'blown out'), they've turned either yellow or blue.

Click here for the original untouched image.

White Balance

The Digital IXUS features five white balance modes including Auto, the four available manual modes being Day light (Sunny), Cloudy, Tungsten and Fluorescent. Samples below are shot in differing light conditions, first shot taken as a test of the cameras Auto white balance, second shot using the manual option.

These samples are not intended to be a definitive test of the white balance on the Digital IXUS. They were certainly not taken that scientifically. However they are intended to demonstrate the average performance in differing circumstances.

Subject in Daylight (fine weather)
White Balance: AUTO White Balance: Fine
Subject in Incandescent light
White Balance: AUTO White Balance: Incandescent
Subject in Fluorescent light
White Balance: AUTO White Balance: Fluorescent

AUTO white balance performs pretty much the same as most digicams, that is fairly well in daylight situations and less well elsewhere. Daylight (WB: Auto) providing the best white and colour balance closely followed by Incandescent (WB: Incandescent).

Looks like the Canon didn't like my fluorescent tube...