Conclusion - Pros

  • Good resolution, sharp images, good colour balance
  • White balance presets are excellent, Auto white balance not so good under artificial light
  • Great night exposures thanks to new Long Exposure mode
  • Ultra-compact size, light weight
  • Improved control ergonomics (new 4-way controller, slightly larger buttons)
  • Orientation sensor marks JPEG with shooting orientation
  • Sleek stainless steel body, stylish design
  • Superb build quality (feels very solid, brick-like)
  • New manual features: selectable ISO, AE/AF/FE-Lock, Spot metering, Long exposures
  • On-screen three-point AF boxes (highlight green to indicate AF point used)
  • Histogram display in both play and record review
  • 10x magnification in play mode (magnification is very fast)
  • Expanded range of photo effects (including a 'neutral' and 'low sharpening' setting)
  • Quick operation, good buffering excellent start-up and shot-to-shot times
  • Automatic lens cover
  • Sharp, bright, LCD with anti-reflective coating
  • AF assist lamp
  • Stitch assist mode
  • Ultra-compact lithium-ion battery & supplied charger
  • USB connectivity
  • Direct print (Canon printers only) and ExifPrint (EXIF 2.2) support
  • Good value for money

Conclusion - Cons

  • Flash doesn't have the power or the cover
  • Some moire visible at certain detail frequencies
  • Confusing ISO sensitivity labelling (about 1 EV out?)
  • Average macro performance
  • Below average AF assist lamp performance
  • Slight barrel distortion at wide angle
  • Rubber connections cover
  • Can't independently control sharpness / tone / colour saturation
  • Edge positioned tripod mount
  • Auto White balance doesn't work well in artificial light

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Canon DIGITAL IXUS 330 (S330 ELPH): (2 megapixel ultra-compact)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 10
Features 8.5
Image quality 8.5
Lens / CCD combination 8.5
Ease of use 8
Value for money 8

Canon started the DIGITAL IXUS / ELPH series back with the original DIGITAL IXUS (PowerShot S100), not long after that they produced the slightly larger IXUS 300 (S300) with a three times zoom lens. This year they have updated both models to build on and improve what were already very good cameras. The DIGITAL IXUS S330 is a perfect example of the maturing of a product, subtle changes made to its design, some simple ergonomical improvements and a swathe of fixes, updates and new features which add up to a camera which is notably better than that which it replaces.

The DIGITAL IXUS 330 is a perfect "go-anywhere", delivering excellent image quality, great colour and about as much resolution as we could expect from a two megapixel digital camera. The problem with the IXUS 330 is that it's so good it makes you wonder why Canon didn't put a three megapixel sensor in there (it would make the name '330' more logical...). Oh, and while we're on names... Please Canon, consider calling the next series 'PowerShot Sxxx' everywhere in the world!

The best thing though about the IXUS 330 is not only that it delivers great point and shoot images (which it does) but that it also now provides a surprisingly good range of control for those users who are either looking at the IXUS 330 as their second camera (D-SLR shooters) or those who want a camera that can go anywhere and still provide experimentation and control.

The last, and probably most impressive detail of the IXUS 330 is it's price. With a street price (in the US) of around $400 ($200 less than the introductory street price of the IXUS 300 last year) it does represent very good value for money, especially when you consider the superb build quality and newly updated range of manual controls.

Highly Recommended

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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