Canon IXUS 127 HS Camera Review

This isn't really a full in-depth review, but more of a first impressions type post about the 16.1 mega pixel Canon IXUS 127 HS. I could be wrong, but from my limited research, I believe that the 127 HS is the same as the 125 HS. If not exactly the same they are at least very similar. Anyway, I've got the 127 HS model, and the reason I bought it was mainly because it can record video @ 1080p "Full HD", and its extremely small in size. And of course the price.


In used condition the 127 HS can be found for sale very cheap. With any camera there are good points and bad points. This one is certainly no exception. Straight shooting: All images in this post (other than the one of the actual camera itself) were taken with the 127 HS (Class 10 SD memory card) and have not been edited in any way except for either being made smaller or zoomed into a little to show more detail. Also worth noting: None of the pictures in this post were taken in auto mode. They were all shot under the Program setting. With all that said, first I will talk a bit about what I don't like.

What I don't Like

The Screen: This might sound crazy, but the LCD screen is too good. What I mean by this, is that you take a picture and it looks amazing on the screen, but when viewed on a computer monitor it's not the same. The quality isn't as good as what I thought it was, and the noise is quite noticeable. Basically the clearness of the camera screen makes you believe the image is much better than it really is. For example: The other day I took a really close up photo of a sock. Just testing the cameras macro ability.


It looked extremely sharp and detailed on the LCD screen, but once I viewed the image on my desktop computer the clarity wasn't all that great. Don't get me wrong, the image quality isn't terrible, but this issue is quite disappointing. It's almost the opposite of another Canon camera I was testing a few weeks back. The Canon Powershot S2 IS.


Image Quality: A bit of a let down. The images are not as good as I expected they would be. I think this may be due to the cameras small sensor - huge pixel count combination. I mean it does have 16.1 mega pixels, which is a lot. Images seem to come out rather noisy. But like I said above, for such a small camera the pictures aren't that bad. They just seem to lack some sharpness. Or was I expecting too much. ISO range is from 100 - 3200.

A Ladybird (Ladybug) Pupa on a car door

Auto Mode: When in the Auto setting, for some reason the camera won't let the user select the super fine quality setting. It automatically selects the quality setting below, which is fine. And there is no option to change it. The IXUS 127 HS is so "auto" that it literally only lets the user change a few settings, like the aspect ratio of the image, flash on or off, burst mode (continuous images), and the image size.


One of the main settings (image quality) is preset and cannot be changed. Or at least I couldn't figure out how to change it. Quite annoying. I would have had a look through the manual to see if this was covered, only the booklet that comes with this model aren't actually the manual. Those are just a quick start guide showing the absolute basics. The real manual is contained on a CD ROM Disk (included in the box), and I couldn't be bothered to take a look. However, in Program mode the picture quality can be easily changed.

Limited Video Recording Duration: The Canon 127 HS is limited in the amount of video footage it can record at one time. It's either when a single recording reaches 1GB in size, or once 10 minutes of recording has elapsed the camera will stop filming automatically. I say this because I'm not sure on the file size, but I was testing out the 1080p quality on this camera by using it as a dash cam in my car, and after 10 minutes it shuts off. You can apply a CHDK hack to get this limit removed, but still, another inconvenience with the IXUS 127 HS.


Battery Life: Due to how small the camera is I can give it a bit of a pass for having a pretty poor battery life. Tiny camera = even smaller battery. The battery (680mAh) is very small. And while duration isn't great, I have still been able to make it last around a day. That's with mixed usage like turning it on and off a lot, taking a few pictures, recording some footage etc. So definitely acceptable, but could, and should have been a lot better.


Build Quality: While the build quality isn't too bad at all (admittedly it has a bit of a "disposable" feel), it is finished in a very slippery, smooth material. There is nowhere to grip, and as a result I've almost dropped it a number of times. And let me tell you, if this camera suffers a fall from any reasonable height, it is not going to fare well. I'd say one drop and this camera will be broken. It's small and delicate. So if you do buy this model be sure to always try to remember to use the wrist strap when holding it.


Buttons are also quite small and hard to use, especially at night time. I've got finger nails and even I have trouble using the camera in the daytime, let alone at night. So for someone who's nail-less, I'd imagine they would end up feeling quite frustrated using the 127 HS. Someone with sausage fingers probably wouldn't even manage to take a picture! One more thing worth mentioning is the zoom function / ring, which is located on the outer circle of the shutter button.

This feels very flimsy and I wouldn't be surprised if it fell off sometime soon. However, it is still intact and doing its job well. While on the subject of the zoom I should add that the 5 x zoom works fairly good. Not great but far from the worst. One thing that is bad about the zoom, is how loud it is when filming. It's very loud.

What I Like

So Compact: Like I've mentioned a few times already, the size of this camera really is one of its best selling points. Being super small, It truly is a take-anywhere point and shoot. Some point and shoot cameras are pretty big. I own a few that are. Same with Bridge cameras and DSLRs. If you're someone who wants none of the size associated with carrying a capable camera, and want the convenience of having a real pocket size camera, the IXUS 127 HS is well worth considering for that aspect alone.

A Curled Up Millipede

Great In Low Light: This has really surprised me. Comparing it to other point and shoots I already own, this one beats them all hands down when it comes to shooting in low light with no flash. I'm yet to really test the video footage in low light, but pictures in dark settings have been really good.

True Colours: One thing about all the Canons I've used and own is how good they are at capturing the true colours of a subject. Luckily, so far for me they have been spot-on. This model is the same. Some brands and models (I'm sure some are potentially Canon's) have problems with certain colours, and others can't seem to capture a true likeness and are washed out. Definitely not the case here. Images are a bit soft and do have noise, but colours are very good.


Lots Of Cool Features / Modes: There are so many excellent settings on this camera. From the usual different colour modes like black and white, Vivid, Sepia and Neutral, to Positive film, lighter / darker skin tones, and also custom colour options. But there's much more than that. In Program mode there are many cool features to experiment with.

Some of those include: Super Vivid, Colour Swap, Poster Effect, High-Speed Burst, Toy Camera Effect, Miniature Effect, Long Shutter, Underwater, Soft Focus, and the very funny, Fish-Eye Effect. There's also an excellent Super Slow Motion Movie Mode available which records at both 240fps and 120fps. Choice is yours. The only downfall is that when recording a slow-mo video there is no sound. So the videos are silent. Still a lot of fun though.

Quick test video @ 1080p. Canon IXUS 125/127 HS Full HD Test - Duck Quack
If you want to see the video at 1080p you must change the setting on the video. Default is auto (360p)

Excellent video quality: Again, as mentioned, one of the main reasons for purchasing this camera was for its high quality video. I'm happy to say I have not been disappointed. The highest quality its capable of recording at is 1080p @ 24fps. On this setting the footage is very clear and crisp. Excellent and very convenient for those times you want to quickly record something in HD at random. 640p and 720p@ 30fps are also available. 720p is excellent and can help save some SD card space if running low from filming too much 1080p.

To Sum It Up

For such a small camera, it's a great all-rounder. It's so convenient to carry around. When you see people write online about small cameras, and they say it fits easily in any pocket, sometimes in reality that's not always the case. Yes, they fit in the pocket, but it feels like your carrying around half a brick. Well with the Canon 127 HS, it really is a true pocket sized camera. Not the sharpest, best quality picture snapper out there but still has a lot going for it. A really good everyday carry mini camera. This "review" has turned out to be much much longer than I intended. I hope it gave you some insight into what to expect if you are considering purchasing the IXUS 127 HS.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here is a quick test video of the mini 16.1mp Canon IXUS 125 HS filming at Full HD (1080p - 24fps). Good little camera with an extensive range of features and functions for such a tiny, low priced point and shoot. This model has now been discontinued but can be purchased in used condition on eBay. The sound quality while filming appears to be really clear if you listen to the birds chirping in this video.


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