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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Canon IXUS 980 underwater

Well here it is, the new holiday camera, the Canon IXUS 980.
Compact but with manual features - focus, shutter speed, ISO, white balance and a choice of two apertures per each focal length.

But more importantly it finally gives me the option of attaching a wide angled lens (and an additional macro at that).

The whole package was not cheap. The INON wide angle lens itself was £300 and the housing specific adaptor another £70. But it does offer a greater field of vision that I was never going to get with my G9 without the necessary Ikelite housing it needed.
The below image shows images without and then with the wide angle and the increased field. It was not a true test of the capabilities of the lens are re sharpness out to the edges, just simply a straight-out-of-the-box blast to show my other half why I'd spent all this extra cash on a new camera.

So how did it perform?
This is very much a warm-water camera. The buttons are too close together to operate with gloved hands. Sadly, I have also sacrificed full control of aperture that the G9 offered and also the option of shooting in RAW.

When the camera lens is at it's widest, you only get the choice of F2.8 or F8 (fully zoomed it offers F5.8 and F16). That said, using manual focus allows you to get around the lack of full aperture control to an extent to get those macro-type shots with shallow depth of field. A bit fiddly underwater, it can still produce some quality stuff if you persevere and it is a function I will be using permanently from now on.
It definitely needs a strobe for underwater use. The slow shutter speeds needed when using the available light in the pool test left slight blurring from camera shake.

The Powershot S90 with the Ikelite housing might have been the next best in comparison to the G9, but at a cost of an extra couple of hundred quid.
That might be the next step for UK underwater photography but the IXUS 980 represents a chance to do wide angle stuff abroad without the need to lug around large and heavy camera gear (and the extra cost of excess baggage charged by airlines).
I'll post some pics tomorrow of the limited test carried out in the pool.

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