On first contact, the Ixus 240 HS holds no real surprises. It has a fairly standard build that's in line with other recent Ixus cameras. Canon hasn't made any extra effort on the design front to make this Ixus stand out from the rest of the range. The 240 HS is made from quality materials and the build and finish are good. On the back of the camera, the usual host of buttons has been replaced by a touchscreen. The only physical control remaining is a playback button.
In terms of handling, it's a bit of a shame there's nothing for your fingers to grip on to. Plus, there's not much room to rest your thumb on the camera casing to the right-hand side of the screen. You may therefore end up pressing onscreen controls by mistake!
The Ixus 240 HS is a relatively easy camera to use, as pretty much everything is taken care of automatically. A limited selection of settings can be found in P and Scene modes, if you're interested. The settings interface is logical and intuitive—its' all fairly typical stuff for a current mid-range compact. Unfortunately, the resistive touchscreen lacks both precision and sensitivity, which can make navigating through menus a rather frustrating experience. On top of that, screen contrast is quite crazy (light greys are completely overexposed) and colour fidelity leaves a lot to be desired. You therefore shouldn't use the camera screen to sort and delete photos—check them on your computer first!
We also found that the Ixus 240 HS doesn't like to stray too far from its charger. If you're a particularly happy snapper, the battery will give up the ghost after about 170 shots and a few short videos. We've already seen batteries similar to this is some ultra-compact snappers, but they don't have the same power-hungry electronics as the 240 HS with its big touchscreen.
The 240 HS isn't a lightning-fast compact, taking over two seconds to start up. That said, there are similar cameras out there that can't even promise that.
The autofocus does a decent enough job on the whole, working in under half a second no matter where you've got the lens zoomed to. However, it does struggle to focus in low-light conditions.
This is the first time we've tested a Canon compact camera with a 16-Megapixel BSI CMOS sensor. The 24-120 mm lens, however, has already been seen in the Ixus 220 HS.
The sensor is actually pretty good. In fact, digital noise and smoothing are handled better than in most Ixus cameras, with both effects kept under control up to 800 ISO. At higher ISO settings, finer detail tends to get wiped out, but unlike similar Nikon and Casio models, Canon manages to keep smoothing in check without letting noise become too much of a problem. All in all, the result is better than with the firm's 12-Megapixel models.
Colours are characteristically Canon in the Ixus 240 HS, with saturated reds and yellows giving a slightly warm (and rather pleasant) overall image.
Ixus 220 HS, we found this to be better quality in the 240 HS. At wide-angle, the image is impeccably even in quality. At telephoto, however, sharpness levels drop considerably, giving the image a kind of hazy veil. This drop in quality isn't necessarily glaring, but it is visible on an 8" x 10" photo (20 x 27 cm).
The Ixus 240 HS films 1080p HD video at 24 frames per second and with stereo sound. Sharpness levels are good but the image is too contrasted, tending to overexpose brighter areas and block up shadows.
- Good and even sharpness levels in wide-angle shots
- Full HD video
- Large touchscreen, clear interface
- Good build quality
- Wi-Fi function is practical once configured
- Images aren't as sharp at telephoto
- General responsiveness could be better
- Screen: touch-controls aren't all that accurate, onscreen image lacks fidelity
- Audio quality (muffled sounds)
- Wi-Fi set-up is nowhere near as simple as with the average smartphone
The Canon Ixus 240 HS is a nice surprise. It gives good picture quality in decent light and outdoes other Ixus cameras with its electronics and lens. It's a nice little camera to handle and it's pleasant enough to use. It does, however, have some rather annoying features, like its insufficient battery life and, to a lesser extent, its responsiveness. That's ultimately why it ended up with three rather than four stars.