• Price When Reviewed: 221

  • Pros: Fast operation, optical image stabilizer works well and the wider zoom range is handy. Great 2cm macro option.

  • Cons: No direct control over apertures and shutter speeds, noisy sensor, and no RAW file-capture option.

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

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Ousting the 10-megapixel IXUS 900 Ti as the flagship of Canon’s IXUS series of pocket-sized digital compacts, the new 8mp IXUS 950 is, in fact, a replacement for the lower-end 6mp IXUS 800 IS.

Although this means the new 950 has a three-tone painted body instead of the IXUS 900’s raw finish titanium shell, the new model ups the spec of the 800 while boasting some features that the 900 lacks.

For starters, the 950 inherits the IXUS 800’s 4x optical zoom with a handy 35-140mm range. Viewing the image side-by-side with the 37-111mm lens of the 900, there’s a noticeably wider view that belies the slight difference in focal length.

The 950 also benefits from the 800’s optical image stabilizer technology. Not only does this help resist the shakes when light levels tumble, sensor sensitivity doesn’t have to be boosted as high, keeping noise levels down.

The 950 sports the new Hi ISO Auto feature with sensitivity running up to ISO 1600, and the face-detection AF & AE option of the IXUS 900. Like earlier models, focusing defaults to the blisteringly fast 9-point Ai-AF focusing option if a face can’t be located.

New to the 950 is the inclusion of a PureColor 2.5-inch screen. The cool blue cast of earlier models has been replaced by a warmer look, and the panel is brighter, clearer and easier on the eye.

While it has an optical viewfinder, the 950’s new screen is slightly more reflective than before. It also lacks any control over apertures or shutter speeds, and there’s no RAW file option, which is an omission at this level. Its somewhat noisy sensor is a surprise too.

While the 950 is likeable, the 850 IS, with its compelling mix of low noise and an image stabilized 28-105mm zoom, still seems like the one IXUS to go for.