Just 1.1 seconds after the power button was pressed, it was able to take its first shot and subsequently could snap off a shot every 1.3 seconds. Even with the onboard flash enabled, we experienced a lag of only 2 seconds between shots. Shutter lag was a negligible 0.4 seconds. The only disappointment was the camera's burst mode, which managed only one shot per second.
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
||Typical shot-to-shot time||
||Time to first shot||
||Shutter lag (typical)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Photos were attractive, with fine detail rendering and solid colour reproduction. Aside from some slight purple fringing along the borders of bright subjects, we noticed few distortions or aberrations in our photos. Image noise was acceptable to as high as ISO 800, manifesting as a fine grain that dulled colours but otherwise didn't mar photo quality too much. ISO 1,600 was a different story: a sparkly, static-filled mess that made the photo look as if it were received via a television antenna.
The Canon Digital IXUS 850 IS is a great point-and-shoot camera. It's small, it sports a stabilised, wide-angle lens, and it can pump out beautiful shots at a pretty rapid pace. If you want higher resolution and don't mind losing the optical image stabilisation -- though we don't recommend the trade-off -- the Canon Digital IXUS 900 Ti and the Casio Exilim EX-Z1000 offer 10 megapixels in ultracompact bodies.
Edited by Lori Grunin
Additional editing by Nick Hide