Point-and-shoot compacts are the camera of choice for casual shooters looking to just take snapshots. But the problem many consumers face is they have too many choices. With the compact camera market reaching saturation, manufacturers are pushing the megapixel envelope as well as throwing in full HD video recording to push sales of their newest compact shooters. Canon takes another route with their latest entry-level compact, the IXUS 220 HS.

The 220 HS has a very intuitive user-interface wrapped in a slim package, it weighs just 141g with a memory card inserted; this is one camera you won’t feel much when slipped into your pocket. Though the 220 HS is as generic as they come on the outside, there’s more to this entry-level compact that makes it a delight to shoot with.

Opting to stick with physical buttons instead of the fashionable touch-screen controls, the real estate on the back of the 220 HS is taken up largely by its 2.7-inch LCD screen. The physical buttons are large enough for us to use our thumbs, but those of you with larger ha ids might occasionally block the flash by accident as you use both hands to steady the camera while taking a shot There’s a slider switch at the rear of the camera that allows users to switch between Smart Auto mode and Program Auto. Smart Auto basically lets the camera determine the best settings for the scene while Program Auto offers more options with a press of the FUNC.SET button located on the back plate.

Contemporary compacts come with many filters and effects and Canon has ensured it does not fall behind the competition in this aspect. The 220 HS includes many preset shooting modes, throwing in everything but the kitchen sink, including modes for shooting foliage as well as fish eye effect mode. There’s even a burst mode for those of you looking to capture a series of shots in rapid succession. Do note that this mode results in images shot at just 3-megapixels, though the camera is able to fire off eight frames per second And let’s not forget the full HD video recording capabilities of the 220 HS.

For those really clueless about photography but wish to maximize the use of the 220 HS, Canon has very helpfully included brief descriptions that appear when various options in the menus are selected Examples include a brief explanation on what focusing to infinity does, or what the miniature effect filter does to your picture Resolution-wise, the 220 HS does fairly well by scoring 1,700 LPH horizontally and 1,800LPH vertically. ISO performance was where the 220 HS really shone, as there were only hints of noise at ISO 800 and even images at ISO 1600 were of bearable quality. We also particularly liked that the 220 HS had very quick auto-focus.

It may not be love at first for the 220 HS; after all it won’t win any awards for groundbreaking design. But beneath that lies a capable camera that has an easy-to-navigate interface. Best of all this compact is extremely budget-friendly.

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