The Canon IXUS 125 HS is a tiny little point-and-shoot camera. It’s so small that if you stick it in your pocket you may well forget it’s in there – and that’d be a great shame, as it’s a brilliantly capable snapper.

Canon IXUS 125 HS – design and build

But more on that later. The small size and barely perceptible weight of the 125 HS are big advantages here, and there aren’t many cases of usability suffering as a result: there’s a 5x optical zoom, and the LCD is clear, bright and as large as on most compacts. The only real issue is the cursor/function control on the back, which lets you change settings swiftly: it’s so dinky you sometimes end up pressing the wrong button.

Canon IXUS 125 HS – controls

The controls are stripped down – you simply toggle between automatic and ‘other’ modes rather than twist a dial – and this means photogs who enjoy messing about with the settings will have a fair bit of button-pushing to do. We suspect the 125 HS is aimed more at those who leave the camera to do the thinking – and with no less than 58 different settings in auto mode, this camera is pretty nifty at that. It analyses the conditions and picks the settings or scene preset it thinks best, and most of the time you end up with lovely results.

Canon IXUS 125 HS – image quality

Image quality isn’t up to the standards of pricier, bulkier Canon compacts like the S100 – we’d like to see a touch more contrast to give shots extra punch – but it’s still excellent for an ultra-compact. Colours are bright, detail is sharp and graininess is minimal at lower ISO settings, while the high sensitivity tech means you can take flash-less shots in dim conditions and still get reasonably clean results.

Canon IXUS 125 HS – filters

There’s a range of Instagram-esque filters and effects to mess about with, as well as several scene modes that optimise the settings for different subjects (portraits, snow, etc). There’s no manual control mode (sorry, enthusiasts!) but the P mode lets you set the ISO, white balance and so on. Smart shutter mode detects grins and automatically trips the shutter.

Canon IXUS 125 HS – video skills

You can also capture HD video in two main flavours: 1080p at a movie-like 24fps and 720p at a smoother 30fps. Switch to a lower resolution and you can record at 240 or 120fps for dream-like ultra slo-mo playback (cool, yes, but the quality is poor).

Canon IXUS 125 HS – verdict

If you’re looking for a truly tiny camera that doesn’t compromise too much on image quality and usability, the Canon IXUS 125 HS deserves a spot on your shopping list.

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Canon IXUS 125 HS review

It ain’t perfect – but the Canon IXUS 125 HS is a surprisingly powerful camera given its tiny dimensions