When my ‘handbag’ camera died last year, I felt bereft. I’ve always carried a camera around with me, ready to take a spontaneous picture at any time. So I bought another – a good make, reasonable price – but I was so disappointed. Not with the quality of picture – although it wasn’t great, but I would have learned how to make it take good photos given time – but with the idle time battery life. It used AA batteries, which I’ve used before in my previous ‘big’ camera and I was perfectly satisfied with them. But whatever battery I tried in this camera just didn’t last. And the point of a ‘handbag’ camera is that it’s always ready to use, whenever. Always.

Finally, the frustration was too much and I gave the camera to DH, who doesn’t often use one, but is going to Israel as the grand finale to his Sabbatical. He’ll want to take photos there, and indeed, as he’s practised using this one around and about during his time away, he’s started to pick up the photo-record bug and has posted several on his blog. Since in Israel the camera will be in use most days, idle time battery life doesn’t really matter so much as he can charge or replace the batteries each evening.

So my holiday treat this half term (rather more expensive than the usual ‘cream tea’ :lol: ) was a visit to LCE (London Camera Exchange) in Exeter. I was very specific in my request … a small, durable, compact digital camera, with lithium battery and external charger (not USB) … I had an eye on a couple in the window of makes I’d used before (Nikon and Olympus), but the salesman led me to a little gem in his cabinet, the Canon IXUS 130 (the link is to a Jessops page). And I’m delighted: this little box of tricks (it’s actually smaller than my mobile phone) is such fun! In auto mode, it even switches to macro automatically … and at the highest definition, videos are HD quality :o In program mode you can make it do almost anything except dance, and the menus are delightfully intuitive and easy to navigate.

I’ve since read round the reviews, and they’re not all positive, but I suspect some folk aren’t totally reasonable about what they expect of a compact. Landscape shots in low light aren’t brilliant, but I’ve always struggled with them, whatever camera I use.

These are a couple of shots from the old camera, so you can see it took perfectly good pictures!

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The River Axe as it approaches Seaton

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Sky shot – I was really pleased with this pic :)

While this is one of the first pics I took with the IXUS …

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and it certainly came in handy when we ended up on the front of a three car shunt :angry: This was the car that caused the accident …

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I’m getting used to it now, so hopefully the picture quality will continue to improve …

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but you still need a super zoom or SLR (one day!) for that special, from a distance, sit and wait for something to happen moment!

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Avocets on the Exe estuary
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