Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS

  • Category: Digital Cameras
Last Updated
November 16, 2011

Editor's Rating
3.5 Out of 5

  • Compact, portable design
  • Responsive touchscreen
  • Lots of scene modes/shooting options

  • Mediocre battery life
  • Image issues at high ISO speeds
  • Poor low-light video quality

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The Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS is a 12-megapixel compact, easy-to-use digital camera that features a long, wide lens. It has a sleek design, a 3.2-inch touchscreen and plenty of shooting options. It only lacks in battery life and some image quality at high ISO speeds.

The Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS is definitely an ultracompact camera as it measures 3.9 x 0.9 x 2.3-inches (whd) and weighs just above 7-ounces, so it's definitely small and lightweight enough to slip into a pocket or purse. It has a sleek body and our test unit had a bright red finish. We did find the front of the camera to feel quite slick, so it might be easy to drop. The finish also collected fingerprints quite easily too.

On the camera's backside, there is a high-resolution 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD display. We found the display to be very responsive and makes controlling the camera really easy. For example, to focus on a subject, just tap it or to take a picture, you can also tap the screen. In addition to the touchscreen, there are also a few physical buttons, including power, play and shutter release buttons alongside a zoom toggle and shooting mode switch. Everything else, including modifying the camera's settings, are all done via the touchscreen.

Canon offers many different shooting modes, including a full Auto mode that uses scene-recognition to setup the camera's settings based upon your shooting conditions. There is also a Program mode, which gives you access to settings that include focus, ISO, white balance and a few others. Many different scene modes are available for you to choose from manually. There is also image stabilization (which worked well in our tests), face detection and a smile-activated shutter release, which releases the shutter only when a smile is detected on the subject. Surprisingly this feature worked to our satisfaction.

For those users looking to add a creative touch to their photos, the Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS offers some additional options. These includes things like Color Accents, Color Swap, Monochrome, Miniature Effect, Vivid and Fisheye. While nothing too special, they do give you some added creativity to an otherwise boring image (and they even work with video too!).

The technical specifications of the Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS include a 12-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor and a lens with a 12x optical zoom, aperture of f3.4-5.9 and focal length of 28-336mm (35mm equivalent). Images are shot in JPEG format and have a maximum resolution of 4000 x 3000-pixels and videos max out at 1920 x 1080-pixels (24 fps). Supported storage media includes SD/SDHC/SDXC cards and Eye-Fi Wireless SD cards.

In subjective image tests, we found the image quality of this camera to be very good, however not without some flaws. Images with ISO speeds above 800 tend to become unusable and colors become dull at ISO speeds of 1600/3200. These ISO speeds produce images that will not look very well when blown up to larger sizes, especially ones for printing. The lens did produce clear and focused images aside from some light blurriness at the edges.

Video quality was rated as good in subjective testing. We found low-light quality to be poor because of too much noise, but well-lit conditions produced video that is definitely good enough for Web use and some occasional viewing on an HDTV (via mini-HDMI port on the camera's side). The video is 24 frames per second and full 1080p HD, which is better than the typical point-and-shoot camera. The zoom lens is available while recording video, but it moves very slowly to avoid motor noise being picked up by the stereo microphones on the camera's top.

Battery life, unfortunately, isn't too good most likely due to the touchscreen interface, which requires the screen to be active more often than a typical camera, so more power is required. The CIPA rating is only 170-shots, which is less than other similar cameras.

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