Reviewers say the Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS -- the top model in the Elph lineup -- is a solid choice for a travel zoom camera with touch-screen operation. At less than an inch thick, the 510 HS is one of the smallest cameras with a 12x zoom lens (28 mm to 336 mm) and Canon's new Intelligent Stabilization feature, which has seven modes to steady the lens. Experts like the bright 3.2-inch touch screen, which has tap to focus and shoot and photo preview with a swipe of a finger, even though reviewers and users say these features are finicky. Other highlights include a special 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor for low-light shooting, Canon's latest DIGIC 4 processor and tons of auto shooting modes. The full HD video (1080p) has Super Slow Motion, optical zoom capabilities, an HDMI port for TV playback and the option to shoot in the Apple-friendly iFrame video format.
Despite the high-end features, performance is "slightly off target," says CNET's Joshua Goldman. Nearly all experts report slow start-up times and a juddering effect when panning video shots, while editors at Steves-Digicams.com cite an "anemic" flash and "dismal" battery life. However, the 510 HS rebounds with superb photo and video quality. Experts rave about the clarity and color accuracy and, in tests at PCMag.com, the 510 HS snaps sharper images than the pricier Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX7V , although the Nikon Coolpix S9100 delivers better low-light photos. Overall, reviewers give a thumbs-up to the 510 HS, even though they agree that other cameras -- such as Canon's own PowerShot SX230 HS -- deliver comparable features with better performance. For about the same price, the Casio Exilim EX-H20G offers a 10x zoom lens and GPS for tagging photos.
PCMag.com, CNET, DigitalCameraInfo.com and CameraLabs.com offer the most thorough test-based reviews of the Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS. All provide lengthy evaluations with plenty of product comparison, while Steves-Digicams.com has a stand-alone write-up that includes sample photos. User reviews at Amazon.com help to confirm expert findings.
The Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS is a "very good choice" for anyone wanting a tiny camera with a long zoom and touch-screen controls, says Jim Fisher. The camera shines with its high-resolution LCD, solid build and good HD video, but its slow start-up times and poor low-light photos place it behind the Nikon Coolpix S9100 and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX7V for performance.
Review: Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS, Jim Fisher, Oct. 26, 2011
"Jamming a wide and long lens into a tiny body is pretty incredible," says Joshua Goldman. The Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS hits the mark for design, features and image quality, but Goldman says that shooting performance and battery life could be better.
Review: Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS (Red), Joshua Goldman, Nov. 10, 2011
3. Camera Labs.com
Even though the Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS has a bright and punchy 3.2-inch LCD, the touch-screen operation "isn't nearly as responsive" as other Elph models, and speed isn't one of the camera's strong suits, says Ken McMahon. Nevertheless, the powerful zoom lens, advanced image stabilization and HD video make it an "exceptional" compact that's smaller and simpler than the Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS10.
Review: Canon Elph 510 HS / Ixus 1100 HS Review, Ken McMahon, Nov. 2011
"What a disappointment," says Christopher Snow about the Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS. The camera snaps photos with "amazing" color accuracy, but suffers from an inconsistent touch screen, hit-or-miss resolution and "far from ideal" handling. Snow says the Casio Exilim EX-ZR100 and Fujifilm FinePix F600EXR offer better features and performance for the money and that the 510 HS is "destined for obscurity."
Review: Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS, Christopher Snow, Dec. 13, 2011
The Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS impresses editors because it tucks a huge 12x zoom lens into a tiny yet durable metal frame. They like the high-quality LCD that's easy to see in any lighting condition, good photo quality and dedicated video recording button. They consider the 510 HS a great value despite the weak flash and short battery life.
Review: Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS Review, Editors of Steves-Digicams.com, Oct. 25, 2011
The few users who have weighed in about the Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS are divided: half are happy with the camera, the rest disappointed. "I purchased this camera with high hopes. On paper, the specs look great. In reality, it falls short," says one owner. The finicky touch screen and poor battery life surface as the biggest complaints, and several users consider the Canon PowerShot Elph 310 HS a better camera.
Review: Canon PowerShot Elph 510 HS, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Feb. 2012