The Canon ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS is Canon’s top-of-the-line ELPH / IXUS. Announced in August 2011, it claims to be the world’s slimmest compact with a 12x optical zoom; it’s certainly the longest zoom range of any ELPH / IXUS model to date.
The ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS has a 3.2 inch touch-screen with 16:9 proportions and, in common with all 2011 ELPH / IXUS HS models, a 12.1 Megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor. Canon has upgraded its optical IS system making it more versatile as well as easier to use. Panning in both landscape and portrait orientations is automatically detected and there’s a new Powered IS option for additional stability at the telephoto end of the zoom range while shooting movies.
A common sensor and Digic 4 processor means there’s little to differentiate the current ELPH / IXUS line-up other than hardware, but the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS is an exceptional compact, combining a powerful zoom with great ease of use in a slim, stylish form.
Compared to Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS
The ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS is a step up from the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS in a number of ways. Its 3.2 inch 16:9 touch-screen makes it a very different camera in handling terms to the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS. Then there’s the 12x zoom lens which starts at the same 28mm wide angle as the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS, but extends all the way to the equivalent of 336mm instead of 224mm.
The bigger screen and longer zoom mean that the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS is a slightly bigger and significantly heavier compact than the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS, but it’s still not what you’d call bulky and in fact is the slimmest compact on the market with a 12x zoom.
These two models share the same sensor and Digic 4 processor and the features are very similar. They both offer Smart Auto mode with scene detection, Face detect AF, Smart shutter functions and Creative Filter Effects. Of course the touch screen on the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS provides it with the more intuitive touch-to-focus feature.
The video modes are identical with a best quality setting of 1080p24 and Super Slow Motion as well as Miniature effect modes. Both also offer Canon’s new Intelligent IS stabilisation with Powered IS for added stability when shooting movies at the full telephoto reach of their respective lenses. The touch screen technology and 12x zoom capabilities carry a significant price premium, so if you can live without the former and ‘put-up-with’ a shorter 8x zoom, the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS could be a great choice.
See my Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS review for more details.
Compared to Canon ELPH 300 HS
IXUS 220 HS
The ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS is considerably cheaper than the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS, so what do you have to give up to make that price saving? Most obviously, the 5x zoom range of the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS doesn’t come close to matching the telephoto reach of the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS. But the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS scores at the other end of the field with a super-wide angle of 24mm which might be more useful to you if you shoot a lot of big groups, interiors and landscapes.
The ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS lacks a touch-screen, but while a touch-screen can be fun to use and more convenient for some operations like focussing, how much of a difference will it actually make to the photos you take? And because of the 16:9 aspect ratio, when taking 4:3 shots the view provided by the two screens isn’t that different – in fact the view of 4:3 shaped images on the 2.7 inch ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS screen is actually slightly bigger.
One other thing that’s absent from the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS is Intelligent IS, only the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS and ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS offer that. You still get 12.1 Megapixel resolution, 1080p24 best quality video with Miniauture and Super Slow Motion modes, Smart Auto with scene detection, Creative Effects, Smart Shutter, Movie Digest and all the other features on offer in the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS. So if you’re considering the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS, you have to ask is how important is the 12x zoom and touch screen to you? No wonder the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS has become a best-seller sinch launch.
See my upcoming Canon ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS review for more details.
Canon ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS final verdict
The Canon ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS is the flagship model in the 2011 ELPH / IXUS range. Its headline features are a 12x zoom lens supported by Canon’s new Intelligent IS image stabilisation and a 3.2 inch touch screen. Canon announced the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS as the world’s slimmest 12x zoom camera and it’s an extremely compelling option if you’re looking for good telephoto reach in a smaller, simpler and more stylish format than is offered by compact superzooms like Sony’s HX9V or the Panasonic Lumix ZS10 / TZ20. But in the final analysis, the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS is all about the size, the zoom and the touch screen. If those features are high on your must-have list, you won’t find them combined in a more stylish way.
(relative to 2011 compacts)
18 / 20
16 / 20
15 / 20
17 / 20
17 / 20