To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, we shot this scene with the Canon ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS, the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS, and the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.
The lenses on each camera were set to approximately the same field of view and all three cameras were set to Program auto exposure mode.
The ISO sensitivity was manually set to the lowest available 100 ISO setting.
The image above was taken with the Canon ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS. The lens was set to its 5mm (28mm equivalent) maximum wide angle focal length. In Program auto exposure mode the camera metered an exposure of 1/500 at f2.8 at 100 ISO. The original image size was 2.92MB. The crops are taken from the areas marked with red rectangles and presented here at 100%.
Overall, results from the ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS are pretty good. Image detail is crisp, contrast is good and the colours are natural looking. Every ELPH / IXUS model tested overexposed this scene a little and the ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS was no exception. The overexposure is marginal, but enough to lose a little detail in the sky; a better result with no loss of shadow detail could have been achieved with about a third of a stop less.
All three of these models have the same 12.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor, yet the results are far from identical. The first crop from the ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS looks a little soft and lacks crisply defined edges, though you can make out the door and windows in the chapel reasonably well. The second crop has a slight textured look to it and the detail, particularly in the lighthouse and the foreground roofs, looks a a little smeary. The detail in this crop looks a bit less natural and more processed.
Moving on to the third crop, there’s some purple and green fringing here, though it’s quite weak and diffuse and the edges in this crop – the brickwork and drainpipe – look a lot softer than in the next crop taken from nearer the centre of the frame. In this last crop the straight edges of the window frames are picked out more cleanly, but the detail still isn’t as sharp as it could be.
Compared with the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS the crops from the ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS look uniformly softer and more processed. While there’s little to tell them apart in the first crop, take a close look at the boundary between the foreground roofs and the sea in the second crop with the lighthouse. The ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS is a little more contrasty but there’s more detail in the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS crop. The third crop from the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS is cleaner and sharper with much less evidence of chromatic aberration and likewise in the final crop, though to a lesser degree, the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS is crisper with better fine detail resolution.
Compared with the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS it’s a different story. The first crop from the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS is marred by the quite severe colour fringing along the horizon line. That aside, the ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS crop looks a little punchier and I think there is a little more detail. Despite the smudginess of the second ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS crop I still think it wins out in quality terms over the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS. The final crop from the centre of the frame is too close to call, all of which suggests that the sensor and processor in these two models are closely matched, but the 4x optical zoom on the ELPH 100 HS / IXUS 115 HS is capable of producing better results than the 8x optical zoom on the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS.
It’s worth reiterating our usual caveat that you’re only likely to spot these differences if you’re looking for them at the 100 percent actual pixel view. In a side-by side comparison at, say, 25 percent, you’d be hard pushed to tell these shots apart.
Now let’s see how they compare at higher sensitivities in our High ISO Noise results.