Canon ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS review - Quality

Quality

Canon ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS vs Canon ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS image quality

 
To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, I shot this scene with the Canon ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS and the Canon ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings.

The lenses on both cameras were set to an equivalent field of view and both were set to Program auto exposure mode.

The ISO sensitivity was manually set to 100 ISO on each camera.

  ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS results
1 ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS Quality
3 ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS Noise
5 ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS Sample images

The image above was taken with the Canon ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS. The lens was zoomed in slightly to give an equivalent vertical field of view to the ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS. In Program auto mode the camera metered an exposure of 1/200 at f10. The original Superfine JPEG image size was 7.47MB. The crops are taken from the areas marked with red rectangles and presented here at 100%. Image stabilisation was disabled for these tripod-based tests and i-Contrast was left in the default off poition on both cameras.

Overall the ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS has produced a nice result, the exposure and white balance are spot on and the colours are bright and saturated. A wider aperture and faster shutter speed would have produced a better quality result though as at f10 diffraction will result in less clean edge detail than a wider aperture. The ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS has two aperture settings and generally uses the smaller one in bright outdoor conditions, only opening up indoors and in low light.

Turning to the crops, there’s a good level of detail, but some visible noise too. The HS suffix on the ELPH / IXUS range stands for High Sensitivity and highlights the low noise capabilities of their back-illuminated CMOS sensors, but even outdoors in bright light they’re not completely noise-free. Having said said that, there’s a world of a difference between these results and those from models in the PowerShot range which use a 16 Megapixel CCD sensor and are more prone to noise and processing artifacts.

The first crop actually shows a good deal of detail in the chapel and grassy foreground. Likewise the lighthouse is a clear and distinct column with well defined edges and the foreground roofs and window frames also showing a good level of detail. While there’s a definite textured look to these crops, it’s not intrusive and it doesn’t obscure fine detail. The third crop from the frame edge is a little softer and there’s slight colour fringing on the window frame. As you might expect, the final crop from the centre of the frame produces the best result with clean sharp edges and plenty of fine image detail.

The crops from the ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS make for an interesting comparison with those from the ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS. You might think that with a 10 megapixel sensor the ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS stands a good chance of producing better results than the 16.1 Megapixel ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS, but in fact the sensor in the ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS has a total pixel count of 16.8 megapixels and is in all likelihood the same sensor as in the ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS. Only the central portion of the sensor is used, giving an effective count of 10.1 Megapixels.

What does this mean in practice? See my upcoming review of the ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS for more details. As far as the quality of the crops is concerned you can tell pretty much at a glance that while the detail from the (effective) 10.1 Megapixel ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS is smaller, the quality is actually very similar. About the only other difference is that the ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS doesn’t suffer from chromatic aberration at the edge of the frame.

To see how these models compare at higher sensitivities check out my Canon ELPH 110 / IXUS 125 Noise results.

 
Canon ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS
 
Canon ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS
f10, 100 ISO
f3.4, 100 ISO
f10, 100 ISO
f3.4, 100 ISO
f10, 100 ISO
f3.4, 100 ISO
f10, 100 ISO
f3.4, 100 ISO


Canon ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS results : Quality / Noise

Canon ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS vs Canon ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS Noise

 
  ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS results
1 ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS Quality
3 ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS Noise
5 ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions I shot this scene with the Canon ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS and the Canon ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS within a few moments of each other using their highest resolution Superfine JPEG mode at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

The cameras were set to Program Auto exposure mode, the lenses were set to the same field of view and the ISO sensitivity was set manually.

The above shot was taken with the Canon ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS. The lens was zoomed in slightly to produce an equivalent vertical field of view to the ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS. Image stabilisation was disabled and i-Contrast was left in the default Off poisition. In Program Auto mode the ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS chose an exposure of 0.4s at f3.5 and 100 ISO.

Looking at the crops, the ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS’s 16 Megapixel sensor does an excellent job at the lower ISO sensitivities. As with the outdoor resolution test there is noise visible at the base 100 ISO setting, but it’s unobtrusive and doesn’t get in the way of the fine detail. At 200 ISO there’s a slight, but definite increase in the noise levels, but I’d be happy using either of these settings to produce big prints – you can just about squeeze a good quality A2 print from a 16 Megapixel image.

The jump to 400 ISO produces another marginal increase in noise levels but the overall level of detail is still good and the edges are holding up, though looking a bit granular. 800 ISO is a bit of a watershed, with some softness now creeping in as well as increased noise and smearing of some of the text on the plaque, but overall image quality and details are still holding up well. 1600 and 3200 ISO look poor at 100 percent with all but larger detail obscured by noise and processing. While these sensitivity settings dont look pretty at 100 percent, they’re certainly worth it for must have shots and don’t look nearly as bad at smaller screen display sizes.

As I noted in the outdoor resolution test, the ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS uses the central 12 Megapixel portion of a 16.8 Megapixel sensor that may well be the same one used in the ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS. It’s therefore no surprise that its crops, although showing smaller detail than the ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS, look remarkably similar in terms of noise quality. The full-size sensor in the ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS does have its advantages. As well as being able to produce larger prints the larger detail is less prone to noise damage. Compare the text in the 400 and 800 ISO crops and you’ll see what I mean.

Finally, don’t forget that both these models have a composite Handheld NightScene modes which takes three shots in quick succession and stacks them to produce a low-noise composite image. You can’t set the ISO manually, but both cameras chose 1600 ISO for this interior scene and produced results markedly better than the single-frame 1600 ISO crop.

Now head over to my ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS sample images to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

Canon ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS
 
Canon ELPH 520 HS / IXUS 500 HS
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
     
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
     
3200 ISO
Low light 1000 ISO
     
1600 ISO Handheld NightScene
1600 ISO Handheld NightScene

Canon ELPH 110 HS / IXUS 125 HS results : Quality/ Noise

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