Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS - Quality

Quality

Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS vs ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS vs ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS quality

   
To compare real-life performance when zoomed-out, we shot this scene with the Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS, the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS and the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 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.

  Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS
1 ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS Quality
2 ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS Noise
3 ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS Sample images

The image above was taken with the Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 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 1/400 at f3 at 100 ISO. The original image size was 3.04MB. The crops are taken from the areas marked with red rectangles and presented here at 100%.

Overall, viewed at less than 100 percent, this test shot looks pretty good, but the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS has overexposed the scene slightly, probably by about 1/3rd of a stop. The histogram is clipped on the right and there’s a gap on the left hand side of the graph so a better result could have been achieved at -1/3EV without losing any of the shadow detail in the foreground. Though the colour looks a little cool and slighlty desaturated the white balance is actually spot on and the result is natural-looking.

Turning to the first crop, there’s pretty good detail in the chapel and the hillside in front of it, but the blue-tinged halo that extends along the horizon is a little disconcerting. One possible cause of this is processing – it could be a compression artifact. Another possibility is chromatic aberration and, having looked closely at some of the other shots I took with the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS I’m pretty sure that’s what it is. You can see the same issue on the second crop with the lighthouse and again on the third one, this time with a red fringe along the vertical edges of the window frame. But while you can see it on these 100 percent crops it’s not noticeable at lower magnifications and is only likely to be if problem if you’re making big prints of contrasty subjects.

Aside from the fringing, there’s not really a lot to criticise about the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS image quality, though they do have a discernible slight graininess without which the fine detail would be better resolved. Detail at the frame edges is also slightly softer than in the centre.

Compared with the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS, the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS crops overall aren’t quite up to the same standard. Given that these two models almost certainly share the same sensor you’d expect the results to be similar and they are. The differences will therefore be due to the differences between the 8x zoom of the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS and the 5x zoom of the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS and any differences in processing. Judging by the results, though, it’s the lenses which are the main factor. The ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS doesn’t have the fringing problem, at least not to anything like the same extent as the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS. The ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS crops are slightly sharper and show a little more detail across the frame and they are more consistent then those from the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS

The crops from the IXUS 1100 HS / ELPH 510 HS make a very interesting comparison because it too shares the same 12.1 Megapixel backlit CMOS sensor. What’s most interesting here is that the IXUS 1100 HS / ELPH 510 HS with its 12x optical zoom has the exact same fringing problem as the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS. If anything it’s slightly more severe, at least in the first and third crops. The only other thing that separates these two IXUS models in terms of quality is that the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS crops look to be marginally sharper both at the edge of the frame and in the centre.

Now let’s see how they compare at higher sensitivities in our High ISO Noise results.

 
ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS
 
ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS
 
ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS
f3, 100 ISO
f3.2 100 ISO
f3.4 100 ISO
f3, 100 ISO
f3.2 100 ISO
f3.4 100 ISO
f3, 100 ISO
f3.2 100 ISO
f3.4 100 ISO
f3, 100 ISO
f3.2 100 ISO
f3.4 100 ISO


Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS vs ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS vs ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS Noise

 

 
  Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS
1 ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS Quality
2 ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS Noise
3 ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS Sample images

To compare noise levels under real-life conditions we shot this scene with the Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS, the ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS and the ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS within a few moments of each other at each of their ISO sensitivity settings.

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

The above shot was taken with the the Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS in Program auto mode. The lens was set to its widest angle 5mm (28mm equivalent) focal length, the sensitivity was set to 100 ISO and the exposure was one second at f3. The crops are taken from the area marked with the red square and presented below at 100%.

The first crop from the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS, taken at 100 ISO isn’t completely noise free, but this is nonetheless a perfectly respectable result. There’s good detail in both the column on the left and the wood panelling on the right. There is an overall graininess which you see most clearly in the wood panelling, but it’s not unpleasant in quality and preferable to the smoothness that would almost certainly result from trying to process it out.

At 200 ISO the grain takes on a slightly bitty texture, but you can see almost as much detail in this crop as the previous one. The quality drop from 100 to 200 ISO is fairly marginal and certainly worth the extra stop of exposure it provides. Moving to 400 ISO its a similar story – a slight increase in the noise and another slight loss of detail as a result. The same thing happens at 800 ISO and although the cumulative result is a crop with considerably more noise than at 100 ISO, I’d feel comfortable about using any of these sensitivity settings for photos that were going to be viewed on screen. If I was making full sized prints I might be a bit more circumspect but, even then, the noise at 800 ISO, while abundant, isn’t particularly offensive.

From 1600 ISO on, as you’d expect, the noise gains the upper hand, obscuring ever coarser detail, but it’s good to have a 3200 ISO option for those shots that you’ve absolutlely got to have, regardless of the quality.

Not surprisingly, given that they share the same sensor, the crops from the IXUS 220 HS / ELPH 300 HS and the IXUS 1100 HS / ELPH 510 HS bear more than a passing resemblance to those from the ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS. They’re not identical, but in the context of quality – how much noise is present at each ISO sensitivity setting and how much image detail suffers as a result – there’s little if anything to choose between them. The most significant difference is that at its maximum aperture of f3.4 the IXUS 1100 HS / ELPH 510 HS has underexposed the 100 ISO shot and the higher ISO shots also look a little underexposed.

All three models offer Handheld Night Scene mode which takes a sequence of shots in low light and produces a single composite image. The ISO is set automatically in this scene mode so it’s difficult to make comparisons, but the results are a definite improvement on what you’d get from a single high ISO shot under the same conditions. The ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS Handheld Night Scene crop actually looks a little sharper, but this is most likely due to better focussing rather than sensor performance. One of the drawbacks of Handheld Night Scene is that you can only use the default nine area auto focus.

All three models also offer a 3 Megapixel low light mode. As you can see from the crops, as well as higher resolution it provides much better detail with significantly less noise. They also offer a Best Image Selection mode which shoots five shots and chooses the best one.

Now head over to our Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS gallery to see some more real-life shots in a variety of conditions.

ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS
 
ELPH 300 HS / IXUS 220 HS
 
ELPH 510 HS / IXUS 1100 HS
100 ISO
100 ISO
100 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
200 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
400 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
800 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
3200 ISO
Hand-held Night Scene 1600 ISO
Hand-held Night Scene 1250 ISO
Hand-held Night Scene 1600 ISO
Low Light 2000 ISO
Low Light 2000 ISO
Low Light 2500 ISO
Best Image Selection 2000 ISO
Best Image Selection 2000 ISO
Best Image Selection 2500 ISO

Canon ELPH 310 HS / IXUS 230 HS results : Real-life resolution / High ISO Noise

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