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.
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.