TECH TIME REVIEW: Canon PowerShot ELPH 510 HS may be small, but this camera is still packing some features
Point-and-shoot cameras are a mixed bag. We all love the convenience of a small camera that can fit in our pocket or purse, but those seeking great photos also realize that many features and capabilities are usually missing compared to more advanced cameras like Digital SLR machines.
This is usually especially true on the smaller, slimmer models that are released – a little camera often means little to be excited about as far as features and capability.
With the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS camera, Canon tries to shed that image, offering some very impressive specs in a tiny package. I recently tested one out, and I’ll let you know how it performed.
As I mentioned, the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS is slim and light, and has an attractive look to it. You can get the camera in three color options – red, black or silver.
The camera’s official specs for size are 3.9 inches wide x 2.32 inches tall x 0.86 inches deep. The depth is a most notable number there, as you’ll be hard-pressed to find another camera this good that is that thin.
In terms of weight, the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS weights roughly 7 ounces with the battery and memory card inside. It’s not heavy at all (not much more than the weight of a cell phone), and won’t weigh you down. The camera features a metal body that has a high-quality, solid feel to it. You aren’t afraid that it’s going to break on you and it doesn’t feel cheap.
The most important aspect of a camera is the picture quality. Canon has done a great job with the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS in this area, as the photos I shot with it came out with great detail.
The camera offers 12.1 megapixel photos, which is a good number. But it’s not just about numbers. The real ability to take such great photos comes from the combination of technology in this camera — such as the 28mm Wide-Angle lens and optical image stabilizer.
One very cool thing in terms of picture quality is that the camera takes decent pictures in low-light, a feature you won’t find on basic point-and-shoots and one which will come in handy in a lot of situations.
Only downside I saw in terms of picture-taking was a somewhat slow shutter response time. You have to wait a few seconds for the photo to be taken, and other cameras I have tried do it quicker.
The 3.2-inch color Touch Panel LCD monitor on the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS features a wide viewing angle and is very responsive.
The on-screen menus take a little while to learn, but after a little practice they’re very easy to use.
You’ll need to learn them though, as there are almost no physical buttons on this camera – the touchscreen is how you operate it. This may annoy some people, but it’s something you can get used to.
The touchscreen can also be tapped if you want to take a photo, a very cool feature.
As all top cameras do these days, the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS films HD video. It is very high quality, full 1080p HD, and I was not disappointed with the videos I shot. The sound was good, in addition to the high-quality visuals.
You can zoom in while shooting video, and an HDMI output on the camera lets you view the videos on a big screen HDTV. One cool feature is the “movie digest” option. This records short video clip before you take each photo, and then combines one day’s worth of clips into a video.
When you get a camera, you want to be able to take pictures from far away. The PowerShot ELPH 510 HS features a 12x digital zoom, making it a camera that can be used from an impressive distance.
This is especially impressive considering how small and thin the camera is, and one of the factors that distinguishes it from the other cameras on the market.
There is no viewfinder to spy into to see what your image will show; just look at the touchscreen and you’ll see your image as it will come out. This is fine, though there are some people out there who prefer a viewfinder
With high-speed burst mode, you can take several shots in a row … then go through and pick the best one.
Slow motion movie recording is available too.
If you want to jump into the picture after setting up the shot yourself, there is a timer with preset 10 second and 2 second delays, or you can set up your own customizable delay in 1-second increments.
The PowerShot ELPH 510 HS accepts a variety of memory card options, including SD Memory Card, SDHC memory Card, SDXC Memory Card and Eye-Fi.
When going over the photos you’ve shot, you can do a lot of manipulating of them – such as rotation, red-eye correction, resizing, etc. You can also view them as a slideshow
The included USB cable allows you to connect the camera to your computer, where you can store your photos and do what you will with them from there (I’m a big fan of Shutterfly.com to make prints and other products from my photos). You can also connect the USB cable directly to some Canon printers if you have photo-quality paper at home.
With this camera, you can let the machine do the work or do it yourself, in terms of settings.
Smart AUTO finds best settings if you don’t want to figure it out yourself. (The camera will choose from a list of 32 preset options)
If you like to tinker with your settings, everything from aperture to shutter speed to white balance can be adjusted as you wish.
A variety of shooting modes are built into the camera and can be chosen, including: Portrait, Kids & Pets, High-Speed Burst, Handheld Night Scene, Low Light, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap, Beach, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks and more.
IN THE BOX
You’ll get the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS camera, a charger, a battery pack, a wrist strap, a USB cable, and a CD-Rom.
While not the greatest, battery life on the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS is decent at about 170 shots. I’ve seen better, but I’ve also seen worse. Charging of the battery is pretty quick.
The retail price of the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS is $349.99 if you buy direct from Canon. But it can be found for less than $300 if you buy it elsewhere online, such as amazon.com and other similar sites.
Canon has done a good job with the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS in terms of packing a lot of great options into a very portable package. You won’t be able to be as artistic with your photos as you could with a DSLR, but that’s understandable, as that is comparing apples and oranges, plus this model is several hundred dollars less than most DSLR models.
It’s no stretch to call this model one of the best point-and-shoot cameras on the market. It’s got an attractive look, great zoom ability, a responsive touchscreen, produces high-quality photos and video, and should definitely be considered by anyone who wants a compact camera but doesn’t want to sacrifice on specs.
Matt Myftiu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-745-4617. Follow him on Twitter @MattMyftiu or become a fan of the Facebook page “OPTechTime”.
On the Web
For more information on the PowerShot ELPH 510 HS, visit usa.canon.com.