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Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS Review

By on April 18, 2012

The first impression the Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS leaves on you is a good one. This small, attractive box camera comes with 12x zoom and a three-inch high resolution liquid crystal display (LCD) screen on the back. Even when you extend the lens to its maximum, the camera is not bigger than an ultra-compact model.

However, what takes away from the good initial impression we had is the quality of the pictures and the video and also to a certain degree the usability of the device. To make the camera shrink to its present size involved some trade offs, which make it less attractive for the price Canon asks for it, which is $300.

canon powershot elph 520 hs review

Photo Credit: Blogs.shintak.info/archive/2012/01/11/56871.aspx

Features of Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS


The qualities of the snaps clicked by the Canon powerShot Elph 520 HS range from good to very good but they aren’t in the league of what the past Elphs models were capable of.

At the lowest ISO levels, the subjects in the picture appear noisy and soft when looked at 100 per cent, which means the the 10MP resolution of the camera doesn’t allow much cropping or enlarging of the images. PowerShot cameras thrive in low light indoor environment and deliver good results, but the Elph 520 HS’ performance gets poorer at ISO 400 and above.

The one good thing which can be said about the camera are the colors in the picture remain good till ISO 800. However, at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 the noise and noise reduction ruin the fine detailing which makes things in the picture smeary and soft, with yellow blotches showing up because of the noise. The Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS works best when it is used outdoors with ample light around. If you need high quality stuff for sharing online and small prints and are looking for something better than your smartphone then give this camera a miss.

Photo Credit: Efoto.lt/fotoaparatai/resultnew?manuf=canon

The quality of the videos shot with this camera is okay and at par with what a small video camera having high definition or a smartphone. The videos shot are good for sharing on the internet but if you want to view them on a high definition television you will be disappointed. When you are making a video, there will be a judder while panning the camera which is what typically afflicts majority of compact cameras out there while there is ghosting phenomenon behind objects which are in motion. The zoom lens is fully functional when you are recording a video and during quiet scenes you hear it moving.

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Shooting Modes

There are a large number of options for shooting different scenes but disappointingly all of them are in the automatic mode, so the user doesn’t have control over the aperture and shutter speed. The switch on the top of the camera has two options: one for auto and other for the different modes.

canon powershot elph 520 hs

Photo Credit: Chopc.com/index.php?mod=view&act=news&nid=15905

Canon has upgraded the Smart Auto mode and now it can recognize 58 shooting situations, including the new face identifying feature, in which the user can program the device to recognize a maximum of 12 faces and then the device will automatically prioritize them for exposure and focus. In testing, this feature worked but it is one of those features which most users will not use that frequently.

Switching off the Smart Auto mode will open up the Program Auto mode and all other scene modes, miniature effect, creative effect and slow-motion recording. If you are a user who changes modes very frequently then using this feature will be a pain as accessing the long list can be a pain sometimes.

The PowerShot Elph 520 HS has the company’s Smart Shutter option and this includes shutter release which is activated by a smile and self-timers associated with face and wink detection.

Sum Up & Price of Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS

First the good points: The Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS is a handsome camera which is astonishingly compact for a device having a 12x zoom capability. The main drawbacks are the layout of the buttons, which need some time getting used to.

The battery isn’t that long lasting and the quality of the pictures and videos isn’t as good as it should be on a $300 camera. The Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS is for people who have a smartphone with a decent camera but need a proper compact snapper which has good zoom capability and performs faster.

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