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Hey! You should know that Canon has released a newer version of this product: the Canon PowerShot ELPH 115.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS:
Hands On Review

Last year's ELPH, the 100 HS, was one of the best point and shoot digital cameras of 2011. This newest model, the 110 HS, adds some key upgrades like a wider zoom range and 16 megapixel sensor. Will these upgrades be enough to continue Canon's dominance in the sector?
By Chris Weigl

Last updated on 01/18/2013

Canon’s ELPH lineup began way back in 1996 with the launch of a sleek and stylish APS film camera of that very name. The camera went on to become the best selling APS camera ever made, and the branding quickly made the switch to digital with the launch of 2000’s Digital ELPH. Since then, Canon’s ELPH (also known as IXUS) lineup has become synonymous with minimalist style and a sleek portability. The cameras have consistently remained among the best sellers on the market, due in large part to their predictably competitive image quality. Last year’s model, the ELPH 100 HS, was actually our pick for best point and shoot in the $200-$300 price range.

 

The ELPH 110 HS digital camera, then, has a lot to live up to. The camera sports the latest 16 megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor paired with a 5x optical zoom. That zoom range may not seem like much in 2012’s market of oftentimes 10x and up, but the 110 HS makes up for this lack by being exceptionally small. The camera is ostensibly simplified for the point and shooters among us, blending simplified controls with a go-anywhere size. At a high price point of $230, though, has Canon been resting on their laurels with the latest ELPHs or will the 110 HS prove that the line still has what it takes to be top dog?


Body and Design

Canon has pulled away from the brushed metal designs that made the original ELPHs stand out, favoring instead lightweight plastic for the latest models. The 110 HS is an exceptionally small and light camera, weighing in at a nearly unnoticeable third of a pound. It may not be quite as thin as the thinnest internal-lens cameras on the market, but it’s definitely shorter and squatter than most. The rounded edges on all sides also help keep the camera’s footprint down; honestly it’s easy to forget you even have it in a pants pocket. It’s oftentimes easy to equate sturdiness with weight, so while the 110 HS doesn’t exactly exude quality, it’s probably built well enough to last a few years. There aren’t any obvious weak points on the body, including the battery door, and the tripod mount is metal.

 

As previously mentioned, the lens on the 110 HS is only 5x optical. While the obvious downside is that this makes it much less versatile than a longer zoom range, it does start at a useful 24mm and f2.7. It doesn’t keep that speed for long, and by the long end of the zoom reaches a slow f5.9, but it’s nice to see such faster speed at all. The top of the body has the shutter button orbited by zoom toggle, the On/Off button, and a switch to go between Program and full Auto shooting modes. The back is dominated by a 3-inch screen with 461,000 dots, next to which the Record button falls right under your thumb. There’s also a 4-way controller here, with quick access to Exposure Compensation, Macro, Flash settings, and a Display cycle, in the middle of which is the Function/Set button. Below this controller is a small Menu button and the Playback button. Along the bottom of the camera rests the Battery/Card compartment and the metal tripod mount, which is just off-center of the lens.


User Experience and Performance

  The 110 HS is a very simple camera in operation, with only Auto and Program modes to choose from. Automatic mode leaves essentially everything up to the camera, as you’d expect, while Program gives you access to ISO, white balance, exposure compensation and metering modes. Program also allows you to use the My Colors menu for custom color controls (such as selective color or sepia) as well as all the built-in scene modes. Unfortunately the camera wont try to choose from the included scene modes automatically, but the usual array of Portrait, Miniature, Fisheye, Smooth Skin, Toy Camera, and Soft Focus make an appearance here. Canon has also included a Movie Digest mode, which takes a video clip with each photo, and a Slow Motion Video mode, albeit at very reduced resolution.

 

On the whole, camera operation is exceptionally quick and easy. The camera turns on and is ready to shoot in about a second and turns off just as quickly. This alone makes it the ultimate point and shoot, ready to go as soon as you are and then be slipped back into a pocket. There’s almost never a need to dive into the menus either, for all the settings are either one button press away on the four-way controller or just a couple using the Function button. The Menu button is therefore reserved for the more esoteric user and setup options that you’ll most likely set once and forget about. Autofocus never took longer than a second either, and is among the best in the point and shoot market. The camera attempts to track focus, too, although this was pretty easy to fool. The flash, too, was quick to charge and could usually keep up with normal single shot shooting without a hitch. For sheer ease of use and intuitiveness, the ELPH 110 HS is second to none.


Image Quality

Images from the 110 HS are vibrant and saturated without looking overly processed. In a wide range of shooting situations, from bright sunlit days to the darkness of a concert, the 110 HS was astoundingly consistent in its representation of a scene. Unlike many point and shoots, which may force you to take and then retake a photograph after fiddling with settings, the 110 HS got it right the first time almost every time.

 

Base ISO shows some of the haziness we’ve come to associate with a backlit CMOS sensor, but detail reproduction is still extremely good and competitive with cameras costing $100 more. As the lighting gets low and the ISOs go up, images get more and more smeared as severe noise reduction takes its toll. While photography buffs may balk at such heavy-handed processing, the result is pleasantly noise-free images that point-and-shooters will love. ISO 1600 should probably be your limit for reasonably detailed pictures, but colors don’t shift even at 3200, which is there if you really need the extra speed.

 

The 110 HS’ lens, albeit only 5x optical zoom, is sharp throughout the range and from edge to edge. The very far corners of the lens aren’t great, but that’s a small price to pay for such a portable package. The sensor and noise reduction are the detail limiters here, not the camera’s lens. Flare and chromatic aberration are both well controlled too, with neither becoming a problem throughout the review period.

Video was very good as well, although there’s no stereo sound. The sample is of a concert, which the on-board mic wasn’t able to handle very well. You’re able to zoom while filming too, albeit at a slower pace to avoid zoom noise.

 

Conclusion

We had a great time with the Canon ELPH 110 HS. As a simple point and shoot, it fulfills all the necessary check boxes that make it a perfect companion for those who don’t care to fiddle with aperture, shutter speed, or ISO. Whether shooting a late-night party or a well-lit landscape, the 110 HS will be able to keep up with your antics and give you well-exposed photographs with accurate, punchy colors. Put simply, this is a point and shoot that does exactly that quite well. If you’re looking for an ultra-portable camera that doesn’t sacrifice on image quality, the simple yet functional 110 HS is a great choice.

 

There are a few other cameras that have a similar mixture of great image quality and portability, most notably Sony's WX50, which offers better video and burst shooting. The ultracompact SZ7, too, is another good choice that includes an impressive 10x optical zoom. The Nikon S6300 also offers 10x optical zoom but does so in a larger yet less expensive package. Finally, Canon's own ELPH 320 HS is also worth a look, although if you can live without a touchscreen the 110 HS will save you some money. 


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Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS Reviews

Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS Reviews by Digital Camera-HQ Users

Canon digital cameras are well known for having high quality optics, as well as being dependable and easy to use. One of the biggest manufacturers of digital cameras in the world today, Canon has attained a reputation for manufacturing some of the best digital cameras and digital SLRs available on the market. Those that want top quality cameras often have at least a few Canon cameras on their shortlist. Sure enough, Canon has won PC Magazine's Reader's Choice Award for Service and Reliability repeatedly and camera models are consistently given top marks in reviews.

While Canon is not known as a cheap brand, Canon digital cameras have achieved the best buy status. This means that the higher price tag is well deserved. Within the past few years, Canon has introduced a few types that sell for less, while offering results that are quite respectable. One such camera is the Canon PowerShot A1200. The A1200 has a small optical viewfinder that makes it easier to shoot outdoors as well as AA batteries, unlike most other models at this low price point.

Other digital cameras by Canon have also earned high marks across the board, such as the cheapest Powershot A series, the SD or ELPH series compact point-and-shoots, and the Rebel consumer dSLRs like the T4i. Most Canon camera customers and enthusiasts are attracted by the solid design, convenience and the high quality of picture these digital cameras provide. The Canon enthusiast compacts found in the G and S series cameras are some of the best Canon digital cameras available. These models have taken over the advanced digital camera market for a few years now, appealing to both amateurs and professionals requiring something pocketable. For example, the Canon PowerShot G15 boasts a swiveling LCD screen, a 12 megapixel sensor and a very fast lens ideal for low light photography.

Lately, Canon has been ramping up the specifications across its mid and high-end models by adding features like GPS and WiFi. These better specifications differentiate the upper models from lower-end cameras, but mean that they also have a higher price tag. When buying a Canon digital camera, experts recommend that you thoroughly read Canon digital camera reviews and ratings and consult other users in order to pick the right model.

We here at Digital Camera HQ offer unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations to guide you to the right camera. We're not a store, but you can trust our camera grades to help find a great camera at the best price. We're always happy to help if you have any questions or issues.
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