on June 8, 2012
A tiny little brick of a camera. I took a few shots with it in my dim living room and compared them with both the Canon A620 and the Canon Rebel XTI...all in "auto". The 520 HS took noisier pictures, yet they were much better to view than the others, which were less noisy but much darker. Which is better, a black frame or a noisy picture? I switched to Program mode and started playing with the settings and menus. The first thing I noticed was that JPG compression was set at "fine"...not "very fine" which is an option. File size went up, but noise decreased quite a bit. Much of the noise was in fact jpg compression artifacts.
The IS seems to work quite well.
The zoom is fantastic for a camera of this size.
The lens is not "flat"...you can achieve quite nice bokeh for a point and shoot.
It has user defined white balance, which I believe is one of the most important features to getting good photos.
The super slow motion is cool, but kind of a gimmick. I got some great video of hummingbirds around the feeder, but it is low resolution.
There is no printed manual, just a PDF file on the included CD ROM.
Flash is unobtrusive, but semi-weak.
Overall, I'm quite happy with my purchase. I think you'll get way better pictures than most point-and-shoots if you switch to the "Program" mode. Your best camera is the one that you actually use to take pictures. The availability of an inexpensive Ikelite underwater housing and the camera's ability to take HD video mean that the Canon Elph 520 HS is going on vacation with us, while the Canon DSLR is sitting at home. My Canon A620 took fantastic underwater video and stills, but alas, after many scuba trips and several dozens of hours underwater (and many years) it doesn't like humidity any more.
I'd give this 5 stars based on what it is and what it's intended to be used for, but in the end I rated it 4 stars because it is a bit noisy in "auto" mode. I'll update this review after we get back from vacation where I'll really get to test the underwater mode and low light performance of stills and video.
Update June 10th -The more I shoot with this camera the more I like it. It is able to capture fantastic images in natural lighting with true to life colors. The myriad of scene modes makes getting the right shot on the first try very easy. I really wouldn't call this a point and shoot...the images in auto mode are good, but when you switch into scene mode you can get fantastic images if you select the appropriate scene. I'm upping my rating to 5 stars.
on September 21, 2013
I ust bought this camera for my wife, who is a technophobe. She loves it. The camera is simple to use on automatic mode...it really does everything for you.
Now, why are there some negative reviews for this camera slamming it for image quality?
Out of the box, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 520 HS is not configured at its highest-possible resolution. I don't know whether to blame lazy owners who don't take the time to go through the manual, novice owners who just don't understand, or Canon for making a bad decision for not making the default the highest resolution and for including the owner's manual on a CD where most people will never see it.
So, here's what you do:
Go into the camera's menu. Look for Image Quality and change the resolution from Fine to Super Fine.
Now you own a tiny camera that takes great photos that Amazon sells for the same price brand new as Canon sells for a refurb. New, Canon sells this camera for over $130 more than Amazon.
People who complain that image quality suffers in low light at high ISOs, I have news for you: Expensive digital cameras that cost $500 and up have the same problem. You could get a Sony DSC-RX100 II for over $700, which does really well in low light, but this camera is aimed at a different user base.
Looking at images at 100 percent magnification, I did notice noise. But for most people, this isn't going to be an issue. Keep in mind this is an inexpensive consumer camera, not a professional grade camera, and not a prosumer grade camera. If you are a professional photographer looking to make giant prints, you aren't using this Elph. This is a camera to keep in your pocket or purse, meant to take photos of your friends and family.
If you are looking for a little point and shoot camera that takes great photos, is easy enough for just about anyone to use, and that sells at a price that won't break the bank, this is the camera for you.
on April 2, 2012
I received the 520HS on Saturday. I am coming from the Canon SD1000, so I loved the fact that the 520HS is the same size, but 3/4 of an ounce lighter. You can read about the features on Canon's website. I really want to comment on the face recognition feature. I took some photos on my computer to set up the face recognition. Today, I took pictures of my daughter's three month old twin girls. I was amazed that the camera recognized their faces. The camera did not use flash even though we were indoors. I must say the pictures are truly amazing. They look like a professional photographer took them. I have read some negative reviews that claim the camera gives poor low light pictures. Some reviewers did not even have a micro SD card in the camera. Well, that is not the case. The DIGIC 5 processor is exceptional for indoor shooting without a flash. The reviewers complained that they already had SD cards and did not like the fact that they would have to get a Micro SD card. I got an 8GB, Class 10, micro SD with the Amazon name for $11.99. I can't comment on the battery life yet because I have not had to recharge it. I didn't get the 530HS because I had heard negative feedback about the touch screen. The only thing other than the touch screen that is different is that the 530HS has wi-fi. The 520HS cost at least $50 less. I am leaving on a cruise and will report back when I return.
on February 24, 2013
For some years, I have had a Canon Digital ELPH S100, with which I have been very pleased.
But time marches on, and the 2MP resolution of that fine little point and shoot has long been left behind. As I recall, the camera also offered only three or four times optical zoom, if I'm not mistaken.
So when I saw that Canon was offering this ELPH 520 with 10MP and 12X optical zoom -- and Amazon was selling it for less than half the price I paid for the S100 back when -- I couldn't resist.
Incredibly, this new model is even more compact -- both thinner and lighter -- than the S100. As other reviewers have stated, I don't know how Canon gets a 12X zoom into this little body, but they did. Needless to say, this gives you much more flexibility framing shots from one vantage point.
I didn't know if I would miss the optical viewfinder of the old model, but the 520 has a large (3-inch), bright LCD screen, and I just went out and shot some beautifully composed pictures of nearby architectural landmarks here in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan. As someone wearing both glasses and a brimmed hat on a cold day, I appreciated being able to compose pictures despite those encumbrances.
I have barely begun to delve into the wealth of features this mighty mite of a camera offers, including HD video capture with stereo microphones, plus a long array of shooting modes to handle particular situations and subjects, including fireworks, portraits, low light, under water, snowy backgrounds, and more.
The camera also offers some artistic special effects like vivid color, posterized shots, fish-eye lens, monochrome, plus the color accent so popular in advertising photography (one object in color -- the rest of the photo in monochrome).
Best of all, you can set the camera to AUTO mode, and it will determine the best settings for any situation automatically.
The camera comes with a USB cable to download photos to your computer, a proprietary battery and charger, wrist strap, plus photo software. You will need to buy a MicroSD memory card; I thought I had one or more in the house, but found this card is smaller than the ones I had bought a few years back.
I must also state that the red color of the camera body is MUCH more attractive than it appears in the photo on this page. It is a beautiful red wine color, with an iridescent glow. If you like gadgets in red, you will NOT be sorry buying the camera in this color, I assure you!
I will report back if I encounter any drawbacks or problems. (I saw one reviewer complaining about slow read/write to the memory card; after reading the camera instructions, I believe he needed to conduct a "low-level" formatting of his memory card, which is supposed to solve such a problem.)
Until then, I am thrilled with this little gem and can't believe what a superb and convenient camera you can buy for the money...
UPDATE: it was a beautiful, sunny, early spring day today, and I took a walking tour of lower Manhattan, bringing along this little Canon. THIS MIGHTY MITE TAKES THE MOST INCREDIBLE PHOTOS!!! EVERY single shot was perfectly exposed and in focus.
In addition, I think there's something in this camera that even improves the photo composition. The image stabilization works perfectly too, which is handy when you're zooming in on the top of a sixty-story building.
Decades ago, I used a fine (and expensive) Nikkormat 35mm camera, and out of 100 photos there were sure to be a few clunkers. I took 103 photos today, and every one was a winner!
Trust me, folks, you will NOT be disappointed with this camera. I only wonder why anyone would need anything larger or heavier to take great pictures; I don't think you do anymore.
on September 2, 2013
First and foremost I can tell you that I have been doing nothing but gushing over this camera since my husband and I bought it. For the price it is a perfect little point and shoot. And it literally is that. It took fantastic pictures right out of the box (well technically not, but I'll touch on that a little later). We didn't need to play with the settings or fuss with it in low light. The flash worked great and the face detection system is spot on. And I can't say enough about the optical zoom. There is not too many, if any, cameras out there at this price point with a 12x optical zoom. And it works great. You can zoom all the way to 12 and your shots still are sharp and crisp. Of coarse the digital zoom goes to 48x but you lose resolution the further you go. Now to touch on the out of box functionality. The one draw back with these cameras is no memory. And that is the case here. A couple shots is all you get unless you have a micro-sd ready to pop in. But those are quite inexpensive now and I popped an 8gb in and you can take over 3000 shots at full resolution. In closing, we loved this camera. We loved it so much we bought a second one so we can each have one. I got the cool blue colour though, red is his thing haha. But as DSLR users we totally appreciate the functionality of this little compact camera and fully endorse it. Happy shooting!
on May 2, 2012
I purchased this camera a few weeks ago after having a canon powershot 710 is for 5 years. That camera had many attributes such as an optical viewfinder and AA batteries, but was only 6X optical zoom. I had tried other cameras over the last 1-2 years but the quality of the pictures was not good. This camera seems to be a winner. The pictures are nice and clear, the new cmos sensor works great in low light, it's very small so fits well in your shirt pocket, and it has 12X optical zoom. I'm not real enthused about the image browser software as the older canon zoom browser seemed easier to use but it's new for me. I had to by a micro SD card, there is no optical viewfinder, and it uses a rechargeable lithium battery, which seems to hold its charge well. It would be nice to have a printed manual rather than a CD for more in depth discussion of the camera but this is an industry trend. The movies are also quite good. I bought the camera at BJs where it was a little cheaper but had to buy the micro SD card which can be gotten cheaper online. All in all this camera seems like a winner and will update if my intial impression changes
on July 27, 2012
I'm really happy with this camera. It takes great snapshots, and it is so small that I can always have it with me. Nobody will ever mistake it for a several thousand dollar DSLR, either in price, weight, or picture quality, but the 12x zoom in such a small package was the sweet spot for me. And lets face it, for most of us, being able to get the shot because you have your camera is much more important than the really high quality picture--that you're never going to blow up to room size anyway--that you would have got if only you hadn't left your big, heavy, awkward DSLR at home!
Some folks have compared the quality to cell phones. There's no comparison. I can get shots that are just dark blobs on the iPhone. The battery is pretty small, though, so make sure you have two or three, which I have always done anyway (they're small, so it isn't that big a deal). Be careful if you buy an off brand battery: Many of them have LESS capacity. Don't go by the picture, many of them appear to be photoshopped to say 1000mAH, but the specs give you the real value. I picked up the Wasabi Power Battery for Canon NB-9L and Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS, ELPH 510 HS, ELPH 520 HS, ELPH 530 HS, and it seems OK so far, but I haven't rigorously tested it. The reviews were pretty good, though.
on May 17, 2012
I was looking for a camera to replace my aging Casio EX-Z1000, which has served me well over the past 5 years or so. I wanted something with a similar form factor, with the expectation that a newer camera would naturally include newer (and better) technology. The EX-Z1000 was great, but had problems with color accuracy and excess noise even at moderate ISO settings (ISO 400 and above).
I've heard good things about Canon point-and-shoots for a while, so I figured I would go with one this time around. I settled on the Elph 520 HS, which at that time had the best reviews among its siblings (the 1xx and the 3xx series).
I immediately tested the 520 HS upon getting it, shooting somewhere around 20 images before charging it and another 60-70 images after. The shots ranged from very-low-light situations (dark hallway in my apartment) to relatively bright outdoor shots (overcast day, parking lot on edge of forest).
First the pros. The 12x zoom was nice. Color accuracy is better than my old camera. The settings only went down to ISO 100, but that's acceptable. I consider megapixel count to be irrelevant; anything above 8 MP is good enough in my book. The IS feature seemed to work well enough, but my hands are pretty stable so my opinion might not count in this matter.
Now the cons. In a word: NOISE. On the camera's built-in screen, everything seemed fine at first sight. But zooming in, I began to notice the extreme amount of noise present in nearly all the pictures. Even at ISO 100, the noise was still painfully obvious -- and that's just on the camera's LCD screen. Viewing the pictures on my computer merely exacerbated the problem -- even monochromatic objects shot under good lighting conditions exhibited innumerable slightly off-color pixel bunches. Textured objects fared much worse, to the point of becoming blurry and riddled with what seemed to be noise removal artifacts. I had problems with noise on my EX-Z1000, but never to this extent; if I didn't know better I'd swear that the 520 HS is trying *too* hard to eliminate noise, which actually results in *more* noise. The noise issue was so bad it made the camera's other shortcomings (somewhat confused autofocus, relatively weak flash) seem insignificant. If you plan on printing out photos at the standard 4R size, then this might not be an issue. But if, like me, you like to set your photos as desktop wallpapers (or print them at larger sizes) then look elsewhere for your camera needs. As for me, I'm returning this camera.
on March 29, 2013
I really like this camera. It takes amazing pictures! I bought it because of the price, the 12x zoom and the image stabilization. It has exceeded my expectations. I like the small size too. I have to admit, I don't use many of the "bells and whistles" that come on most cameras these days so I can't really speak to how well they work. But if you are looking for a great camera that takes great pictures at a good price, this will absolutely fit the bill. My only "complaints" are that the battery life is not that great (I just have an extra one always ready to go) and that the one I bought didn't come with a memory card so I had to buy that separately. But those are minor things for me.
Update 4/2/13: In this short amount of time I love this camera so much and have gotten so many compliments on the pictures it has taken that I just bought one for my sister for her birthday!
on May 8, 2012
I am a huge camera person. I take pictures almost daily of something !!! I had a Canon Sureshot and it finally died on me after many years of use. I purchased this one and love it. the pictures are clear, the color & clarity are really good. It's small enough for a pocket / purse and very easy to use. Defintely worth the price.