The Canon IXUS 310 HS is a high quality, touch controlled digital camera. It is small enough to slip into most pockets. There is a lot to like about this camera. You will be able to take good quality snapshots and the camera appears to be well made with a good build quality. The IXUS 310 HS has 12 megapixels and a 4.4x optical zoom lens.
The LCD screen is very responsive. This is an area where the IXUS 310 HS compares well against many of its closest rivals.
Canon have made four different coloured versions available. These are pink, silver, brown and gold.
Why Buy The Canon IXUS 310 HS
In terms of build quality, picture quality and screen responsiveness this is one of the best touch controlled digital cameras you can buy.
100.6 x 55.4 x 25mm
More than Enough Megapixels for Printing
12 megapixels is more than enough for making extra large prints. There are cameras around that offer more megapixels, but you do not need extra megapixels if you are only looking to make prints up to A4 size.
Wide Angle Lens So You Can Capture Wide Scenes
Many pocket cameras do offer a lot more zoom than the 4.4x on offer with the IXUS 310 HS. You may find the lack of zoom power limiting, but the lens is of a high quality. The lens has wide angle capabilities with a focal length equivalent to 24mm - 105mm in 35mm format.
One plus point for the lens is that it has a large f/2 aperture. This can work to your advantage when you are taking photos in lowlight.
Canon have built image stabilisation into the lens to help combat any blur caused by unsteady hands.
Good Sized LCD Screen
A larger LCD screen is always useful. It can be a big help when you are composing photos. A larger screen is even more important for a touch controlled digital camera. With smaller screens the screen icons can become cramped. This can make it difficult to select the correct setting. Canon have equipped the IXUS 310 HS with a 3.2 inch LCD screen. Although there are a small number of cameras with 3.5 inch screens the typical size for touch control is 3 inches.
Smart Auto Can Help You Improve Picture Quality
When you switch the camera into smart auto mode the camera attempts to identify the type of scene you are photographing. It will then attempt to use what it considers to be the optimum settings for the type of scene. This can help to improve the quality of your photos.
Top Drawer Movie Mode
You can shoot Full High Definition movies with the IXUS 310 HS. Full HD gives your movie clips a higher resolution and therefore greater quality than those taken using standard HD. If you like the idea of playing back your movies in slow motion there is a special high speed movie mode. This operates at a much lower resolution than HD movies.
Dynamic image stabilisation is available in movie mode. This helps to reduce any wobbly moments in your videos.
A Few More Advanced Features
Although the IXUS 310 HS is primarily a point and shoot digital camera there are a few features you can use if you are struggling to get the exact picture you are looking for. These include white balance to change the warmth or coolness of the colours, exposure compensation if your photo is too dark or too light and ISO if you are trying to freeze motion or take a photo in lowlight without flash.
The IXUS 310 HS may be a small digital camera, but there is still enough room for you to get a good grip. With the back of the camera virtually free of buttons there is plenty of room to rest your thumb.
The one awkward placement is the positioning of the flash unit. Canon have placed it in the top right hand corner as you look at the camera. A small amount of extra care needs to be taken to ensure a finger does not stray over the flash unit and block any light.
LCD Screen Quality
The quality of the LCD screen is very good. This is not just for touch control. You should also be able to see the screen easily in bright conditions.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
The camera is quick to turn on. When taking photos without flash response times are inline with the average times recorded by this type of digital camera. When flash is turned on the camera slows down considerably. This is an issue that is common with Canon digital cameras.
Design, Build Quality and Finish
Canon have curved the corners and rounded the edges to stop the IXUS 310 HS looking just like so many other pocket cameras. Build quality is hard to fault and the body is made out of stainless steel.
With the vast majority of controls being accessed by touch there are very few buttons and switches. On the top of the camera are the on / off button, the shutter button, a zoom ring and a switch to select the shooting mode. The only button on the back of the camera gives you access to view photos you have already taken.
What are Your Menu Options?
The menu section is broken down into three areas. There are 12 functions, 15 menu items and 19 setup options.
Image Quality - See Sample Images Below
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
There are plenty of challenges in this photo, but the IXUS 310 HS copes with most of them. It is able to show plenty of detail in the lighter areas of the boats. Glare from the sun is handled well too. Colours are deep and this helps to create a good looking test shot.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
Smaller compact digital cameras with small lenses can find it difficult to produce a sharp focus right across a picture when the lens is zoomed all the way out. In this instance the camera does very well. Even as you reach the edges of the shot focus remains strong. If you view the image at full size you may notice evidence of purple fringing around light coloured objects. It is fairly minor and is unlikely to show on more standard sized prints.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
Zooming in produces another photo where sharpness is some way above average. The camera also handles the contrast in the colours well. It is able to pick out the deep reds showing in some of the foliage as well as various hues of green and blue.
Focusing locks on to the building. The level of detail is spot on if you blow up the image to a large size. As with the other shots very little sharpness is lost as you move out towards the edges of the photo. The camera also manages to add some extra depth to the colours compared to many digital cameras.
This photo has a warm glow to it. The IXUS 310 HS has no problem moving in closer to the subject. This is a fairly standard photo for a digital camera and you should be able to take plenty of pleasing portrait shots.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
The flash unit is able to deliver enough light to produce another bright photo. The skin tones look very pink. You may be able to reduce the colour in the skin tones if they are not to your taste by adjusting white balance.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
Even without flash being used the camera still manages to pack a lot of brightness into the shot. Noise is kept to a minimum and the definition of the shot is impressive.
Although the macro shot I ended up with was very sharp the IXUS 310 HS had a problem focusing on the exact area I wanted it too. Canon state that this camera should be able to focus from 3cm from the subject, but you might find focusing can get confused if you are in quite that close and you need to increase the distance to 6 or 7 cm before you get the shot you want.
For any digital camera the perfect combination is well balanced colours with plenty of depth, bright clear shots with pin sharpness. The IXUS 310 HS comes as close as any pocket camera to that perfect combination.
Noise levels are controlled very well. You can still expect to see noise in darker, shady areas of your photos or with shots taken in low light, but on the whole the IXUS 310 HS handles noise as well as you can expect for a small compact camera.
Picture Quality Summary
When it comes to picture quality the IXUS 310 HS stands up very well against all its rivals. Aside from a small amount of fringing there are no particular drawbacks to be concerned about. When it comes to picture sharpness this camera is ahead of the field.
Shutter Lag Times
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time
Ease of Use
With some touch controlled digital cameras the screen is unresponsive. That is not the case with this camera. Canon have gone for good sized screen icons. This means that you are unlikely to touch the wrong icon.
Points I Like
Stylish design, movie mode, picture quality, build quality, LCD screen
Where it Could Improve
Shutter delay with flash
The Canon IXUS 310 HS is a high quality digital camera. It gets just about everything right. The IXUS 310 HS scores very highly for picture quality, build quality and ease of use when it comes to touch control. If you are looking for a touch controlled digital camera and quality is your main requirement then this camera is difficult to beat.
Top Rated Cameras in this Category
Sony DSC TX55 Rating 85/100
If the touch screen was perfect then the Sony Cybershot DSC TX55 would be a truly outstanding digital camera. As it is picture quality is hard to beat for such a small camera. Style and design is very impressive and the features on offer give you more or less everything you are likely to want in a point and shoot pocket camera and a bit more on top. It can be very hard to find the perfect touch screen so if touch control is important to you then this camera is well worth a place on your short list.
Read Review: Sony DSC TX55 Review
Panasonic DMC FX90 Rating 79/100
Panasonic offers some excellent digital cameras and can normally be replied upon to produce crystal clear photos. As with previous reviews of cameras in the FX part of the range the Panasonic Lumix DMC FX90 just does not match up to those usual high standards. Focusing is softer than it should be and you are likely to see the results of this even with relatively small sized prints.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX90 Review
Panasonic DMC FX70 Rating 79/100
The Panasonic Lumix DMC FX70 does not quite match up to the picture quality I am used to seeing from Panasonic digital cameras. It does have a lot of other plus points, but if you are looking for true clarity in your photos there are better pocket cameras around.
Read Review: Panasonic DMC FX70 Review