The Canon IXUS 510 HS has a couple of key differences when compared to others digital cameras. To start with the 12x zoom lens is far longer than you will typically find on a digital camera that is small enough to slip into a pocket. Likewise the lens is far more powerful than you would normally expect to find on a digital camera that offers you touch screen control.
Other big attractions include the fact that Canon have built Wi-Fi connectivity into the IXUS 510 HS. At the time of its introduction in spring 2012 this is one of a very small number of digital cameras to offer Wi-Fi.
Another area where this camera impresses is its movie mode. It has a range of movie options. These include being able to shoot High Definition Movies as well as the ability to shoot short movie clips that can be played back in slow motion.
Compared with other touch controlled digital cameras at this price point the IXUS 510 HS has the following:
The IXUS 510 HS offers you a bit of extra class compared to a lot of digital cameras. It is stylish, well made and takes good quality pictures. This is in addition to the impressive set of features on offer.
Megapixels and Zoom
Canon have opted to use fewer megapixels than you find on most digital cameras. This camera has 10 megapixels. Fewer megapixels packed onto the sensor can help to provide better picture quality. The zoom lens gives you 12x magnification. The focal length is equivalent to 28 - 336mm in 35mm format. This makes the camera flexible enough to cover most typical photo opportunities you are likely to come across.
Unlike the vast majority of current digital cameras the IXUS 510 HS is not compatible with SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards. This camera records images to smaller microSD, microSDHC and microSDXC cards.
A lithium ion battery is used to provide power to the camera. The battery and charger are supplied as standard. Canon estimates you should be able to take around 190 shots in between charges.
Full High Definition Movies can be recorded. These have a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. The recording speed is 24 frames per second.
In addition to being able to shoot High Definition Movies you also have the option to shoot in iFrame format. You can also produce movies that can be played back in slow motion.
There is also a movie digest mode. When you turn this on the camera records 4 seconds of video before each photo is shot and then joins all the recorded short clips into a bonus HD (720p) movie.
Wi-Fi connectivity give you an easy way to download your photos to other devices such as smart phones.
The LCD screen is 3.2 inches in size. Apart from zooming in and out and reviewing images all settings are changed through the touch screen. You can even take a photo by touching the screen instead of pressing the shutter button.
Canon have added quite a range of scene modes. Using scene modes can help to improve the quality of your photos. This is because when you opt to use a scene mode the camera is able to identify the ideal settings for your shot. The scene modes available are Portrait, Smooth Skin, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer), High-speed Burst (2.5MP), Handheld Night Scene, Low Light (2.5MP), Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap, Snow, Fireworks and Long Shutter.
Movie Scene Modes
As well as having access to the scene modes for still photos as listed above you also get access to a set of scene modes you can use when shooting a movie. These are: Portrait, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap, Snow and Fireworks.
In macro mode Canon claim the IXUS 510 HS is able to focus from 1cm away from your subject.
Canon have built Image Stabilisation into the lens. This helps you to avoid any unwanted blur in still images. It also reduces any jerkiness in movies making them look smoother.
Picture Quality Summary
Picture quality is impressive compared to other small compact digital camera. One area where this and other Canon digital cameras often outperform some rival brands is with the degree of sharpness that is maintained as you move away from the centre of the photo.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 1
The first test shot is a challenge owing to the amount of contrast in the scene. The camera copes well with this. It manages to show a fair amount of detail in the lightest areas of the boats while also maintaining some extra definition and detail in areas of light shade. The only issue I found was that it can be difficult to get the lens to zoom in to the right place so that a scene is framed exactly how you would like it to be.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 2
If you are looking for a camera that can capture deep blue skies then this is an area were the camera performs well. The level of sharpness in the shot is impressive too. This may partly be due to the fact that Canon have not been overambitious with the wide angle of view of the lens. Vertical lines do have a slight tendency to lean in towards the edges of the shot.
Outdoor Scenic Shot 3
In this test picture the IXUS 510 HS does a number of things well. To start with the picture was taken on a windy days. Despite this the camera is able to freeze any movement so that the trees show detail and do not look like a single mass. Another plus point is the amount of contrast the camera is able to pick out in areas of a very similar colour such as the tiled roofs.
In addition to the sharpness of the shot the IXUS 510 HS adds extra depth to the colour of the brickwork on the building. Some cameras find it difficult to get the brightness right when the sun is shining on the building. This can lead to some of the colour being washed out, but that is not the case here.
Taking typical portrait shots should prove to be quite straightforward for you. Focusing is likely to be sharp across your pictures and as long as lighting is reasonable taking portrait shots is relatively simple.
Indoor Portrait With Flash
This shot is as good as test shots that have been taken with far more expensive digital cameras. For what is really a snapshot camera aimed at people who may not have much experience with photography quality is excellent. The IXUS 510 HS manages to pull off the combination of plenty of brightness while still retaining enough skin colour to give the picture a natural look.
Indoor Portrait Without Flash
The big thing about this picture is how the camera manages to pull in as much light as possible. That helps to create a very bright photo. This is likely to be a big help to you if you are looking to take photos indoors and you either do not want to use flash or your subject is out of the range of the flash unit.
Although I was unable to produce pin sharp macro shots from the 1cm away from the subject that Canon suggest it was still possible to get in noticeably closer than a lot of cameras manage. Once again for such a small compact digital camera the quality of the shot is impressive.
If you are looking to photograph scenes with blue skies and plenty of greenery then you should be very happy with the photos you are likely to produce. The colours have a punch to them that will help to add a bit of extra zest to your pictures.
Any noise or general loss of definition is controlled well. As with any digital camera you are likely to see the edge lost from the definition of a photo if you are taking photographs in poor light. In bright conditions your pictures should look sharp and clear.
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
Review Date: June 2012
If you are prepared to pay a bit more for extra quality then the Canon IXUS 510 HS is likely to be of interest to you. For a pocket camera picture quality is very good. Add in the impressive set of features including a touch screen and Wi-Fi and you can start to see that you do get more for your money compared to a lot of digital cameras. The power of the lens also gives you plenty of scope for capturing a wide range of photo opportunities. It is true you pay a little extra than with more standard pocket cameras, but if you also include the stylish look of this model there is a lot on offer for the price tag.
Ease of Use:
Value for Money:
85.8 x 53.5 x 19.8mm
microSD, microSDHC, microSDXC
Single Shot With Flash:
Five Shots With Flash:
Turn on Time:
At less than 20mm wide it is easy to slip this camera into more or less any pocket. One drawback of the touchscreen is there is no room on the back of the camera to place your thumb easily. This is a fairly minor inconvenience.
The flash unit is positioned in the top right hand corner as you look at the camera. The only issue with it being placed there is that it can be quite easy for a finger to stray over the unit and block out some of the light.
LCD Screen Quality
Having reviewed the Canon IXUS 240 HS and been disappointed with its screen responsiveness I found the IXUS 510 HS to be much better. In fact compared to most touch controlled digital cameras you should find the screen responds well to touch without the need to use the stylus. The overall viewing quality of the screen is very good too.
Turn on Time and Shutter Delay
When flash is not being used the camera has fast response times for both single photos and when you want to fire off a quick burst of shots. Using flash does slow the camera down. The time taken to turn the camera on and take the first shot is about standard.
Design, Build Quality and Finish
As noted above the big difference between most digital cameras offering this much zoom power is the fact this camera is much more stylish. Although style is a matter of personal taste the IXUS 510 HS does have a certain elegance to it. It has a bit more Wow factor than most cameras. The build quality appears to be very good. The camera has a gloss finish.
All the controls are on the top of the camera. These are the on / off button, shutter button, a ring for zooming in and out and a button to review images. The back of the camera is given over entirely to the touch screen.