The Canon Ixus 510 HS sports a compact chassis, along with a 12x zoom and built-in Wi-Fi capability, but does this justify the price tag?
The Canon Ixus 510 HS sports a modest 10.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, along with a decent, but not class-leading, 12x optical zoom with a maximum telephoto setting of 336mm. The lens' widest 28mm equivalent setting means that there's plenty of scope for cramming as much as possible into each frame.
The 510 HS is set to go up against the likes of the Panasonic Lumix TZ30, the Sony Syber-shot HX20V, while we recently gave its sibling Canon PowerShot SX260 a four-star rating. Does the 510 have what it takes to make it into our list of the best digital compact cameras around? Read on to find out...
Measuring in at 86 x 54 x 20mm, this pint-sized snapper is truely pocket-sized and is slightly smaller than a packet of cigarettes, while it tips the scales at a lightweight 163g.
The metal body means that the 510 has a premium look and feel, although we found that the white version that we reviewed (it's also available in black) ended up slighly scuffed after a day or two in our bag (sorry Canon!) - but nothing beyond the usual wear and tear that you'd expect.
The textured non-slip surface of the white version add a little extra grip to a camera that otherwise has very little to hold onto, but we doubt that the high-gloss finish of the black version has quite the same affect.
The pint-sized aesthetics are carried through to the memory card - Canon has opted for a fiddly micro SD card, which can be a little hard to load.
Canon Ixus 510 HS: Controls
As the camera is so small, physical controls are kept to a minimum, partly out of neccessity, and partly to maintain the sleek finish. The only hard controls you'll find are on the top of the chassis - the power switch, the playback button and the larger silver button for capturing your snaps, with a surrounding zoom control.
Most of the work is done on the touch screen, where you can choose from various shooting modes as well as upload your pictures.
Canon Ixus 510 HS: Screen
The 3.2-inch TFT LCD screen takes up pretty much the entire back panel of the camera so it's easy to navigate and pictures look nice and sharp thanks to the 460,000-dot resolution. You also get five-level brightness adjustment so you can alter it to suit the shooting conditions.
The screen is generally pretty responsive, but it's quite up to the standards that we're becoming used to, as found on top-tier smartphones like the iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S3. We found that we had to tap our chosen icon more than once on several occasions.
We also found that we such a tiny bezel around the screen there's no much to hold on to, meaning that we accidentlally tapped controls on the screen by accident when trying to line up a shot.
Canon Ixus 510 HS: Wi-Fi
Apart from its slinky chassis, the camera's main selling point is its Wi-Fi connectivity, which means that you can upload pictures directly to your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or laptop. From your iDevice, you can upload your snaps to Facebook or email them via the Canon CameraWindow app (opens in new tab).
To share pictures over Wi-Fi, you'll need to sign in to Canon's Image Gateway and link it with your Facebook account. The whole process is rather convoluted, but once set up and synced you shouldn't need to do it again.
We found it slightly irritatingly that we couldn't choose which Facebook album to upload our pictures to - instead, they automatically go into a dedicated album, aptly named Canon CameraWindow Photos.
Canon Ixus 510 HS: Picture quality
The 12x zoom teamed with the 28mm lens and relatively average 10.1-megapixel is pretty effective, offering good quality images that are bright, clear and colourful, while the tap to focus features is also strong. Unsurpisingly, quality drops off slightly as the 100-3200 range is pushed to the limits.
Intelligent IS has been designed to combat shaky hands, we found that this worked particularly well when attempting to take overhead shots at a gig.
As you'd expect from any self-respecting snapper that's capable of uploading to Facebook, the 510 HS sports a variety of arty filters including fisheye, toy camera, monochrome, and a nice tilt-shift mode for making objects appear minature. However, it's worth noting that the filters can't be applied after the shot is taken - you need to select your chosen effect beforehand.
Video capture is offered at Full HD 1920x1080 pixels at a standard 24fps, along with stereo sound and an HDMI output for hooking up to an HD display. A virtual record button on the screen is used to kick things off and the results are thoroughly decent, while the zoom is nice and quiet.
Canon Ixus 510 HS: Battery
The battery offers just 190 shots, which isn't especially generous. We would've liked a little more battery capacity at this price.
Canon Ixus 510 HS: Verdict
The Canon Ixus 510 HS is an excellent compact camera and while the Wi-Fi capability is a nice touch, we feel that there are some improvements to be made before this is something that's really useful.
Otherwise, we were impressed with the picture quality and sturdy, compact build, but it can't compete with some its rivals when it comes to zoom and value for money.
Canon Ixus 510 HS availability: Available now
Canon Ixus 510 HS price: £349