Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
    Canon ELPH 115 275 wide.jpg
  • 16 megapixel image sensor
  • 8x optical zoom lens (28-224mm equivalent)
  • DIGIC 4 image processor
  • HD video recording
  • Smart AUTO
  • Intelligent IS
  • ECO Mode
Pros
  • Small camera body
  • Image quality is good versus similarly priced cameras
  • ELPH 115 is very easy to use
  • Toggle switch gives easy access to two primary shooting modes, Auto and Program
  • Like other ELPH models, the 115 is a sharp-looking camera
  • Separate battery charger included
  • 8x optical zoom is nice to find in small camera
Cons
  • Control buttons are too small
  • Shutter lag times are a little below average
  • Shot to shot delays are poor, especially when using the flash
  • Burst mode is too slow, even at reduced resolutions
  • Flash range is too limited
  • LCD screen is too small and has below average resolution level
  • LCD doesn't perform well in low light, as "jelly" effect is common
  • Mid to high ISO settings leave quite a bit of noise in images
  • HD video is limited to 720p resolution
  • Battery life is below average
  • No USB cable included
  • Camera isn't necessarily a great value
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 2.7 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = about 0.6 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay without flash = 4.7 seconds between frames with minimum review time On, 4.2 seconds with review Off
  • Shot to shot delay with flash = 7.8 seconds between frames with minimum review time On, 7.3 seconds with review Off
  • Continuous High Resolution = 5 frames in 10.8 seconds @ 16M
  • Continuous Low Resolution = 5 frames in 6.1 seconds @ 0.3M
  • All tests were taken using a SanDisk Class 10, 16 GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, Flash off, Review on, ISO Auto and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
Those looking for the latest and greatest features in a digital camera will have no interest in the Canon PowerShot ELPH 115 IS (known as the Canon IXUS 132 in some parts of the world). Nearly all of the features of the ELPH 115 are average or below average, and it doesn't offer any advanced capabilities, such as a large zoom lens or built-in Wi-Fi. Like most PowerShot ELPH cameras, the ELPH 115 is a small, sharp-looking model that may appeal to some beginning photographers who have a strict budget. Even through the ELPH 115 is a low-priced camera, its lack of any above average features or performance levels makes it tough to recommend this camera unless you can find it well below its MSRP.
Pick This Up If...
You want a stylish camera that easily fits in a pocket, you don't need any advanced photography features, and you have a very limited camera budget.
Bare-bones, basic cameras are getting tougher and tougher to find. It seems like this year's models all have some sort of advanced feature, whether it's a built-in Wi-Fi capability, a large zoom lens, a touch screen LCD ... or all three.

Those features seem to drive up the cost of digital cameras quite a bit, which gives those hoping to spend as little as possible on a beginner-level camera a limited number of options. 

Beginners can still count on Canon and its PowerShot ELPH line of cameras, though. Canon has created a host of these beginner-level cameras, a few of which have some advanced features, but most of which are basic cameras aimed at budget-conscious photographers.

Unfortunately even the low price points of some ELPH digital cameras -- such as the PowerShot ELPH 115 -- aren't quite low enough to make them great values. The ELPH 115 originally had a $169.99 MSRP, and Canon then dropped the suggested price by an additional $20. But as this camera will deliver only the most basic features and performance levels, it'd be better if Canon dropped the price point on this model even further.

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 115 -- which is called the Canon IXUS 132 in some parts of the world -- is a pretty sharp-looking camera that's available in blue, silver, black, or pink camera bodies. If you've seen other cameras in the ELPH family, you will have a general idea of how the ELPH 115 looks.

Canon included a limited number of buttons on the back of this camera. However it would have been better if Canon had given the ELPH 115 larger control buttons on the back of the camera. These tiny buttons are uncomfortable to use, which makes selecting options from the on-screen menus difficult.

Then again, you may not have to worry about making a lot of menu selections, 
because the PowerShot ELPH 115 is very easy to use. Canon didn't include a fully manual mode with this camera. There are a limited number of buttons to deal with, and there are only two primary shooting modes, Auto and Program. A two-way toggle switch provides the ability to easily switch between the two modes. Explanations on each feature will appear on the screen as it is highlighted and selected. 

The ELPH 115 has an 8x optical zoom lens, which is a good measurement to find in such a thin and small camera. The zoom lens is responsive and moves fast through its range.

Unfortunately, that's about the only feature of the PowerShot ELPH 115 IS that works quickly. You'll notice shutter lag with this camera, especially when shooting in low light. Its burst mode is very slow, even when shooting at a reduced resolution.

But the ELPH 115's shot to shot delays are the most disappointing. You'll have to wait almost 5 seconds between shots without the flash and a painful 8 seconds when using the flash. You will miss some spontaneous photos because of this camera's poor performance levels.

Image quality is pretty good with the PowerShot ELPH 115 IS, especially compared to other cameras in this price range. The photos have a bit of a fuzziness to them when you attempt to print them at large sizes, primarily because of the small 1/2.3-inch CCD image sensor Canon placed inside this camera. Although this camera has a 16-megapixel resolution measurement, it isn't going to be able to stack up in terms of image quality versus cameras with less resolution but larger sized image sensors.

Having a CCD image sensor means that the ELPH 115's image results in low light situations aren't quite as good as cameras that have CMOS image sensors. The tiny built-in flash unit with this camera doesn't offer much help in this area, either, as it has a very limited usage range. And if you try to increase the ISO setting to deal with the lack of adequate light, you're going to find a lot of noise in the images, even at ISOs of around 800.

Overall, the images you can create with this Canon beginner-level camera will be good enough for sharing over the Internet or on social networking sites. For that reason, it would have been nice if Canon could have found a way to include built-in Wi-Fi with the PowerShot ELPH 115 IS, as this feature would have made it much easier to upload your photos immediately to social networking sites. However, including that feature likely would have placed the ELPH 115 into a new price point.

A larger, higher-quality LCD screen would have been nice to have as well. Canon included a 2.7-inch LCD screen with this camera, which is a below average size in today's marketplace. Additionally, the quality of the PowerShot ELPH 115's LCD screen is below average, with limited resolution and poor performance in low light.

The ELPH 115 IS is limited to 720p HD video quality, which will disappoint some photographers who are looking for a combined still image and full HD movie camera.

Another disappointment is the fact that Canon decided to try to save a bit of money with this camera by not including a USB cable inside the box. While this seems like a small thing, the ELPH 115 is aimed at beginning photographers who may not have owned another camera, which means they may not have an extra USB cable around the house they can use to download photos. Everyone doesn't have a memory card reader available, either, which could leave you with no way to download your images. This could be a very frustrating situation for some beginning photographers who purchase this camera.

When you couple the lack of a USB cable with the relatively poor battery life for this camera, you may need to purchase both a second battery and a USB cable to use the ELPH 115 in the manner you want. Purchasing those two items will take this camera into a new price point, which may leave it out of financial reach for those photographers at which it's aimed. Canon did include a separate battery charger with the PowerShot ELPH 115 IS, which is nice, but I'd rather have a USB cable in the box than an external battery charger.

Bottom Line - The Canon PowerShot ELPH 115 IS is aimed at beginning-level photographers who have a very small budget. It fits in this low-priced category thanks to a host of average and below average features. However, considering the cameras against which the ELPH 115 will be competing, it probably needs to carry an even lower price tag, especially when you may need to purchase a USB cable separately before you can use the camera effectively. The PowerShot ELPH 115 suffers from some shutter lag issues, as well as significant shot-to-shot delays and poor burst mode results. These below average performance levels will cause you to miss spontaneous photos at times. Image quality is adequate for sharing photos digitally, but making large prints from this camera probably won't work well. The ELPH 115 does offer an 8x optical zoom lens, which is a pretty nice feature in such a thin camera that easily fits in a pocket. It's also very easy to use. However, these nice features just aren't enough to make this a really appealing camera. If you're looking for a budget-priced camera, there are other models on the market that cost less with a similar feature set. And if you really want a PowerShot ELPH camera, you can gain much better features by just spending a little more money. Either way, unless you can find the ELPH 115 well below its MSRP, there are better options in the market.

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.

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