Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
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  • 12-Megapixel High Sensitivity CMOS imaging sensor
  • DIGIC 4 processor
  • HS system
  • 3.0-Inch, 461,000 dot LCD Screen
  • 8x Optical zoom lens: 28-224mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Smart Auto Capture Mode
  • Intelligent IS
  • Optical Image Stabilization
  • 1080p HD video capture
  • Ultra-Compact body
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC and Eye-Fi memory card compatible

Pros
  • Ultra-Compact frame makes it easy to carry with you at all times
  • Incredibly easy to use
  • Loaded with useful features
  • Outstanding image quality
  • Excellent 1080p HD videos
  • High quality 3-inch LCD screen
  • Versatile 8x optical zoom lens with great image stabilization
  • Better than expected battery life
Cons
  • Can be hard to operate with one hand
  • Did struggle slightly in high dynamic range situations
  • Short flash range
  • We were not able to achieve 3.5fps or 8.7fps using the burst modes
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 1.9 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  =  less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 4/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 1.68 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 2.84 seconds
  • Burst =  1.08fps
  • Burst w/ Flash=  0.77fps for 
  • High Speed Burst = Approx. 6.4fps Medium Resolution
  • We were not able to get anywhere near 3.5fps or 8.7fps, which is our only complaint
  • All tests were taken using an PNY Pro Class 10, 8GB SDHC memory card, Program Mode, ISO auto, Flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 310 HS is an outstanding ultra-compact digicam that is loaded with high quality features and the powerful HS system. It produces amazing image quality while still being easy enough for anyone to use.
Pick This Up If...
...You are looking for an ultra-compact to carry every day and you require the highest image quality possible from a camera of this size.
This ultra-compact camera is easy to hang on to and operate with both hands, but its small size can make things a little difficult for larger hands. With the large screen and small compact body there is not much room left on the back for the camera controls. Canon did an excellent job of solving this problem by moving the mode button and shooting mode switch to the right side of the camera, leaving plenty of room for the remaining controls. Framing and viewing your images with the 3.0-inch, 461,000 dot TFT-LCD screen is a pleasure. The high quality screen shows a great deal of detail and is easy to see in all lighting conditions. 

Looking at our outdoor images, most of which were taken on an overcast afternoon, show that the camera does very well with its exposure and excellent with reproducing color. It did however, struggle a little with the higher dynamic images. The cannon shot shows slight overexposure in the overcast sky while the museum shot shows some noisy shadows on the building. All of the images are crisp and show a tremendous amount of detail. Along with being incredibly compact, the 8x optical zoom lens makes the camera incredibly versatile for its size. With a 35mm equivalent of 28-224mm, vast landscapes and close-up shots alike are at your fingertips.

Our indoor samples show us that the camera is capable of capturing one of the sharpest, most detailed images that we have seen from an ultra-compact. At ISO 100, the amount of clarity and detail is amazing. As your ISO settings go up, the images keep their outstanding quality all the way through ISO 1600; which is not normal for most compact and ultra-compact cameras. Once you hit ISO 3200 you really start to see a grainy image, but it also exceeds most camera's ISO 1600 quality; and you could still produce pleasing smaller prints. Assisting with your low-light and indoor shots is a small built-in flash unit. With a maximum range of up to 13ft. (W) at ISO auto, you should have no problem lighting a small room or group of people. 

With the increase in camera features and image quality, the Portrait modes of the new compact cameras has also increased greatly. With face detection that recognizes and follows a face almost instantly once its within the frame, the camera is always ready to capture an image with the optimal settings (exposure, focus, WB, etc.) based on the face or faces, and nothing else. While this might leave some over or under exposed areas in the background, the camera makes sure you get what is most important; the subject. Our sample image shows two faces with great exposure and natural skin tones. The HS system allowed the camera to capture the image without the flash, eliminating any chance of red-eye or white balance issues within the portrait.

Capturing HD video on the 310HS is as easy as hitting the video record button at any time while the camera is in any shooting mode. The camera's full 1080p HD video quality is very good for a compact digicam, producing a bright image while maintaining focus. The camera's on-board mic is very sensitive and will pick up sounds that are close to the camera, including the wind, which can be heard in our sample. To help reduce background noises, try to stay out of the wind and away from anything that makes a constant sound. 

Powering the 310 HS is a 3.7V, 760mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. Although this is a small battery, we were able to capture over 250 images and videos on a single charge, surpassing Canon's claims of just 210 images. While it is very exciting to see a battery outlast its expected number of images, at just 250 you will always want to have a spare battery on hand at all times. The included portable charger makes it easy to keep an extra charged and with you all the time.

Bottom Line - The new Canon PowerShot ELPH 310 HS is a fantastically powerful ultra-compact Digicam. Sporting a 12-Megapixel HS CMOS sensor, DIGIC 4 processor and 8x optical zoom lens that make up the HS system, the camera captures extremely high quality images even in lower-lighting conditions. It also comes loaded with useful and easy to use features that allow anyone to just pick up the camera and start shooting. With a MSRP of $259.99 USD, this is an affordable and compact camera with class leading image quality.


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