PowerShot ELPH 350 HS

PowerShot ELPH 350 HS

Steve's Conclusion

By

Steve's SnapShot
Thumbnail image for Canon_ELPH350HS_BLACK_Front_1200.jpg
  • 20.2-Megapixel CMOS Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-Inch, 460k dot LCD Screen
  • 12x Optical zoom lens: 25-300mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Intelligent IS
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • Auto mode
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • Built-in WiFi with NFC
  • Creative Shot
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
Pros
  • Auto shooting mode is accurate and easy in all situations
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • Creative shot captures several images and gives you plenty of choices
  • Great detail at lower ISO levels
  • Bright, high resolution LCD is easy to see
  • Easy to capture Full 1080p HD video
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Eco mode extends battery life
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • Overall image quality shows more noise than we care to see
  • Flash is weak and results in noisy, High ISO images
  • Very slow shot-to-shot delay
  • Short battery life can easily leave you with a dead camera
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 1.6 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 to 5/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 1.28 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 3.10 seconds
  • Sequential burst =  2.04fps 
  • High Speed Burst = 5.48fps 5M
  • All tests were taken using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 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 350 HS is an ultra-compact, versatile point-n-shoot camera. Loaded with great features that are incredibly simple to use, it is prefect to carry for everyday use. However, image quality and shooting performance are lacking, making it tough for us to recommend this model over others this very competitive category.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for an ultra-compact and versatile camera that anyone can use.
Canon's new top of the line PowerShot ELPH model is the 350 HS. This ultra-compact point-n-shoot digicam is loaded with powerful and useful features that allow you to enjoy using it anywhere. Sporting a 20.2-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor, 12x optical zoom lens, Full 1080p HD video capture, built-in WiFi, and Smart Auto, the 350 is ready to help you capture the best images possible.

Not only is the camera loaded with all of the great features above, but it is one of the easiest cameras to use. All of its shooting modes are automatic, taking care of the settings for you. A creative shooting mode lets the camera add a set of creative filters to your images to really make them pop. Available in two colors, the ELPH 350 HS is as stylish as it is functional, and it will appeal to anyone looking for a powerful yet incredibly compact camera.

Canon's built-in WiFi adds a whole new dimension of versatility to their compact camera. With the Canon Camera Connect App, you can connect a smartphone or tablet directly to the camera, allowing you to view and copy images from the camera to your smart device. This makes it a snap to share your images with the world from just about anywhere, as long as you have a cellular signal or internet enabled WiFi connection. Once connected, your smart device can also be used as a remote for the camera. It allows you to control and capture images with the camera from anywhere, as long as you are within the camera's WiFi range.

While incredibly compact, the 350 HS is very easy to handle with two hands. Single hand operation is a little more difficult, but definitely possible with a little practice. The camera's controls are very simple and well labeled, so they do not confuse anyone. The same can be said about the camera menus. They are very simple to navigate and the settings are simple to understand. Composing and viewing your images, as well as navigating the menus, is handled by the 3.0-inch, 461k dot LCD screen. The high resolution screen makes it easy to see the small details in the image. Adjustable brightness levels allow you to view the screen with ease in most lighting situations. 

Our outdoor image samples show good exposures with the cloudy shooting conditions. Shooting in both Auto and Program modes, we did notice a little more contrast with the Auto images. In all of the outdoor images there is a noticeable level of noise present, much more than we expected to see, even at the lowest ISO settings. This gives all of the images a very grainy look when viewing them at full resolution on a computer screen. It also cuts down on the fine details within the image. We also noticed aberrations in most of the high-contrast areas of the images. When zoomed in all the way or even close to the full 12x optical zoom (35mm equivalent of 25-300mm), the Intelligent IS kicks in and skyrockets the ISO, increasing the noise levels even more. 

Looking at our indoor images gives us a more controlled look at the noise levels as the ISO settings rise. Starting at ISO 80, we see a great deal of detail within the image. We also notice noise in most of the solid colors around the image. As the ISO settings rise, the noise becomes more noticeable at first within the colors, then with the fine details around ISO 400. Right from the beginning, the noise steadily increases and continues into the higher ISO settings, which become incredibly high and distracting at ISO 1600.

To help with your low-light and indoor shooting, the 350 HS offers a small built-in flash unit. With a maximum range of approx. 13ft. (W) at ISO auto, this flash does not go very far and relies on increased ISO settings to be effective. For best results, try to stay as close as possible to your subjects when shooting. 

Assisting you with your portrait shooting, Canon's Face Detection software works quickly to detect any faces within the camera's frame. Once it has detected them, the camera follows the faces very well throughout the frame. This allows the camera to keep its focus and exposure set to the face itself, so you do not have to worry about the outcome, especially when your subjects are on the move. The higher noise levels in our images give the faces a very soft skin tone, as minor blemishes will not show up. You can also lose some important details to this. When multiple faces are found within the frame, the camera will choose a main face that is framed by a white square. The rest of the detected faces will be tracked by a gray square. It can be difficult to get the camera to switch faces to select the face you want as the priority.

For more creative shooting, the ELPH 350 HS features a Creative Shot mode. This mode captures several images and applies a set of creative filters to them for every image that you capture. Even with this mode, the camera keeps most of the control. It will even compose your images differently that what you initially set up. The filters are in sets of similar effects including Retro, Monochrome, Special and Neutral effects. There is also an Auto mode that will choose effects from each set for you. Images 0071 through 0076 were taken with the Auto Effects creative mode. Notice the different compositions that were all taken at the same time.

Capturing videos is another great feature of the ELPH 350 HS. With just one touch of a button in any shooting mode, the camera is ready to instantly start capturing Full 1080p HD video. The camera's video capture settings are limited to choosing the resolution of your videos between 1080p, 720p and SD (640x480). Our sample videos play smoothly on the camera, computer and HDTV for easy and enjoyable viewing. The videos are a little soft, lacking in sharp details but look good for an affordable point-n-shoot digicam. Sound is captured with a tiny built-in speaker. It picks up the sounds that are closest to the camera, so try to stay close. Positioning yourself away from things that make noise and out of the wind will greatly improve your audio quality. 

Powering the ELPH 350 HS is a 3.6V, 800mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. With the camera's normal shooting modes, the battery has enough juice to capture up to 185 images on a single charge; a little short of their claimed battery life. Switching into ECO mode stretches out the battery life to approx. 250 images. ECO mode puts the camera to "sleep" faster; turning off the biggest draw of power, the LCD, as soon as it can. Canon includes a portable charging unit with the camera, making it easy to keep a spare battery or two charged and ready to go. This is a great idea with the short battery life from this battery.

Bottom Line - Ultra-compact and incredibly easy to use, the PowerShot ELPH 350 HS is easy to carry and use anywhere. The 12x optical zoom lens offers a versatile zoom range, allowing you to frame photos in just about any situation. However, the 20.2-Megapixel CMOS imaging sensor has been pushed a little too far, cramming too many pixels into the small sensor. This, along with the fact that the DIGIC 4+ processor can't combat these higher noise levels, results in decent image quality at best, for a camera in this price range. With a MSRP of US $209.99, this is a very affordable digicam, but it's one of many in this price range with similar features.


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