Check out an examination of photo quality from Canon's ultracompact megazoom, the 12-megapixel, 12x zoom PowerShot Elph 510 HS.
Overall, photo quality is excellent for this class of camera. Images do get softer and noisier above ISO 200--typical for point-and-shoots--but ISO 400 and 800 are still very usable. Like other "HS" models I've tested this year, the noise and noise reduction are well balanced so you still get good color and detail up to ISO 800. Colors desaturate some at ISO 1600 and 3200, subjects look very soft, and detail is greatly diminished. While you might not want to view them at larger sizes or heavily crop them, the high-ISO results should be satisfactory for Web or prints at small sizes, though, again, colors will look a little off.
The camera's continuous shooting is capable of capturing at 3.3 frames per second, with focus and exposure set with the first shot. It can shoot until your memory card fills up, though, which is nice; competing cameras have a burst limit and make you wait while images are stored before you can shoot again. The 510 HS does have a continuous option with AF, but that slows the shooting to 0.8fps. The camera also has a high-speed burst mode that can shoot 3-megapixel photos at up to 7.8fps. The results are very good compared with similar modes on other cameras I've tested, suitable for small prints and definitely for Web use.
Unlike some competing models, Canon doesn't offer a mode for improving dynamic range by combining multiple exposures into one photo. It does have Canon's i-Contrast feature, though, which rescues shadow detail. On the left is a backlit photo taken without i-Contrast and on the right is the same photo with i-Contrast applied in playback on the camera.
Canon includes several ways to experiment with your photos. This includes settings for adjusting color, contrast, and sharpness in addition to different shooting modes like Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, and Toy Camera, which was used here. Most of these can be used when shooting movies, too.