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First Look: Canon PowerShot Elph 500 HS
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First Look: Canon PowerShot Elph 500 HS

1:53 /

The touch-screen controls keeps the Canon PowerShot Elph 500 HS from being a lower-cost PowerShot S95 alternative for enthusiasts, but its otherwise a very good

Hey, I'm Josh Goldman, senior editor with CNET, and this is the Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS. So, what's important about this camera is its lens. It has a rather large f2.0 maximum aperture, which is unusual for an ultra-compact not targeted at enthusiasts. If you're familiar with Canon's compact lineup, the PowerShot S95, which is aimed at enthusiasts, has a very similar lens. That big aperture does a couple of things. On this camera, it mainly helps with low light and indoor photos by using more of the available light instead of slowing down the shutter speed and using higher ISOs that will introduce more noise. To a lesser extent, it will create a shallow depth of field but that really only applies to macro shots with the 500 HS. You will get some background blurring with portraits but not enough to get rid of distracting backgrounds. What's nice is that along with all of its automatic modes, you do get shutter speed and aperture priority modes, so you can do more experimenting with this camera more than any other ELPH model. Unfortunately, you have to do it all through Canon's touch interface, which can be very frustrating to use if you're trying to make quick setting changes. On the other hand, Canon does allow you to customize the interface. Photo and video quality are excellent, too, but its shooting performance is pretty average and likely won't be fast enough to capture the exact shot you're after if you're shooting active kids and pets. Bottom line is if you're looking for a cheaper version of the S95, you probably won't be very happy, but overall, it is a very good camera. I'm Josh Goldman and that's a look at the Canon ELPH 500 HS.