There is no doubt about it: The SX510 HS produces better photos than the SX500 IS. Color performance is very good and they don't get muddy or washed-out-looking until you get up to ISO 1600.
Still, the 12-megapixel resolution isn't much help when it comes to enlarging and heavy cropping or poster-size prints. With the exception of close-ups taken at ISO 80, there's a bit too much in the way of noise and artifacts visible when photos are viewed at 100 percent (take a closer look and you can better see what I mean). This is the case with most small-sensor point-and-shoots, though, so if full-size quality is important to you, you'll want to move up to a large-sensor compact.
The camera's biggest selling point is the 30x zoom lens that goes from 24mm at the wide end (top) to a 720mm telephoto (bottom). There is no electronic viewfinder on this model, so it's a little more difficult to keep the camera steady held out in front of you with the lens zoomed in. Fortunately, the optical image stabilization is excellent.
Canon includes several of its high-quality Creative Filters: Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect (pictured), Monochrome, Super Vivid, and Poster Effect. The results are high quality and full resolution, unlike what you'd get with a smartphone app, and with the camera's built-in Wi-Fi, they're ready to share straight from the camera.