The Good The Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS is a good-looking camera that's remarkably compact for its 12x zoom lens.
The Bad The 520 HS' button layout takes some adjusting to, its battery life is relatively short, and its photo and movie quality are disappointing given the camera's price tag.
The Bottom Line The Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS is a good choice for those already happy with their smartphone's photos and movie clips, but looking for a cute little camera with a long zoom and faster performance.
Canon ELPH 520 HS
The Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS makes a very good first impression. It's a small, attractive box with a 12x zoom neatly tucked inside and a high-resolution 3-inch LCD on back. Even with the lens fully extended it doesn't get any bigger than an ultracompact with half of its zoom range.
Taking the shine off that first impression, though, is the camera's photo and video quality and, to some extent, its usability. Basically, some trade-offs were made to get the 520 HS down to its petite dimensions that make it a little less attractive, especially at $300.
The Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS' photo quality is good to very good, but overall disappointing compared with past HS-model Elphs. Even at its lowest ISO settings, subjects look soft and noisy when viewed at 100 percent. Unfortunately, that means the 10-megapixel resolution doesn't give you much room for enlarging and cropping. I usually have no problem recommending PowerShots for shooting indoors or in low light, but the 520 HS gets noticeably worse at and above ISO 400. The one positive is that colors remain consistently good up to ISO 800.