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Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS review: Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS

Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS

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Joshua Goldman
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Joshua Goldman

Managing Editor / Advice

Josh Goldman helps people find the best laptop at the best price -- from simple Chromebooks to high-end gaming laptops. He's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software for more than two decades.

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7 min read

The Canon PowerShot Elph 110 HS doesn't look all that different from its predecessor, the Elph 100 HS, and that's because it's not. At least on the outside. On the inside are a new 16-megapixel backside-illuminated CMOS sensor and Digic 5 image processor. The latter is likely to thank for the camera's improved photo quality--both outside and indoors--over the earlier model.

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7.4

Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS

The Good

Canon's <b>PowerShot Elph 110 HS</b> is small and lightweight with a bright, ultrawide-angle lens and lots of fun shooting options, and can produce some very nice photos and movie clips.

The Bad

The 110 HS has a relatively short battery life and mixed shooting performance, and low-light/high-ISO photos can look very soft.

The Bottom Line

Filled with some of Canon's latest technology and shooting modes, the PowerShot Elph 110 HS is a solid ultracompact camera.

It also has a faster, wider, and longer lens and low shutter lag, which is good news if you're fed up with your smartphone camera's limitations, but still want something that's very pocketable and lightweight.

Despite all of its positive attributes, it's still a little too expensive at $250. If you like the sound of its features and don't need to purchase till later this year, I would wait. But, if you can't wait, there's little not to like about the Canon PowerShot Elph 110 HS.

Key specs Canon PowerShot Elph 110 HS
Price (MSRP) $249.99
Dimensions (WHD) 3.7 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.8 inch
Weight (with battery and media) 4.8 ounces
Megapixels, image sensor size, type 16 megapixels, 1/2.3-inch backside-illuminated CMOS
LCD size, resolution/viewfinder 3-inch LCD, 460K dots/None
Lens (zoom, aperture, focal length) 5x, f2.7-5.9, 24-120mm (35mm equivalent)
File format (still/video) JPEG/H.264 AAC (.MOV)
Highest resolution size (still/video) 4,608x3,456 pixels / 1,920x1,080 at 24fps
Image stabilization type Optical and digital
Battery type, CIPA rated life Li-ion rechargeable, 170 shots
Battery charged in camera No; external wall charger supplied
Storage media SD/SDHC/SDXC
Bundled software ZoomBrowser EX 6.8/PhotoStitch 3.1 (Windows); ImageBrowser 6.8/PhotoStitch 3.2 (Mac); Map Utility 1.0 (Windows/Mac)

Overall photo quality is very good to excellent for this class of camera. Yes, its 16-megapixel resolution is more about marketing than better photos, but unless you're a pixel peeper, you should be satisfied with the Elph 110 HS' results. Its photos are best suited for Web use and prints up to 8x10, though under the right conditions prints as large as 13x19 are possible. As with most point-and-shoots, the more light you give the Elph 110 HS, the better off your photos will be. However, it does well indoors, too, up to about ISO 800. Its high-ISO photos are OK, certainly better than you'd get from even a really good smartphone camera, but they're very soft, and ISO 3200 is pretty much unusable.

Colors are vivid and bright without looking unnatural. Exposure is generally good, but highlights do occasionally blow out. And unlike other BSI CMOS cameras, Canon does not include an HDR (high dynamic range) option on this model to help with challenging lighting. (Read more about photo quality in the sample photo slideshow.)

As with its photos, video quality is noticeably improved from the 100 HS. Panning the camera will create some judder and there is slight trailing on moving subjects, but the video is watchable on larger HDTVs and certainly at smaller sizes on a computer screen or mobile device. The optical zoom is now available while recording (the 100 HS had only digital zoom for movies), though you will hear it moving. If you like to share clips with your friends and family online, the 110 HS will outperform a smartphone. Along with full HD movies, the camera also records high-speed clips for slow-motion playback as well as iFrame-format video for easier editing and uploading.

General shooting options Canon PowerShot Elph 110 HS
ISO sensitivity (full resolution) Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
White balance Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
Recording modes Auto, Program, Portrait, Smooth Skin, Smart Shutter, High-speed Burst, Best Image Selection, Handheld Night Scene, Low Light, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap, Underwater, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Stitch Assist, Movie Digest, Movie (iFrame, Standard, Super Slow Motion, Miniature Effect)
Focus modes Face Detection AF, Center AF, Tracking AF
Macro 1.2 inches to 1.6 feet (Wide)
Metering modes Evaluative, Center-weighted average, Spot
Color effects Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin, Darker Skin, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color (sharpness, contrast, saturation, red, green, blue, skin tone)
Burst mode shot limit (full resolution) Unlimited continuous

The 110 HS has a fairly large assortment of shooting options, but almost all of them are automatic modes, meaning there's no full control over shutter speed and aperture. The shooting-mode switch on the camera's top has two options: one for Auto and one for all of its other modes. Canon pumped up its Smart Auto, which now recognizes 58 predefined shooting situations. This includes Canon's new Face ID feature, which allows you to program the camera to recognize up to 12 faces that it will then prioritize for focus and exposure. In my anecdotal testing it worked OK, but it's one of those features that most people probably won't bother to set up.

Shooting mode switch
The 110 HS' mode switch has two spots: Smart Auto and everything else.

Taking the camera off Smart Auto gives you access to a Program Auto mode as well as all the scene modes, creative-effects modes, and miniature effect and slow-motion video recording. However, they're laid out in one long list, so if you're the type to change modes frequently, this can be a pain. Canon's Smart Shutter option is there, too; it includes a smile-activated shutter release and Wink and Face Detection self-timers. Wink allows you to set off the shutter simply by winking at the camera, and the Face Detection option will wait till the camera detects a new face in front of the camera before it fires off a shot. Both work well.

The Canon PowerShot Elph 110 HS' shooting performance is mixed. It has low shutter lag at 0.3 second in good lighting and 0.6 second in dimmer conditions. However, its shot-to-shot times are a little slow at 2.2 seconds without flash and 3.6 seconds with flash. If you switch to continuous shooting, it can fire off 2.1 frames per second at full resolution with focus and exposure set with the first shot. That might not be as fast as some of the competition, but this Elph also doesn't make you wait while it stores photos till you can shoot again, you can just keep shooting. If you need something faster, it does have a high-speed burst mode that can capture at up to 5.8fps at a 4-megapixel resolution. The results are good enough for Web use or small prints.

The 110 HS' controls
While the 110 HS is fairly easy to use, its flat buttons can be difficult to press.

The overall design of the Elph 110 HS hasn't changed that much from the previous generation. Instead of rounded corners, the body is more squared off and the one-touch record button for movies is shifted closer to the bright, high-res 3-inch LCD, but it's otherwise the same. All of the controls are flat and flush with the body. It gives the camera a very smooth appearance, but using the four-way directional pad and center Func/Set button can be a little difficult. Also, while I had no problems using them, the buttons, shooting-mode switch, and zoom rocker are tiny, which might be a problem for some; it would be an excellent idea to lay hands on one before you buy it.

Regardless of their shape and size, the controls are easy to master. The menu system can take some getting used to depending on how quickly you can remember to hit the Func/Set button for shooting-mode specific settings and the Menu button for everything else. You also have the option to turn on a help system with hints and tips for choosing the appropriate settings or simply telling you what the shooting mode you're in is going to do.

For connecting to a computer, monitor, or HDTV there are Mini-USB/AV and Mini-HDMI outputs underneath a small door on the right side of the body. The battery and memory card compartment is on the bottom under a nonlocking door. The battery does not charge in camera, and the shot life is rated for only 170 shots, so you'll probably find yourself opening the compartment quite a bit if you shoot regularly. Keep in mind, too, that using the zoom or burst shooting a lot, shooting full HD movies, and keeping the screen brightness high will all cut into your battery life.

Conclusion
It's a shame that cameras like the Canon PowerShot Elph 110 HS are losing to smartphones. It's understandable, but disappointing nonetheless because a camera like this is faster and takes better photos and full HD video. Even its creative effects are better quality than much of what you'd get from various mobile apps. If you're tired of your smartphone camera's lens and performance limitations or are just looking for a better-than-basic snapshot camera, definitely check it out.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Typical shot-to-shot time (flash)  
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX90
2.1 
2 
1.1 
0.6 
0.3 
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-WX9
1.1 
3.8 
1.7 
0.7 
0.4 
Canon PowerShot Elph 110 HS
1.5 
3.6 
2.2 
0.6 
0.3 
Canon PowerShot Elph 300 HS
1.3 
3.6 
2.2 
0.9 
0.5 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Canon PowerShot Elph 110 HS
2.1 

Find out more about how we test digital cameras.

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7.4

Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS

Score Breakdown

Design 8Features 7Performance 7Image quality 7
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