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.
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|
|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|
|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.
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 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.
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.
(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)|
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Find out more about how we test digital cameras.