The ELPH 110 HS is available from most major retailers in black, blue, green, pink, red, and silver colors. It debuted at an MSRP of $249.99, but it's currently being sold at $179.00 by reputable internet retailers.

Front Tour Image
Back Tour Image
Sides Tour Image
Top Tour Image
Bottom Tour Image
Box Photo

• PowerShot ELPH 110 HS

• Battery Pack NB-11L

• Battery Charger CB-2LD

• USB Interface Cable IFC-400PCU

• Wrist Strap WS-800

• Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM

• Getting Started guide

• Warranty card

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS is equipped with a 24-120mm (effective) zoom. 24mm is quite wide and 120mm is a moderate telephoto, so while it's no superzoom it should cover most routine shooting situations with ease. That said, those looking to shoot sports, airplanes, or wildlife might want to consider something in Canon's SX series. The lens's aperture range isn't anything to write home about; f/2.7 on the wide end and f/5.9 on the long end means you won't get much in the way of background blur or enhanced low-light shooting from the 110 HS's glass. What will help in low light is the lens's optical image stabilization, which should provide a few extra stops of blur-free shooting.

The earlier ELPH 100 HS's claim to fame was that it was the first compact with a CMOS imaging sensor (at 12.1 megapixels) and a price tag under $200. The 110 HS ups the ante with a new backside-illuminated sensor and pushes the resolution to 16.1 megapixels. The sensor's 1/2.3-inch size is par for the course in the low-end compact camera market, but backside illumination allows Canon to push the maximum sensitivity to ISO 3200 for better low-light shooting performance.

Like most inexpensive digital cameras, the ELPH 110 HS lacks a viewfinder of any kind. What it has instead is a 3-inch LCD offering a 460,000-dot resolution. It's a step up from the 230,000-dot screen on the 100 HS, but again, this is standard for the class and a step behind more expensive models that boast upwards of 920,000 dots. Still, the 110 HS screen isn't bad at all. It offers great color and reasonable clarity, though its lower resolution is evident when zooming in on details during playback.

The built-in flash isn't powerful or uniquely designed, but it should get the job done for party snaps. It has a range of 11 feet at full wide angle and 6.6 feet at full telephoto, and its recycle time is advertised as 10 seconds or less.

Flash Photo

The flash emitter pops up from the top of the body via a mechanical release.

Being a very small camera with a limited feature set, the ELPH 110 HS has only a couple ports, and they're both found under a small rubber flap on the right side of the camera. These include mini HDMI (for video output) and USB (for file transfer) jacks.

The ELPH 110 HS uses Canon's proprietary NB-11L lithium ion battery pack, which was also used in a broad variety of the company's other ELPH and A-series cameras. It has a capacity of 680 mAh, and is rated for approximately 170 shots. That's not a whole lot, but then again, you have to pay for pocketability. Normally we don't put as much stock in the official battery ratings, but we found the life to be extremely limited—moreso than with most compact cameras. If you pick up the 110 HS for travel shooting, we recommend you buy a backup battery.

Battery Photo

The camera accepts SD, SDHC, and SDXC memory. There is no built-in memory, and a memory card isn't included, so be sure to buy one along with the camera.

Memory Photo

The K2000 accepts inexpensive, easy to find SD cards.

Media Photo

The ELPH 110 HS tries to compensate for a mediocre lens with ridiculous oversharpening in the center of the frame, and the results aren't anything to write home about. And anyway, that sharpening is for naught thanks to the over-aggressive, non-adjustable noise reduction. When the lights go down, the new backside-illuminated CMOS sensor does all it can, but this still won't be a go-to device for those who need low-light performance. But hey, the color and white balance are pretty good!

Like another camera we reviewed recently, the ELPH 110 HS has taken in-camera sharpening to a new extreme. All point-and-shoot cameras sharpen JPEGs to some degree, but Canon's new model goes way, way overboard in its efforts to make shots look sharp straight out of the camera.

Oversharpening typically manifests itself as "haloing" around high-contrast objects, and in particularly bad cases it can look like someone has taken a felt-tip pen and outlined them. With the 110 HS, this effect is most visible at full wide angle, where the center of the frame is oversharpened by a truly astounding 53%. The edges are not nearly as oversharpened, nor are the middle and telephoto focal lengths. We're going to assume this difference comes down to two major factors.

First, our review copy of the ELPH 110 HS had a fairly obvious decentering issue. This is a quality control problem that plagues many compact cameras, as well as some cheap DSLR lenses. Essentially, the optics inside the lens are slightly misaligned, and this results in one part of an image being blurrier than the other parts. In the case of our 110 HS, the left side was consistently less sharp than the middle and right.

Second, the 110 HS's lens just doesn't appear to be very good. It's sharpest by far at wide angle, and drops off quite a bit the more you zoom in. This is characteristic of compact zoom lenses in general, so it's not surprising to see it here. What's a bit frightening is that even with the camera's aggressive oversharpening, the other focal lengths are still visibly soft. More on how we test sharpness.

It's far from perfect, but the ELPH 110 HS produces pretty accurate colors when using the Neutral "My Colors" mode. In this mode, the camera's uncorrected color error value was 2.87, which is above average but not spectacular. Color saturation was a bit low at 90.74%, but it can always be increased in post-processing if needed. All of the other My Colors modes over-saturated by at least 11%, with Vivid taking the cake at 134.6% of the ideal saturation level.

At its best, the 110 HS produces extremely faithful reds, greens, and blues, but has trouble with yellows, oranges, and cyan. Cyan errors are less crucial than the other two, which will have an adverse effect on the accuracy of skin tones in shots of people. We're happy to see reds so well controlled, because they tend to be oversaturated and inaccurate on cheaper cameras. More on how we test color.

NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.

The 110 HS is middle of the road in its class with regard to color performance. It doesn't score as well as its predecessor, the 100 HS, but it's not too far off, either. The cheaper A4000 IS does quite a bit better, though, and the bargain-basement Nikon S3300 matches it stride for stride.

With one notable exception, the ELPH 110 HS handles white balance with aplomb.

First the bad news: automatic white balance under incandescent light is pretty bad—the 110 HS was off by an average of 2252 kelvins under these conditions. But on the flip-side, incandescent auto white balance is a stumbling block for every single camera out there, from the cheapest point-and-shoot to the highest-end DSLR.

The good news is that the 110 HS behaves very well under daylight and compact white fluorescent light while using AWB. Even better, when you manually set white balance, it scores nearly perfect Kelvin numbers for whites regardless of lighting type, while rendering greys only slightly cooler than ideal.

To put all of this in layman's terms, in routine use the ELPH 110 HS should give you reasonably pure whites in all but the most challenging lighting conditions.

There are six white balance presets available, including Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, and Fluorescent H. Also present is an easy-to-use Custom white balance option. You simply select it from the white balance submenu of the Function menu overlay and then press Menu to evaluate the scene and set the white balance.

As you'd expect from an entry-level compact, there are no white balance bracketing or direct Kelvin entry options.

The ELPH 110 HS lacks any kind of noise reduction options, so you're entirely at the mercy of the DIGIC V processor when it comes to how the camera processes its images. Noise levels start off at 1.01% at ISO 100, which is already fairly high. Unfortunately, the results of noise reduction are already visible as well. Processing keeps noise under 2% all the way up through ISO 800, but it jumps to 2.07% at ISO 1600 before topping out at 2.21% when you reach ISO 3200.

At higher ISO settings, smearing and loss of detail are hard to ignore. Fine details are obliterated and solid colors become splotchy and discolored. The results would be acceptable when resized for web use, but in a print you'd almost certainly notice the problems. In truth, noise reduction is more intelligently applied here than we've seen from some other compacts—lookin' at you, Canon A4000 IS—but it's certainly not going to win any awards. More to the point, cameras like this one need to make bigger strides in image quality if they're going to avoid being rendered irrelevant by smartphones. More on how we test noise.

The ELPH 110 HS has a native ISO range of 100 to 3200, but it also includes a couple of modes catering to low-light shooting. First is a "Handheld NightScene" mode that stacks a burst-shot sequence of photos to increase dynamic range and reduce noise. Also present is a "Low Light" mode that shoots at a reduced resolution of 4 megapixels to minimize noise. In effect, these modes add a stop or two of high-ISO range.

The ELPH 110 HS achieved some very good dynamic range scores in our lab testing, recording as much as 7.8 stops of "high-quality" dynamic range at base ISO. It manages to retain at least 6 stops all the way through ISO 800, but drops off to 3.25 stops by the time it gets to the maximum sensitivity setting of ISO 3200.

In our experience, those excellent numbers unfortunately didn't translate into remarkable real-world performance. It's good, particularly for a cheap compact camera, but not nearly as good as the test results would suggest. Conservative metering helps to preserve bright areas, but this often leaves shadows exceedingly murky. This can be cured to some extent by applying the 110 HS's i-Contrast option, which boosts shadows, but it often left the shadow areas extra grainy in our tests.

While the 110 HS undoubtedly gets a dynamic range boost from its new backside-illuminated CMOS sensor, much of its lab success is likely down to overly aggressive noise reduction at higher sensitivities, which artificially increases its signal-to-noise ratio by smearing away detail. As such, we'd recommend shooting at or below ISO 800 as often as possible, as this gives you the best possible dynamic range while also preserving as much fine detail as possible. More on how we test dynamic range.

While the ELPH 110 HS achieved decent noise scores in our testing, it only managed to do so by applying aggressive noise reduction. That's not unusual for a camera in this price range, but unlike many other consumer cameras the 110 HS doesn't let you adjust the noise reduction settings at all.

Images taken in low light, even up to the highest ISO setting of 3200, look okay when resized to web resolution, but at full size they're horribly smeared. Built-in image stabilization certainly helps you get sharp images, but even when there's no motion blur, the images are seriously lacking in detail.

Complicating this situation is a display that is extremely grainy and laggy in low light. The LCD image makes it feel like you're framing shots in slow motion, which won't help when you're trying to capture a brief expression or quick bit of action. If low-light shooting is your priority, we'd strongly suggest looking at a higher-end model.

But the 110 HS does have a few tricks up its sleeve that may help in a pinch. First is a “Handheld NightScene” mode that stacks a burst-shot sequence of photos to increase dynamic range and reduce noise. Also present is a “Low Light” mode that shoots at a reduced resolution of 4 megapixels to minimize noise. In effect, these modes add a stop or two of high-ISO range, and they could make a real difference when you need them.

The ELPH 110 HS lacks any kind of noise reduction options, so you're entirely at the mercy of the DIGIC V processor when it comes to how the camera processes its images. Noise levels start off at 1.01% at ISO 100, which is already fairly high. Unfortunately, the results of noise reduction are already visible as well. Processing keeps noise under 2% all the way up through ISO 800, but it jumps to 2.07% at ISO 1600 before topping out at 2.21% when you reach ISO 3200.

At higher ISO settings, smearing and loss of detail are hard to ignore. Fine details are obliterated and solid colors become splotchy and discolored. The results would be acceptable when resized for web use, but in a print you'd almost certainly notice the problems. In truth, noise reduction is more intelligently applied here than we've seen from some other compacts—lookin' at you, Canon A4000 IS—but it's certainly not going to win any awards. More to the point, cameras like this one need to make bigger strides in image quality if they're going to avoid being rendered irrelevant by smartphones. More on how we test noise.

The ELPH 110 HS has a native ISO range of 100 to 3200, but it also includes a couple of modes catering to low-light shooting. First is a "Handheld NightScene" mode that stacks a burst-shot sequence of photos to increase dynamic range and reduce noise. Also present is a "Low Light" mode that shoots at a reduced resolution of 4 megapixels to minimize noise. In effect, these modes add a stop or two of high-ISO range.

In good light, the ELPH 110 HS focuses quickly and accurately, and very rarely fails to find focus (indicated by a yellow AF frame with an exclamation mark icon). Focus does tend to bounce back and forth around the subject before finding a lock, but it's generally not too distracting. Overall, it's not as quick or as precise as many DSLRs or mirrorless system cameras, as you'd expect, but for most non-sports purposes it should be perfectly adequate.

Even in low light, the 110 HS holds its own until things get truly dark. Its autofocus assist beam is a big help in this regard, illuminating the subject so that the focusing system can do its thing. Even with subject areas as dark as 3 lux, the beam was able to provide enough light to get a focus lock. The only real issues come with low-contrast subjects in dim light, which tend to throw up the yellow exclamation point with regularity.

We tested the Canon 110 HS's low-light sensitivity under lab conditions and found that it needed 35 lux of illumination to produce an image that achieved 50 IRE on a waveform monitor (i.e., a fairly acceptable image that, while dark, is still visible with some degree of detail). This is a very poor number, and confirms the awful results we saw in our low-light sharpness and motion tests. The camera's sensor, while improved over the unit used in the earlier 110 HS, is simply not large enough or sensitive enough to gather the light needed for shooting in such conditions.

Chromatic aberrations, which typically appear as colored fringes around high-contrast objects, are kept to an impressive minimum by the ELPH 110 HS. It's hard to tell whether this is down to the sensor and lens, or whether some kind of in-camera processing is being applied, but it doesn't really matter for a camera like this one. The end result is that there's very little nasty fringing, and that's all most users will care about.

Distortion is also quite minimal. As you'd expect, the 5x zoom lens exhibits mild barrel distortion (0.5%) at full wide angle, which quickly flips to pincushion at middle and full telephoto focal lengths (0.22% and 1.33%, respectively). Again, there's no telling whether this well-controlled behavior is due to in-camera processing, but we don't really care so long as the results look good.

In good light, the ELPH 110 HS performed admirably in our video motion test, with very little obvious artifacting or trailing. At full HD resolution, it shoots at 24fps, which gives the video a smooth and cinematic look, and certainly doesn't hurt our impressions. And while there was a little "jellyvision" (rolling shutter) present, it was quite well controlled compared to what we've seen from many other CMOS sensor-equipped point-and-shoot models.

Unfortunately, these positive impressions don't extend to the camera's low-light capabilities, which are virtually nonexistent. Video is unsharp, smeared, and generally full of ugly ghosting in dim light. Worse still, the sensor isn't sensitive enough to capture shadow details in these conditions, so darker areas tend to black out entirely. More on how CamcorderInfo tests motion.

Video from the 110 HS is surprisingly sharp, though again this statement applies only to video shot in good light. In our laboratory tests, we recorded a maximum sharpness of 650 lw/ph in horizontal sharpness and 625 lw/ph in vertical sharpness. These are outstanding scores for a point-and-shoot model, and particularly for one at this price point. It handily bests the older ELPH 100 HS, probably thanks to the new backside-illuminated sensor. More on how CamcorderInfo tests video sharpness.

Once again, in low light the 110 HS falls off the proverbial cliff. Horizontal sharpness dips to 400 lw/ph, while vertical can manage only 375 lw/ph. To put it plainly, if dim-light video shooting is a priority for you, we can't really recommend this camera.

We tested the Canon 110 HS's low-light sensitivity under lab conditions and found that it needed 35 lux of illumination to produce an image that achieved 50 IRE on a waveform monitor (i.e., a fairly acceptable image that, while dark, is still visible with some degree of detail). This is a very poor number, and confirms the awful results we saw in our low-light sharpness and motion tests. The camera's sensor, while improved over the unit used in the earlier 110 HS, is simply not large enough or sensitive enough to gather the light needed for shooting in such conditions.

The ELPH 110 HS has been built from the ground up to provide an easy shooting experience for those who are new to photography, or those who don't care to learn much about it. From the dedicated video recording button to the simple control scheme, there's nothing here to intimidate or confuse anybody.

The ELPH 110 HS is built almost entirely around fully automatic shooting, as you'd expect from a camera in its class. The mode dial on this camera is actually a two-position switch, with the options being "Auto" and "Other". In full Auto mode, the camera predictably does everything for you, analyzing the scene and selecting the most appropriate option from a number of scene modes; for the most part, it does a great job. The only vital shooting setting you can alter in full Auto mode is flash, which you can completely disable.

The ELPH 110 HS doesn't have a ton of buttons, but the ones it does have are well-chosen and intelligently laid out. Up top you'll find the mode switch, on/off button, and shutter release surrounded by the zoom control ring. On the rear, there is a large, well-marked video recording button (the camera lacks a dedicated video mode), as well as the usual four-way control dial. The four buttons can be used to navigate menus, and (starting from the top and going counterclockwise) also provide access to exposure compensation, macro mode, display properties, and flash settings when shooting in Program.

When using full Auto mode, the exposure compensation button instead toggles between face-recognition and tracking focus modes. At the center of the four-way controller is the FUNC/SET button, which serves as both an OK button and a method for bringing up the on-screen shooting options menu. Below are two more buttons, the Playback mode toggle and the main menu key.

Canon has crammed a number of filters and special image modes into the ELPH 110 HS, as you'd expect. Unusually, they're all in the main shooting modes submenu, alongside more mundane options like Program mode and high-speed shooting. There are 21 total scene modes, and about 15 of these are what we'd consider to be "art filters."

These include traditional options like Portrait, Smooth Skin, and Monochrome, as well as more exotic options like Fisheye, Miniature Effect, Poster Effect, and Toy Camera Effect. There are several modes intended to make nighttime and low-light shooting easier, such as Low Light (which reduces resolution to 4 megapixels to minimize image noise) and Handheld NightScene, which takes a quick burst of shots and merges them in-camera to reduce image shake and noise).

There are also selective color and color swap modes, a mode to correct colors during underwater shooting, a snow setting, a long exposure option, and a pair of in-camera panoramic modes (here called Stitch Assist).

The 110 HS's menu system is simplistic to a fault. The main menu is divided into two tabs: shooting and setup. The shooting menu provides access to some basic options, including autofocus modes, digital zoom, flash settings, grid lines, and image stabilization. Meanwhile, the setup menu handles sounds, hints and tips, LCD brightness, memory card formatting, and so on. Once initial setup is over and done with, we doubt most users will ever really go in here, except to format their memory cards.

The Function menu, accessed by the FUNC/SET button while shooting, is the far more useful menu. It is presented as an overlay atop the LCD live view, letting the user change ISO, white balance, color mode, metering, shooting mode, self-timer, drive mode, aspect ratio, image size and quality, and movie quality. Note that many of these options are unavailable when shooting in full Auto mode.

The Canon ELPH 110 HS ships with a 34-page "Getting Started" guide that should help most users get the most out of their new camera. It doesn't ship with a full printed manual, but a .PDF version of the 217-page "Camera User Guide" can be downloaded free of charge from the Canon USA website.

Like most cameras in its class, the Canon ELPH 110 HS is tiny and shaped like a bar of soap. And it's a budget hotel bar of soap at that, not one of those fancy Dove bars. This means there's no physical grip on either the front or rear. If it were any heavier, this might be an issue, but this thing is tiny and featherlight. Its surface has a matte power-coated finish that makes it slightly easier to grip than some glossier cameras we've used (as does, strangely, the raised Canon logo). The rear button area is just about wide enough for a thumb to rest on without overlapping the screen, and the camera's thickness is just about right for filling the gap between the thumb and index finger.

Handling Photo 1

We do have a few complaints regarding the buttons. First, the main menu button is tiny and a bit hard to press, particularly one-handed. This isn't a huge deal since you'll probably rarely use it, but it can be annoying. The bigger problem lies in the four-way control pad and the central FUNC/SET button. These are extremely difficult to differentiate by feel, which makes changing settings in the dark a bit of an adventure.

But to be fair, this is a seriously tiny camera, and the flat buttons are part and parcel with its slimness. It's hardly larger in width and height than a business card, and checks in at just 0.79 inches (20.0mm) thick with the lens retracted. Lots of cameras claim to be pocketable, but this one will be hardly more noticeable in your jeans pocket than your average smartphone.

Handling Photo 2
Handling Photo 3

The ELPH 110 HS doesn't have a ton of buttons, but the ones it does have are well-chosen and intelligently laid out. Up top you'll find the mode switch, on/off button, and shutter release surrounded by the zoom control ring. On the rear, there is a large, well-marked video recording button (the camera lacks a dedicated video mode), as well as the usual four-way control dial. The four buttons can be used to navigate menus, and (starting from the top and going counterclockwise) also provide access to exposure compensation, macro mode, display properties, and flash settings when shooting in Program.

When using full Auto mode, the exposure compensation button instead toggles between face-recognition and tracking focus modes. At the center of the four-way controller is the FUNC/SET button, which serves as both an OK button and a method for bringing up the on-screen shooting options menu. Below are two more buttons, the Playback mode toggle and the main menu key.

Buttons Photo 1
Buttons Photo 2

Like most inexpensive digital cameras, the ELPH 110 HS lacks a viewfinder of any kind. What it has instead is a 3-inch LCD offering a 460,000-dot resolution. It's a step up from the 230,000-dot screen on the 100 HS, but again, this is standard for the class and a step behind more expensive models that boast upwards of 920,000 dots. Still, the 110 HS screen isn't bad at all. It offers great color and reasonable clarity, though its lower resolution is evident when zooming in on details during playback.

The PowerShot 110 HS is all about Automatic shooting. While it does offer other modes, the Aperture and Shutter Priority modes you might find on higher-end models are conspicuously absent. There's no full Manual mode, either. When you venture away from the full Auto setting on the two-way mode switch, all you get is a Program mode, along with a number of scene modes and creative effects.

In good light, the ELPH 110 HS focuses quickly and accurately, and very rarely fails to find focus (indicated by a yellow AF frame with an exclamation mark icon). Focus does tend to bounce back and forth around the subject before finding a lock, but it's generally not too distracting. Overall, it's not as quick or as precise as many DSLRs or mirrorless system cameras, as you'd expect, but for most non-sports purposes it should be perfectly adequate.

Even in low light, the 110 HS holds its own until things get truly dark. Its autofocus assist beam is a big help in this regard, illuminating the subject so that the focusing system can do its thing. Even with subject areas as dark as 3 lux, the beam was able to provide enough light to get a focus lock. The only real issues come with low-contrast subjects in dim light, which tend to throw up the yellow exclamation point with regularity.

The 110 HS doesn't offer any manual focus functionality, but it does provide three primary autofocus settings. Face AiAF prioritizes face recognition but otherwise behaves like full auto AF, trying to intelligently determine what you want to focus on. Tracking AF lets you choose the subject you want to track and then tries to keep it in focus. Finally, Center AF mode just gives you the center point and lets you focus and recompose. When using Center AF mode, you can adjust the size of the focus point between "Small" and "Normal," with the Small option letting you be more precise in your targeting.

The Face AiAF setting works very well for face detection and just about as well as any other full auto AF mode for other subjects. Center AF does what it says on the tin, and we did really like the option to use a smaller AF frame. Tracking AF was a bit of a disappointment in our experience, generally having a hard time keeping the selected subject in focus.

The ELPH 110 HS has four image size settings, including Large (16MP, 4608 x 3456px), Medium 1 (8MP, 3264 x 2448px), Medium 2 (2MP, 1600 x 1200px), and Small (0.3MP, 640 x 480px). A couple of different shooting modes, such as Low Light and High-speed Burst also record at a special 4MP resolution. Quality options are limited to Fine and SuperFine.

Custom white balance is available, and it's quite easy to set. Simply go to the White Balance submenu of the Function menu, select Custom White Balance, and press the Menu button to take a reading from your current scene.

On the continuous shooting front, Canon claims the ELPH 110 HS can hit 2fps in Program mode. In our lab testing we were able to achieve about 1.9fps over a short burst, but we found that the camera typically shot two frames in very quick succession and then slows down, so the average will drop the longer you shoot. There is also a high-speed continuous mode that shoots at about 5.8fps, but to achieve that speed the camera reduces image size to 4 megapixels.

The full suite of self-timer options includes standard 10-second and 2-second single-shot timers, as well as a customizable setting that lets you choose both the delay (0 to 30 seconds) and the number of shots (1 to 10). There are no other interval recording options, but that's not unexpected for such a cheap camera.

In good light, the ELPH 110 HS focuses quickly and accurately, and very rarely fails to find focus (indicated by a yellow AF frame with an exclamation mark icon). Focus does tend to bounce back and forth around the subject before finding a lock, but it's generally not too distracting. Overall, it's not as quick or as precise as many DSLRs or mirrorless system cameras, as you'd expect, but for most non-sports purposes it should be perfectly adequate.

Even in low light, the 110 HS holds its own until things get truly dark. Its autofocus assist beam is a big help in this regard, illuminating the subject so that the focusing system can do its thing. Even with subject areas as dark as 3 lux, the beam was able to provide enough light to get a focus lock. The only real issues come with low-contrast subjects in dim light, which tend to throw up the yellow exclamation point with regularity.

The 110 HS doesn't offer any manual focus functionality, but it does provide three primary autofocus settings. Face AiAF prioritizes face recognition but otherwise behaves like full auto AF, trying to intelligently determine what you want to focus on. Tracking AF lets you choose the subject you want to track and then tries to keep it in focus. Finally, Center AF mode just gives you the center point and lets you focus and recompose. When using Center AF mode, you can adjust the size of the focus point between "Small" and "Normal," with the Small option letting you be more precise in your targeting.

The Face AiAF setting works very well for face detection and just about as well as any other full auto AF mode for other subjects. Center AF does what it says on the tin, and we did really like the option to use a smaller AF frame. Tracking AF was a bit of a disappointment in our experience, generally having a hard time keeping the selected subject in focus.

Features aren't exactly the ELPH 110 HS's strong point, but it does have a few. Full-HD 1080/24P video is quite nice, at least in good light, as is the optically stabilized lens. A suite of interesting effects and scene modes will be a draw for many users, and face recognition is always a neat party trick.

The PowerShot ELPH 110 HS is capable of recording full HD video at 1080P at 24fps, as well as 720P at 30fps and VGA (640 x 480) at 30fps. Movies are recorded in a .MOV container using H.264 compression. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content

There are very few manual controls available for video shooting on the ELPH 110 HS. While shooting in Program mode, user-selected white balance and color mode settings are used, but that's about it. ISO settings seem to be ignored.

Auto Controls

Some effects and scene modes can be used while shooting video, but not all. For instance, the Monochrome scene mode works fine, but fisheye and toy camera effects are a no-go, presumably because they require too much processing power to render in real time. Canon's My Colors settings can also be employed while recording movies, so you can pre-age your family home videos by shooting them in sepia. Note that all of these settings must be made before you start rolling, since you can't change any options mid-stream.

Zoom

The camera zooms much more slowly while recording video, presumably to keep zoom noise from interfering with the regular audio track on your movies. It's much quieter, but there's still a slight, consistent buzz if you listen closely. The full zoom range can be used, though it takes ages (a little over 8 seconds) to go from full wide angle to full telephoto.

Focus

The ELPH 110 HS does focus automatically while recording video, but it does it quite slowly. So slowly, in fact, that we had to shoot several test videos to confirm that it was even trying to do anything. It also seems to have quite a bit of trouble focusing at longer focal lengths in dimmer light. Automatic focusing seems to work best at full wide angle in bright light and drops off quickly thereafter.

Other Controls

Full white balance control is available during video recording, provided you're shooting in Program or another non-Auto mode that allows white balance adjustments. You can select from any of the presets, or set your own custom white balance.

For years, Canon has ruled the cheap compact camera market. Their A- and ELPH-series models have long been paragons of affordable prices and decent image quality, and it seemed like they'd be comfortable in their throne for years to come. But recent changes in the industry—from the rapid improvement of smartphone cameras to the outlandish specs of today's high-end compacts—have shaken things up, and the future no longer seems so certain. There's a distinct lack of innovation in the low end of the market, and that stagnation has put its very existence under threat.

As a result, we're applying a more critical eye to these near-disposable models. The Canon PowerShot ELPH 110 HS is tiny, cute, and available in an array of bright pastel colors. It manages to pack 16 megapixels into a very small backside-illuminated sensor, uses a 5x zoom lens, and is available for under $200. All of these facts sound great on paper, but if the image quality isn't stellar, why not just use your smartphone? What good is a truly pocketable camera if you've already got a camera in your pocket, as so many of us do?

The ELPH 110 HS doesn't provide a compelling response. Sure, it's got an optical zoom, which no smartphone can offer, but it's a decidedly mediocre lens, even if you get one that works correctly. At 16 megapixels, it surely offers better resolution and detail than the current crop of smartphones (aside from the Nokia 808 Pureview), but the question is whether it's better enough to make a difference in typical use cases.

In our opinion, no, not really. You won't want to make big prints of the images you get from this camera, and when resized for the web or printed at snapshot size, the difference between the 110 HS's output and what you'd get from an iPhone camera (for instance) would be virtually indistinguishable. And there are other concerns as well. Its exceptionally awful battery life (just 170 shots per charge) is far worse than most smartphones, which manage to run all day without dying. Furthermore, its streamlined user interface disposes with nearly all manual controls, putting it at a disadvantage to smartphones, which can install third-party apps to enable shutter speed control, exposure bracketing, and more.

So, what does the 110 HS offer? Well, it looks great. It handles better than a smartphone and has a great user interface that makes it incredibly easy for newbies and casual photographers to pick up and use. It shoots excellent video in good light, which is a noteworthy achievement for an inexpensive digital camera. Optical image stabilization is a legitimate aid to low-light shooting, and while it doesn't produce objectively awesome image quality at higher ISO settings, it does significantly outperform many competitors—and not just smartphones.

While the cheap compact camera is sliding inexorably into obsolescence, there are still a few buyers who might find value in a camera like the ELPH 110 HS. Most obviously, a good copy of this camera could certainly fit the needs of casual photographers who don't own or have plans to purchase a smartphone. Put another way, it's the kind of camera many of us would probably feel comfortable buying for our parents. If you don't recognize yourself (or your parents) in that description, you'd do well to consider other options.

Meet the testers

Ben Keough

Ben Keough

Contributor

@ben_keough

Ben is an experienced industry journalist who formerly served as Senior Editor of News and Features at Reviewed. He now contributes as a freelance writer and editor. Most recently hailing from the vast wilds of the American southwest, he is an avid photographer who is deeply disturbed by the lack of wide open landscapes in Boston.

See all of Ben Keough's reviews
Ben Keough

Ben Keough

Contributor

@ben_keough

Ben is an experienced industry journalist who formerly served as Senior Editor of News and Features at Reviewed. He now contributes as a freelance writer and editor. Most recently hailing from the vast wilds of the American southwest, he is an avid photographer who is deeply disturbed by the lack of wide open landscapes in Boston.

See all of Ben Keough's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

Shoot us an email