Camera Reviews
by Brad Soo on July 19 2011

canon elph100 prev

Check out my full review of the Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS (also known as the IXUS 115 HS). The camera is the most affordable ELPH in Canon’s 2011 camera lineup but still packs the same 12 megapixel CMOS used in more expensive models, a 3 inch LCD and Full HD 1080p movie mode. Visit the Canon ELPH 100 HS/IXUS 115 HS photo gallery to view full-sized photos taken using the camera.


DPInterface Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS/IXUS 115 HS Review

Brad Soo – July 19th, 2011

canon elph100 intro

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 100HS is the most affordable of the three ELPH models that Canon has introduced this year. In many ways, the PowerShot ELPH 100 HS is similar to the Canon ELPH 300HS/IXUS 220HS we reviewed last week: it’s got a 12 megapixel CMOS sensor behind its lens, Full HD (1080p) movie mode, automatic shooting with various scene modes and various high-speed multi-shot features and a slow motion movie mode. What’s changed here is the ELPH 100 HS has a slightly different design, a bigger 3 inch LCD but less capable movie mode and smaller 4X optical zoom lens that starts at 28 mm (versus 5X zoom with a wider 24 mm lens).

As with their other cameras, Canon has dropped the ‘Digital’ from model names but they have yet to unify the naming scheme of their ELPH/IXUS/IXY cameras. In the United States and Canada, you’ll know the camera by the name Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS, in Japan it’s called the Canon IXY 210F and everywhere else, it’s known as the Canon IXUS 115 HS. Since the ELPH 100 and ELPH 300 use identical user interfaces, I’ll be reusing the screenshots as well as some written parts from our Canon ELPH 300HS/IXUS 220HS review here.

Ready to find out more about the ELPH 100 HS? Keep reading!

Size and Weight

canon elph100 compare

Canon ELPH 100 HS/IXUS 115 HS compared to the Apple iPhone

The Canon ELPH 100 HS is a pocketable camera which can easily be carried around and stowed anywhere. The camera’s dimensions are 93.1 x 55.9 x 19.9 mm (3.7 x 2.2 x 0.78 inches) in size and it weighs a petite 121 grams (4.3 oz) empty.

Box contents

The Canon ELPH 100 HS comes with an average bundle:

  • NB-4L rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Battery charger
  • Wrist strap
  • A/V and USB cables (separate)

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS doesn’t come with a memory card so you’ll definitely have to use your own. The camera takes SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards; I would recommend having a large and fast memory card… at least an 8 GB high-speed memory card (Class 6 or 15 MB/s or faster) since the camera can perform better with a high-speed memory card. An 8 GB card will also fit 30 minutes worth of 1080p Full HD video or 2,400 full-resolution photos..

Like its more expensive sibling, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 100HS uses the rechargeable lithium-ion NB-4L battery. If you’re coming from another IXUS/ELPH model, you might have one of these batteries around. The ELPH 100 HS/IXUS 115 HS has a battery life rating of 230 shots per charge which, despite having a bigger LCD, is about 5% more than the ELPH 300 HS.

Accessories

The accessory range for the ELPH 100 HS is pretty limited. The most you’ll find are an optional AC adapter, various camera cases, neck straps and dedicated waterproof casing. You can’t attach conversion lenses to the camera or even a slave flash.


Camera Tour

canon elph100 inhand

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS is evidently a direct update to last year’s SD1300 Digital ELPH with an almost identical design. Like the ELPH 300 HS, most of its changes are under the hood: that 12 megapixel CMOS behind the lens and all the goodies it brings, such as high-speed shooting, slow motion movie mode and Full HD recording capabilities. The camera is put together well and easy to hold/use, with the exception of the less-than-sturdy door over the memory/battery compartment and the tiny navigation pad for which I had to use the very tip of my fingers to press.

The Canon ELPH 100 HS is available in your choice of five colors: silver, gray, pink, orange or blue. The blue model I have here looks pretty good!

canon elph100 front

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS (IXUS 115 HS) sports a 4X optical zoom lens, which is one of the main differentiators from the more expensive ELPH 300 HS and ELPH 500 HS models. The lens is equivalent to 28 – 112 mm, which isn’t anything extraordinary (the two other ELPHs have lenses that start at an ultra-wide-angle 24 mm) but will do for a camera this price. Aperture range is a standard f2.8 – f5.9, and there’s optical image stabilization to reduce blur from camera shake.

To the upper right corner of the camera are its autofocus assist lamp (which is also used as the redeye reduction light and self-timer countdown visual indicator) as well as the flash. The flash has a decent range of 30 cm to 4.0 meters (1.2 to 13 feet) at wide-angle, which drops to just 50 cm to 2.0 meters (1.6 to 6.6 feet) at telephoto. To the other side is a small microphone hole – here’s another difference between the ELPH 100 HS and ELPH 300HS: this camera records mono sound with video, while the ELPH 300 records stereo sound.

canon elph100 back

The Canon ELPH 100 HS has a 3 inch display which you’ll be using for viewing and composing pictures on. The LCD has just 230,000 dots which is low in resolution for a display this size and it shows; this images shown on this display are slightly more gritty and a tad softer than on smaller displays with the same resolution. Some folks might not notice, but if you have a smartphone with a high-res display, you definitely will. On a positive note, I found the LCD on the ELPH 100 HS to be good in visibility under both bright light and in low light shooting conditions.

To the right are the camera’s three buttons, status indicator light and navigation pad. The buttons present on the ELPH 100 HS are easy and straightforward to recognize, they are the movie start/stop, menu and playback buttons.

Moving on, we have the 5-way navigation pad which is on the small side. The navigation pad lets you access these functions directly:

  • Up – Exposure compensation (+/- 2 EV in 1/3 increments)/Exposure lock
  • Down – Display (Toggle information shown on the display)
  • Left – Focus mode (Macro, normal, landscape)/Focus lock
  • Right – Flash setting (Auto, flash on, flash off, slow sync; redeye reduction toggled on/off in the menu
  • Center – Function menu/OK

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Function menu on the ELPH 300HS

The Canon ELPH 100 HS has the same function menu as its sibling, the ELPH 300 HS and here are the options inside:

  • Metering mode (Evaluative, center-weighted, spot)
  • My Colors effects (Off, vivid, neutral, sepia, black and white, positive film, lighter/darker skin, vivid red/green/blue, custom color)
  • White balance (Auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent H, custom white balance)
  • ISO sensitivity (Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200)
  • Shooting mode (Program, scene modes, slow motion movie mode – more later in the review)
  • Self-timer (Off, 2 seconds, 10 seconds, custom)
  • Drive mode (Single-shot, continuous shooting)
  • Image settings (Aspect ratio, resolution and compression) and movie settings

As with most of Canon’s other compact cameras, there’s custom white balance along with custom self-timer (you can set the countdown period and number of pictures to be shot by the end of it.

canon elph100 top

On the top of the ELPH 100 HS, you’ll find just three things. First off there’s a mode switch that moves you between Automatic and ‘standard’ shooting (where you’ll also find all the scene modes); followed by the power on/off and shutter buttons. There’s also a zoom controller that’s on the small side wrapped around the shutter button.

canon elph100 side

There’s nothing to see on this side of the Canon ELPH 100 HS.

canon elph100 ports

You’ll find the camera’s wrist strap loop as well as two connectivity ports under a cover: the upper one is a combo port for USB and A/V out while the lower port is for HDMI.

canon elph100 bottom

The camera’s battery and memory card compartment is located at the bottom, along with the metal tripod mount. The door over the compartment is on the flimsy side and it isn’t spring loaded, so handle it with care.

Taking pictures (Shooting mode)

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The Canon ELPH 100 HS shows you all you need to know about various camera settings: it shows information related to both photo and video shooting along with indicators for battery level and zoom. 3×3 framing gridlines are also available but you won’t find any option to show a live histogram here.

The Canon ELPH 100HS has a total of four image resolution (12, 6, 2 and 0.3 megapixels), four aspect ratio (default is 4:3, other options are 1:1, 3:2 and 16:9 which ‘crop’ and narrow your images) and two compression options (Fine and Normal) which you’ll be able to make your combination from. You should be able to fit 2,400 photos at the highest settings (12 megapixels, Fine, 4:3 ratio) on an 8 GB memory card.

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The Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS has the exact same main menu system as the ELPH 300 HS, which houses less frequently changed settings:

  • Autofocus mode (Face detection, center, subject tracking)
  • AF point size (Normal, small) – Choose the size of the camera’s focusing point in Center AF mode)
  • Digital zoom (Standard digital zoom digitally enlarges your photos, which lowers quality, while a Smart Zoom option is available that just crops your photos down to increase perceived zoom)
  • AF point zoom – Magnify the autofocus point once the camera locks focus
  • Servo AF – Turning this on will make the camera focus continuously as you hold down
  • AF assist beam – To help the camera focus in low-light
  • Flash settings – toggle red-eye reduction and slow sync
  • iContrast (Off, low, medium, high) – Brightens dark areas of your photos; may lengthen processing time (means slower shooting) after each photo is taken and increase noise levels in brightened areas slightly
  • Review – How long the image is shown on the LCD screen right after the picture is taken
  • Review info
  • Blink detection – Checks for any closed eyes after taking pictures and alerts you about them
  • 3 x3 gridlines (On/off)
  • Optical image stabilization mode – Off, Continuous, Shoot-only, Panning
  • Date stamp (Off, date, date and time)

canon elph300 scr8

Setup menu

There’s also the usual Canon setup menu which lists a bunch of straightforward options to set the camera up.

Macro and scene modes

canon elph300 scr7

Scene and shooting modes on the ELPH 100 HS

Despite having a different lens from the ELPH 300 HS, the Canon ELPH 100 HS has the same minimum focusing distance in macro mode that allows you to get as close as 3 cm (1.2 inches) to your subject at wide-angle. There are also numerous scene modes, which include: portrait, kids and pets, smile shutter, high-speed burst, best image, handheld night scene, low-light, fisheye, miniature effect, toy camera effect, monochrome, super vivid, poster, color accent, color swap, beach, underwater, foliage, beach and snow, fireworks, long shutter, stitch assist and slow motion movie.

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Miniature mode

You can learn more about the ‘new’ fisheye, miniature effect, toy camera, monochrome, super vivid and poster modes in our article of Canon’s 2011 shooting effects.

The ELPH 100 HS has a three shooting modes that take pictures automatically based on detection grouped under Smile Shutter mode. There are smile and wink detection modes; where the camera automatically takes a picture (or pictures, depending on what you set it to) when it detects a smile or wink respectively as well as a ‘new face’ mode where the camera starts counting down and takes a picture after a new face enters the scene.

The camera’s high-speed burst, best image, handheld night scene and low-light modes all take advantage of the CMOS image sensor’s ability to fire off several shots in rapid succession (though images in these modes are lowered to 3 megapixels). Best image mode takes several photos in a row and the camera picks the ‘best’ one (which presumably is the sharpest). Handheld night scene and low-light modes both do nearly the same thing: they take several shots and combine them into one lower noise photo in hopes of reducing chances of taking a blurry one too.

The camera also has a unique Movie Digest mode which is useful for logging events that happen and summing things up in a single video at the end of the day. The camera lets you record a series of 4 second long clips, at 4 seconds each and automatically combines them into a single, long movie at the end of the day.

What’s missing here is an automatic panorama mode, which is all in the rage nowadays but is in fact really useful when it comes to creating panoramas. The ELPH 100 HS instead gives you Canon’s classic Stitch Assist mode which helps you line up photos to create a panorama, but you’ll have to stitch the photos together later in your computer using the bundled software.

Video Recording

The Canon ELPH 100 HS has a Full HD movie where you can choose between recording Full HD (1080p) videos at 24 frames per second; or Standard HD (720p) or even smaller VGA (640 x 480) at 30 frames per second. With an 8 GB card, you should be able to record up to 30 minutes of Full HD video or 40 minutes of Standard HD. There’s a limit of 4 GB or 30 minutes per movie clip, whichever comes first.

The camera records mono sound while recording (versus stereo sound on the ELPH 300 HS) and automatically adjusts exposure. What it can’t do is continually focus or allow you to use optical zoom while recording (The zoom lens is too noisy, but you can still use digital). You can enable optical image stabilization but, again, for optical zoom and continuous AF while recording, you’ll have to step up to the ELPH 300 HS.

The ELPH 100HS has a Super Slow Motion movie mode (found as the last option below the bunch of scene modes in the Function menu), which lets you record at either VGA (640 x 480) resolution at 120 frames per second or QVGA (320 x 240) at 240 FPS, and plays them back a slower 30 FPS to give a ‘slow motion’ feeling to things. I would personally recommend sticking to VGA resolution, since QVGA is too small to digest, really. Sound is not recorded since videos are played back in slow motion anyway, you cannot use any zoom while recording and each slow motion clip is limited to 30 seconds each (which will stretch out to 2 and 4 minutes respectively when played back).

Video quality was pretty good and so was audio quality: The Canon ELPH 100 HS will do well in serving you for casual videos of vacations, family and friends.

You can also check out three sample videos from our Canon ELPH 300HS/IXUS 220HS review

Performance

All performance testing of the Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS was performed using a 16 GB SanDisk Extreme SDHC memory card.

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS clocked in a very quick boot up time of 1.2 seconds, and that includes extending its lens. Autofocusing was very fast, with times ranging from 0.1 to 0.5 seconds on average in good light. Focusing in low-light can take anywhere between 0.3 to 0.8 seconds, depending on zoom position, but it was pretty accurate thanks to the focus assist lamp.

  • Shot-to-shot speed – 1 shot every 1.6 seconds, very fast
  • Flash recharge time using a fully charged battery – 4 seconds, decent
  • Optical zoom speed (from wide-angle to telephoto) – 1.5 seconds, very fast

The Canon ELPH 100 HS has the same continuous shooting modes as its sibling, the ELPH 300 HS, which isn’t surprising considering they share the same CMOS image sensor. You can choose to shoot at full-resolution at 2.5 FPS using ‘normal’ continuous shooting or at around 6 frames per second in the camera’s “High speed burst” shooting mode (where resolution is lowered to 3 megapixels). And yes, that’s fast but still lower than the advertised 3.4 and 8.2 FPS rates respectively. There was also no option to shoot at a very high speed at full resolution.

The Canon ELPH 100 HS is a fast performer and exhibited very similar performance with the other ELPH Canon introduced this year. The camera is very responsive and almost never keeps you waiting as long as you have a high-speed card in it. The continuous shooting modes on the camera are also pretty good, though there’s definitely room for improvement there.

Image Quality

iso100

ISO 100 (f2.8, 1/15 sec)

iso200

ISO 200 (f2.8, 1/30 sec)

iso400

ISO 400 (f2.8, 1/60 sec)

iso800

ISO 800 (f2.8, 1/125 sec)

iso1600

ISO 1600 (f2.8, 1/250 sec)

iso1600

ISO 3200 (f2.8, 1/500 sec)

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS starts with clean and smooth photos with just a tiny hint of grain at ISO 100. The camera shows slightly more noise at ISO 200, though there’s still nothing to be concerned about at this point since the grains are only visible when you zoom in to 100%. ISO 400 photos still look fine with some slight noise reduction coming into play.

Noise starts taking its toll on image quality at ISO 800 but you still should be able to use photos at this setting. At ISO 1600, image quality worsens and I would highly recommend downsizing or using software to process photos before you use them. Image quality becomes worse at ISO 3200 with details washed away and photos looking quite muddy.

chart

There was not a very visible amount of lens distortion to be seen with the ELPH 100 HS but there was visible color fringing (Chromatic aberration) and soft corners (particularly noticeable in the top left corner of scenes). Redeye was not an issue since the camera’s redeye reduction does away with it almost entirely, just remember to turn on the software based redeye removal setting in the menu.

All-in-all, the Canon PowerShot 100 HS produced good image quality with nicely saturated colors, good detail and noise control as well as negligible lens distortion. However, what bugged me was the edge softness present in photos were on the high side, certainly more noticeable than in the ELPH 300 HS (which has a wider and more ambitious lens too!).

Photo gallery

Head on to the Canon ELPH 100 HS/IXUS 115 HS photo gallery to view more photos in full resolution!


Playback

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The Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS has a nice and complete playback mode. The basics such as image protection, erasure, rotation and print marking are present, along with transition effects, slideshow mode, playback zoom up to 10X (photos only) and thumbnail viewing (the camera can display photos in sets of 4, 9 and up to 100 thumbnails).

Photos can be grouped into several preset categories or marked as your favorites. There are also basic editing features like iContrast (brightens your photos), software-based redeye removal, trimming (cropping), resize and the ability to apply My Colors photo effects to photos.

canon elph300 scr16 canon elph300 scr15

The Canon ELPH 100 HS has a fun and unique Smart Shuffle (right screenshot) feature that lets you randomly playback photos. The camera shows the ‘main’ photo in the center accompanied by four random photos which you can go to by using the navigation pad. I’ve read somewhere the camera is supposed to choose ‘similar’ photos but I digress; its choices seem to be rather random at best.

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The camera tells all you need to know about your photos in playback: exposure and shooting information, brightness histogram and image settings are all here. There’s even a dedicated ‘focus check’ screen for zooming into and inspecting focus points the camera chose.

Conclusion

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS (also known as the IXUS 115 HS) is a small and stylish digital camera that’s the most affordable in the ELPH/IXUS lineup for 2011. In many ways, the camera shares many similar traits with its pricier sibling, the ELPH 300 HS (costs around $50 more at time of writing): from its 12 megapixel CMOS to variety of scene modes and brilliant playback mode.

The camera is really small in size and you won’t miss capturing a beat in life with its ability to follow you everywhere you go. The ELPH 100 HS has a larger display, believe it or not, versus the ELPH 300 (3 inches versus 2.7 inch) with legibility that’s just as good. Unfortunately, resolution remains the same, which makes this bigger display also slightly softer and coarser. The large display also leaves less room for buttons, which means a smaller and more difficult to press navigation pad.

The ELPH 100 HS shares both good and bad traits from its sibling; thankfully there’s not a lot of ‘bad’ about the ELPH 300 HS we reviewed last week, on the contrary, we were impressed. However, alongside the plethora of scene modes, useful custom self-timer and white balance as well as high speed burst mode at low resolution, the camera lacked a good full-resolution high-speed continuous shooting mode, any sort of manual exposure controls and ‘sweep’ panorama mode.

The camera also had a moderately capable movie mode. The selling point is the camera’s ability to record 1080p Full HD video with sound. However, the ELPH 100 lacks several points that made the ELPH 300’s movie mode so fascinating – you can’t use optical zoom and continually focus while recording. Image quality was good but there was a surprising amount of corner softness, which is slightly worse than lenses with more ambitious ranges.

As a whole, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS is a capable little digital camera that I can recommend, but not without reservations and only if you have a strict $180 budget you can’t bend. You might be a happier person going for the ELPH 300 HS which has a better lens (and photo corner sharpness) and an edge in the movie department.

What’s hot:

  • Small and stylish, well-built camera; very legible display
  • Lots of scene modes; useful low-light and handheld night scene modes; custom self-timer and white balance available
  • Very good performance
  • High-speed burst (albeit at 3 megapixels) and slow motion movie modes
  • Full HD 1080p movie mode (though see below)
  • Great feature-complete playback mode
  • Good image quality

What’s not:

  • Small navigation pad and zoom controller
  • No manual exposure controls
  • 3 inch display is low in resolution and it shows
  • No optical zoom and continuous AF while recording movies
  • No automatic ‘sweep’ panorama mode
  • No high-speed burst mode at full-resolution
  • Slight color fringing and prominent corner softness

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One Comment

  1. chasity September 16, 2011 Reply

    Is the color accent and color swap only on the silver camera like this?

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