This is a point and shoot camera class, if you understand that entrance, you will be more than impressed with it. I'm going from the SD630 and hands down, this beats it. I even have a SX210IS and images are equivalent, if not better. I must return my SX210IS because it has a problem with dust on the image sensor and I have been waiting for a new class of P & S to exit. I bite this bullet, well, a black version of the Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS 12 MP CMOS Digital Camera with 1080p Full HD Video (Black) and what can I say - I'm happy!
300HS VS 500HS:
There 500HS version of the camera, which is about $ 50 more. For now, the only difference I can say is the LCD on the back. The 500HS is a touchscreen all (there is no tactile buttons) and 300HS has a 2.7 "non-touchscreen with a key. If at some point this change, I will definitely update this review.
Form Factor / Display:
Small. Awesome. There is texture on the camera, I really like this when it seems like it would help if your hands are wet (sweat, snow, etc.). Easy to operate one hand, and if you use both hands, flash is not in that horrible place. Display is very bright and the buttons seem intuitive as with other Canon cameras. The battery and SD under the door, USB and HDMI on the side of a closed port. Equipped with wrist strap if you want extra security.
Boot Time / Software:
The camera is ready to take pictures very quickly. From the moment you press the button, it's pretty much set to catch the action. The time between images is not terrible (about 1.5 seconds) and if you need it, there is continuous capture mode. Is there a problem with the Canon software in Windows 7. I've been using Canon Photo Window imports for a while, does a good job to get the photos from the camera without duplicates. I use Picasa to then manage my photo library (I'm past the Zoom Browser, but it's really not bad if you want to use it, I'm just a slave to your Google / gmail)
I do not find this anywhere in the specification, so if you are looking for, the camera uses mini-USB connector, similar to all Canon who have come out over the last few years.
You will be impressed with this camera form factor and it 5x OPTICAL zoom. I quickly turned off as a 12.1MP Optical + 5x digital zoom will make you very close to the action. You better digitally enhance photos later.
Battery + Memory Card:
This use-NBL 4 (once again, I found out about this confusion and accessories) - so if you have several of them put around to keep them because they will work well in this camera. This is nice as my SD630 uses 4-NBL so now I have 2 + 3 battery charger. It took my 32GB SDHC with no problems whatsoever and holds thousands of images. Images tend to be between 2 and 3MB on the highest setting.
Look, I do not have a photo fanatic, I do not expect anyone to buy this camera. I am looking for solid and camera images are provided. There are a ton of features you can learn and I am sure they are good. It has a manual mode, so if you like it, you can go down that road. But I'm the type of person who knows when something looks good, OK or greater. This camera consistently give a BIG picture. I'm happy with low light and blurred picture or a rough (within reasonable expectations).
FINALLY! Optical zoom on the Canon for the video! 1080p bring this camera up to par with others in its class and do a decent job. I do not see a big sound when sliding in and out while recording video. I know this is why Canon has been used in the past for why they do not have this feature. It shoots nice clip for those times faster. This is NOT going to replace the DV cam is true, but hey, to clip a few minutes here and there, you will not be disappointed.