I have just finished taking my new Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 HS camera through a lengthy shakedown cruise. I have learned a number of things about it and will share my findings as clearly as I can.
You should know that I have far more digital cameras than one person should own. My experience with them over the years has given me some degree of confidence in what I say about the Canon ELPH 330HS. This is my second Canon camera. I also own a Canon PowerShot SX230 HS which is similar in several ways.
I am an avid amateur travel photographer and my remarks are influenced by using my cameras extensively for that purpose.
I hope the following observations will help you make a decision about the Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 HS.
* The camera is quite small and a true pocket dweller.
* Mine is silver in color and it looks great.
* It takes excellent pictures with the AUTO setting, but there are many options for those who think they can do better manually.
* It has an extensive of list of shooting modes for every situation.
* It has face recognition along with blink and smile shooting features.
* The low light capacity of the camera is outstanding.
* 12.1 megapixels put a lot of detail in the pictures.
* The 10x optical zoom is plenty and the anti-shake feature keeps them crisp.
* The image stabilization feature works very well and it is automatic.
* Close-up shots are beautiful.
* The WiFi feature is outstanding technology and that makes this camera special.
* I use the WiFi in my ELPH 330 HS for wirelessly transferring photos to both iOS devices and PC computers. That is amazing.
* The camera stores images on SD memory cards so pictures can be shared with a computer that way too.
* Using the WiFi one can also upload photos directly to social networks or email.
* I used the free Apple app Camera Window to connect with my iPod 5g and it worked better than the Canon suggestions found in the DVD instruction manual.
* Paring with a PC computer is a bit tricky, but it can be done by ordinary mortals.
* The display window on the camera is large and bright.
* The 330HS movies are excellent and there are a number of shooting options available.
* There is even full HD video in stereo sound available.
* The fit and finish are very good and that means this is a solid high quality camera.
* Setting up the WiFi feature is not all that easy even though some of it is automatic.
* WiFi photo transfer is somewhat slow, but no problem.
* The camera controls are not made for large fingers.
* I miss the manual shooting mode wheel--poking around on screen based options is too slow to be useful if scenes, locations and objects change rapidly.
* The instruction manual on the provided DVD is confusing for setting up WiFi.
* The Hybrid movie feature is strange and seems to have limited purpose.
* I have yet to determine what the body of this camera is made of. It seems very light in weight which suggests plastic, but maybe aluminum.
* One can get bogged down and confused by the myriad of options available and it is difficult to find the way back out of unwanted settings. There is a way to re-set everything just in case.
That is about all of the first impression information I can offer. I plan to carry my new ELPH 330 HS to Europe later in the spring and hope to take advantage of the WiFi features for sending photos back home to friends and relatives while I am traveling abroad.
I have just returned from two weeks in Great Britain and almost 700 photos taken with my Canon ELPH 330 HS and I was very satisfied with the how it performed. This little camera did everything I asked of it. Transferring all of those pictures to my iPad and to my Windows 7 laptop via WiFi was a perfect addition to the many other features. I am even more impressed with this camera after putting it to a very rigorous test. I bumped the camera around a lot on our trip and without a case on it. I even dropped it once and it kept on ticking. As a travel camera it is the best of the bunch as far as I am concerned.
on May 1, 2013
I want to use my DSLR whenever possible, but it is often not practical to take with me as a "walkabout" camera due to its size and the need to carry additional often bulky equipment. A point-and-click camera is something I still use often and can carry with me at any time with barely a second thought.
I'd previously owned several Canon point-and-click models - most recently a Powershot A2000 that I've taken almost 10,000 photos with so far and is still going strong. It is getting a little long in the tooth now though, with just a CCD sensor rather than a CMOS, and fairly limited operation and speed due to the old Digic 3 processor, (rather than the Digic 5 in this ELPH 330 model.) The Digic 5 processor is noticeably quicker than my old Digic 3 based camera - and of course it has to do a lot more as well both due to shooting in much higher resolutions, but also because the camera has a lot more automated features. The fact that this camera had the Digic 5 processor was a big selling point to me. It offers a huge improvement over previous iterations of the chip, (I won't detail them here but Canon's website provides this information if anyone is interested.)
When I received this camera, the first thing that struck me was how tiny it is - especially bearing in mind the fact it has a 10x optical zoom that is required to extend out so significantly and retract back into the main body. How Canon has achieved this is beyond me, but I'm glad they did.
Anyone who has ever used a previous Canon digital camera will be right at home using this new model. The auto mode is fantastic - I never thought I'd say that about a compact camera - and it takes great photos in a variety of environments I've tested it in, (at night under artificial light with and without the flash; outside on a sunny day and outside after snowfall; indoors during the day, outside in close to darkness, etc.) To be honest, I'm fairly experienced when it comes to photography - I know my way around f-stops, shutter speed, ISO, exposure, etc. as I own a DSLR, but for use as a "walkabout" camera, I'll probably only somewhat rarely take this camera out of "Auto" mode. The pictures are so wonderfully focused, clear and full of color. The semi-auto and manual modes are still there, (with the omission of the old "landscape" mode - although there is an "infinity" mode now that appears to be a similar thing.) There is a Program (P) mode too which I've always found incredibly useful and my default mode to use with other Canon point-and-shoot models - that mode allows the camera to handle the aperture and shutter and gives control to the user to set other factors of the photo - namely the ISO, flash mode, exposure compensation and white-balance. The camera does still retain a "Portrait" mode too, which is useful for taking photos of people up close and allows the camera to blur the background a little using a large aperture (i.e. small f-stop) automatically.
This camera has built in wireless connectivity, but, to be honest I probably will never use this capability. I prefer to copy my images to my computer and edit/crop them in Paintshop Pro prior to uploading them anywhere.
Insofar as video recording goes, I was very impressed by the quality both of the picture and the sound. I briefly tried full 1080p recording, and was quite astounded by the quality once I downloaded the video to my computer. However, for my purposes the 720p resolution is good enough, (and a much smaller file size to work with and edit.) As with all point-and-click cameras you can audibly hear the camera zooming in and out on the recording if you decide to do so. It's not too imposing though so it's no big deal. Most of the video I'll ever take with this camera will be wide-angle anyway, so I'll probably never touch the zoom lever while recording anyway.
The 12.1mp CMOS blows away all the 16mp CCD cameras I've seen and used. I know a lot of people believe that a digital camera's specification all but ends at the megapixel level, with the more the better, but this is a false belief. A camera with a good CMOS sensor is FAR better than a cheaper (but perhaps more megapixel) CCD based camera.
I'm trying to think of negatives to balance my review, but am struggling. I'd like Canon to stop ripping off their customers with the price of additional "official" batteries. True, there are cheap clones at less than 20% of the price of a Canon brand, but if the reviews on them are anything to go by, they should be used with caution and may invalidate you camera warranty if they cause damage. Ah... I just thought of a negative thing about the camera itself -- the buttons on the back are flat and almost flush with camera body. This can make them a little harder to press than with previous camera models which had raised or rounded buttons. Sorry, that's the biggest negative I can think of. This is a terrific camera.
P.S. The camera comes with a decent little "Getting Started" manual. However, there is a much more comprehensive and detailed manual available (for free) from the Canon USA website, and also on the disc supplied with the camera. Amazon doesn't allow web-links in their reviews, so I'll post the link to download the full manual as a comment on this review instead, (which does seem to be allowed by Amazon.) Anyone considering buying this camera also may wish to download the manual to ensure the ELPH 330 is the model for you, or to familiarize themselves with operating it while you wait for Amazon to deliver it.
on March 31, 2013
I bought the ELPH 330 to replace a Canon PowerShot ELPH 310 that was 'appropriated' by a family member. I quite liked the 310, and the other ELPH models that we've owned previously (SD100, SD200, SD400). To give this review some context, I also have a Canon PowerShot S5, a GoPro Hero, and various film cameras dating back to an Olympus OM-1 and a Rollei 35. While Canons may not always be the 'best' cameras on the market, I've become used to the Canon menu system, and my collection of accessories are compatible with my previous ELPHs. So I assumed the ELPH 330 would be a satisfying addition to my photographic arsenal.
Alas, I was sadly disappointed. What's wrong with it? In a word, the user interface. It has regressed significantly compared to the 310. The biggest shortcoming is the all-important '5-way' controller (the up, down, left, right, and the central FUNC/SET buttons). On the 310, the 5-way was slightly raised above the body of the camera, making it possible to position one's thumb on the desired portion of the controller by touch alone. On the 330, the buttons are completely flush with the body. This may sound like a small detail, but I've found this design change makes it much harder to operate the 330. I've found it tricky to register my thumb over the 5-way without looking, and I don't have terribly big hands. The tiny FUNC/SET button in the center of the cluster is actually recessed just a bit, which is terrible from an ergonomic perspective. One needs a tiny thumb to reliably click on the FUNC/SET button. In the short time I've had the 330, I've accidentally activated the wrong button numerous times.
The second failing of the 330's UI is the bizarre slide switch. Canon has taken what was a great step forward on the 310 UI and totally trashed it on the 330. On the 310, the slide switch selected between AUTO or MANUAL modes of operation. The former was great for taking quick'n easy point-and-shoot tourist snapshots. When the photographer wanted more 'creative control', a simple flip of the switch put the camera into manual mode. User could then choose from a large variety (too many) of special shooting modes (portrait, nighttime, backlit, sports...), adjust ISO, override shutter speed, etc. This arrangement was extremely versatile and I've come to love it.
On the ELPH 330, the slide switch now activates a glitzy new Canon feature: photos plus a Movie Digest. When you slide the switch to the 'up' position, the camera takes a still photo in Auto mode AND a 3-second movie clip captured immediately before every still photo is taken. It then composes a daily sequence of these clips, all concatenated together. So if you were to shoot 60 pictures on a given day, you'll end up with 60 still photos, plus a 3-minute long movie containing the 'live action' as you composed each shot. With the switch 'down', the Movie Digest feature is turned off and the camera operates in whatever mode is chosen from the Record Mode menu (not necessarily Auto mode).
The side effects of this fancy Digest feature are non-trivial. First, the camera goes dormant for a few seconds after the shutter is pushed, while the captured movie clip is compressed and concatenated onto the daily movie file. During this interval, the green 'camera busy' light is flashing. This means you can't take another photo until the movie processing is completed. No rapid-fire picture taking when in Digest mode. Perhaps more important is the potential impact on battery life. When the 330 is in this mode, it's capturing video continuously. It doesn't know when you're going to trip the shutter, so it constantly records video into an internal 3-second buffer memory, which is then saved to the SD card after each click of the shutter. I haven't yet measured the impact on battery life but continuous video capture and storage will surely shorten run time.
Fortunately, the ELPH 330 still has both Automatic and Manual picture modes, but you now have to make a trip down into the menu system to select one or the other. The slide switch, which occupies a fair bit of the limited real estate on the back of the camera, is totally wasted (unless one becomes enamoured with the Movie Digest mode). I'm astounded that Canon would deem this feature so important that it qualified for 'top billing' with a dedicated mode switch. Perhaps there is a big demand for this feature in Japan, but I can do without it.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the improvements in the 330. The longer telephoto (10x, vs 8x in the 310) is a small but welcome enhancement. Likewise, the wide angle is a little wider (24 vs 28mm). I haven't yet mastered the WiFi features. Canon's user manual describing them meets their usual standard for convoluted & confusing documentation.
Occasionally, the orientation sensor (sensing landscape vs portrait) messes up and misclassifies the orientation of a picture. This may be a defect with the sensor in my unit, or could be a design issue that affects all ELPH 330 units.
Frankly, I'm undecided whether to keep the ELPH 330 or not. I'm tempted to carefully place a tiny dollop of hot-melt glue on the FUNC/SET button. That might partly alleviate the ergonomic shortcomings of the 5-way controller. But there's no way to make the stupid Movie Digest slide switch useful and achieve the versatile functionality found in the ELPH 310.
on October 22, 2013
Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 HS Camera Review
The choices available today in digital cameras might seem bewildering. In many ways, they are, for cameras are often classified in random fashion. No one seems to know what a "pocket" camera is, what a long-zoom camera is, and what affordable might happen to be. There is no clear distinction from where "point and shoot" ends and "enthusiast" or prosumer-marketed cameras begin. It changes annually.
We hardly buy cameras based on image quality alone. As I write this, the #1 selling digital camera on Amazon is the Nikon Coolpix L820, a fairly large and heavy 30x unit powered by four AA batteries. On the same list, the #11 spot is held by the same L820 with a red case. While a lot of camera for the money (selling at the same $170 level as this Elph 330), the Nikon L820 wins no "best of the best" awards, but buyers think quite differently.
There are a lot of things to consider, if you want to be satisfied with your camera for the life of your use with it. Although volumes have been written about image quality, that isn't the main reason why folks are dissatisfied with cameras, much less the only reason. Here are a few of the most common concerns, interlaced with Elph 330 relevant comments.
Digital cameras with dead batteries don't work well. The current lithium-ion type of rechargeable battery isn't new technology at all. Batteries can be of most any capacity a manufacturer wants them to be, though few relish the prospect of running a digital camera with fork-lift batteries.
They are often small, for a battery enclosed inside the frame of a camera partly determines the envelope dimensions and weight of the camera. It is hard to get a light camera if it runs on four AA batteries, which at one time was common. Cameras are not totally redesigned annually, just re-marketed annually. Yet, when more features are added (better image stabilization, larger LCDs, etc.) battery drain goes up and life drops in concert. We don't want larger, bulkier cameras in general, and manufacturers like to build upon existing frames, so the quicker, more powerful zoom motors and bigger LCDs take their toll, as does advanced image stabilization arrays.
The Canon ELPH 330 HS (IXUS 255 HS in Europe) takes the NB-4L battery, and is good for about 220 still-image shots. For video, you'll do well to get 45 minutes or so, less in cold weather. As a rule of thumb, lithium-ion cells give 65 - 70% life at 32 degrees F. vs. 70 degrees F. Extra batteries are readily available and inexpensive: I always carry two fully-charged extras, in addition to the one in the camera.
You can't have too much usable zoom, but that of course comes with a price. The ELPH 330 has a 10x zoom (24mm - 240mm), something everyone will appreciate vs. the common 5x or 8x variety shirt-pocket cameras. Canon also has their "Zoom Plus" 20x mode, a digital zoom along the lines of Sony's Clear Image and Panasonic's Intelligent Zoom. All of these digital zooms do about the same thing. While they aren't as good as true optical zoom, they do produce far better results than older digital zoom attempts did. To say no loss of image quality isn't strictly true, but for 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 prints few could notice the difference.
Waiting for a camera to autofocus or to save images to file is no fun. Canon's compact cameras have been sluggish in times past, including the SX230 that I eventually quit using in favor of a Panasonic ZS-15. Autofocus time and lag time is significantly reduced in the ELPH 330, about one third faster than their previous 310 and other models. It is a readily noticeable and welcomed improvement. Autofocus does do some searching, particularly when using zoom in low-light.
Invariably, when small sensors are overpopulated with super-dinky photo-sites, image quality suffers. How much it suffers is contingent on the camera's software and processor, but it does suffer. Unfortunately, mega-pixels sells cameras, and if it doesn't make dollars it doesn't make sense. Fortunately, Canon has stayed with the 12MP sensor, while others have succumbed to the large file, but lower quality nonsense.
Within its range, the ELPH 330 takes far better than average stills. It handily out-shoots several similarly sized pocket cameras at ISO 800. With low noise images to ISO 1600, less than 1.5%, it does as good or better than many cameras at base ISO.
Few compact cameras are ideally suited to video for reasons of battery life and image stability when not using a tripod. Enclosed batteries in small chassis make for a very poor heat sink as well. This Canon does just average in the video quality department, very dark in low light and just average quality otherwise. It isn't a resolution issue.
FOX and Disney (ABC, ESPN) broadcast in 720p HD, the rest mostly use 1080i. The hyped 1080p capabilities of pocket cameras make little sense, including this Canon as the harder to edit 1080p is at 24 fps per second, or film rate. Unless you plan on burning Blu-rays, using anything other than 720p is a waste of file size editing time, rendering time, and upload time with footage captured with a small-sensored still camera. It makes even less sense if the video is viewed on a Smartphone with a 3.5 - 4 inch screen for example.
Though a recent, loudly touted "feature" in cameras, it is one of very little value as far as I'm concerned. Sending pictures to yourself makes little sense, nor does spamming social media direct from a camera. Images of interest that are sent along invariably benefit from a bit of thoughtful review, light cropping, and so forth. The grand benefit of frenetically rushing to send an image of a bowl of oatmeal straight to Facebook under the guise of "sharing" somehow escapes me. While perhaps theoretically useful for professional engagements where you'd like to show images to clients immediately, it serves mostly as yet another way to needlessly drain the battery of a compact camera.
Jim Fisher, using Imatest to determine the sharpness of the Elph 330 lens, found that it scored 2069 lines, well above the 1800 lines required for a sharp photo, and dramatically better than the Panasonic SZ-7's 1563 lines. Jim Fisher also found the noise levels held under 1.5% at ISO 1600, rising to a still quite respectable 1.9% at ISO 3200. The Nikon P510 bridge camera scored 1,865 lines, while the Canon SX40 HS scored 1,836 lines. The Panasonic FZ-200 scored 1811 lines; the Panasonic ZS-20 scored a weak 1662 lines per picture height.
The Elph 330 starts out at F/3.0 at the wide angle end, fairly bright for a compact, but drops off to a small F/6.9 at the 10x end. The Elph 330's lens is demonstrably sharp, better than many more expensive cameras from many brands, including other Canon product. It betters both the premium 5x compact Canon S120 that managed 1897 lines at 24mm / F/1.8 and edges out the latest Canon SX280 that managed 1957 lines. While lens sharpness isn't the exclusive barometer for grading a camera, the Elph 330 is class-leading in this regard, and produces sharper images than several "enthusiast" level compacts that sell for more than double the price.
The small flash unit of the Elph 330 is just average, not nearly as effective or as even (some vignetting) as the more substantial flashes found on larger footprint cameras. It is one of the compromises inherent in small, light cameras, and the Elph 330 is no exception. The best thing about the Elph 330's flash, as far as I'm concerned, is that don't need to use it as much as some super-compacts make you.
CONTROLS / HANDLING
This is a 5 ounce, very compact camera. With its diminutive form factor, less buttons, wheels, and smaller buttons in general are a consequence of retaining the small envelope dimensions. If you have moderately chubby fingers, you won't like this camera. I don't have chubby fingers, but the flush buttons and lack of a raised control wheel made using this camera in other than just full automatic, "hit the button mode" a chore.
This is a superb pocket camera, that does what a camera should do: take good images, and take them reliably. Its general no flash performance, for this super-compact class of camera, is good, despite its dark F.6.9 lens @ 10x. If you put a high priority on bulk and weight, and can live with the tiny flush button controls, it takes satisfying pictures for this light and small class of camera. If you can tolerate an extra few ounces, you'll be able to get far more out of the 7 oz. - 8 oz. class of pocket camera, though, with easier to use and more appropriately sized controls, along with longer focal lengths.
Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman and Randy Wakeman Outdoors.
on March 16, 2013
UPDATED MAY 7, 2013:
I just have to chime in again on this post after almost 2 months of usage. I have bumped this camera rating to 4 of 5 stars (from 3/5). The more and more we use this camera, the more we are impressed with the pictures that it takes. We've really been pushing the camera in its macro shots, different focus points, etc. and we have been increasingly more impressed. One thing you can't get hung up on is looking at the photos on the back of the camera. They always look really dark and under exposed, but by the time you get them on a computer or go to do any processing, it really has produced a great looking picture. The 10x zoom has been very handy for us as well.
I still think my below gripes are valid (and I've left them unchanged) and the low light action isn't as good as I'd hoped, but still works just as good as our phones if not better in low light.
Do I think that a very good camera phone like the S4 or iphone 5 would match this still "all around" (indoors and outdoors)??? Perhaps the S4 given the pixel density, but I think that the color reproduction on this camera would still be better than the phones. We've taken thousands of pictures with it by now and most of them come out pretty spectacular. That said, the S4 does have some unique camera modes that this camera just can't handle.
Overall, we like this camera and use it frequently.
We just received this camera last night and we took about 200 photos in varying light conditions as well as a few videos. Our hope was to get a camera that would be better in low light than our Samsung GS3 and GS2 phones. We were also looking for something to be able to hand to someone to take a picture of us, as handing someone your phone usually ends up with blurry pictures and/or potential for a dropped phone! (or if they run off with your life!) Our phones take pictures indoors that usually result in blurry pictures of our daughter and dog, we hoped that a dedicated point and shoot would remedy this issues for us. The last P/S we owned was purchased 5+ years ago and its just too slow to take any quality pictures anymore....so we finally wanted to upgrade. Finally, we HAVE to have a good WiFi connection and features with this camera so we can easily move and share photos. That's the biggest reason why we don't whip out our DSLR very often because of the hassle of transferring cards and photos manually....its a hassle.
So, let's get started. There definitely are goods and "mehs" with this camera, hence the "it's okay" rating of 3 stars.
#1. Low Light photography ---> This was one of our biggest concerns in a new camera. I would say that this camera is barely above the quality of our cell phones. The megapixel count is higher, but the overall noise in the photos are about equivalent. We tried the auto modes as well as manually adjusting the ISO and metering. Nothing seemed to improve the situation over the "auto" mode. There was less blurring with the 330HS over our phones in similar photos, but overall this problem was not fixed by purchasing this camera. Disappointing to say the least. However, the shutter speed and timing is quite fast for a point and shoot. It is on par with our phones for speed of taking photos. I would say though that the burst modes on our phones are superior to this camera.
#2. Normal light photography (indoors and outdoors) ---> I found that this camera did a very good job with color reproduction in normal light conditions or outdoor photography. The colors were less blued and yellowed than from our phones. Like most cameras, if it can't perform here, it might as well not be sold. So I wasn't "impressed" by this to say the least.
#3. Video capture at 1080 -----> I thought this too was adequate. I could not tell a difference between our phones (which do a really good job with video) and the 330HS. The 330HS does have better video stabilization and obviously a zoom, which are nice touches that will keep us using this camera for videos for sure. We also have a Canon video camcorder HD and the quality exceeds that camcorder in my opinion with handling less favorable light conditions. The stereo sound is also good from the 330HS on video recording.
#4. Flash -----> It appears to us that the flash is not "even". The bottom of our photos appear brighter than the tops. We will see if this is just the LED bulb reaching some sort of usable state and I'll report back.
#5. Menu system ----> Its nice there are physical buttons on this camera and the menus seem fairly intuitive once you figure out the modes. The manual really has nothing in there about the menus and structures. The manual is pretty much completely written for WiFi connections.....speaking of which....
#6. WiFi connectivity (part 1 - connect to phone) ----> This was, as mentioned above a big reason why we got this camera. The Canon Camera Window app is supposed to connect easily to the camera as long as they are both on the same WiFi network. The advantage of the 330HS over the 320HS is that the 330HS is able to create its own "Access Point" so you can connect the phone directly to the camera when there is no WiFi network to share. So...connecting the Android GS3 phone through the same WiFi network does not ever connect. ###EDIT: MAKE SURE THAT YOUR WIFI NETWORK SSID IS BROADCASTING! AFTER I DID THIS, IT CONNECTED INSTANTLY VIA THE ANDROID CANON CAMERA WINDOW APP.#### Creating an access point with the camera itself and connecting the phone to it does work and works pretty well. Photo transfer is surprisingly quick when this mode connects successfully.
#7 WiFi connectivity (part 2 - connect to web services like Facebook and Twitterz) ----> Once you get the camera, connect it to a computer and install the CD that comes with it. You can't seem to download this software anywhere, so it'll be interesting to see what those with ultrabooks and computers without disc drives will do for this.....I imagine they will get the link up soon. After you connect the system and make a Canon iMAGE Gateway account (free), then you can use the utility to add webservices to your camera. The application you want to use is IMAGE TRANSFER UTILITY to set these things up. It'll connect to your camera and it will allow you to add the webservices. This process is entirely NOT INTUITIVE. I doubt that less savvy folks would be able to get through this....then again, less savvy folks probably don't use all the online sharing services. Once you get this all completed though, the image sharing to Facebook works quickly and the pictures show up in your timeline or whereever you appoint them to go. The Twitter posting just posts a link to your image on Canon iMAGE Gateway, does not put it in your feed. There is no access to Google+, which I think is a really big omission as that network is the one I like best and hopefully they will add this feature in the future.
#8 WiFi connectivity (part 3 - stability of connection) ---> I thought I'd put this in a separate category. There doesn't seem to be a way to keep the camera connected to the internet if you wanted to move a few pictures in a short amount of time. Every single time the camera has to go through the SSID and password to connect back to the network. This takes probably about 30-60 seconds to complete. Sure that doesn't sound that slow, but when you are trying to share something and are used to an instant 2 taps to make it happen. This can feel like an eternity.
Wrap-up (and I will update this if we keep the camera longer than a week):
I was hoping that this camera would have wowed me considering that its 2013 and the camera tech is now pretty amazing, but instead its just "meh". I think that this camera is adequate for someone looking for a basic point and shoot that doesn't have a high end phone like the GS3, iphone5, LG Optimus Pro, HTC One, etc. If you have one of those phones, you will probably be a little frustrated with this device. We most likely will keep this camera just to have something to hand to someone to take a photo of us, since we rarely do that with our phones. Unfortunately though, I think that the touted features of this device like the WiFi connections (90% of the manual is dedicated to this) need some work. It seems frustrating that Canon would not learn more from the current phones on the market and emulate those same features and ease of use. So I will continue to use my phone and other devices for instant connections and use this for handing to people to take photos of us, I guess. Time will tell, I will update this post the more we use it. The good news is that some of these gripes can be fixed by software updates and app updates, but will Canon care to fix them???? They better if they want to stay relevant.
on August 2, 2013
I've owned a number of Canon cameras over the years, both small/full sized digital and standard 35 mm. I have always had a penchant for the design and capabilities of Canon products which I have extended to their photo and regular inkjet printers.
I've purchased the PowerShot Series from the A480 and SD780 IS (for the kids)to the PowerShot ELPH SD30 (about 10 years ago) to the ELPH SD960 (4 years ago). The A480 and SD780 worked fine for my children, who took quite a few pictures, most of which were focused and actually well composed given their less than professional approach to picture taking. On my end, the SD30 worked well for me - with the exception of it's poor flash capability, it's slow shutter speed rendering blurred images in situation that normally should have been focused, the slow automatic focus, and finally, a glitch in the shutter then prevented it from focusing intermittently or it would just lock open. I don't know if the camera sustained damage that I was not aware of, but those combinations of issues caused me to stop using it, eventually replacing same with a ELPH SD960.
That unit worked very well, but still did not afford me the type of photo flexibility in low-light situations, auto focus or shutter speed. I felt that I was forced to rely on my full sized Canon EOS Rebel T3i (a Christmas gift from 2011). Since I love landscape shooting and family gatherings/outings, I found myself lugging around the T3i, which although a great camera (with the right lens) takes wonderful shots but is a dad cumbersome and heavy.
So, I decided to try another small digital camera, based on research and customer reviews from many outlets. Still nervous about spending money on a camera that might not last and had relatively few features, I took a chance on Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 HS. I was BLOWN AWAY! The pictures are outstanding for such a small unit. It is responsive, with reasonable shutter speed, auto-focus and decent low-light shooting resolution. I took it on a recent trip to Florida, and infused with a 16 GB SD Card, I took over 1500 photos over 11 days! Virtually every shot was perfect - focused, solid composition, lighting (even those in low light and flash situations). Most times I opted to shut down the flash, using existing light. Most of those pictures turned out natural/great. The incorporated flash is adequate enough to do some jobs, but steadying the camera in low light situations will provide you with better images. There were some exceptions with indoor low light, but for the most part they were fine.
What's more, the zoom and focus capability is awesome on this unit, even when compared to much more expensive and technologically advanced cameras in similar classes. The zoom feature is very responsive and easy to manipulate, although some of the automatic stops it takes during zooming may require minor adjustments . . . or patience until you reach the correct distance (sometimes the focus on subject is too far or too close). The image stability functions worked great, the shutter speed was awesome, the auto-focus speed response was arguably much faster (as were the other aforementioned features) than my previous Canon cameras which were much more expensive.
I also need to mention the capability of the video aspect of this camera. It is easy to use, works well, provides great images and decent sound for such a small and compact camera. Rather than having to manually change setting from still image to video, all one needs to do is press the red video button on the back of the camera - away from the shutter button on the top of the unit - and take all the video you want. The videos are clear, relatively focused even with movement (although this camera shoots fewer frames per second than other models) the really images are decent. By pressing the red button a second time you pause the recording of the video until you chose to resume it. By pressing the shutter button you can immediately take still photos again - or, hit the on/off switch which also ends the video session. There is quite a bit of flexibility in this camera, making it a joy to use - especially while on "vacation" - or any other place for that matter.
Finally, the actual size and weight of this camera lends itself to taking pictures all day, all night without fatigue or concern about stowing this unit. It fits comfortably in your pocket and is relatively light in weight. You, like me, will find yourself taking pictures of just about any and everything that pleases your eye.
If this little gem had been around a few years ago I would not have suffered the trial and error (and expenditure) of my previous purchases. I would wholeheartedly recommend this camera to the novice or traveler who likes to take quality photos but doesn't want to take their full-sized camera along.
on August 30, 2013
I have had a lot of Canon cameras in the past and was always pretty happy with my purchases. I had recently bought this camera to replace my wife's compact Canon Elph SD790 that died. Only days out of the box we took it on a family trip to Disney World where we put this camera through its paces. In a lot of ways the two Elph cameras are similar from a functionality standpoint though the 330HS is slightly smaller and has Wifi capabilites. Neither of us have taken the time to learn and use the Wifi functions as of yet.
After using this camera in a variety of situations, I was rather disappointed with the following things...
1) Lens distortion. As long as your subject is in the very center of the lens, the pictures are crisp, clear, and dimensionally accurate. However, once your subject is off to the side, there is a significant amount of image distortion and stretching. Faces are stretched and you can even see significant amounts of distortion in the items that are not the main focus of the picture. I read several reviews prior to purchasing this camera and did not see similar issues listed.
2) On several occasions, particularly in low light, I found myself pushing the shutter lightly to focus only to have the camera zoom in all the way. This was without turning the zoom toggle. It also happened to someone else trying to take a family shot for us. Ultimately, it cost me shots that I wished I was able to capture.
3) The battery life is not that great. What I found is that once it starts to drain, it quickly goes from a not full charge to empty. We have 2 OEM batteries and went through both fully charged batteries in a day (not taking hundreds of photos as I also had a Canon T2i on hand for most of our pictures).
Again, from a features standpoint, the camera is nice. A lot of the centered pictures, including low light, came out nice. However, it left me longing for our SD790IS. I am curious to see if others have had similar issues or if we just have a lemon. We are considering returning this camera.
on May 12, 2013
I am a camera snob and artist, and typically use my SLR, but I needed a smaller but excellent quality point and shoot for times when a larger SLR was not practical. I had purchases the Canon PowerShot Elph 110 for my Mom few years back from Christmas and she loves that model. We even took it to Costa Rica and remembering that it took such fantastic photos I recently purchases this Canon PowerShot Elph 330 and took it on a business/pleasure trip. It was EXACTLY what I needed and I am SUPER happy with it. The pocket size is great, and the capabilities and well rounded. It really performs remarkably in low-lite situations, and the eco mode to save on battery is good too. I find the setup pretty intuitive even though I was familiar with the setup from my Mom's. Once I got the setup for WiFi figured it it was good to go and works well, I am quite happy with that. The zoom is powerful. And of course best of all the photos and videos look awesome!
on August 22, 2013
I have been a huge fan of the Elph series since the earliest models. These have been my pocket snapshot camera of choice for at least a decade. I've probably gone through at least a half dozen personally upgrading over the years, and I've given at least that many more away as gifts. My point is, I know this product line extremely well, and I've been a fan, so keep that in mind as you read what I have to say about this model.
Let's talk about the good stuff first, and these apply to every Elph I've ever owned.
First and foremost it is just the right size. It is small enough to easily drop in your pocket without feeling like you're carrying a brick, but it is large enough that it is easy to operate for someone with big ham sized hands like myself. This is what keeps me away from the more upscale SD1xx series, it is so small that the controls are awkward for even dainty hands.
Second, it is easy to use yet powerful. You can teach your granny how to use this camera in under 5 minutes to take wonderful snap shots in auto mode. But at the same time, for a more advanced photographer, you can find controls and settings to let you take great photos even in very challenging lighting environments, etc.
Battery life is good. I have used it for an entire weeks' vacation taking hundreds of pictures without ever having to charge it. As expected, flash will run it down quickly if you're using it for a lot of your shots. The other caveat on this unit is wifi is a battery drainer.
The lens on this one is a good upgrade. It starts from 24mm for wide angle, which is great for vacation photos taking picture of big scenes, monuments, buildings, etc. But this one will also go all the way out to 10x optical for the zoom, which is very useful for cropping and bringing things closer. It'll actually go even further with digital zoom enabled, but I never use it. Digital zoom is better done with software where you can control it and see what you're doing to your pixels.
So far sounds like the latest and greatest elph which is what I was expecting. Here's the downside and why I actually do not recommend this particular model.
The wifi is largely a waste of time. I'm a gadget guy, and this seems to be the "it" feature for the snapshot cameras right now. Also, the idea of being able to piggy back my phone and send pics straight to social media sights from the camera in real time was appealing.
Again, I would consider myself techie, but setup of the wifi was almost enough to make me box this thing up and send it back. I never send anything back that isn't broken, so that's a statement. Canon makes you jump through a ton of hoops just to get wifi going. You MUST have a canon login so you can use their web portal to enable the thing. To get a login, you have to register the product. The combination of those two alone was enough to test my patience when I just want to tear in and play with my new toy. Now couple it with the fact that Canon's site was on the fritz the first time I tried to do this, and I was starting to boil.
Site finally comes back up, now I run into issues because I own another Canon wifi enabled device (a video camera), and I had to email support to finally get a login working so I could get the wifi going on the camera.
Eventually I get everything configured with the applets enabled so I can send to Facebook, et al, but it was all very anticlimactic. Due to the clunkiness of the apps, about the only thing I'll ever use this for is to transfer files from the camera to my phone or tablet so I can then in turn do with them as I wish on those platforms. I wont use the camera for anything other than transfer.
Also, given the speed of transfer and the cost of battery life on the camera, if I'm near anything with a SD slot, I'm simply going to pop the card out of the camera and into that device to do a quick move of the files.
Bottom line, is the wifi is a pain to setup, frustrating to use and simply does not offer enough value to be worth the cost and hassle. I still recommend the Elph series, but I would drop down one model from this one and skip the Wifi.
on March 10, 2014
I've had this camera about a week and have been able to run it through its paces. I'm and experienced shooter - both film and digital. I currently have 10 or so digital cameras including DSLRs, "bridge." `enthusiast" compacts, and point and shoots - and have owned many more. The Canon 330 HS is the newest, smallest, and least expensive of them all.
Added: Camera rating and comments still 4 stars, but at current price ($179) there are better choices out there. I bought at $119, and that was a very good value.
Overall, the camera gets 4 stars for its quality pictures, low light performance, fast focusing and short shutter lag (except in the crippling mode that takes 4 seconds of video before taking the still picture), and decent flash performance in Program mode. Canon's WIFI is not as sophisticated as it will become, and was perhaps rushed in early as a marketing device. Also,it seems Canon has simply added a bunch of its existing technology - most of which is good - but without updating nor much consideration as to appropriateness for this camera (stitch assist, inability to turn flash off in full auto mode, flash in hand held night shot, an irritating ECO mode, etc). They further omitted some technology that would have improved the camera - no HDR mode, no auto exposure bracketing mode, no high dynamic mode, no function button, etc), but included a deliberate shutter lag function with 4 second delay, which, if used, completely cripples the camera, and eliminates its use as a serious picture-taking machine. Fortunately, you can turn that function off. (If you want to use Full Auto without the 4 second video, you can push the 4 sec button to the down position and set Full Auto - or Program or a scene mode - in the menu.)
Nevertheless, the Canon 330 HS has been a fairly pleasant surprise. It takes excellent pictures in good light and is an exceptional performer in low light. It is small, lightweight, and plastic, but still does very well with pictures and packs a lot of useful (and a few not so useful) features in a tiny, inexpensive package. There are also a few "missing features," but in my opinion, the 330 HS is an exceptional value for the money.
First, the useful features - It takes good pictures. Skin tones were good. Not much lens distortion nor purple fringing, Pretty good sharpness edge to edge, with a bit of fall of when the lens is fully extended, i.e. - sharpest at shorter zoom ranges, but still not bad at the longer ones. Focus speed has been increased and shutter lag decreased in Program mode compared to previous Canon point and shoot cameras. However, the camera is still not as speedy as some of the competition, but vastly "improved." Lots of fun scene modes, like "My Colors," "Super Vivid," and some others. Macro mode is exceptionally useful on this camera. Surprisingly, there is a separate focus lock feature, which would be useful when photographing a bike or car race to pre-focus on a particular point until the desired subject reaches it. Program mode is very useful, and is the shooting mode I would use for nearly all of my shooting. Flash, in "fill" mode and "slow sync mode" performed well and automatically adjusted power based upon focus distance. The center magnification mode is very useful to check focus, and the ability to adjust the size of the focus area is a plus. IS performed very well, and its effect can be seen on the LCD in continuous IS mode. Most creative modes can be applied either before or after shooting, and some can be combined. You can mute the beeps - my preferred style, and the camera automatically shows the "blinkies" in play back mode - a very useful feature in addition to the histogram for showing burnt out or blacked out parts of your picture. You can "adjust" the exposure using exposure compensation or by simply pointing the camera to a different part of the picture, locking the new exposure by pushing the shutter button half way down, then re-framing and shooting again. There is also a useful grid that cam be turned on to assist with composition.
Second, the "missing" features - There is no provision for automatic exposure bracketing. There is no in-camera HDR mode, and no high dynamic mode to even out shadows. There is no in-camera panorama stitching. Canon has chosen to stick with the relatively antiquated "Stitch Assist" mode, meaning you have to use included software to stitch up panoramas. Of course, there are no "manual" controls.
Finally, the decidedly not so useful features - Though not unique to this camera, full automatic mode where the camera decides everything for you including when to use flash, where to focus, etc. For a photographer those restrictions and surprises are not useful. High speed burst shooting works only with initial focus setting and at reduced pixels. Flash in "Hand Held Night shot" is not helpful. It acts more like what other manufactures call "Night Portrait" mode, and destroys any ambiance of a low light night shot. Other cameras use hand held night shot to take several pictures quickly, then combine them in-camera to limit noise - no flash. However, the most incredibly "not useful" feature is the "feature" that takes a 4 second movie before taking the still picture. Photographers strive to take pictures at the "defining moment" - the "perfect" expression, the "height" of the action, etc. The defining moment is practically impossible to catch with the equivalent of a deliberately introduced 4 second shutter lag. Camera makers engineering departments have striven for years to include faster focus and minimal shutter lag in their cameras, and have largely succeeded. I can only conclude that perhaps the Canon marketing department included this feature in an attempt to appeal to pre-teenagers yukking it up at slumber parties. Using this ridiculous "feature" takes this camera back into the dark ages of digital cameras. I see no useful purpose for this mode at all.
There are also some features that swing both ways. To save battery power you should turn off all those features that consume power - continuous focus, tracking focus, burst shooting, continuous IS, flash, lowering the power on the LCD screen (makes it darker), and a few more. All are "good" ideas. However, the ECO mode dims out the LCD screen after a few seconds and turns off the camera after one minute. In my opinion, the aggravation that that causes is not worth the battery power it saves. Turn it off. Same with "shoot only" IS, meaning IS only activates when you push the shutter. Yes, it saves power, but then you see all the bouncing, jiggles, and vibration on the LDC until the instant of shooting. It is a significant distraction. I suggest leave continuous IS on. I also suggest leaving the LCD screen set to its brightest setting. It is hard enough to see in bright light sunlight. One minor complaint is that the buttons and other controls are very small. They are also recessed to make no protrusions, and for a sleek "style," but they are very hard to find and to adjust individually when in a hurry. The problem will be significant if you have big - or even normal sized hands.
As far as potential for low light shooting, I did an admittedly unscientific test for noise at high ISOs, comparing the 330 HS, a popular, long zoom travel camera, and a 2 year old "enthusiast" "fast lens" compact camera. I shot with each on a tripod, in the same lighting, and the same ISOs, then compared pictures at 100% on my computer, All were excellent up to 400 ISO. At 800 and 1600 ISOs the travel zoom was dead last, with the other two cameras about evenly matched, Then, at ISO 3200 and ISO 6400, even though noise levels went up, and some detail was lost, the Canon 330 HS was by far the best at minimizing the effects of digital noise at those high ISOs. That is a superb showing for the tiny point and shoot. On behalf of the enthusiast camera, it has about a 2-4 f/ stop advantage throughout the zoom range (i.e. a faster lens) than the 330 HS, so higher ISOs need to be used less frequently.
ISO performance was so good that I recommend just setting auto ISO, and letting it go at that. White balance performance was pretty good in auto white balance mode, but noticeably better when using an appropriate preset. I seldom use flash, but flash in "fill" mode or "slow sync" mode performed very well, even for arms-length "selfies," automatically adjusting the power according to the focus distance. Closer than arms-length will cause over exposure. Use "fill" flash outdoors to lighten up shadowed areas, and slow sync indoors to give better flash shots. Forget about auto flash. It is nearly always an unpleasant surprise, and has ruined far more shots than it has saved.
Batteries have been cited by others as an issue. I have had no problems with them, however I recommend buying some inexpensive Halcyon brand batteries (made in Japan) here on Amazon. They are inexpensive, and are rated at 1400mah, or nearly twice the 760mah of the Canon battery that came with the camera. They work fine and last nearly twice as long on a charge.
Finally, WIFI, hype, and reading the manual. First, WIFI has absolutely nothing to do with making good pictures. It is an add-on to sell cameras to the "fully connected." What Canon puts in fine print is that WIFI only works with some newer computers, some newer printers, and some newer phones. Camera makers have a "proprietary mindset," so they tend to think that their stuff should only work with others of their stuff. Hence, lenses and RAW files are not compatible from make to make. Cell phone makers are just the opposite. For them sharing is everything. Also, WIFI is new in cameras, so it's not yet as refined as it will eventually become. Anyway, WIFI works well if you have Windows 8, or some versions of Windows 7, and the listed WIFI versions used in cell phones, and if you follow the directions exactly. - (Hint - Read the manual.)
I did not try shooting the moon because of bad weather, but I'm hopeful. Older Canon cameras could not shoot the moon effectively because the Canon spot metering area was so large it included parts of the dark sky in the exposure computation which then caused the bright moon to over expose and go white. I'm hoping for better with this camera
Canon marketing hype - read the description on the product page - It somewhat cripples the camera by raising expectations to a perhaps unrealistically high level. Everything is "new," "easy," "simple.", "the camera does everything for you," etc. Even though the camera is fairly simple, you still need to know enough to make appropriate adjustments to the features that actually have some effect on making pictures, depending upon what you are shooting and the conditions. Photography is NOT a one button operation.
Reading the one and two star reviews for this camera, it is obvious that many, many people did not read the instruction manual that is only found on the software disk. I know reading is getting to be almost a lost art, but you really need to read the full manual (not just the quick start manual), to learn how this camera works. Sure it's a pain being on a computer disk, but try it just this once, and I guarantee you will be a happier, and probably a better, photographer. And, then spend some quality time with the camera pushing buttons and trying out all the features available to understand how to apply what you learned from the manual. If you do those two things I think you will be surprised and impressed with what this little camera can do.
Overall, this is a very nice little camera. It has a few niggles, but it also takes very nice pictures if you take time to understand how it works. It is exceptional in low light without a flash, and even with a flash. Yes, it is plastic and inexpensive. No, it is not a DSLR, but it is a very good camera and excellent value for the money. It is highly recommended. Best Wishes for great shooting.
PS - For those false dead battery indications, it sounds like the contacts are either dirty or not making contact. Try putting a single piece of duct tape on the rear of the battery. Trim the tape with an razor knife or scissors and reinsert the battery for better contact. Or maybe use 2 layers. To modify harsh flash put a couple of layers of tissue over the flash or tape a small cut out from a plastic milk container over it. Keep your fingers out of the way, and don't cover up the sensor under the flash. It adjusts the flash power. if the volume of your movies isn't loud enough, make sure your fingers are not covering either the microphones or the speaker. If the camera suddenly turns off, check to see that ECO mode is not activated. It turns the camera off after about 1 minute to save battery power - somewhat irritating, but easily fixable. Try to capture the defining moment in your photographs by never using the deliberate 4 second shutter lag "feature." First time I have ever heard of long shutter lag being a desirable feature on any camera. Canon - What were you thinking?! That button would be much better used as an Fn button giving immediate access to most used settings and modes. Anyway, Peace and Best Wishes for creating many, many spectacular photographs.