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Showing 1-10 of 372 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 403 reviews
on June 8, 2012
A tiny little brick of a camera. I took a few shots with it in my dim living room and compared them with both the Canon A620 and the Canon Rebel XTI...all in "auto". The 520 HS took noisier pictures, yet they were much better to view than the others, which were less noisy but much darker. Which is better, a black frame or a noisy picture? I switched to Program mode and started playing with the settings and menus. The first thing I noticed was that JPG compression was set at "fine"...not "very fine" which is an option. File size went up, but noise decreased quite a bit. Much of the noise was in fact jpg compression artifacts.

The IS seems to work quite well.
The zoom is fantastic for a camera of this size.
The lens is not "flat" can achieve quite nice bokeh for a point and shoot.
It has user defined white balance, which I believe is one of the most important features to getting good photos.

The super slow motion is cool, but kind of a gimmick. I got some great video of hummingbirds around the feeder, but it is low resolution.
There is no printed manual, just a PDF file on the included CD ROM.
Flash is unobtrusive, but semi-weak.

Overall, I'm quite happy with my purchase. I think you'll get way better pictures than most point-and-shoots if you switch to the "Program" mode. Your best camera is the one that you actually use to take pictures. The availability of an inexpensive Ikelite underwater housing and the camera's ability to take HD video mean that the Canon Elph 520 HS is going on vacation with us, while the Canon DSLR is sitting at home. My Canon A620 took fantastic underwater video and stills, but alas, after many scuba trips and several dozens of hours underwater (and many years) it doesn't like humidity any more.

I'd give this 5 stars based on what it is and what it's intended to be used for, but in the end I rated it 4 stars because it is a bit noisy in "auto" mode. I'll update this review after we get back from vacation where I'll really get to test the underwater mode and low light performance of stills and video.

Update June 10th -The more I shoot with this camera the more I like it. It is able to capture fantastic images in natural lighting with true to life colors. The myriad of scene modes makes getting the right shot on the first try very easy. I really wouldn't call this a point and shoot...the images in auto mode are good, but when you switch into scene mode you can get fantastic images if you select the appropriate scene. I'm upping my rating to 5 stars.
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on September 21, 2013
I ust bought this camera for my wife, who is a technophobe. She loves it. The camera is simple to use on automatic really does everything for you.

Now, why are there some negative reviews for this camera slamming it for image quality?

Out of the box, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 520 HS is not configured at its highest-possible resolution. I don't know whether to blame lazy owners who don't take the time to go through the manual, novice owners who just don't understand, or Canon for making a bad decision for not making the default the highest resolution and for including the owner's manual on a CD where most people will never see it.

So, here's what you do:

Go into the camera's menu. Look for Image Quality and change the resolution from Fine to Super Fine.

Now you own a tiny camera that takes great photos that Amazon sells for the same price brand new as Canon sells for a refurb. New, Canon sells this camera for over $130 more than Amazon.

People who complain that image quality suffers in low light at high ISOs, I have news for you: Expensive digital cameras that cost $500 and up have the same problem. You could get a Sony DSC-RX100 II for over $700, which does really well in low light, but this camera is aimed at a different user base.

Looking at images at 100 percent magnification, I did notice noise. But for most people, this isn't going to be an issue. Keep in mind this is an inexpensive consumer camera, not a professional grade camera, and not a prosumer grade camera. If you are a professional photographer looking to make giant prints, you aren't using this Elph. This is a camera to keep in your pocket or purse, meant to take photos of your friends and family.

If you are looking for a little point and shoot camera that takes great photos, is easy enough for just about anyone to use, and that sells at a price that won't break the bank, this is the camera for you.
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on September 2, 2013
First and foremost I can tell you that I have been doing nothing but gushing over this camera since my husband and I bought it. For the price it is a perfect little point and shoot. And it literally is that. It took fantastic pictures right out of the box (well technically not, but I'll touch on that a little later). We didn't need to play with the settings or fuss with it in low light. The flash worked great and the face detection system is spot on. And I can't say enough about the optical zoom. There is not too many, if any, cameras out there at this price point with a 12x optical zoom. And it works great. You can zoom all the way to 12 and your shots still are sharp and crisp. Of coarse the digital zoom goes to 48x but you lose resolution the further you go. Now to touch on the out of box functionality. The one draw back with these cameras is no memory. And that is the case here. A couple shots is all you get unless you have a micro-sd ready to pop in. But those are quite inexpensive now and I popped an 8gb in and you can take over 3000 shots at full resolution. In closing, we loved this camera. We loved it so much we bought a second one so we can each have one. I got the cool blue colour though, red is his thing haha. But as DSLR users we totally appreciate the functionality of this little compact camera and fully endorse it. Happy shooting!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon February 24, 2013
For some years, I have had a Canon Digital ELPH S100, with which I have been very pleased.

But time marches on, and the 2MP resolution of that fine little point and shoot has long been left behind. As I recall, the camera also offered only three or four times optical zoom, if I'm not mistaken.

So when I saw that Canon was offering this ELPH 520 with 10MP and 12X optical zoom -- and Amazon was selling it for less than half the price I paid for the S100 back when -- I couldn't resist.

Incredibly, this new model is even more compact -- both thinner and lighter -- than the S100. As other reviewers have stated, I don't know how Canon gets a 12X zoom into this little body, but they did. Needless to say, this gives you much more flexibility framing shots from one vantage point.

I didn't know if I would miss the optical viewfinder of the old model, but the 520 has a large (3-inch), bright LCD screen, and I just went out and shot some beautifully composed pictures of nearby architectural landmarks here in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan. As someone wearing both glasses and a brimmed hat on a cold day, I appreciated being able to compose pictures despite those encumbrances.

I have barely begun to delve into the wealth of features this mighty mite of a camera offers, including HD video capture with stereo microphones, plus a long array of shooting modes to handle particular situations and subjects, including fireworks, portraits, low light, under water, snowy backgrounds, and more.

The camera also offers some artistic special effects like vivid color, posterized shots, fish-eye lens, monochrome, plus the color accent so popular in advertising photography (one object in color -- the rest of the photo in monochrome).

Best of all, you can set the camera to AUTO mode, and it will determine the best settings for any situation automatically.

The camera comes with a USB cable to download photos to your computer, a proprietary battery and charger, wrist strap, plus photo software. You will need to buy a MicroSD memory card; I thought I had one or more in the house, but found this card is smaller than the ones I had bought a few years back.

I must also state that the red color of the camera body is MUCH more attractive than it appears in the photo on this page. It is a beautiful red wine color, with an iridescent glow. If you like gadgets in red, you will NOT be sorry buying the camera in this color, I assure you!

I will report back if I encounter any drawbacks or problems. (I saw one reviewer complaining about slow read/write to the memory card; after reading the camera instructions, I believe he needed to conduct a "low-level" formatting of his memory card, which is supposed to solve such a problem.)

Until then, I am thrilled with this little gem and can't believe what a superb and convenient camera you can buy for the money...

UPDATE: it was a beautiful, sunny, early spring day today, and I took a walking tour of lower Manhattan, bringing along this little Canon. THIS MIGHTY MITE TAKES THE MOST INCREDIBLE PHOTOS!!! EVERY single shot was perfectly exposed and in focus.

In addition, I think there's something in this camera that even improves the photo composition. The image stabilization works perfectly too, which is handy when you're zooming in on the top of a sixty-story building.

Decades ago, I used a fine (and expensive) Nikkormat 35mm camera, and out of 100 photos there were sure to be a few clunkers. I took 103 photos today, and every one was a winner!

Trust me, folks, you will NOT be disappointed with this camera. I only wonder why anyone would need anything larger or heavier to take great pictures; I don't think you do anymore.

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on May 13, 2017
It's been a pretty good camera. I don't expect anyone will be buying this model new as it's probably since been discontinued. Anyway, it's about what you would expect for the money. It's very small, has a good long optical zoom, doesn't last very long on the small battery, and the 1080p video isn't the greatest but it works well as a pocket camera. You can certainly do some things with this that you can't do with a smart phone if you know how to use a camera.

The auto-retracting lens over things are EXTREMELY fragile. They bend and warp so easily that I had to put my camera in a small pelican type case to keep them from bending. When they bend, they will cause a lens/boot error that won't go away on its own until you bend them back and they will likely never be the same again. Mine still don't fully close on their own, but let's not forget that this is a $100 camera.
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on March 2, 2016
Canon poured a lot of features into a solid well made compact camera. The Canon Elph 520 HS does have others who complained of the small rear buttons but this is a sub compact full feature design. Navigation is not difficult nor was set up. The battery does drain fairly quick but a back up is affordable is well worth having. Depending on user settings the battery drain can be hasten. IE: Brightness of screen selection, flash vs. raw shots..etc. The 520HS does use a micro SD card but comes with a USB out if that is an issue. The body and lens are solid with stereo sound (in front) and choice to filter wind noise. Zoom is excellent for the size of this sub compact. This particular model does not offer touch screen menu however the rear navigation is simple.
I really like the Canon Elph 520HS due to it performing much as the SLR that is far more bulky, heavy and burdensome. This is a winner.
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on October 2, 2013
My wife was looking for a small camera that she could bring with her easily anywhere she wanted. This little number was just what she was looking for and then some. The camera is very small and takes amazing pictures and has a spectacular 12x optical zoom. It also has great video quality. I have always had in mind that you use a video camera for video and a still photo camera for still photos. If you are taking video on a tri-pod and will not be needing to zoom in and out then you don't need to break out your video camera. This thing makes beautiful video and even has stereo sound. Loads of other features my wife will probably never use but it's there in case she ever gets adventureous. For around $100 you can't beat it if you are looking for somthing compact. Replacement batteries are dirt cheap as well. The wife loves it and I am jealous.
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I bought this based on the reviews, and am satisfied, but not jumping out of my chair with excitement about it.

I've been using it for about a month, mostly in settings that are easy for just about any camera to handle: outdoors in daylight. I've mostly used the "auto" setting, but have also played around in "Program" and with some of the cooler features like the movie clips (each time you take a photo, it takes a tiny video and stitches a day's worth together). What I've found:


-Nice macros. For a little point-and-shoot, it handles macro detail well.

-Compact. Really small and easy to carry around in my pocketbook.

-Most photos come out reasonably in focus, with good lighting.

-You can zoom like crazy. My results have been mixed; some of the ultra-zoomed photos have come out well, others are out of focus.

-Cool features. I haven't played with all of them yet, but there's a nice range of effects and features to try out here.


-Too much noise overall. That's the only significant disappointment I have. Zoomed in or not, ideal lighting or not, there's just too much noise in the photos. (Noise = graininess, or spots of discoloration throughout the photo, seen when you look at the photo on your computer monitor afterward. It's most obvious when you blow up a photo on your computer screen and zoom in.) I did switch from "fine" to "super fine" and that helped, but not tremendously.

-Buttons are not entirely intuitive. I have to keep stopping and thinking to remember how to delete a photo, for instance.

-Doesn't handle moving subjects reliably. It's not *bad* at this, but not particularly good at it, either. My daughter is a constantly moving subject, so she frequently appears as a blur in photos.

-Battery needs recharging every day that I actively shoot photos.

All things considered, I'm still okay with this camera, but am left wondering if there's another at the same price range that takes sharper photos.
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on August 8, 2013
Purchased this camera due to the small size. I was looking for a camera to take to stand up shows and concerts. Last night i got to test it our at a stand up comedy show with low lights. The zoom was great and the pictures turned out great. With full zoom, auto focus and auto settings, low indoor light, no flash, i could not asked for a better picture, every shot turned out great, good lighting and no blur. Glad i picked this little camera up, great size, outstanding zoom and great picture quality for the money.
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on September 25, 2015
I purchased this Elph 520 HS to replace my Elph 100 HS (which has given me perfect performance for four years and thousands of pictures and videos). It was received on time, packed with a rechargeable battery and battery charger and USB cable. After charging the battery I took the camera with me on a hike to test the performance. I don't know yet how the durability is, but the performance is outstanding. I took some telephoto shots and wide angle from the same position and some macro shots of flowers. This camera does just what I have wanted, including zoom in video recorder mode. This is my initial review as I have only had the camera a short time, but I am completely satisfied with it at this point. I've included for comparison, photos of wide angle and maximum telephoto. I love the Elph 100 HS, but the Elph 520 HS provides more versatility for the same price in the same size package. So far I love it.
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