Canon PowerShot ELPH 500 HS: Video and Image Quality

by Allison Johnson Reads (11)
Editor's Rating
7.75

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 8
    • Features
    • 9
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 6
    • Performance
    • 8
    • Total Score:
    • 7.75
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Video Quality
Most of today’s premium compact point-and-shoots include 1080p HD video capture. The ELPH 500 HS keeps up with the competition offering 1080 at 24 fps, 720p at 30 fps, and 640 x 480 as well as 320 x 240 at 30 fps. The video clips I captured at Opening Day in Cincinnati were fluid and grain is minimal despite less-than-perfect lighting conditions.

Video recording is available in miniature mode with reduced framerates available to speed up the action, creating a tilt-shift effect. A tripod would come in handy if you plan to use this feature extensively, but even without the right equipment it’s fun to mess around with.

Image Quality
I’ve come to expect very good, very reliable image quality from Canon’s best PowerShots and the 500 HS didn’t let me down. Exposure and processing are geared for the consumer class, so colors pop and contrast is somewhat strong. Colors are true to life with some expected saturation in reds, greens and blues. Like other cameras in its class, the 500 HS shows a tendency to overexpose. This is easy to compensate for, if you want to, by dialing in an exposure compensation.

As always, Canon offers some adjustment to saturation and tone through its “My Colors” processing modes, turned off by default, which offer the usual vivid, neutral and monochrome processing options. The 500 HS also has modes to optimize color for various skin tones and to emphasize blues, greens or reds.

The PowerShot 500 HS’s auto white balance was used with most success outdoors. Mixed lighting conditions will challenge just about every camera system’s auto white balance mode, and the little 500 HS struggled in scenes with an abundance of window lighting mixed with indoor lighting. As mentioned in our first look, the preset white balance options are reliable when auto isn’t working.

Canon 500 HS Sample Image
Auto White Balance, 5500k fluorescent light

Images at ISO 100 and 200 are very clean and hard to distinguish from one another. More noise appears in the ISO 400 image, but it’s barely evident in reduced web-friendly sizes.

Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 100
Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 100, 100% crop
Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 200
Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 400
Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 800
Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 1600
Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop
Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 3200
Canon 500 HS Sample Image
ISO 3200, 100% crop

Fine details take a hit at ISO 800, noticeable in the numbers on the Auto Zone coin and the small print on the tin of mints. Colors are more flat – take a look at the blue felt bag. You won’t want to print any ISO 800 images at large sizes, but the images are definitely acceptable for web use. At ISO 1600 colors have fizzled out and noise has increased. ISO 3200 should be used only as a last resort. Images have watery detail and flat color.

Additional Sample Images

Canon 500 HS Sample Image Canon 500 HS Sample Image
Canon 500 HS Sample Image Canon 500 HS Sample Image
Canon 500 HS Sample Image Canon 500 HS Sample Image


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