The ELPH 500 HS, so far, shows every sign of being another excellent point-and-shoot from Canon. Images are sharp, colors pop and the interface is relatively easy to navigate. It seems to be suffering from a tendency to blow out highlights in contrasty scenes, a trait it shares with many other compact cameras.
Contrast and sharpness look very good for the consumer class 500 HS. Auto white balance struggled under office fluorescent lights (don't we all?) but setting a custom white balance is a snap and straightened things out nicely.
My complaints thus far are limited to the touch interface. While it's fairly responsive and it makes possible such wonders as dragging and dropping your most-used settings to the sides of your shooting screen, it's kind of a pain. The shortcuts to inputs and menus line the left and right sides of the screen. With almost all of the back panel real estate given over to the LCD, it's easy to accidentally press any of these icons. You might find yourself accidentally pressing the one-touch video record icon, or changing the white balance.
I liked Canon's first touchscreen camera quite a lot. In that case, the camera offered both physical buttons and a touch interface. Some may prefer the minimalist approach that the 500 HS adheres to. I'm not convinced that I do, but there's still plenty of shooting to do as always, and we'll be analyzing everything from image quality to performance in our upcoming full review.
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