If you are in the market for a nice point-and-shoot camera, but are troubled when you see one that boasts the advanced features such as Canon’s PowerShot ELPH PowerShot ELPH 300 HS that doesn’t offer a prodigious amount of resolution, you might think of looking elsewhere, but look again at the Canon and you’ll see some interesting things.
The first thing that struck us was just how thin the PowerShot ELPH 300 was. It was only half-an-inch thick by 3.6 inches wide by 2.2 inches tall and it weighed in at 5.2 ounces. With those dimensions all you need is a shirt pocket and you have your gadget bag because the PowerShot ELPH 300 also boasts a 24mm ultra-wide angle 5X zoom lens. This means you effectively have a camera that not only can work close up but one which, when pushed, can take some pretty nice long-lens style shots.
Yes, it is a point-and-shoot camera (why they still call them that is beyond us as you have an LCD framing finder in the rear that’s nearly 3 inches and which allows you, in combination with the zoom feature to get the exact image you want to shoot). If anything they should be called point-and-shoot framing cameras, but that isn’t too snappy, is it?
With that said, you’ll probably latch onto the fact that it shoots at 12.1MP, not 14 or 16 or even 18 as some P+S (point and shoot) cameras now use as their standards. Here’s where it gets interesting though because it’s the way you use the resolution and the way you use technology to extract the full measure of technology to make the 12.1MP more like 14 or better. The same technology extracts a full measure of low-light capability so that you will be surprised just how dim a room can be before the flash may go off (ISO100 easily).
This is because Canon takes advantage of its HS (High Speed) CMOS detector and where it places it within the camera. Rather than place it on the focal plane, Canon places the HS CMOS sensor at the spot where light is densest meaning that each pixel is lit as brightly as possible and while the PowerShot ELPH 300 is driven by Canon’s DIGIC 4 processor, you have a camera that will not only give you great low light results (it does) but it also gives you great all-around results as the same combination works well in bright light to “turn down” brighter sunny areas while “turning up” shaded areas so their color is more even. If you do need a little fill flash, the tiny strobe still goes off and you don’t notice it. It does fill in things nicely.
The PowerShot ELPH 300 is also set up to handle motion videography as a slick of the dial turns on the motion picture mode and, if you have enough memory — it uses standard SDHC/XC-style memory modules — you can shoot up to three hours of video (or more) and still record the sounds, as well as there is a speaker/mike built into the front of the Canon 300.
An interesting feature of the PowerShot ELPH 300 is its Super Slow-Mo high-speed ability. If you were to have enough SDXC memory installed (32 GB, for example), you can set it to record a race or another high-speed event and when you play it back at normal high-definition speed and resolution (1080p), you have an interesting slow-motion video. In some instances, say you are trying to analyze why a tennis player’s serve has become troublesome, you can slow things down — and stop them — to examine the serve step-by-step.
This is a great feature as well as is its ability to handle a wide range of video and lighting so you can shoot interiors, say at a party, and not have folks feel self-conscious with the flash of a strobe constantly going off. Its ISO range is from about ISO100 to ISO3200 thanks to the HS and DIGIC 4 engine. This is the same pair that gives you the brightest pixels on the market and shows that high-resolution isn’t everything in digital photography.
This system is flexible enough to allow you to override things manually or to let it work with 32 presets to determine the best combination of light. The position of the CMOS HS sensor and the DIGIC4 certainly amps up the 12.1MP PowerShot 300, or at least that’s what we’ve found.