Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS Review

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Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS Camera Experience

When I discovered how popular it is, I knew I had to get a Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS for review. I talked to my friends at Pictureline and they lent me a 300 HS for the weekend so I could test it. I took it pretty much everywhere for a couple of days. I shot a snowy doggy hike, some landscapes and a lot of fun people snapshots. The small size of the camera is one of its biggest selling points. It’s so small that it’s no problem at all to carry it in your pocket all day. The only thing to worry about is scratching up the metal body – especially if you’ve got the red or black model. The trick is to keep it in a pocket by itself or get a small, soft case for it. Another, cheaper option is to use an ankle or baby sock – they’re perfect for protecting small point-and-shoot cameras like the 300 HS.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS - Rear LCD & Controls

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS is a pure point-and-shoot camera. The shooting modes are all variations on auto with exposure compensation to lighten or darken your photos. If you’re a manual exposure kind of photographer, this ELPH is probably not for you. But point-and-click photographers will appreciate the simplicity of the 300 HS. The 300 HS has Canon’s Smart Auto mode for stills and videos. In Smart Auto mode the camera evaluates a scene and then chooses the most appropriate of 32 different scene modes. For more adventurous photographers there are over 20 selectable scene modes to choose from, including Kids & Pets, Portrait, High-Speed Burst, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect and Snow, to name a few. Even though I’m usually a manual exposure guy, I didn’t have any problems using the Program mode with exposure compensation to get the exposures I wanted. It doesn’t give me as much control as I’m used to but exposure compensation allows me to increase or decrease the brightness to ensure I don’t lose detail in the shadows or blow out the sky.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS - Jenni With Shake Weight

I really liked the 24mm wide-angle lens (35mm equivalent) on the 300 HS. A few years ago pocket cameras were bigger, the longest zoom range was usually 3x and they never were never as wide as 24mm. I think 28mm is the entry to true wide-angle photography and 24mm is getting *really* wide. And I like really wide. It’s great for big landscapes and photos in tight spaces like elevators, cars, small boats, ski lifts and office cubicles. The 24mm lens is also excellent for arm’s-length self-portraits of you and your friends for your Facebook page. The telephoto end of the lens is ok. It’s good if you want to zoom in for a tight portrait or get a little closer for landscape photos. But if you like a really long zoom you should take a look at a pocket superzoom camera (Pocket Superzoom Cameras Guide). They cost more and they’re a little bigger but you also get a lot more camera for your money.

Canon PowerShot ELPH 300 HS Tracking Auto Focus Sample Photo

The thing that impressed me the most about the 300 HS, besides its size, is the tracking auto focus. Normally, I’m suspicious of tracking auto focus because it usually lets me down. But for normally moving subjects I found the 300 HS’s tracking auto focus worked great (see sample, above). I wouldn’t try to use it for any kind of sports or real action. But for people and pets walking and moving at normal speeds it worked great and made it easier for me to keep my subjects in focus.

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About the author: Photo-John

Photo-John, a.k.a. John Shafer, is the managing editor of and has been since the site launched back in 1999. He's an avid outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time as possible on his mountain bike, hiking or skiing in the mountains. He's been taking pictures for ever and ever, and never goes anywhere without a camera.

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