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Canon PowerShot 520 HS 10.1 Megapixel Compact Camera - Silver - 3" LCD - 12x Optical Zoom - Optical (IS) - 3648 x 2736 Image - 1920 x 1080 Video - HDMI - PictBridge - HD Movie Mode Reviews
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Product Reviews


Average Customer Rating:
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(based on 14 reviews)

58% of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Customers most agreed on the following attributes:

Pros:

Excellent Image Quality (5), Durable (3), Bright Lcd (6), Simple Controls/menu (4), Lightweight/portable (6), Nice Features/settings (3), Easy To Use (4)

Cons:

Short Battery Life (5), Poor Low-light Performance (4), Poor Image Quality (4)

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LOVE,LOVE,LOVE it!!!!!

By DJ from Harrisville, NY on 07/10/2015

This camera is lightweight, small and user friendly. It arrived well before the date expected and it's compact enough to carry in a purse. The picture quality is what I love best about this camera.


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Solid Solid performer

By RMAC from Reston, VA on 04/17/2015

What a gem. Needed a solid small camera for trip to France. My requirements were less than 10 OZ, fit in pants pocket without looking or feeling bulky, good optical zoom and at least 10 M. This ELPH 520 HS hits a grandslam. Test pix's were great, fast set up, recovery and I do not mind the micro memory. One bonus, is HD level movies if I want to load the card up.


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Very Disappointing

By Sandy from Houston, TX on 07/27/2013


Pros:

Bright Lcd, Compact Size Compared To Other Elphs, Body Style With Square Edges

Cons:

Auto Function Doesnt Work Well, Poor Low-light Performance, Missing Features/settings, Poor Image Quality

Bottom Line:

No, I would not recommend this to a friend

I bought this camera to replace my old SD300 from 2002, was looking forward to its zoom capability and its small size (it fits nicely in my old leather case). This 520HS camera has been a big disappointment. Its Auto function is constantly struggling to focus and so many of my photos and videos have turned out blurry. It very rarely engages the flash, causing lots of photos in low lighting to come out dark. I've tried taking the same shot with this camera, with my old SD300, and with my sister's 2012 110HS, sadly the shots from this camera consistently come out worst. It's shocking that an 11-year old SD300 does better than this new technology! Another complaint is the controls, which are not quite the same as the other Elphs so there is a bit of a learning curve (not a big deal), but several functions require additional button clicks than on other Elphs (very irritating). On the positive side: the zoom is wonderful, but suffers from the Auto focus problem so it ends up not being very useful after all. I do like the bigger display viewer in the back compared to the tiny one on the old SD300, but it's not much better than the one on the 110HS. I also like the compact feel and square edges of the casing. It's a well made camera but the software/firmware for the Auto function and for flash control needs to be fixed. In summary: skip this product, save your money and buy a 110HS instead or wait till they fix the software/firmware on this model.


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Video transfer problem

By Mr Seveca from Undisclosed on 07/04/2013


Pros:

Simple Controls/menu, Good Low-light Performance, Easy To Use

Cons:

Short Battery Life, Video Transfer Issues

Bottom Line:

No, I would not recommend this to a friend

A pretty decent camera, especially for the price. I've had it over a year and the main issue I have is that when I try to transfer videos I've taken 1gb or higher, it NEVER works. I can view the film on the camera itself, but can't play it on my computer from the camera or transfer it to the computer. This is very annoying as I've had to delete a number of videos I took and would have liked to keep :/ It's such a weird issue because 1gb or lower video files transfer and play just fine. A firmware update could probably fix this but I know we won't be getting one :/


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Disappointed But Has Potential

By Henweigh from Sacramento, CA on 04/13/2013


Pros:

Excellent Image Quality, Durable, Bright Lcd

Cons:

Short Battery Life, Poor Low-light Performance, Auto Macro, Poor Image Quality, Difficult To Use, Auto Focus, Complicated Controls/menu

Bottom Line:

No, I would not recommend this to a friend

I'm a long time Canon camera enthusiast and enjoy both their DSLR cameras and their digital ELPH series for the most part. This camera looks great on paper and has some very impressive specs. However in practice this camera suffers from some bad firmware compared to other cameras I've used. I use this camera a lot at concerts and vacations and the "auto" mode seems to have a difficult time focusing and determining whether to shoot in macro mode or standard. This can become quite annoying when you're trying to take a picture of a mountain and it can't focus because it thinks the mountain is .4 inches away. I've had even worse luck when trying to zoom in and then auto-focus. Sometimes the camera just "gives up" and can't focus on the subject. The same thing happens in movie mode where the camera can lose focus so easily and then the only way to regain focus is to zoom all the way out again and then slowly zoom back in. I believe the hardware is actually really good in this camera because when you get a clear shot the quality is superb (and moderately superb in a concert setting) and I'm pretty sure that the issues could be fixed with a software/firmware update. However unfortunately it doesn't look like Canon will update the firmware any time soon as it's been over a year since we've seen any update. I'd recommend skipping this camera until they've been able to correct for these issues. It's frustrating when the guy taking a picture with his iPhone can get clearer/better pictures than you with a dedicated piece of camera hardware.


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A great camera in a small package

By Nightflyer from Lakewood, CO on 12/18/2012


Pros:

Lightweight/portable, Simple Controls/menu, Bright Lcd, Nice Features/settings, Excellent Image Quality

Cons:

Short Battery Life

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

This is a great camera in a very small package. I purchased it because of its size and portability. I use it in the intelligent auto mode most of the time and I have been pleased with the results. It has a sophisticated operating system which takes a little study at first. I like the menus as they are similar to other Canon cameras that I own. I have the instruction book on my smart phone and on my tablet for ease of reference. It is a good camera for social and family events. I use the tracking auto focus. The switch buttons are small for large fingers.


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Excellent Little Camera

By Jr from Naples, Florida on 10/23/2012


Pros:

Super-sharp Images, Superior Build Quality, Excellent Travel Camera

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

The Canon PowerShot ELPH 520 HS is an incredible little camera. I owned one of the first digital elphs and used it for all of my vacations and family functions. Once the wide format became popular I sold my old digital elph and purchased several other digital cameras all in which I returned or sold because they did not match the quality and style of the digital elph. I just purchased the PowerShot ELPH 520 HS and I am extremely satisfied. The camera is compact which makes an excellent camera for travel. I tested the low light photos and it beats all the competitors. One thing I recommend is to learn how to use all the functions in this camera as this will give you a variety of shooting options and your photos will have better results. One cool design on this camera is that the lens does not stick out very far when using the maximum zoom. Video quality is superb and sharp. I use an external HD light for my low light videos and they come out incredible. So I give the PowerShot ELPH 520 HS an A+.


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Excellent Pocket Camera

By Tomah Cheesehead from Wisconsin, Arizona on 10/09/2012


Pros:

Easy To Use, Nice Features/settings, Lightweight/portable, Durable, Excellent Image Quality, Good Low-light Performance

Cons:

Short Battery Life

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

After my wife lost our SD1200, I purchased this ELPH 520 for both of us. She uses it on auto because of the simplicity. I use it on program for the features, including selecting spot focus, fill flash, telephoto stabilization, and "tricking it" to use a wide aperture for narrow depth of field. My wife expected a "touch screen," which it does NOT have.. We are both pleased with the quality of photos. However, there are two things I do not like. The battery is more bulky and takes fewer shots than the NB-6L in the SD1200. And my SDHC memory cards to not fit this camera. There is no viewfinder when bright sunlight obscures the LCD. Altho functions are similar to the SD1200, instructions for more advanced features and for decreasing battery drain could be more clear.


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Totally satisfied

By HamNut from Texas on 09/02/2012


Pros:

Simple Controls/menu, Bright Lcd, Excellent Image Quality, Easy To Use, Lightweight/portable

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Great Camera for the money. It doesn't have a touch screen as someone else said. The controls are intuitive and the instruction manual's overview is quite adequate to get you going. This is not meant to replace your Rebel. Its a shirt pocket camera with great Macro picture capabilities and very good standard or Hi-Res pictures. This camera runs circles around my other waterproof camera and is now my primary carry. Yes you can see fingerprint smudges on the main screen but that doesn't impact taking a picture. IMO overall I don't think you can go wrong and I have had no issues with this model.


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It's Not The Product: It's The Instructions!

By Shutterbug from Florida on 08/11/2012


Pros:

Bright Lcd, Excellent Image Quality, Lightweight/portable, Good Battery Life

Cons:

Difficult To Use, Complicated Controls/menu

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

Great camera and great upgrade to my previous Canon "Point and Shoot". Drawback is confused and non-explicit operating (and feature) instructions ANYWHERE: on installation disk, in Manual - or camera itself that I can see. Much fumbling and trial-and-error for something that ought to be simple, crystal clear first time around!


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small size, good zoom

By grr from Willmar, MN on 07/19/2012


Pros:

Superior Build Quality

Cons:

Semi-sharp Images

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I've been using this camera for about 2 months and am enjoying it more all the time. The image quality isn't as good as I would like, but it's not bad as long as there is no camera shake. The color is very good, but the zoom is the best part of this little camera. I take it every where I go because it is so small. I would have liked to have control of the f stops and shutter speed, but that is not an option. I always use the camera on the program setting - not on auto and my photos are good to very good. In this mode I can select the ISO and the color settings. I think that the screen needs to be adjusted on the bright side to avoid over exposure and I always use the exposure trim to help in this regard also . Now that I have used the camera for a while I like it more all the time. It's not the best for capturing super detail, but the pictures are very nice.


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Very Disappointing

By Mark W. from Tulsa, OK on 05/24/2012


Pros:

Lightweight/portable

Cons:

Poor Image Quality, Missing Features/settings, Flimsy Construction, Poor Low-light Performance

Bottom Line:

No, I would not recommend this to a friend

Really looking forward to a small size camera with big zoom to replace my sx230. This camera is not good. It rarely fires the flash inside on shots that i know my other canon cameras would. There's no setting to make it fire flash every time. Most of my pictures of pets or kids inside come out all blurry. The shutter lag is the worst I've seen on a canon since 2001. From the time I push the button to the time it finally takes the picture (no flash) it's not only blurry, but the kids stop smiling or the dog moved so it's not the shot I wanted. I've only had it a week and i've missed so many cute shots that come out all blurry it makes me want to throw it against the wall! Not super zoom, just regular living room 5 -10 ft away shots - blurry. Outside shots come out all right - not spectacular or even very sharp, just ok. The camera has a cheap, flimsy feel to it and the black paint shows fingerprints like crazy. I'm disappointed in the micro sd card and another funky battery size. The touch screen is not good at all. It doesn't pick up my finger most times. I still don't know if the gps works or not - I couldn't get the menu to go where i wanted with the crummy touchscreen. Please, Canon - give us some buttons or make the screen at least as good as a cellphone. I'm not even going to buy a big micro sd card for this - I will stick with my good old sd780 or sx230 and take pictures I will want to look at again.


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good, but not great

By grr from Willmar, Minnesota on 05/23/2012


Pros:

Simple Controls/menu, Lightweight/portable, Nice Features/settings, Bright Lcd, Easy To Use, Durable

Cons:

Short Battery Life, Poor Image Quality, Poor Low-light Performance

Bottom Line:

Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

I took this camera back after discovering that the manual control had been eliminated. I talked to the camera shop about the camera and tried it again. I kept the camera and have found ways to operate it almost like using the manual setting. I keep the cameras switch on top set to program instead of auto. This makes it possible to shoot using the ISO setting that I want and not what the camera selects. I set the color mode and the lighting while the camera selects the shutter and aperture. I also make sure that I use the +/- button located just below the video button. I usually shoot in a negative setting to avoid over exposure. This is a very workable solution for me as my pictures are much better this way than what the camera would do on auto. The image quality is not the best, but it's acceptable as long as you don't enlarge the photos because there is a considerable amount of grain and noise. The color is very good except while taking shots indoors without flash. There is a yellow overcast on all the settings. This can easily be corrected in Photoshop or iphoto. The program setting that I do enjoy is the handheld night scene. Using this program I can get a clear shot that would otherwise be difficult without a tripod. The camera does boost the ISO up in this mode, but it's not too bad. What really makes this camera special is the powerful lens and the small size. This camera is almost exactly the same size as my old SD1000. If you're looking for a very small camera that will fit in your pocket and has a 12X zoom this one will fit the bill, just don't expect photos with good detail.


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follow up

By grr from Willmar , MN on 05/01/2012


Pros:

Small Size

Cons:

No Control

Bottom Line:

No, I would not recommend this to a friend

I need to clarify my original review. I owned a elph SD1000 and it was my favorite camera that I have used. I wished that Canon would produce a camera as small as that one with a good zoom and better processing. When I saw the 520 and 530 cameras I thought that my dreams had come true. I was shocked when I discovered that there is no manual control on these cameras. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. I called the store where I ordered the camera from and said that I can not use this camera and they were good enough to put it in their store to sell it some other unlucky person. My dream camera quickly became a night mare and I am not sure if I will buy another Canon.


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