"High-end, Compact!"5.0 starson by RoWoodman
Pros: Sharp and vivid 1080p video quality
Good stereo recording quality
Great picture quality
Excellent macro ability
Cons: Crazily loud motor noise when you zoom in/out during the video shoot
Summary: I've recently jumped into the high-end point-and-shoot market, and have done extensive research on which camera gave the best bang for the buck. A rough criteria of what I was looking for is as follows:
- Sharp and vivid 1080p video quality
- Good stereo recording quality when shooting video
- Great picture quality (including low-light conditions)
- Excellent macro ability
- Touch screen (for more control over auto-focusing)
I'm happy to say that once I received the 500 HS, it met every one of my expectations and exceeded them. The camera is compact and light enough so that carrying it with me everyday is a pleasure.
The picture quality is unmatched in this size and price category. Even though the 500 HS has a small (standard 1/2.3" back-illuminated CMOS) sensor, the picture quality produced approaches that of larger sensor point-and-shoots, like the S95. Artifacts are virtually non-existent, and only appear in very very low-light scenarios or zoomed pictures, as expected. The 500 HS has an auto mode that is very suitable in most situations and produces beautifully composed pictures, but the camera also has available manual settings in "P" mode if you want more control. Also, it takes the 500 HS a mere 2 seconds to start up and be ready for the first shot. The response time between shots is also very quick.
The 1080p video quality is also very nice. There was no visible lag when playing back video that included fast panning and fast moving objects. The sound captures all of the sounds too, without including too much of unwanted ambient noise. The camera also auto-focuses and has the ability to zoom during video capture.
The features included will pretty much overwhelm any user. I will skip out on describing each in detail, as every mode can be found online. But I will point out that the only thing the 500 HS is "lacking" is an automated panorama mode that seems to be so popular recently. Though, panorama mode is something that I wasn't really looking for or needing, as I believe if I were to want to take a panorama picture, I might as well be taking a Full HD video anyway.
The touch screen is phenomenal. It covers the entire backside of the camera, and the only physical button on the backside is the playback button, located on the bottom right. This large 460K-dot 3.2" screen provides you with a sharp and clear view of all of your pictures/videos. At times, when your hands are excessively wet or oily, the touchscreen might not respond as well as you'd like, but the rest of the time, the touchscreen handles perfectly. The best part of a touchscreen camera, as I mentioned earlier, is that it gives you the option to bias focus towards a certain object/area on-screen. You just tap your finger on whatever you want to bias the focus towards, and it will track/auto-focus according to where you've touched on-screen. This is something that most non-touchscreen cameras can't do, unless it has manual focus like the S95, which adds extra bulk. So I find that the touchscreen focus is a good compromise between those 2 extremes. It is lightweight, though can focus accurately when you need it to be.
I also love the wide-angle lens that the 500 HS provides. Macro shots come out stunningly composed, and rival those produced by entry-level DSLR's.
( I have to see best seller list of the 500 HS, thus before you will buy this camera I suggest you have to compare for best price before you decide at: " pricesconsidering.wordpress.com/2011/09/26/500hs-best-price " )
So if you're in the market for a decently priced, high-end, compact point-and-shoot jammed full of features, I would whole-heartedly recommend the 500 HS to you (also known as the IXUS 310 overseas).