Canon PowerShot ELPH 530 HS Digital Camera Review$349.99
The ELPH 530 HS's glossy, rectangular design might look cool (even that's up for debate), but the handling ain't pretty. It's small and light, so it's easy to carry in a purse (or pocket, but c'mon, purse), but there's no grip or texture at all, and the glossy surface is very slippery (and attracts fingerprints like a magnet).
And then there's the awful touchscreen to make the handling even more awkward. It needs more finger pressure to trigger a response than an average touchscreen, and it's often inaccurate as well. It makes switching modes, adjusting settings, and looking through playback more frustrating than it needs to be.
Buttons & Dials
There are only three physical buttons: a power button, a playback mode toggle, and a shutter release/zoom tilter combo. As friendly and approachable as that sounds, we wish there were more tactile controls because the touchscreen is atrocious. Interactive displays are great for beginners, but only when they work correctly.
Touchscreens are supposed to make point-and-shoots feel modern and hip for the smartphone generation, but they usually get in their own way. The ELPH 530 HS is the worst example we've seen of that. The 3.2-inch, 461,000-pixel panel looks great, but it's laggy, inaccurate, and generally unresponsive. The entire user interface runs through the terrible touchscreen, and it makes using the ELPH 530 HS feel like a chore.
Great touchscreens work with almost no finger pressure; the ELPH 530 HS needs a fair amount of pressure, and even then, it's hit-or-miss. Changing settings or shooting modes on the fly is difficult, especially because the icons are near the edges of the screen, which appears to be even less sensitive than the center area. The most frustrating part is typing WiFi passwords on the virtual keyboard; we weren't always sure if we had typed the correct letter, because a) the input zones are inaccurate and b) every entry appears as an asterisk, even the last letter typed. Basically, the touchscreen ruins what could be an otherwise decent camera.
Stabilization appeared to have a negative effect on image sharpness in our lab test; that is, we measured better average sharpness with IS turned off than turned on. The maximum sharpness was higher with IS on, but the minimum was much lower. We've seen results like this before in the travel-zoom class; sometimes the correction is too aggressive for our test, and it overcompensates for the shake we apply, making the photo muddier than it would have been.