Canon IXUS 1100 HS Review

November 4, 2011 | Matt Grayson | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The IXUS line of Canon digital compact cameras has been synonymous with excellent optics and build quality since the days of APS film when the first one appeared. Now, IXUS is regarded as the luxury brand of Canon's digital compacts. Priced higher than the Powershot counterparts, the cameras are usually more solidly built, look great, have good lenses and screens and a high price to match. The Canon IXUS 1100 HS (also known as the Powershot ELPH 510 HS) doesn't fail in the looks department and it's coupled with a 12x optical zoom, 3.2 inch LCD touchscreen, 12.1 megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor, full 1080p HD video with stereo sound, and a DIGIC IV processor. Priced at £369 / €429 / $349, the Canon IXUS 1100 HS is available in red, silver or black.

Ease of Use

The Canon IXUS 1100 HS is available in three colours but we got hold of the red version to test. It's a darker red - bordering on plum - and the paint has a glossy shine to it. The body appears to be wider than the average IXUS model but only by a few millimetres. The lens is more centralised than other digital compact cameras with the slim flash sitting over the left corner of the lens.

On the top of the body is a small switch for flicking between easy auto mode and program. In program, you can also select scene modes which can't be done in auto. The shutter release button is surrounded by the zoom switch which operates the 12x optical zoom. In 35mm terms, that 12x optical zoom starts at 28mm and finishes at 336mm which is pretty good for a slim camera like this.

On the back of the IXUS 1100 HS, Canon have been able to do away with all the buttons and integrated everything into the touch-screen. The only button present is to playback pictures you've already taken.

Arguably the most interesting area of the camera's exterior is on the bottom. A typical marque of distinction is in the build quality of the tripod bush. The IXUS 1100 HS has a metal type meaning Canon see this as a high specification camera. It's an interesting thing to use as a bench mark. Usually the card and battery share a compartment but on the Canon, they've been separated to opposite ends of the body. The small NB-9L lithium-ion battery is a long semi circular shape and slots in next to the tripod bush. The IXUS 1100 HS takes SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards for ultra high capacities.

Canon IXUS 1100 HS Canon IXUS 1100 HS
Front Rear

Taking a look under the bonnet, the Canon IXUS 1100 HS's sensor is a CMOS back illuminated type. If you've never come across this technology before, it's designed to make the camera more responsive in low light. It works by removing all the circuitry that normally surrounds each pixel onto the back of the sensor. Because it looks like it's been fitted backwards, the sensor looks like it's being illuminated from the back.  Couple this technology with a relatively low resolution by today's standards and the ISO performance should be good in the test later on.

The Canon IXUS 1100 HS doesn't use the whole area of the screen for shooting unless you're in the 16:9 aspect ratio. The resolution will alter depending on the ratio you choose. We flicked between 3:2 and 4:3 but this gives a different resolution. We prefer the aspect ratio 3:2 but we can only get a maximum resolution of 11 megapixels.

When starting the camera up, there's a number of icons and options on-screen. In the top left, there's the shooting mode you're in. This can be tapped and the mode changed when in program on the top of the camera (white camera icon). All the available shooting modes are here and it seems that the IXUS 1100 HS has been designed for fun. There's all the new filters such as toy camera, miniature, colour swap and colour extract as well as typical ones such as snow, foliage and fireworks. Modes such as landscape and sport have been removed and Movie Digest added. This mode will take a 4 second video burst whenever you take a picture allowing you to create a small video montage of the day out shooting.

In the bottom left corner of the Canon IXUS 1100 HS's screen is the function button. This is a menu to allow fast access to frequently used options such as ISO, metering, white-balance, focus modes and resolution. The main menu button is in the bottom right when you open the function menu. If you're just on the main screen, the bottom right button will scroll through the display options. Interestingly, the Canon offers features found on the high specification Powershot series such as a histogram and other shooting information. However, this is only in playback and it would be great to see this as a shooting option. Likewise, the option to shoot in RAW would be great.

Canon IXUS 1100 HS Canon IXUS 1100 HS
Top Front

One area of the function menu that annoys us is the continuous tapping we have to get through just to choose something. The screen seems to be more responsive in the middle because we always had to press the function button a couple of times before it worked. If you want to choose a different setting, you have to tap to the right setting, tap the change that you want to make and then tap again to confirm. We felt that shooting with the IXUS 1100 HS was 60% tapping the screen and 40% picture taking. It's fair to say that once you're used to it, this would get easier. After all, we only get the camera for a limited time so you may find that you slip into a routine with it.

Despite this change in the way the Canon IXUS 1100 HS does things, the menu layout is the same as any other IXUS which is great because it's an easy system to get used to. The menu colours are gun metal grey with orange highlights. It sounds nasty but actually looks quite attractive. The resolution of the screen is 461,000 dots (153,600 pixels) but looks a lot higher because the images are crisp and sharp.

The Canon IXUS 1100 HS has a touch focus/shoot option which is on by default. To switch it off, press the icon at the right of the screen. This becomes a touch focus screen and will lock onto the subject where you touched. Other focus modes can be found in the function menu for landscape focusing, macro and landscape/portrait which is the standard setting. Calibration of the screen isn't all too impressive and needs a touch pen which doesn't come in the box. You have to use your finger, but the touch focus will miss smaller subjects. Macro focusing is impressive and in our tests we got near to point blank range. At this range the image quality suffers immensely with a lot of drop off from near the centre of the frame.

There are three metering modes available in the function menu: Evaluative, centre-weighted and spot. Evaluative uses readings from all over the frame and analyses it to get a mean average. The results are usually highly accurate which is why this type of metering has taken over centre-weighted. Centre-weighted also uses a reading from the whole area but gives more prominence to the centre of the frame and then ignores more and more the further out to the frame edges you go. Spot metering uses only 2-3% of the centre of the frame to meter with. Anything else is ignored. This is useful for silhouetted subjects when you don't want to use flash but this will blow out the highlights as they will over expose. Evaluative is good for everyday picture taking and we found that the camera doesn't over or under expose.

Canon IXUS 1100 HS Canon IXUS 1100 HS
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

When we pre-empted the timings of the Canon IXUS 1100 HS, we found the shutter lag results come out similar to any other compact at 0.08 seconds. Allowing for human reaction times, the consistent result we got was more on the 0.15 seconds. Continuous shooting mode timings are consistent with the Canon specification sheet of around 3.3 fps (frames per second).

Playback mode offers some nice things to do. It's possible to set the display to show histogram and other shooting settings. Such as resolution, file size, ISO, aperture and shutter speed. In the playback menu, you can erase pictures, edit them, tag them as favourites, lock them, rotate them, create a slideshow with them and categorise them. You can also filter them out to only view pictures determined by specifying parameters such as date, categories, favourites etc.

Hitting the display button scrolls through the options in playback. There are three view types. Normal viewing has the picture full screen with basic information, detailed shows the aforementioned histogram and image information while zoom shows an extract of the picture for checking focus.

Considering the Canon IXUS 1100 HS is a high specification camera and also taking into consideration the retail price, we expected a lot in the box. A metal wrist strap, maybe a soft case or something to set it apart from the other cameras. However, it doesn't even come with a touch pen which is disappointing. There's a charger for the battery and a USB lead for direct connection. The software that comes with the camera is Canon Solution Disc v91.0 and the second disc has the full manual in multiple languages.

Image Quality

The fact that you can't have full resolution on all aspect ratios annoyed us and we prefer 3:2 but it only outputs at 11 megapixels. We decided to shoot in both, chopping and changing dependent on the scenario so there are a variety of results in this section. In fact, the 3:2 has a benefit over the 4:3 format in that it only loses 1 million pixels but records file sizes of around 2.1Mb compared to a massive 5.5Mb in 4:3 format. The loss is only in the shape of the camera because the pictures were still recorded in fine compression.


As we mentioned at the start of the review, the back-illuminated sensor should give good results in low light and therefore exceptional results in bright light. Canon are very good at noise control anyway so we're excited to see the results of the ISO test.

ISO 100 has given a superb result. Not an ounce of noise showing anywhere. The edges are sharp and there's absolutely no sign of any colour distortion.  A digital compact camera with a small sensor will start to lose resolution at around ISO 400 but the IXUS 1100 HS is still going strong. At ISO 800 there's a slight mottling of edge definition which exacerbates at ISO 1600. In the shadow areas, noise is starting to poke through but is still controlled easily by the processor with none of that garish painted look that can be produced by an overworked noise reduction system.

Like a castle wall gets overthrown by invading barbarians, the noise reduction software crumbles at ISO 3200 before giving way to a flood of noise in dark and mid-tone areas. However, it needs to be noted and acknowledged that this result would be seen at ISO 800 on many other digital compact cameras.

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

ISO 200 (100% Crop)


ISO 400 (100% Crop)

ISO 800 (100% Crop)


ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

Focal Range

The Canon IXUS 1100 HS's 10x zoom lens provides a focal length of 36-360mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.



File Quality

The Canon IXUS 1100 HS has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

12M Fine (2.96Mb) (100% Crop) 12M Normal (1.24Mb) (100% Crop)


We're comfortable with the way that the Canon IXUS 1100 HS sharpens in-camera. While a basic sharpening system in an editing suite such as Adobe Photoshop will sharpen the picture more, we don't think it necessarily benefits the picture as a whole.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

What would really top the Canon IXUS 1100 HS off would be if it had an amazing lens fitted with diffractive optics that eliminated chromatic aberration. Alas, it's not to be and we found CA on most pictures that had high contrast edges.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Example 2 (100% Crop)


As we mentioned earlier, the Canon IXUS 1100 HS's macro facility is great for getting close in but the lens suffers from distortion the closer you put the subject. In fact, the distortion starts much closer to the centre of the frame than we'd like which is a shame.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


Whether we used the flash or not, the Canon IXUS 1100 HS does suffer from vignetting in the corners at wide-angle. The good news is that it disappears at the telephoto end of the scale. The flash does a good job of balancing out uneven or doppled natural light but if you get too close, it bleaches out badly.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (336mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (336mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. There was some red-eye present in a few of our sample photos, which was successfully removed by the Red-Eye Removal playback feature.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)


Red-eye Removal

Red-eye Removal (100% Crop)


We took the night shot set up on a tripod using a long exposure. The manual white-balance worked a treat but in the long exposure mode, it gave a yellow cast. Both pictures are noise free - which is great because all the detail in the distant shops on our test sample image can be seen.

Night Scene Mode

Night Scene Mode (100% Crop)


Night - Program Mode

Night - Program Mode (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Canon IXUS 1100 HS camera, which were all taken using the 12 megapixel Fine JPEG setting. The thumbnails below link to the full-sized versions, which have not been altered in any way.

Sample Movie & Video

This is a sample movie at the highest quality setting of 1920 x 1280 pixels at 24 frames per second. Please note that this 16 second movie is 71.5Mb in size.

Product Images

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Front of the Camera

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Front of the Camera / Turned On

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Isometric View

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Isometric View

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Isometric View

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Rear of the Camera

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Rear of the Camera/ Image Displayed

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Rear of the Camera / Turned On

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Rear of the Camera / Function Menu


Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Rear of the Camera / Shooting Mode Menu

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Rear of the Camera / Main Menu

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Rear of the Camera / Playback Menu

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Rear of the Camera / Image Details

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Rear of the Camera / Playback Menu

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Top of the Camera

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Side of the Camera

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Side of the Camera

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Front of the Camera

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Memory Card Slot

Canon IXUS 1100 HS

Battery Compartment


We were excited to receive the Canon IXUS 1100 HS digital compact camera as the specification looks impressive, and actually holding the camera in front of us we were inclined to agree. It meets all your expectations in terms of looks, start-up times, features and technology. The 12x optical zoom will benefit everyone using the camera along with the wide-angle 28mm setting. The Canon IXUS 1100 HS is full of new gizmos to entice the tech-savvy while the intuitive user interfacI will please people who are less technologically minded.

The Canon IXUS 1100 HS's design is blocky, yet futuristic and typically IXUS in its execution. If we were to improve anything, we'd either upgrade the zoom rocker to metal or remove it altogether. The massive screen on the back looks like a cinema screen it's that wide, but surprisingly, it's not the widest on the market.

We love the marriage of the new back-illuminated sensor and DIGIC IV processor. They work perfectly together and this is no more obvious than in the noise results. To say the ISO pictures are impressive is an understatement.

In fact, we're finding it tough to find fault with the 1100 HS. If we had to be picky, the touchscreen can't rival the tactile experience offered by many smart phones. If mobile phones can have a harmonious sensitivity without being too sensitive, then so can digital cameras. With an iPhone, we have to gently touch the screen to launch an app. With the IXUS 1100 HS we have to repeatedly stab the menu to try and get it to respond. Ok, so it's maybe not quite THAT bad – we've seen worse - but compared to a phone it needs some improvement. It's a personal preference but we prefer the 3:2 aspect ratio over 4:3 but this drops the resolution and it annoys us. On the other hand as we mentioned before, it's only 1 megapixel and shouldn't adversely affect the pictures.

The Canon IXUS 1100 HS is heavily priced to reflect the amount of quality that's been poured into it. At around £350 it could be out of reach for most people, being around £100 more than an average camera of reasonable build and performance. £350 is actually skirting around entry-level DSLR territory. Of course this begs the question: is it worth the extra?

It could very well be. Check out the noise results then go to a shop and try the touch-screen to see if you could manage with it. We think we could probably get used to it after a while which makes the Canon IXUS 1100 HS a cracking camera.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 4
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Canon IXUS 1100 HS from around the web. »

The Canon IXUS 1100 HS is a stylish and well-made touch-screen compact that offers good point-and-shoot usability, a generous zoom range and a decent, if not quite class-leading, range of shooting features.
Read the full review » »

Superb image quality but the touchscreen control is clumsy and the price is too high
Read the full review » »

The IXUS 1100 HS is one of the latest premium compact digital cameras from Canon, which was announced in August 2011. The camera is available for £349.99 in black, red and silver.
Read the full review »


Type 1/2.3 type back-illuminated CMOS
Effective Pixels Approx. 12.1M
Colour Filter Type Primary Colour
Type DIGIC 4 with iSAPS technology
Focal Length 5.0 - 60.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 28 - 336 mm)
Zoom Optical 12x. Digital Approx. 4x (with Digital Tele-Converter Approx. 1.5x or 2.0x and Safety Zoom¹). Combined Approx. 48x
Maximum f/number f/3.4 - f/5.9
Construction 14 elements in 12 groups (1 UD lens, 1 double-sided aspherical lens, 1 single-sided aspherical UA lens, 1 light-folding prism)
Image Stabilisation Yes (lens shift-type), Approx. 4-stop (except with Touch Shutter). Intelligent IS
Type TTL
AF System/ Points AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed frame) or Touch AF with Object and Face Select and Track
AF Modes Single, Continuous (only available in Smart Auto mode), Servo AF/AE¹, Touch AF
AF Point Selection Size (Normal, Small)
AF Lock On/Off Selectable
AF Assist Beam Yes
Closest Focusing Distance 1 cm (W) from front of lens in macro
Metering modes Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre or Touch AF frame)
AE Lock On/Off Selectable
Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
Enhanced i-Contrast for automatic dynamic range correction
ISO sensitivity* AUTO, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Speed 1 - 1/4000 sec. (factory default)
15 - 1/4000 sec. (total range - varies by shooting mode)
Type TTL
Settings Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
Monitor 8.0 cm (3.2”) PureColor II Touch (TFT), 16:9 aspect ratio, Approx. 461,000 dots
Coverage Approx. 100%
Brightness Adjustable to one of five levels
Modes Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Slow Sync Speed Yes. Fastest speed 1/2000 sec.
Red-Eye Reduction Yes
Flash Exposure Compensation Face Detection FE, Smart Flash Exposure
Flash Exposure Lock Yes
Built-in Flash Range 30cm - 3.1 m (W) / 1.0 m - 1.7 m (T)
External Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1,
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2
Modes Smart Auto (32 scenes detected), P, Movie Digest, Portrait, Kids & Pets, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer), High-speed Burst (3.0MP), Best Image Selection (3.0MP), Handheld Night Scene, Low Light (3.0MP), Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap, Beach, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter
Modes in Movie Smart Auto (21 scenes detected), P, Portrait, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap, Beach, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, iFrame Movie, Super Slow Motion Movie
Photo Effects My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)
Drive modes Single, Continuous, Self-Timer
Continuous Shooting Approx. 3.3 shots/sec., High-speed Burst (3.0MP): Approx. 7.8 shots/sec., (until memory card becomes full)¹²
Image Size 4:3 - (L) 4000 x 3000, (M1) 2816 x 2112, (M2) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480
16:9 - (L) 4000 x 2248, (M1) 2816 x 1584, (M2) 1920 x 1080, (S) 640 x 360
3:2 - (L) 4000 x 2664, (M1) 2816 x 1880, (M2) 1600 x 1064, (S) 640 x 424
1:1 - (L) 2992 x 2992, (M1) 2112 x 2112, (M2) 1200 x 1200, (S) 480 x 480

Resize in playback (M2, S, XS)*
*XS is half the length and width of S
Compression Fine, Normal
Movies (Full HD) 1920 x 1080, 24 fps, (HD) 1280 x 720, 30 fps, (L) 640 x 480, 30 fps

Super Slow Motion Movie (L) 640 x 480, 120fps, (M) 320 x 240, 240fps
Miniature Effect (HD, L) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps
iFrame Movie (HD)
Movie Length (Full HD & HD) Up to 4 GB or 10 min. 00 sec.¹
(L) Up to 4 GB or 1 hour²
(Super Slow Motion Movie) 30 sec.
Still Image Type JPEG compression, (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Movies MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (stereo)]
Canon Printers Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and Canon Inkjet Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Fixed Size Print and Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP & ES printers only)
PictBridge Yes
Red-Eye Correction Yes, during shooting and playback
My Camera / My Menu Start-up image and camera sounds customisation
My Category Image tagging feature
Intelligent Orientation Sensor Yes
Histogram Yes
Playback zoom Approx. 2x - 10x
Self Timer Approx. 2 or 10 sec., Custom
Menu Languages English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Ukrainian, Romanian, Farsi, Hindi
Computer Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible)
Other HDMI Mini Connector (HDMI-CEC compatible) A/V output (PAL/NTSC)
PC & Macintosh Windows 7 / 7 SP1 / Vista SP2 / XP SP3
Mac OS X v10.5 - 10.6
Browsing & Printing ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser
Other PhotoStitch, Movie Uploader for YouTube, CameraWindow
Batteries Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-9L (battery and charger supplied)
Battery life Approx. 170 shots¹
Approx. 240 min. playback
A/C Power Supply Optional, AC adapter kit ACK-DC70
Cases / Straps Soft Leather Case DCC-1700
Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1,
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2
Power Supply & Battery Chargers AC Adapter kit ACK-DC70, Battery Charger CB-2LBE
Other Canon HDMI Cable HTC-100
Operating Environment 0 - 40 °C, 10 - 90% humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) 99.0 x 58.9 x 21.9 mm
Weight Approx. 206 g (including battery/batteries and memory card)

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