Canon IXUS 115 HS Review

April 27, 2011 | Gavin Stoker | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star


The Canon IXUS 115 HS (also known as the PowerShot ELPH 100 HS) is a new slim and stylish compact digital camera. Key features of the IXUS 115 include a back-illuminated 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor, 4x 28-112mm lens with an optical image stabiliser, 3.4 frames per second burst mode at full resolution, full 1080p HD movie recording with stereo sound and a HDMI port, and a 3 inch LCD screen. Available in silver, grey, pink and blue, the Canon IXUS 115 HS costs £179.00 / €219.00 / $199.99.

Ease of Use

Little brother to the likes of the Canon IXUS 220 HS and 310 HS, the 115 HS is a neat looking and affordable pocket compact that surpasses what one would normally expect from a budget model. OK, so it lacks much in the way of manual photographic control as one would expect, but then again there are plenty of creative extras under its glossy exterior to keep the more adventurous men and women of the point and shoot brigade occupied. In that way it much resembles its recent rival in the Nikon Coolpix S3100. With official dimensions of 93.1x55.8x19.9mm the IXUS 115 HS weighs a manageable 140g with both rechargeable lithium ion battery plus optional yet essential media card slotted into place.

Once again Canon's pitch here is a 12.1-megapixel effective resolution from a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, with the model's 'HS' suffix indicating this is one of its maker's 'High Sensitivity' compacts. This addendum is part justified by a sensor that is backlit, an ISO range extending up to ISO3200 at full resolution, and low noise Low Light mode (but detail smudging resolution drop to three megapixels). We also get a Handheld Night Scene mode that takes three images in quick succession, and, provided you can find a hard nearby surface to rest an elbow on, produces quite reasonable results. The lens further boasts a maximum aperture of f/2.8, and there is a built in flash should you choose to use it, although it's small and located where fingertips can stray in the way.

As we've come to expect with the IXUS range, there's no concession to a handgrip provided here and fingers do tend to skate around a bit on the smooth pebble-like surface. We found ourselves naturally steadying the camera in both hands, but when doing so the thumb comes to rest on the left hand side of the LCD screen smearing it with fingerprints. Despite this we were able to get surprisingly sharp results at maximum telephoto however.

The attractively mirrored concentric circles at the front of the IXUS 115 HS - aiding self portraiture, whether intentionally so or not - house an optically image stabilized 4x zoom in their midst, boasting a focal range equivalent to a wide angle 28-112mm in 35mm film terms. Not quite as expansive as the 5x optical zoom range starting out at an equivalent 24mm on the IXUS 200 HS then, for £20-£30 more, but the IXUS 115 HS does offer a larger back screen at 3-inches to its sibling's 2.8-inches, if resolution remains a standard issue 230k dots.

Once again the LCD's aspect ratio is 4:3, though if shooting video, here a Full HD 1920x1080 pixels which is a nice surprise, the view narrows to a 16:9 widescreen equivalent, black bands cropping the picture at the top and bottom. Recording video is as simple a process as you would expect thanks to Canon thoughtfully including a camcorder-like red record button at the top right edge of the backplate.

Canon IXUS 115 HS Canon IXUS 115 HS
Front Rear

Mini HDMI output is provided under a plastic flap at the side, as is a separate port for combined AV and USB 2.0 output. Though cabling is provided in the camera box for the latter, an HDMI lead is an extra investment should you want to hook the IXUS directly up to your flat panel TV in that way for image slideshows.

Canon is pitching this camera as a model primarily equipped for 'fun', which is one way of saying its operation is for the most part a no brainer, and once you've set date and time you can be up and taking pictures nigh on instantly, the camera powering up from cold in just over a second via a press of the lozenge shaped on/off button set into and level with the top plate. The rear LCD bursts into life and previously folded lens extends from its storage position within the body chassis, aiding overall compactness.

Adjacent to this we have a simple fingernail operated slider switch for flicking between Auto (Smart Auto, which compares the scene/subject with up to 32 presets and theoretically selects the best one) and Program modes, in lieu of an actual shooting mode dial or button. And, over at the other side of the power button is the largest control of all; the shutter release button which is itself encircled by a rocker switch for adjusting the zoom. This has a raised front 'lip' that is ridged for easier purchase. Personally, we prefer a back plate zoom rocker, as you can keep a thumb on this and your forefinger on the shutter release, thus cutting down composition to shot time, but placing it around the shutter button at least frees up space at the back for the video record button we've already touched on.

To the right of the top plate zoom rocker we get a built-in speaker in support of the IXUS 115 HS' video clips. The microphone for this is located on the face plate, top left of the lens, whilst an AF assist/self timer lamp is set into the mirrored circles surrounding it, with the aforementioned integral flash located top right.

A half press of the shutter release button meanwhile and there's a momentary pause whilst the camera determines focus and exposure, AF point/s highlighted in green with a customary bleep prompting the user to go ahead and take the shot. Whilst this is not lightning fast, it's respectably comparable with the IXUS 220 HS and budget point and shoots in its class. At full resolution, least compression setting (Large, Fine modes) a JPEG is committed to memory in around three to four seconds. Again not the swiftest ever, but we're not in competition with a DSLR here. The media of choice here is, as expected, SD, SDHC or SDXC card, with Canon having done away with any built in memory on its more recent compacts; that's also the case here, so you need to invest in a removable card first.

The back of the IXUS 115 HS is expectedly dominated by that large non-touchscreen LCD in the absence of an optical viewfinder. Visibility is good despite the distinctly average 230k-dot resolution. As it takes up approximately five sixths of the available space, attendant physical controls are shunted into a space to its right, where they are vertically stacked. From the top you have the red video record button providing not only a short cut to the 'movie' feature but an almost instant response, in prompting filming to commence no matter what alternative shooting mode one might have otherwise had selected at the time.

Canon IXUS 115 HS Canon IXUS 115 HS
Side Top

Beneath this is a familiar command pad, but once again it is small. With a function/set button at its centre, at its top and bottom, left and right we find a means of manually adjusting exposure compensation (+/- 2EV), controlling the flash (auto flash, on, off and slow synchro but no red eye reduction although there is an auto correction option selectable via the camera's shooting menu.), plus a display option (limited to turning the screen info off to provide a clear view), and finally a means of switching between macro (as close as 3cm from a subject), default 'normal' and infinity focus settings.

A press of the function button meanwhile brings up a toolbar on the left hand side of the LCD screen, with options running from top to bottom. As on the IXUS 220 HS and 310 HS, the options are a lot more limited in point and shoot Smart Auto stills capture mode as opposed to Program mode. If selecting the former via the top plate slider there are just the options to adjust the photo aspect ratio from the default 4:3 to 16:9, 3.2 or 1:1, and choose photo and video image quality. But in Program Auto mode the same toolbar adds on the chance to choose from three metering options (evaluative, centre weighted and spot), 11 'My Colors' options, ISO speeds (ISO100-3200), regular white balance and the drive mode: single shot or continuous shooting. While the above is all fairly par for the course, if highlighting and selecting the 'P' for Program icon, the shooting mode options open up further and this is where Canon throws in some rather more interesting creative choices by way of various scene modes and digital filters.

Given the potential mass market audience for the IXUS 115 HS, here we get scene modes for photographing children and pets, a smart shutter mode utilising face detection to fire the shutter automatically, high speed burst mode (8.2 fps, with a resolution drop to three megapixels) and automatic best image selection (with resolution drop again), the aforementioned handheld night scene and low light modes.

Canon also adds in digital effects including fisheye, miniature (for stills as well as video), along with toy camera, monochrome, super vivid, and poster options. Furthermore, as has been a feature of Canon compacts for quite some time, individual colours can be highlighted and swapped. Further scene modes cover the topics of beach photography, underwater snaps, foliage, snow, fireworks, an exposure mode for dark subjects, plus two stitch assist modes for shooting panoramas (panning left to right and vice versa).

The last item on this list of shooting options is the Casio Exilim-alike Slow Motion movie mode. As on the IXUS 220 HS, this allows 240fps capture at an email friendly 320x240 pixels, or standard definition 640x480 pixels clips at 120fps. When replayed this then gives the effect of subjects wading through treacle.

Canon IXUS 115 HS Canon IXUS 115 HS
Memory Card Slot Battery Compartment

Moving our attention back to the camera back plate, the last two buttons on it are for the self-explanatory menu and, beside it, a dedicated playback button. The latter is useful, as because there's not a switch that physically requires being throwing to alternate between capture and review, a half press of the shutter release button when in playback mode and we were able to be back instantly to taking shots if a photo opportunity suddenly presented itself.

Press the menu button meanwhile, and, as on the IXUS 220 HS, we're presented with two folders; one governing image capture and the second the set up folder. In the first folder we have the usual options, including the ability to turn the digital zoom on/off, as well as Canon's i-Contrast mode, blink detection, the ability to call up on-screen grid lines and swap the image stabilization mode between continuous, shoot only (comes into effect when the shutter release button is pressed). The second set up folder allows sound and volume to be controlled LCD brightness adjusted and the memory card in use to be formatted. There's no integral memory offered as a back up.

Whilst the right hand side of the camera, if viewed from the back, features the output ports and a lug for attaching a strap, the opposite flank of the camera is devoid of features entirely. The base of the IXUS meanwhile features a screw thread for a tripod and a covered compartment housing both vacant memory card slot and rechargeable lithium ion cell, good for 230 shots (a whopping ten more than the 220 HS) from a full charge.

Once again, and as we noted in our 220 HS review, whilst one could criticize the IXUS 115 HS for lacking much in the way of real photographic control, that's largely missing the point. It's user friendly, pretty much everything you want from a point and shoot camera can be found with a button press or three, it does the job, doesn't cost a king's ransom and looks reasonably stylish with it.

Looks, handling and value aside, the other deciding factor - the chief deciding factor - regards the pictures the camera produces. In this respect does the IXUS 115 HS continue the Canon range's deft balance between style and substance, or is picture quality playing second fiddle to fashion? Read on to discover the answer…

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 2.5Mb.

For general snapshot photography this little IXUS is a great tool, slotting unobtrusively about your person to be ready and able to perform when confronted with everyday point and shoot opportunities. In comparison with the IXUS 220 HS that offers a maximum wide-angle 24mm equivalent setting, we didn't notice as pronounced softening at the edges of the frame at the IXUS 115 HS' less ambitious 28mm equivalent wide setting. Nor did we notice corner shading when using the flash, nor particularly pronounced barrel distortion - which is all good news. However, familiar bugbears such as pixel fringing between areas of high contrast do inevitably remain. But, if this is one of the few criticisms we can level at the IXUS 115 HS it isn't doing too badly at all.

We were lucky enough to be shooting with the camera outdoors during some early spring sunshine. Colours were largely naturalistic from the camera's default settings, and when we felt the need to dip into the camera's My Colors shooting mode and select the vivid option when shooting landscape and spring flowers, this rewarded us with added punch rather than straying into the realm of the overly-saturated and warm. The bottom line is that here is a camera capable of delivering very usable results that don't require much in the way of post processing - save perhaps for the occasional boost to contrast - and without much forethought or scrutiny of the manual required (quick start guide in the box, full details on CD). Results from Smart Auto mode are commendably consistent.

Results from shooting in low light are probably the most impressive aspect of the IXUS 115 HS when it comes to picture quality however, and performance is pretty much like for like in that respect with the IXUS 220 HS and 310 HS.

At manually selectable ISO100 and ISO200 settings we're not seeing any noise at all. At ISO400 the image is marginally softer if we're looking particularly closely, but there's also no noise to report. Our test shot is also clean at ISO800 if we're losing a bit of edge detail on really close scrutiny. Some slight softening again at ISO1600, only really noticeable because the image is otherwise so clean of noise - unusually at this setting and particularly from a budget point and shoot camera.

It's only really at the top whack setting of ISO3200 that the image becomes both grittier and softer and at the same time with it. That said, we'd still use this top setting if pushed. On the whole and given its expected limitations, we're very pleased with the IXUS 115 HS's performance.


There are 6 ISO settings available on the Canon IXUS 115 HS. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

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 115 HS's 4x zoom lens provides a focal length of 28-112mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.




Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. You can also change the in-camera sharpening level to suit your tastes via the My Colors menu option.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)


Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon IXUS 115 HS handled chromatic aberrations well during the review, with limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in certain high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)


The Canon IXUS 115 HS offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 3cms away from the camera when the lens is set to wide-angle. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop


The flash settings on the Canon IXUS 115 HS are Auto, Flash On, Slow Synchro, and Flash Off, with Red-eye Correction and Red-Eye Lamp settings available via the Flash Settings main menu option. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

Flash Off - Telephoto (112mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (112mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. Neither the Flash On or the Red-eye Correction settings caused any amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)

Red-eye Correction

Red-eye Correction (100% Crop)


The Canon IXUS 115 HS's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds in the Long Shutter mode, which is good news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1/8th second at ISO 800. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like. The camera takes the same amount of time again to apply noise reduction, so for example at the 5 second setting the actual exposure takes 10 seconds.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Sample Images

This is a selection of sample images from the Canon IXUS 115 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 29 second movie is 121Mb in size.

Product Images

Canon IXUS 115 HS

Front of the Camera

Canon IXUS 115 HS

Front of the Camera / Turned On

Canon IXUS 115 HS

Isometric View

Canon IXUS 115 HS

Isometric View

Canon IXUS 115 HS

Rear of the Camera / Image Displayed

Canon IXUS 115 HS

Rear of the Camera

Canon IXUS 115 HS

Top of the Camera

Canon IXUS 115 HS

Bottom of the Camera

Canon IXUS 115 HS

Side of the Camera


Canon IXUS 115 HS

Side of the Camera

Canon IXUS 115 HS

Memory Card Slot

Canon IXUS 115 HS

Battery Compartment


There's not a great deal here that we haven't already witnessed on the Canon IXUS 220 HS, and apart from a bigger screen and a lower price tag for this IXUS 115 HS, the two cameras are pretty much two tempting peas in the same tight pod. So, if getting one of the best value 'bang for your buck' deals is heavy among your considerations then the 115 HS delivers on that impressively, and on each of our star ratings receives a score comparable with its IXUS 220 HS big brother.

To sum up then, the positives here include a fun array of creative digital filters that for the most part have a positive bearing on the appearance of pictures, a decent build quality that we have come to expect from Canon even at the budget level, and the style factor inherent in the IXUS range. Although you could do better still with a slightly bigger spend, the IXUS 115 HS delivers excellent value for someone who wants a little more versatility when it comes to picture taking than their current smart phone may allow.

Whilst it's not in any way a game change or particularly innovative, if you're looking for a simple to use point and shoot camera that takes better than expected pictures, you can't really go wrong with the Canon IXUS 115 HS.

4 stars

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

Review Roundup

Reviews of the Canon IXUS 115 HS from around the web. »

The 115 HS was added to Canon's IXUS range of digital compact cameras in January 2011, aimed at being slim, stylish and fun. It is available in grey, silver, pink and blue for £149.00.
Read the full review » »

Canon's IXUS 115 HS is one of the company's latest models to incorporate its High Sensitivity technology, which debuted in last year's IXUS 300 HS.
Read the full review » »

Underneath the PowerShot ELPH 500 HS and the 300 HS, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 100 HS is the entry-level model to the 2011 ELPH lineup. The ELPH 100 HS offers a 12.1-Megapixel CMOS image sensor as well as a 3.0-inch LCD screen. The wide angle 28mm equivalent lens has a 4x optical zoom as well. Similar to the other models in the series, the HS System allows for pictures in low light situations without the use of the flash, thanks to usable ISO capabilities up to ISO 3200.
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 – 20.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 28 – 112 mm)
Zoom Optical 4x. Digital Approx. 4x¹ (with Digital Tele-Converter Approx. 1.5x or 2.0x and Safety Zoom¹)². Combined Approx. 16x
Maximum f/number f/2.8 – f/5.9
Construction 6 elements in 5 groups (1 double sided aspherical UA element and 1 single-sided aspherical UA element)
Image Stabilisation Yes (lens shift-type), Approx. 3-stop. Dynamic IS (in Movie)
Type TTL
AF System/ Points AiAF (Face Detection / 9-point), 1-point AF (fixed to centre)
AF Modes Single, Continuous (Auto mode only), Servo AF/AE¹, Tracking AF
AF Point Selection Size (Normal, Small)
AF Lock On/Off Selectable
AF Assist Beam Yes
Closest Focusing Distance 3 cm (W) from front of lens in macro
Metering modes Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre)
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 – 1/1500 sec. (factory default)
15 – 1/1500 sec. (total range – varies by shooting mode)
Type TTL
Settings Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
Monitor 7.6 cm (3.0”) PureColor II G LCD (TFT), Approx. 230,000 dots
Coverage Approx. 100%
Brightness Adjustable to one of five levels. Quick-bright LCD
Modes Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Slow Sync Speed Yes. Fastest speed 1/1500 sec.
Red-Eye Reduction Yes
Flash Exposure Compensation Face Detection FE, Smart Flash Exposure
Flash Exposure Lock Yes
Built-in Flash Range 30 cm – 4.0 m (W) / 50cm – 2.0 m (T)
External Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
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, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Long Shutter, Stitch Assist
Modes in Movie P, Portrait, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap, Beach, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, 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. 3.4 shots/sec.¹, High-speed Burst (3.0MP): Approx. 8.2shots/sec.¹, (until memory card becomes full)²
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, (M) 320 x 240, 30 fps
Super Slow Motion Movie (L) 120fps, (M) 240fps
Miniature Effect (HD, L) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps
Movie Length (Full HD & HD) Up to 4 GB or 10 min. 00 sec.¹
(L and M) 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 (monaural)]
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
Computer Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible)
Other HDMI Mini Connector (HDMI-CEC compatible) A/V output (PAL/NTSC)
Type SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus, HCMMCplus
PC & Macintosh Windows 7/ Vista SP1-2/ XP SP3
Mac OS X v10.5 – 10.6
Browsing & Printing ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser
Other PhotoStitch
Batteries Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-4L (battery and charger supplied)
Battery life Approx. 230 shots¹
Approx. 300 min. playback
A/C Power Supply Optional, AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC10, AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC60
Cases / Straps Soft Leather Case DCC-60, IXUS Metal or Leather Strap
Waterproof Case (40m) WP-DC39
Waterproof Case (3m) WP-DC310L
Waterproof Case Weight WW-DC1
Flash High Power Flash HF-DC1
Power Supply & Battery Chargers AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC10
AC Adapter Kit ACK-DC60
Other Canon HDMI Cable HTC-100
Operating Environment 0 – 40 °C, 10 – 90% humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) 93.1 x 55.8 x 19.9 mm
Weight Approx. 140 g (including battery/batteries and memory card)

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