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Canon PowerShot ELPH 530 HS Digital Camera Review$349.99
Effects, Filters, and Scene modes
The ELPH 530 HS offers a total of 23 shooting modes, including effects, scene presets, video modes, and a few oddballs that don't really fall into any category.
WiFi photo transfer is one the ELPH 530 HS's main selling points, but it's an unworkable mess. It's completely unintuitive, and even when we followed the instructions in the user manual, we could still barely get it to work.
For starters, there's no general menu for WiFi options. It can only be accessed through playback mode. There's no way to store your preferred WiFi networks and their respective passwords, so every time you want to access a network, you'll have to repeat the same painful process of entering your password on the awful touchscreen's virtual keyboard.
We had incorrectly assumed that when the camera connects to a WiFi network, it just becomes a device on the network, ready to be browsed by any computer or smartphone, or to push pictures and videos to computers or smartphones, or at least upload content directly to some popular social media sites. Not so.
The ELPH 530 HS can connect to social sharing sites, but there's a convoluted process involving a Canon.com account, registering the camera, and physically connecting the camera to your computer to set it all up. We continually ran into dead ends—info not being where it was supposed to be on Canon's website, the instructions not being clear, random disconnections from the WiFi network—so we eventually gave up (we're on deadline here). Good luck to you.
It can also connect to other WiFi-enabled cameras, but we don't have any of those sitting around the office, so we weren't able to test it. Seems pretty pointless anyway.
The most obvious use of WiFi is to wirelessly push photos to a home computer to back them up, but we whiffed on that one too. We got as far as installing Canon's proprietary Camera Window software and connecting the ELPH 530 HS to our local WiFi network, but the camera wouldn't recognize our MacBook on the network, even with the Camera Window software running.
The only WiFi feature we got to work was the smartphone connectivity. It's compatible with Apple iOS products only; no Android, Windows Phone, Blackberry, etc. We downloaded the free Canon Camera Window app and hit the smartphone icon on the ELPH 530 HS. Rather than connecting to our WiFi network, the camera becomes an ad-hoc WiFi hotspot, to which we had to connect our iPhone to (including a password). The Camera Window app allowed us to browse the photos on the ELPH 530 HS and send them via email or up to social sharing sites.
Isn't that ironic? The ELPH 530 HS has WiFi so that it can share photos wirelessly, just like a smartphone, but the only way we could get it to work was through a smartphone.
If all that weren't enough, the ELPH 530 HS has a terrible battery, and monkeying with the WiFi settings basically drained it in three hours, without taking a picture.
So to be perfectly clear, the ELPH 530 HS's WiFi is a failure. The only thing it adds is about $70 to the price tag over the otherwise identical ELPH 520 HS.