Regular as clockwork, Canon has introduced a new addition to the ELPH line of compact PowerShots. The ELPH 130 IS brings new meaning to small-scale point-and-shoots by packing social and WiFi capabilities alongside its 16-megapixel sensor, all in a tiny 3.76 by 2.20-inch body. While the 130 IS is among the lower-end models of the ELPH line, it still suffers from its perhaps overly compact nature. However, we expect novice photographers with limited demands will appreciate what it has to offer.
Design & Usability
Nothing really stands out about this design, unless you've never seen a PowerShot before.
Anyone who's ever laid eyes on a Canon PowerShot will recognize the familiar sleek red (or silver) design. Since this layout has been refined over many generations into a paragon of efficient user-friendliness, our design complaints are rather limited. We did notice, however, that the controls seemed a bit mashed together. You might chalk it up to our sausage fingers, but we found it easy to hit the wrong button on four-way command cluster. The 8x zoom mechanism also seemed a touch slow, but not slow enough to cause real headaches.
The biggest thing the 130 IS has going for it is its compact size. It's ideal for folks who are looking for something that'll fit in the pocket and can be easily removed for quick shots with friends at the bar. However, with the increasing photographic power of smartphones, the space for cameras likes the 130 IS—both physically and economically—is rapidly dwindling.
As with the design, nothing about the 130 IS's specs will amaze you, but there's certainly nothing missing.
Standing out is the 16 MP CCD sensor and the ISO range of 100 to 6400. WiFi and video capabilities are a bonus, although these features are increasingly common and thus expected among point-and-shoots. The lens's max aperture is a bit of a snooze at f/3.2, but the 8x optical zoom is nice in a camera this compact. None of these features is truly disappointing, but there's also nothing that really amazed us.
The social and WiFi capabilities are worth mentioning, if only because they handily illustrate how hard camera manufacturers are working to compete with the ever-growing smartphone camera market. Android and iOS users can download Canon's proprietary CameraWindow software, allowing them to wirelessly transfer photos and videos from the ELPH 130 IS to their various mobile devices.
Middle-of-the-road in every sense, the ELPH 130 IS won't amaze you, but it'll get the job done—for the time being. Given the increasing competition in this market space, something better will inevitably come down the line soon.
Canon's newest PowerShot ELPH is nothing shocking, but it serves as a solid contribution to the market for mid-range, compact point-and-shoots—at least for now. If you're looking to invest in a high-quality, easy-to-use point-and-shoot that will last you for years to come, we recommend looking a little bit upmarket. Smartphone cameras are getting better with every generation, and they'll likely surpass this market within the next five years.
However, if you're aware of the future of this space and simply want a decently priced compact, wait a few months for the ELPH 130 IS's price to come down (from the MSRP of $199), and we think you'll be happy with it for at least a couple years.