Canon IXUS 500 HS review

The slimmest compact camera to squeeze in a 12x optical zoom

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The 12x optical reach of the Canon IXUS 500 HS is supported by a seven-mode optical image stabiliser. it's just as well, since narrow dimensions and a lack of anything resembling a handgrip rarely make for a firm hold.

Plus, zoom aside, Canon has otherwise decided to go small everywhere else. Every button apart from the shutter release and zoom lever is barely larger than the head of a tack, and so requires fingernail operation.

Feeling solid sitting in the palm, despite diminutive dimensions and mainly thanks to the metal build, for a camera that looks cleanly minimalist from the front, the Canon IXUS 500 HS in fact has no fewer than 12 buttons, switches and levers.

Canon ixus 500 hs review

On the top plate we have a raised shutter release button, customarily encircled by a zoom lever, alongside an on/off button. Plus there's a switch for flicking between Smart Auto and Program Auto settings, in lieu of a more familiar and more expansive shooting mode dial. Lastly there's a dedicated playback button, which is always useful.

Operation, apart from toggling the lens back and forth, is very much just point and shoot. Smart Auto here compares the scene before the lens with a sizeable 59 parameters to select the closest match that will theoretically deliver optimal results. So you can leave your brain behind.

The backplate features a video record button on the top-right, where it falls under the thumb, beneath which is a dedicated exposure compensation control, offering +/- 2EV.

Canon ixus 500 hs review

The other buttons at the back are similarly straightforward: dedicated macro close up and flash settings - including red eye reduction - plus display and function set buttons.

The latter summons up a toolbar of key shooting options that is displayed at the left-hand side of the screen, and is unsurprisingly rather broader in Program mode than Smart Auto. For example, it enables the selection of ISO sensitivity (ISO100-3200), and Canon's My Colours picture modes, which include the useful saturation-boosting 'Vivid' option.

Slotting into the base, the Canon IXUS 500 HS' snug rechargeable battery sports a width similar to your little finger and lasts a miserly 190 captures, although we take more issue with the fact that the equally small and fiddly microSD card has been selected as removable media of choice.

Unusually, battery and card are given separate compartments at opposite ends of the base, not that this helps access either, if you've screwed the camera to a tripod.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution10.1 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilyIXUS
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedmicroSD Card, microSDHC Card, microSD Extended Capacity (microSDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom12x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameCanon
FeaturesLive View, Self-timer, Face Detection, Wink Detection, Smile Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode, Orientation Sensor
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4, QuickTime MOV
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)155 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE, REACH, ENERGY STAR
Image Sensor Size1/2.3" (6.16 mm x 4.62 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution3648 x 2736
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height53.9 mm
Width87.1 mm
Depth19.2 mm
Focal Length4 mm to 48 mm
Image FormatsJPEG
External FlashNo
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product Model500 HS
Product NameIXUS 500 HS Compact Camera
Product LineIXUS
Exposure Control

Program AE

Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number6172B007AA
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The IXUS 500 HS brings a big 12x zoom to a compact, stunning metal body - getting you closer, in style. With HS System, Intelligent IS and Smart Auto, shooting great images is easy, even in low light.

Package Contents
  • IXUS 500 HS Compact Camera
  • Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-9L
  • Charger
Limited Warranty1 Year