If you're in the market for a highly portable compact digital camera, then you cannot bypass the Canon PowerShot Elph 310 HS ($259.99 MSRP) during your search. The PowerShot Elph 310 HS shares many of the same features with last year's PowerShot Elph 300 HS, including the 12-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor with Canon's Digic 4 processing. The Canon PowerShot Elph 310 HS was nearly identical on the inside as well, boasting a 1.3-second power on-to-shot time and dazzlingly intuitive menu system. The same fun filters like Toy Camera, Color Accent, Miniature and Super Vivid made their way over to this year's model, as well as the 100 – 3200 ISO range and Long Shutter mode that offers up to a 15-second shutter speed.

However, the Canon PowerShot Elph 310 HS was granted a larger 3-inch LCD screen with boosted 461,000-pixel LCD resolution. The camera also received an enhanced 8x optical zoom lens compared to last year's 5x optical capability, and the design was revamped so that the Menu and Mode switch resided along the side of the body. Other than a slightly improved Smart AUTO mode and polychromatic camera color selection including Pink, Purple, Green and Blue, the Canon PowerShot Elph 310 HS did not flaunt enough new technology to warrant an upgrade from last year's PowerShot Elph 300 HS.

Just as I experienced with last year's Elphs, the Canon PowerShot Elph 310 HS succeeded in producing fantastic images for a point-and-shoot, rife with detail, vividness and impressive noise management. The camera's 1080p 24fps video capture was one of the best displays of HD video in its class, and the stereo audio pickup was not too shabby. In low light, the Elph 310 HS was a killer, thanks to Canon's HS system, which orients the illumination along the backside of the sensor. However, low light sensitivity in video mode was quite lacking, so be sure to situate yourself in adequate lighting before tapping that red button.

In the end, I saw no real need to upgrade from the PowerShot Elph 300 HS for the newer version. In fact, the Elph 310 HS has a narrower 28mm wide-angle lens, compared to the Elph 300 HS's 24mm. As a result, the Elph 310 HS's aperture range was bumped up to an f/3.0 maximum compared to the Elph 300 HS's f/2.7 maximum, resulting in slightly diminished low light sensitivity. If you have to have the latest compact Canon, the PowerShot Elph 310 HS is one of the best options on the market. If you want to save about $80, look for last year's PowerShot Elph 300 for about $179.99 online.

Canon PowerShot Elph 310 Image Samples

Canon PowerShot Elph 310 Video Samples

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