Save & earn with MPB; trade-in and buy pre-loved

Canon IXUS 500 HS Digital Compact Camera Review

The Canon IXUS 500 HS is a very compact camera with a massive 12x optical zoom lens, Daniel Bell reviews.

| Canon IXUS 500 HS in Compact Cameras
Canon IXUS 500 HS Digital Compact Camera Review: Canon IXUS 500 HS

The Canon IXUS 500 HS was released in January 2012, it has a 12x optical zoom lens packed into its incredibly tiny body. There is also a 10.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and full 1080p HD video recording. The IXUS 500 HS is available in red, black, blue and silver, priced at £309.00.

Canon IXUS 500 HS Digital Compact Camera Review: Canon IXUS 500 HS

Canon IXUS 500 HS Features

The IXUS 500 HS measures just 87.1 x 53.9 x 19.2mm, weighs just 155g but packs a 12x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 28 - 336mm and can be extended to 21x with ZoomPlus. This means you can shoot both close-up and distant objects and then keep the camera in your pocket.

The camera has a 10.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and the HS system is designed to excel in low light. To help take blur free photos there is Intelligent Image Stabilisation, which adjusts the optical image stabilisation to the scene from 7 modes.

In order to make picture taking as easy as possible there is Smart Auto mode which automatically selects the cameras settings from 50 different variables. With Face ID you can also register 12 faces from your friends and family. The IXUS 500 HS can capture fast-paced action with High-speed Burst or  Handheld Night Scene can be used to combine a sequence of high-speed shots into one to capture nightscapes without a tripod.

Videos are recorded at full 1080p HD at 24fps with stereo sound and optical zoom, with Intelligent IS helping keep footage steady. It is also possible to shoot videos at high-speed with Super Slow Motion Movie mode. Movie Digest mode can be selected to record up to 4 seconds before each picture is taken, which is then combined to create a 720p HD movie. To view your videos, the camera can be connected via HDMI to a HD TV.

Canon IXUS 500 HS Digital Compact Camera Review: Canon IXUS 500 HS

Key Features

  • 10.1 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 12x optical zoom (35mm equiv: 28 - 336mm)
  • HS System and DIGIC 5
  • Intelligent Image Stabilisation
  • 3.0 inch PureColor II G LCD screen
  • Full 1080p HD movie recording
  • Smart Auto (58 scenes)
  • Face ID
  • High-speed shooting
  • Movie Digest (720p)
  • Optional 3m waterproof case
Canon IXUS 500 HS Digital Compact Camera Review: Canon IXUS 500 HS

Canon IXUS 500 HS Handling

There are two striking characteristics to notice when you first pick up the IXUS 500 HS, both its small body and very rectangular design, which does make it easy to grip. All of the buttons are extremely tiny with the ones on the rear of the camera being placed close together, if you have large fingers you may struggle with them.

The four buttons for exposure compensation, macro, flash and disp all double up as a d-pad. The other buttons on the rear are function set, menu and movie recording. The playback button, which works even when the camera is off, is found on the top of the camera with the shutter release, on/off switch, shutter, zoom-rocker and mode select.

The camera has a clear and easy to navigate menu system, with the function set button taking you to all the shooting settings available, further options can be amended by pressing the menu button. The small buttons have allowed for a 3 inch 460k dot LCD screen, with a tempered glass outer layer and is easy to view in all lighting conditions and all angles. It may have been better if Canon had used a touch-screen rather than small buttons. There is an optional waterproof case available which allows shooting down to depths of 3m.

The battery is a similar size to an AA battery and has a CIPA rating of 190 shots, this is quite a low number and it would be ideal to carry a spare. We tested the camera's performance at focusing, shutter response, shot to shot time, continuous shooting etc. and have posted the results below. To test this we took 6 or more shots and calculated the average.

Shutter Response   0.2 seconds
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.35 seconds
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.4 seconds
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.75 seconds
Shot to Shot (without flash)   1.4 seconds
Shot to Shot with Flash   2.8 seconds
Continuous shooting   2.4 fps
High-speed Burst (2.5 megapixels)   5.9 fps

Continuous shooting takes full-sized images at 2.4 fps, with High-speed burst limited to 2.5 megapixels.

Canon IXUS 500 HS Digital Compact Camera Review: Canon IXUS 500 HS

Canon IXUS 500 HS Performance

The images produced by the IXUS 500 HS have excellent colour reproduction and are well exposed. Detail is OK throughout the images whether shooting wide or with the full optical zoom, with some purple fringing evident on occasion. The lens has a minimum focus distance of just 1cm in macro mode and this allows for impressive close-up images.

Canon IXUS 500 HS Lens test images

There isn't any noise at ISO 100 and when you go through ISO 200 and ISO 400 there is only a very small increase in noise levels with sharp images produced. At ISO 800 there is enough noise to cause the images to lose a touch of sharpness. Noise then becomes significant to enough to effect image quality at ISO 1600 and ISO 3200, but noise doesn't effect the quality of the colours in the images, making these higher ISO settings usable for images which are to be resized for use on the web.

Canon IXUS 500 HS ISO test images

Landscape mode does an excellent job of creating images with great blues and greens. Portrait mode takes images with pleasant skin tones, but there is some red-eye evident. Further portrait modes include Smooth Skin and Smart Shutter, which uses face detection to take pictures automatically. High-speed burst has been used to capture the water droplets flowing from the fountain.

Canon IXUS 500 HS Scene modes

The following pictures have been taken using some of the creative modes available. Other modes include miniature, underwater and stitch assist. Further example images can be seen in the ePHOTOzine Equipment Database.

Canon IXUS 500 HS Sample Photos

The auto white-balance copes perfectly well in most lighting conditions. Under our incandescent studio lights the AWB setting gave an orange cast to the image, with the incandescent preset giving a better looking image. Under the fluorescent lights, the AWB performs well, with the fluorescent preset giving a very slight cast in the image.

Canon IXUS 500 HS White-balance test images

My colours allows you to adjust colours to your preference, with examples of each below.

Canon IXUS 500 HS Digital filters

Video Mode

The following video has been shot at full 1080p HD. Examples using the optical zoom and Super Slow Motion mode can be found on the ePHOTOzine YouTube Channel.

Value For Money

The Canon IXUS 500 HS is currently available for £309.00. Other compacts with a similar zoom range and megapixels are the Canon IXUS 1000 HS (10x zoom at £249.00), Canon IXUS 510 HS (12x zoom at £349.00 and Ricoh CX6 (10.7x zoom at £259.00). There are many cameras available with similar zoom and more megapixels, such as the Canon Powershot SX150 at £164.00, Olympus SH-21 at £184.00, Nikon Coolpix S8200 at £199.95 and Canon IXUS 1100 HS at £304.00.

Canon IXUS 500 HS Verdict

The Canon IXUS 500 HS is ideal for those who want an extremely small camera but want more zoom than you typically find on such cameras. The downside to the tiny body are the small buttons and fairly low battery life. There is also full 1080p HD video recording. The IXUS 500 HS takes images with excellent colour reproduction and detail is OK, meaning it will appeal to those who like to share images on the web rather than produce large prints.


Canon IXUS 500 HS Digital Compact Camera Review:
The Canon IXUS 500 HS packs a lot of zoom into a very small body and takes colourful images.

Canon IXUS 500 HS Pros

Very compact camera
12x optical zoom
Full 1080p HD video recording
Excellent colour reproduction
Good range of creative modes and colour filters

Canon IXUS 500 HS Cons

Buttons are very small
Quite expensive compared to other cameras with similar spec
Low battery life


Canon IXUS 500 HS Specifications

Max Aperturef/3.4 - f/5.6
35mm equivalent28mm - 336mm
Optical Zoom12x
Image Sensor
Pixels10.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)3648
Pixels (H)2736
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)6.16mm
Sensor Size (height)4.62mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution461,000 dots
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest15sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
  • A
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting2.8fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-9L
Battery Life (CIPA rating)190shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsBattery pack NB-9L, Battery Charger CB-2LBE, Interface Cable, Wrist Strap, Getting Started Guide, Manual Disk, Solution Disk and Warranty System Booklet

View Full Product Details

Buy Now


Sell or trade used photo and video kit with MPB

With MPB you can get a free instant quote for the kit you want to sell, including a trade-in all-in-one transaction - no need for callbacks or waiting for an email quote. Then, if you decide to sell, MPB will pick up your kit with a free insured DPD collection and you’ll get paid cash into your account within days. MPB will also keep you informed about the status of your gear at every step of the way and the whole process is carbon neutral.

Sell your unwanted gear with MPB

Amazon UK Logo

We don't have the latest price however the link below will take you to the most relevant items.

Amazon US Logo

We don't have the latest price however the link below will take you to the most relevant items.

MPB Logo

We transform the way that people buy, sell and trade in photo and video kit.


Support this site by purchasing Plus Membership, or shopping with one of our affiliates: Amazon UK, Amazon US, Amazon CA, ebay UK, MPB. It doesn't cost you anything extra when you use these links, but it does support the site, helping keep ePHOTOzine free to use, thank you.


Photographs taken using the Canon IXUS 500 HS

Other articles you might find interesting...

Canon PowerShot V10 Review
Nikon Z30 Camera Review
SMC Pentax MX-1 6-24mm f/1.8-2.5 Vintage Lens Review
Leica Q2 Monochrom Review
Leica M11-P Launched, Available Now Globally For £8000
OM System TG-7 Waterproof Camera
Sony ZV-1 II Review
Sony ZV-1 Mark II Updates The Z-V1 With New Functions & Refi...

There are no comments here! Be the first!


You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.