Canon ELPH 520 HS: A High-Performance Camera for Stunning Photography

The Canon ELPH 520 HS is a highly capable camera that delivers exceptional performance and captures excellent images with remarkable detail. With powerful features like a 10.1-megapixel sensor, Full HD video recording, and 12x optical zoom, this camera is a perfect fit for photography enthusiasts looking to take their skills to the next level.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

Canon ELPH 520 HS article cover photo

Key Features

Jan 09 2012


10 megapixels


Sensor Type1/2.3-inch

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Overview of the ELPH 520 HS

The Canon ELPH 520 HS is a feature-packed camera that offers both impressive performance and exceptional image quality. Whether you're looking to take stunning photos or record high-definition videos, this camera can deliver the goods. With 10.1-megapixel resolution and a 12x optical zoom, you can capture images with remarkable clarity and detail. But that's only the beginning. This camera also features a 3-inch LCD screen that makes it easy to preview your shots, as well as an optical image stabilizer that helps you capture clear, steady photos and videos even in low-light conditions. Plus, with Full HD video recording, you can shoot high-quality videos that are perfect for online sharing. So, whether you're new to photography or a seasoned pro, the Canon ELPH 520 HS is a camera that you'll want to consider. With its powerful features and impressive performance, it's the perfect tool for capturing stunning photos and videos that you'll treasure for years to come.

Canon ELPH 520 HS Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the Canon ELPH 520 HS camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


High resolution (10.1 MP)
12x Optical Zoom
Full HD Video Recording
High-speed burst mode
Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity
Slim and portable design
Good low-light performance
Intelligent Image Stabilization
Easy-to-use interface
Affordable price


Limited ISO range
No manual control over settings
Small sensor size
Limited battery life
Limited optical zoom in video mode
No viewfinder
Limited image customization options
No RAW shooting mode
Plastic construction

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

Canon ELPH 520 HS

Weather sealed
Dimensions87 x 54 x 19mm

Weather Sealing

The Canon ELPH 520 HS is not sealed against water and dust, so it's important to be careful when using it in such conditions. If you often shoot in environments with water or dust, it's recommended to check out another camera with weather sealing.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderNone
Screen TypeFixed Type
Screen Resolution461k dots
Body typeUltracompact

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fixed type 3.00" screen, with a display resolution of 461k dots. This makes the Canon ELPH 520 HS not as suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you cannot view yourself while shooting selfies easily. Unfortunately, the camera does not have a touch screen, which may make it less user-friendly.


Canon ELPH 520 HS does not include a viewfinder. The lack of a viewfinder on the ELPH 520 HS camera may make it less suitable for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

Canon ELPH 520 HS has a 10MP sized BSI-CMOS sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 10 pixels. Canon ELPH 520 HS has a native ISO range of 100 - 3200 which can be boosted to null - null.

Key Features

Jan 09 2012


100 - 3200

ISO Range

Extended ISOnull - null
Max resolution3648 x 2736 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


not tested

Color Depth

not tested

Dynamic Range

not tested

Low Light ISO

not tested

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the Canon ELPH 520 HS camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain high amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is excellent, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the ELPH 520 HS is excellent

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: 1/2.3-inch



Connectivity, storage, battery

Battery Life190 shots
Battery ModelNB-9L
Wireless Connectivity


The Canon ELPH 520 HS supports microSD/microSDHC/microSDXC with 1 slots for storage. This may suffice for everyday use. However, for professional applications such as wedding photography, it is not recommended as a memory card malfunction could lead to the loss of all footage.


The Canon ELPH 520 HS uses the NB-9L model of battery pack. This is rated for 190 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The Canon ELPH 520 HS has built in flash which is great for event photography and in low light situations. However it lacks an external flash shoe, which limits you to using the built-in flash.


The Canon ELPH 520 HS boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/4000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of n/a or an electronic shutter speed of n/a, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The Canon ELPH 520 HS includes contrast detection autofocus (AF), with 9 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the Canon ELPH 520 HS?

The Canon ELPH 520 HS features a BSI-CMOS sensor

Is the Canon ELPH 520 HS weather sealed?

No the ELPH 520 HS does not have weather sealing.

When was the Canon ELPH 520 HS announced?

The Canon ELPH 520 HS was announced on Jan 09 2012

Does the Canon ELPH 520 HS have in-body image stabilization?

Yes the ELPH 520 HS does have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the Canon ELPH 520 HS?

The ELPH 520 HS has a native ISO range of 100-3200, which can be expanded to ISO null-null for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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