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Canon IXUS 310 review




Our Score:


User Score:


  • Large high quality touch screen
  • Good image quality
  • Good low light performance
  • Full HD video with stereo sound


  • Some fiddly touchscreen controls
  • No physical controls to fall back on
  • Somewhat difficult to grip

Key Features

  • 3.2-inch touch screen
  • 12.1-megapixel sensor
  • 4.4x zoom lens (24mm to 105mm)
  • Full HD video with stereo sound
  • Manufacturer: Canon
  • Review Price: £244.99

The latest touch screen pocket camera to enter our lives is the Canon IXUS 310 HS. It boasts a 3.2-inch, 461k dot resolution LCD screen swallowing up almost the entirety of its rear plate which lends it a certain wow factor. This is used as a viewfinder, review screen and operational tool, and its implementation distracts somewhat from otherwise modest headline specifications: namely a top stills resolution of 12.1 megapixels, plus standard fare 4.4x optical zoom.

Close competition comes from Panasonic's own latest touch screen compact in the Lumix DMC-FX77, identical in resolution and matching the Canon's lens at wide angle, with both starting out at an impressively wide 24mm (in 35mm film terms), though the Panasonic extends to 120mm compared to the 105mm on the IXUS 310. So neither quite extends far enough to be a true super or travel zoom compact - look to the Canon SX220 HS or its rival's own TZ20 for an expanded focal range - but both cameras have an identically slightly high but still reasonable street price of £250, making it hard to choose between them.

For those who want to deactivate the built-in flash for more natural results, the lens does slightly stand out from the snapshot crowd by offering a bright f/2.0 maximum aperture. Further suitability for low light shooting is suggested by a 1/2.3-inch back illuminated CMOS sensor, plus a light sensitivity range topping out at ISO3200. Details such as these in part justify Canon sticking the 'HS' suffix on the end of the model name, standing as it does for 'High Sensitivity'.

Added support for low light and telephoto shooters comes via the fact that the lens is optically stabilised to prevent camera shake, the equivalent its maker suggests of four extra f-stops. Additionally there's a dedicated Low Light mode denoted by the candle icon, the caveat being resolution drops down to 3 megapixels. For action shooters there's the ability to capture up to 3.4 JPEGs per second at maximum 12.1 megapixel resolution, or push speed and lose resolution, shooting up to 8.2 fps with a drop down to three megapixels.

Full HD 1920x1080 video is on the cards but we don't get a dedicated video record button here as on its Panasonic rival. Canon has at least borrowed a trick from Sony touch screen Cybershots in featuring a virtual red record button on the LCD screen. Press this and the screen display elongates to fill the 16:9 format screen to more closely ape how footage will appear when replayed on a flat panel TV. Otherwise, if you're shooting stills in standard 4:3 aspect ratio, black bands crop the screen left and right.

Fortunately the full extent of the optical zoom can be utilised when shooting video - though it's much slower to move through its range when in video as opposed to stills capture mode - and there's the bonus here of stereo sound, with a microphone placed either side of the lens at the front. This inevitably means that the sound of the lens making its adjustments is recorded too, despite the slow movement. You'll also find movements of the user's fingers about the faceplate are captured so you'll need to move carefully in quieter enviroments to keep from ruining your footage. A mini HDMI connection also features alongside standard AV and USB 2.0 output. And, like Casio Exilim models, there's a slow motion movie option on this Canon, with the ability to shoot at 640x480 pixels at 120fps or 320x240 at 240fps, which are then replayed at 30fps.


March 24, 2011, 4:01 pm

Thanks for improving the iso test subject :)

Brian ONeill

March 24, 2011, 6:45 pm

I got the new Canon IXUS 220 HS. I must admit I love the ultra compact ixus models, they rock.


March 24, 2011, 6:53 pm

@joose - +1 :)

Mike 39

March 24, 2011, 11:36 pm

Unless I have missed something in your review, there appears to be no mention of battery life on this camera? How many pictures will it take before requiring a recharge on flash and non flash use? Otherwise Canon at last seem to have produced a compact camera that I will probably go for!


March 25, 2011, 1:10 am

@ Gavin: Yeah, the Photo test is better;
but I would prefer to see less white and more darker color sections,
this way, we can judge the level of image noise for ourselves.
and the reviews are getting better.


March 25, 2011, 2:04 am

I don't think this point can be laboured - the improvements to this site come from your feedback. Keep letting us know what you want and we'll aim to please.


March 25, 2011, 10:08 pm

I don't understand how this can been seen as such great value compared to the other canon compacts. The 220 HS and the 115 HS have pretty much the same specs (full HD video, HS sensor, image stabiliser) and are much cheaper. A quick pricerunner search reveals the 220 HS at £165 delivered! How does a slightly faster lens and larger lcd justify such a hike in price? This model is not nearly as compact as the other two.

Mike 39

March 27, 2011, 2:41 pm

@dantheman,in theory, I take your point, however, having looked at the two other models you mention on paper and at my local store ( albeit only the 220 & 115 ( as the 310 doesn't appear to be stocked) yet, I think it looks heaps better. Personally I actually prefer the slightly larger/chunkier model of the 310 as compared to the other two as I feel it gives a more (pyschological) feeling of a better build and easier to handle!However if memory serves correctly, the 220 does have a slight edge on the 310 with a slightly more pwoerful zoom on it? Anyway, as mentinoed in my last comment posted, I would be very grateful if TR would kindly 'complete' their review of the 310 and indicate what the battery life is like on this model? i.e. how many shots it manages on a full charge with flash used and without flash. The Canon stated spec is about 180 shots, however, always the realist myself, I seldom take much notice of manufacturers claimed performance ( for obvious reasons) and very much rely on independent reviews form bodies like yoursleves to help make my mind up about a product.


March 31, 2011, 4:46 am

ixus 220 compared to the 310;

92x55x19 mm vs 100x55x25 mm

Around 30% smaller
Significantly lighter 141 g vs 185 g

More than 20% lighter
Thinner 0.8" vs 1"

More than 20% thinner
Cheaper £173.99 vs £249.99

I suppose it comes down to the 310 having a touchscreen, a larger, higher res monitor and a slightly faster lens. Personally, a touch screen would put me off buying the more expensive 310. A higher resolution monitor is always nice but for me, its not worth £100 more.
It would be nice if trusted reviews did an in depth review of the 220 hs, i think it will be a massively popular camera.

Mike 39

March 31, 2011, 12:27 pm

@dantheman, I guess it comes down to personal taste! I would prefer the option like Panasonic have done and provided an option to use buttons aswell as a touch screen, but since they haven't...! Still I'll go and look at model at my local shop and go from there!

Mike 39

April 10, 2011, 2:49 pm

Interesting that since emailing TR direct approx 3 weeks ago to mention the lack of review on the battery life on this model, this still is apparently not been done or not shown on here, despite being told that they would contact the reviewer and ask them to include it! I notice that this has been left out for the review for the HS 115 & 220 aswell, is this something that you don't include in your reviews as a matter of course? or has it just been overlooked? As I mentioned previously, surely this is as useful information to be included in your reviews as all the other info? as apart from the manufacturer's stated stats for battery life, what other independent information do we have to go on?


August 17, 2013, 5:25 pm

Lots of pictures of the camera but none of pics taken by the camera. Pity.
I have one by the way, it's great but not as shap as the lumix compact it replaced.

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