Until recently, most point-and-shoots were too slow to capture active kids. I mean, you could get something, but probably not the shot you wanted. The switch to fast CMOS sensors, such as the one in the new PowerShot Elph 510 HS, has helped speed up capture. Add in the 510's wide, long lens with improved image stabilization, full HD, and slow-motion movie capture, and a large touch screen all in a body that's somehow less than an inch thick and you have what sounds like an ideal snapshot camera for families.
The 510 HS updates the SD4500 IS, bumping up the resolution of its backside-illuminated CMOS sensor to 12 megapixels; changing from a narrow lens with a 10x zoom to a 28mm wide-angle lens with a 12x zoom; switching from a 3-inch LCD to a 3.2-inch high-res touch screen; and adding a bunch of shooting features. This includes Canon's new Intelligent IS system that, like its Smart Auto scene recognition mode, determines use of the image stabilization based on what you're shooting. You also get high-speed burst shooting, capable of capturing at up to 7.8 frame per second, which if it's like the SD4500, won't leave you waiting to shoot more while it stores your photos.
For those who are willing to trade in some zoom for a smaller body, check out the Elph 310 HS, which has an 8x optical zoom and 28mm wide-angle lens, a high-res 3-inch LCD, and all the shooting features for the 510 HS. It comes in five colors--purple, blue, pink, green, and silver--and will be available at the beginning of October for $259.99.
By the way, for those of you who follow Canon's PowerShots, these are not replacements for the 500 HS and 300 HS models released earlier this year, so don't expect price drops on those. At least not because of these new models. Canon apparently just wanted to try and confuse the crap out of consumers by giving them similar series names.