[REVIEW—CANON PowerShot S100 compact]

by terry on 19 January 2012

Canon PS S100

Price: $550

Outstanding compact

THE LOW-DOWN: Canon has broken with the top quality compact mob with the S100, increasing the pixel count to 12 million and at the same time increasing the zoom range to 5X (24–120mm film equivalent). When Panasonic startled the world with the LX3 with its modest zoom and 10 megapixel sensor the other makers followed suit. The S100 no longer conforms, but it continues to be a serious camera with full manual (as well as automatic) controls and the ability to capture RAW. It is small and robustly made. The function ring around the lens can be programmed to control exposure compensation, white balance, ISO etc, one function at a time. There is GPS and an HDR (high dynamic range) function which seems to take a bracket of shots and then not be able to align them. Best avoided.

LIKE: The image quality is outstanding. At ISO400 there is little evidence of noise and no noise reduction effects at all. Resolved detail is impressive, so the boost to 12 megapixels doesn’t seem to have consequences for picture quality.

DISLIKE: The battery goes flat very quickly if you forget to turn off the GPS function. A warning pops up on the screen to advise that GPS continues to drain the battery even when the camera is off. Take care! The Getting Started manual is absolutely useless.

VERDICT: This is an outstanding compact camera. It fits easily in a pocket and yet feels rugged enough to stand a little careless handling. The function control ring around the lens is most useful for instant exposure compensation — every camera should have it. With street prices in Australia and US nearly identical this is a value for money camera. Highly recommended.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian March 15, 2012 at 16:43

Hi Terry, if you were going to Paris and Venice with your DSLR of choice, what would be your Compact of choice for walking around in the evenings without the DSLR. I am looking at a Coolpix P71000 or a Canon S100. I know about the camera size difference and I can put up with that. Video would be part of the choice plus, obviously, night time grab shots etc. Image quality is what I look for especially when shown on a widescreen HD TV. You probably groan at these questions. Thanks for Green Guide Imaging and dpexpert. Hope to hear your talk at the MGA on Monday. Thanks for any help that you can give. Brian A

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terry March 16, 2012 at 07:24

Brian: The Canon S100 and the Panasonic LX5 would be at the top of the list. The Olympus XZ-1 is worthy of consideration. The Nikon P7100 is a lovely camera but it is big. The Canon G12 is comparable.

You could also consider the Olympus Pen cameras — E-PM1, E-PL3 or E-P3. They are superb on all counts and are small enough to fit in a pocket with the 17mm lens which would be good for your destinations [lucky you!] giving an effective focal length of 34mm, Cartier-Bresson’s preferred angle of view.

Terry

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Brian March 24, 2012 at 16:17

Thanks for your reply Terry,
I will have a close look at the Olympus Pen cameras.
Thanks for your time at MGA recently.
Great talk, great pics and, what a great job you have.
Job? A dream of a job!
I did not get to ask a question I had in mind which is;
of all the cameras you have had through your hands which one would you have liked to keep?
Bye for now,
Brian

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