Canon PowerShot S100

Updated

Canon PowerShot S100

Look at the picture and you’ll think Canon’s new PowerShot S100 ($430) is exactly the sequel everyone’s wanted since the company debuted the breakthrough S90 two years ago. Well, it’s not: whereas the 2009 S90 and 2010 S95 were targeted directly at a different kind of camera buyer—the person who cared less about megapixels, huge zoom ranges and other specs than shooting speed and image quality—the S100 has taken a turn for the mainstream, packing lots of spec bumps into a slightly slimmer body. Some of the changes are wow-caliber, including the addition of a GPS chip for geotagging, as well as Canon’s new DIGIC 5 processor for rapid noise reduction, 1080p full HD video recording, and 8 frame-per-second shooting. And other changes… let’s just say serious “enthusiasts” won’t all be happy, but ambitious point-and-shoot upgraders may have just found their holiday toy of choice.

One of the most obvious changes from the prior cameras to S100 is a switch from a 28mm wide-angle lens to a 24mm ultra wide-angle lens, which will make landscape snapshots easier at the cost of introducing additional distortion into some portraits. Canon has also expanded the lens’s zoom range from the relatively fast f/2.0-f/4.9 3.8X zoom to a slightly slower f/2.0-f/5.9 5X zoom, which sounds nice enough on paper, but will most likely lead to blurrier zoomed shots unless you’re in very bright lighting conditions. There’s also the new 12-Megapixel sensor, which obviously represents a bump from the prior model’s 10-Megapixel imager. Like the zoom boost, it sounds nice, but wasn’t exactly what S90 and S95 fans wanted, since adding more pixels to a same-sized sensor tends to increase noise and reduce color accuracy. To offset these issues somewhat, Canon promises that serious enhancements to the sensor and DIGIC 5 will improve its low-light performance and noise reduction, bumping its maximum ISO up to 6400 and noticeably improving the quality of lower-ISO images. As fans of the prior models, we’re not sure whether to grab or skip this one, but we suspect that it will be very popular with a new group of customers.

Photo of author

Jeremy Horwitz

Jeremy Horwitz was the Editor-in-Chief at iLounge. He has written over 5,000 articles and reviews for the website and is one of the most respected members of the Apple media. Horwitz has been following Apple since the release of the original iPod in 2001. He was one of the first reviewers to receive a pre-release unit of the device, and his review helped put iLounge on the map as a go-to source for Apple news.