SX260 vs S100/S110

Started Oct 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
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SX260 vs S100/S110
Oct 9, 2012

So you're probably already rolling your eyes - I know these are two very different cameras, but I'm still having a hard time deciding what's best for me.  I currently have an SX200, and it now has a speck of dust on the sensor, so I'm ready to replace it.  My wife has a T1i, so I'm looking for something fairly compact that I'll have on me when we don't feel like carrying the bigger camera.

I really like the S100's control ring, and even the rear dial feels a lot better than the one on my SX200.  Obviously the sensor is bigger (although not by as much as I had thought), the lens is much brighter at the wide end, and the camera's a bit more compact.  And then the obvious advantage of the SX260 is the 25mm-500mm equiv lens.  I had been telling myself I can live without the long reach, but now I'm having second thoughts, and trying to really quantify what I would be giving it up for.

Is the IQ out of the S100 really that much better than the SX260?  I'm using the Studio Comparison tool, and I really only start to notice much of a difference at around 1600 ISO.  Heck, even at 3200, I feel like the SX260 is holding it's own against the S100.  Am I just not looking closely enough?  Or does the S100 excel in ways that don't really show in the studio?  I tried to see if there was a way to compare dynamic range between these two cameras (something I've come to care about a lot, after running into the limitations of my SX200) but I don't think anybody takes the SX260 seriously enough to measure it's DR and write about it.

I was looking through some of my recent photos to get a feel for how often I was using the long end of my SX200's lens (not very frequently, but a great shot every once in a while) and noticed that it's actually able to get a nicely blurred background when zoomed in slightly.  I had one portrait shot at 120mm equivalent with some decent separation from the background, and I noticed this camera actually holds a decently large aperture - F/4.5, whereas the S100 would be down at F/5.9 at this focal length.  I'm not sure if the SX260's lens is slower than the SX200 at all, but I was pretty amazed to see that my old SX200 actually has a brighter lens than the S100 at the longer end of the S100's reach.

At the end of the day, I guess I just started thinking that, while my main complaint with the SX200 is low-light performance, maybe the improvements made to that line over the past two generations are enough to keep me satisfied.  Or maybe I'll have more fun with the S100 and simply get used to cropping for the closeups.

Any thoughts appreciated!

Canon EOS 500D (EOS Rebel T1i / EOS Kiss X3) Canon PowerShot SX200 IS
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