s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed

Started Oct 18, 2011 | Discussions
PaulRivers
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s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
Oct 18, 2011

Just thought I would mention some areas where the auto mode of the s100 has improved or not improved over the s95 for the casual user.

Auto Flash - for both the s95 and s90, putting the flash on "auto flash" was one area where the camera was truly, awfully broken . It would choose some truly horrific settings, like choosing 1/15 iso1600 - and not firing the flash. It was the one area of the camera that was truly, totally broken. I would often recommend that if people were shooting jpg they use the "Kids and Pets" scene mode which did a much better job.

The good news is they finally fixed this - when you put the flash on "Auto Flash" the camera behaves much more appropriately -
1. Goes up to iso800 but won't go above it without firing the flash
2. Won't let the shutter speed drop below 1/50 before firing the flash

When the flash fires it still uses iso640, like the s95 did (and most compacts seem to raise the iso for flash shots now to save battery power and be able to use a weaker flash, unfortunately imo). Maybe with the high iso improvements over the s95 this will be better, though. You still can't set the flash iso separately though - you can set the iso directly but then it stays there when not using the flash unless you set it again...I wish they let you set the "max flash iso" in the camera.

Minimum Shutter Speed - 1/60 is what I prefer for a minimum shutter speed for the casual user, and Canon's cheaper compacts all use 1/60 as their minimum shutter speed as well.

Unfortunately (imo) the s100 continues the same behavior that the s90 and s95 had - it believes 1/30 is perfectly appropriate, only raising the iso after you hit 1/30, many times it will be 1/30 iso80. Also annoying is that like the s90/s95 it will prioritize the aperture over shutter speed, choosing 1/30 and f2.8 when it could have chosen 1/60 and f2.0, or 1/30 and f4.0 when it could have chosen 1/60 and f2.8. 1/30 works when the subjects are still or (usually) posing, but if they happen to look away when you take the pic or something their face will be blurry.

I call this "middle of the road" performance - you'll get some lower noise pics out of 1/30 than you would from 1/60 (when it would have to raise the iso to get a higher shutter speed), and with image stabilization holding the camera steady is - almost always possible at 1/30 with only rare exceptions. I would prefer 1/60 (as done in most other cheaper Canon compacts) though.

To be fair, I've seen some other cameras make even worse choices. My friend has a recent Nikon that would choose 1/15 on a regular basis which was terrible - people move the slightest bit and they're blurry, you have to be paying attention to even hold the camera steady at that low of a shutter speed. A lot of Nikons, Olympus's, etc are even worse.

Pop-up Flash - the flash still pops up when you turn it on. Some people have complained that it surprises them and they might drop the camera when it happens. For other people like myself it's never become a problem.

The s100's surface texture is grippier than the s95's, which makes holding onto the camera when the flash pops up by accident slightly easier. Overall it's pretty much the same though - flash still pops up.

Another weird thing is that in P mode, if you turn on "Auto Flash" the flash pops up right away regardless of if it would be used for the current shot. I personally think this is the better way to do it as it's less surprising to have the flash always pop up when you turn the flash on.

In "AUTO" mode if you turn on "Auto Flash" it works the other way, the flash pops up only when you're trying to take a pic (or half press the shutter button) which I don't like as the flash just pops up unexpectedly.

Ergonomics - the s100 is noteably easier to hold onto and shoot with than the s95. I would have rated the s90 at "usable but almost intolerable" - I could use it, and avoid hitting the loose wheel on the back, but it was like holding a slippery bar of soap. The s95 was a significant improvement with a grippier surface and better rear wheel, I had no problem recommending the s95 to other people or handing it to others to take a pic, but using it one-handed was still a little dicey. The s100 is the first one I feel comfortable with holding in one hand - the rubber are on the rear of the camera really helps, combines with the indent on the front. It's certainly the best one so far.

Conclusion - I would still rate the s100's auto mode as "good - but not great". If you want a camera so your significant other who only uses auto mode can takes pics, but also so you can use it and play with the settings I would recommend it. If you want something as a gift for someone who only ever uses auto mode - other Canon compacts might make better choices. Though as I mentioned I've personally used a couple of "casual user" compacts that made even worse choices and/or had other issues as well.

PaulRivers
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 18, 2011

Wow...I wrote way to much, lol...I wonder if anyone will find this useful or not...it might be to long...

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spencerda
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 19, 2011

All helpful info Paul
--
Been accuse of being long winded myself...

Dave
take it slow

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redsquare
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 19, 2011

I tend to avoid Auto mode at all costs - I see it as the "desperate measures" setting for when I must capture something difficult without regard to the quality of the image - but that makes someone exploring it a useful thing, so I'll be less surprised than I would be otherwise. Thanks.

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skyglider
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 19, 2011

PaulRivers wrote:

Pop-up Flash - the flash still pops up when you turn it on. Some people have complained that it surprises them and they might drop the camera when it happens. For other people like myself it's never become a problem.

Your post wasn't too long Paul. Very good info! In fact I would have enjoyed reading another page or two. My wife will be shooting strictly in full auto mode so every bit of info helps.

Regarding "the flash still pops up when you turn it on", can that be disabled for initial turn on in the S100? I seem to remember that the S95 could be set so the flash never pops up on initial turn on.

Thanks,
Sky

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PaulRivers
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to redsquare, Oct 19, 2011

redsquare wrote:

I tend to avoid Auto mode at all costs - I see it as the "desperate measures" setting for when I must capture something difficult without regard to the quality of the image - but that makes someone exploring it a useful thing, so I'll be less surprised than I would be otherwise. Thanks.

Glad someone enjoyed it, thanks for writing back.

I prefer to let computers do as much tedious and repetitive work as possible, and as such prefer the auto mode to be good so I can concentrate on getting a good picture, getting good composition, or simply enjoying myself at whatever I'm doing that I'm taking pictures of.

My ideal camera would let me program scene modes and the auto mode myself. Like the default for me is 1/60 f2.0 best iso I can get, if the iso80 then increase the aperture to f4.0, then start increasing the shutter speed.

I'd have another scene mode for "still people in bad light" - 1/30, same as the other one.

And "still scene handheld", 1/15, etc.

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PaulRivers
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to skyglider, Oct 19, 2011

skyglider wrote:

PaulRivers wrote:

Pop-up Flash - the flash still pops up when you turn it on. Some people have complained that it surprises them and they might drop the camera when it happens. For other people like myself it's never become a problem.

Your post wasn't too long Paul. Very good info! In fact I would have enjoyed reading another page or two. My wife will be shooting strictly in full auto mode so every bit of info helps.

Regarding "the flash still pops up when you turn it on", can that be disabled for initial turn on in the S100? I seem to remember that the S95 could be set so the flash never pops up on initial turn on.

I believe the s100 behaves exactly the same as the s95 -

If the flash is "off" the flash does not pop up when you turn the camera on.

If you're in P Mode and the flash is on "auto" it does pop up when you turn the camera on.

If you're in AUTO mode and the flash in on "auto" it does not pop up when you turn the camera on, it pops up when you press or half-press the shutter and the camera wants to use the flash.

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ANAYV
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Re: thanks Paul...
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 19, 2011

Thanks for the info on the S100, Paul. Appreciate your time and efforts!

I'm sure many have read, but few have responded.

I'm once again considering the S100.

I've owned a few, my first being the classic S30.(iso 800, back then! )

also owned S50 S70 and S80.
I still have the S30, and still use a Infra Red (IR) Modified S60 .

Used a LX3 for few years, now looking for a replacement (died while under Surgery

The 24mm and f2 sounds good, and the size seems great.
The Oly XZ-1 is 28mm, not 24...quite a difference, to some folk.

How do you compare the IQ of the S100 at base iso, to your S95 ?

I know it now has an issue, but you are used to seeing the IQ.
How does it compare to the S95 ?

At base iso?
At f2, and wide angle?

Any better results with the IS , with the S100 ?

Thanks so much !

ANAYV

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PaulRivers
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Re: thanks Paul...
In reply to ANAYV, Oct 19, 2011

hey, I'd love to give you answers but I won't really have an opinion more than is already available in my other thread here -
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1010&thread=39618031

Until a few weeks have past and I've used the camera more, you know?

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MagicRandy
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 19, 2011

Thanks for the post...

It explains one behavior that I thought strange.

If flash is set to on and auto, and the camera is on Auto Mode, the flash only pops up when it's needed to take a picture.

If flash is set to on and auto, and the camera is on P mode, the flash pops up right away (when you turn on the camera or turn on the flash).

I don't like this inconsistent behavior and was trying to figure out what settings control it, but it looks like there are none.

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keeponkeepingon
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 20, 2011

My T2i has this problem a bit too, often selecting too slow of a shutter speed, especially for the kids.

If auto is not good what mode would you set it in before handing the camera to your wife or someone who lives on auto?

Can I put S100 in M, set the speed and aperatere and then put the ISO on auto to compensate for my bad guesses?

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PaulRivers
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to keeponkeepingon, Oct 20, 2011

keeponkeepingon wrote:

My T2i has this problem a bit too, often selecting too slow of a shutter speed, especially for the kids.

If auto is not good what mode would you set it in before handing the camera to your wife or someone who lives on auto?

...I feel like I answered this same exact question before...hmm...

If you're shooting jpg the scene mode "Kids and Pets" works well.

If you're shooting raw I'd leave it on P for good light, shutter priority with 1/60 for low light. That's how I shoot it myself.

Can I put S100 in M, set the speed and aperatere and then put the ISO on auto to compensate for my bad guesses?

Unfortunately that is not available on the s100, in M you have to choose a specific iso. Wish it was.

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Valentin Apostol
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 20, 2011

PaulRivers wrote:

My ideal camera would let me program scene modes and the auto mode myself. Like the default for me is 1/60 f2.0 best iso I can get, if the iso80 then increase the aperture to f4.0, then start increasing the shutter speed.

Paul, why do you prefer f2.0 first? You don't want depth in the field?

My basic knowledge from the classical cameras says: use the maximum aperture you can, only when the shutter gets around the critical 1/30 take decisions (decrease aperture, increase ISO, use flash)

Does this change in the digital cameras?

You do a great job on testing S100, thanks. The noise problem in video recording may be a show stopper for me. I hope it can be work-rounded somehow!

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Bryan Costin
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 20, 2011

Not too long at all. That's very interesting, actually. I'm now considering my options for a replacement daily carry-around camera, as my faithful LX3 is starting to have some troubling symptoms. And it's surprisingly hard to find this sort of camera behavior described in reviews.

The shutter speed problem is particularly interesting. Having used a couple generations of Panasonic cameras, I still don't understand why they don't consistently implement a true minimum shutter speed feature. The LX3 gets it right, but then, for reasons I cannot comprehend, Panasonic decided we don't really need that level of control and broke it on the G-series MFT bodies. I'm hoping Canon did a better job.

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PaulRivers
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to Valentin Apostol, Oct 20, 2011

Valentin Apostol wrote:

PaulRivers wrote:

My ideal camera would let me program scene modes and the auto mode myself. Like the default for me is 1/60 f2.0 best iso I can get, if the iso80 then increase the aperture to f4.0, then start increasing the shutter speed.

Paul, why do you prefer f2.0 first? You don't want depth in the field?

lol, all of the responses I could think of were being a total smartass along the lines of "so the background is sharp but your subject is completely blurred out".

My basic knowledge from the classical cameras says: use the maximum aperture you can, only when the shutter gets around the critical 1/30 take decisions (decrease aperture, increase ISO, use flash)

Does this change in the digital cameras?

It doesn't change with digital cameras, but 1/30 is simply not fast enough for moving people. I'm not sure where you got your advice from. If people are posing, or they're sitting still, 1/30 works fine. If people are moving, or like you're trying to take a picture at the table while people are talking rather than posing for the camera, 1/30 will get you a lot of awfully blurred faces.

I mean give it a shot yourself. My advice is not from theory or reading, but from trying things out in real life - believe me, I really wanted 1/30 to work. 1/30 works if they're posing or sitting still. 1/60 works if they might make movements during your shot. If they're actively moving (sports, jumping, etc) of course higher shutter speeds are needed.

You do a great job on testing S100, thanks. The noise problem in video recording may be a show stopper for me. I hope it can be work-rounded somehow!

You might test the same thing but with a normal level of noise, like turning the tv. It might be that because it's quite the microphone gain is getting turned way up because of that noise, while with a normal level of noise the gain won't be nearly as high so you won't hear the background noise. I mean maybe, give it a try...

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Valentin Apostol
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 21, 2011

PaulRivers wrote:

It doesn't change with digital cameras, but 1/30 is simply not fast enough for moving people.

Thanks for the patience of answering me. Is quite clear. And with the higher ISOs nowadays is quite easy to avoid the 1/30 in almost all conditions. I admit my English was not enough to get you 100% when about the depth in the field. Unless the photographer wants to have blurred background (macro of a flower) it is usually better to keep higher aperture settings (f4 is for me the favorite)

You might test the same thing but with a normal level of noise, like turning the tv. It might be that because it's quite the microphone gain is getting turned way up because of that noise, while with a normal level of noise the gain won't be nearly as high so you won't hear the background noise. I mean maybe, give it a try...

I (still) use now the A710 (of 2006) and I have pretty the same problem with the background noise. My idea is that, due to the small sizes of the compact, the microphone(s) catch some noise from the internal body. Usually they are overridden by the voices, ambient, but sometimes is nasty, i.e. playing piano, you can here it loud an clear in the beginning of my recording:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gaW28TdxJFc

In this case we have to accept it, or go for the uggly handy-cams

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meanwhile
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 21, 2011

Huge thanks for the info Paul. Can the S100 shoot JPEG+RAW in Auto mode? Or still just JPEG?

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Valentin Apostol
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to PaulRivers, Oct 21, 2011

PaulRivers wrote:

Valentin Apostol wrote:

PaulRivers wrote:

My ideal camera would let me program scene modes and the auto mode myself. Like the default for me is 1/60 f2.0 best iso I can get, if the iso80 then increase the aperture to f4.0, then start increasing the shutter speed.

Paul, why do you prefer f2.0 first? You don't want depth in the field?

lol, all of the responses I could think of were being a total smartass along the lines of "so the background is sharp but your subject is completely blurred out".

Let me see if I can answer correctly to my own question

You did not mention here but I am sure you meant using the wide angle. In such situation the DOF is achieved even for small f-stops like f2 (thanks to dpreview forum I learned now a lot of photographic specific English words...)

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PaulRivers
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to Valentin Apostol, Oct 21, 2011

Valentin Apostol wrote:

PaulRivers wrote:

Valentin Apostol wrote:

PaulRivers wrote:

My ideal camera would let me program scene modes and the auto mode myself. Like the default for me is 1/60 f2.0 best iso I can get, if the iso80 then increase the aperture to f4.0, then start increasing the shutter speed.

Paul, why do you prefer f2.0 first? You don't want depth in the field?

lol, all of the responses I could think of were being a total smartass along the lines of "so the background is sharp but your subject is completely blurred out".

Let me see if I can answer correctly to my own question

You did not mention here but I am sure you meant using the wide angle. In such situation the DOF is achieved even for small f-stops like f2 (thanks to dpreview forum I learned now a lot of photographic specific English words...)

Yeah - on a dslr f2.0 has a very narrow depth of field. But shoot wide angle on a compact at f2.0 and the depth of field is still very large.

The 2-stop loss of iso you would get from going from f2.0 to f4.0 would add a very significant amount of noise to your picture. On a compact the depth of field you would gain would be unlikely to be noticeable in your pic (it increases, but it's already so huge it's not usually a concern).

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PaulRivers
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Re: s95 vs s100 auto mode improvements and not - "auto flash" fixed
In reply to meanwhile, Oct 21, 2011

meanwhile wrote:

Huge thanks for the info Paul. Can the S100 shoot JPEG+RAW in Auto mode? Or still just JPEG?

Still just jpg in AUTO mode, if you want to hand the camera to someone else to use use P mode.

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