S100 - Pocketable, great image quality/low noise/high detail/poor battery life
My little Fujifilm F31fd finally gave up the ghost with an irrecoverable line across the sensor which shows in all photos and when I travel or go out socially I do not like carrying my DSLRs and lenses (Nikon D7000/D200 and 16-85 + 70-200VR II and 12-24). I looked at all the cameras that were small with good image quality and settled on the S100. A little pricey but I thought it was worth it until I saw that Amazon had dropped the price by £50 (but not available until January 2012).
I was pleasantly surprised at the clean image quality right up to ISO 800 on the S100 and images are very useable even up to ISO2000 with 3200 and 6400 still providing images clear enough for use. Images stay pretty well detailed and saturated at high ISOs.
Great to have full control and I love the front ring on the S100 and I love the ability to shoot RAW.
The manual controls are excellent and the menu system is easily learned.
Typical of cameras with small sensors and decent lens, close up shooting is easy and highly detailed with good depth of field.
The focus acquisition, shutter lag and shot to shot times are just about acceptable because image quality is so good for this pocketable little camera. Not a camera to use with kids/dogs running around unless you pre-focus. The Nikon P300 and P9100 were noticeably quicker but the form factor of the Canon was more appealing to me.
Price point is too high but I needed a small camera in a hurry. (Amazon have put it on sale for over £50 less from 1st January 2012 and I could have picked up a S95 for £200 less but the 24mm wide and extended zoom to 120mm of the S100 appealed more).
The ultra poor battery life thus far is not acceptable. The Fujifilm took over 500 shots every time and could be left for days/weeks/months and used without further charging. The S100 lasts for a maximum of 100 shots even if you don't review many of your photos in-camera and about 20 shots if you turn on the GPS and the battery simply does not seem to hold its charge. I thought I might improve battery life if I turned off all the default helpful things the camera does like intelligent image stabilisation but after the last charge the camera battery needed charging again after 12 shots! Perhaps I have a bad battery.
I will be buying spare batteries but not Canon own make (ludicrously expensive and if the after market batteries last longer I will be contacting Canon).
As with most digital cameras auto white balance is not that good and at its worst under tungsten lighting - easily corrected in post production.
The software included from Canon (DPP) is pretty slow at converting RAW files even though the results are excellent. I will be seeking a different/faster conversion software solution.
The pop up flash is very weak and is a pain when I forget to move my fingers when turning the flash on. Fortunately the default for opening the flash means you are unlikely to easily open it quickly by accident.
F2 is great at 24mm but soon shuts down as you zoom.
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