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Just Posted: Canon Powershot S100 studio comparison samples

By dpreview staff on Nov 18, 2011 at 23:32 GMT

Just Posted: JPEG and Raw studio samples from the Canon Powershot S100 and Nikon J1. In preparation for our forthcoming reviews, we have shot our standard studio test scene with both the Canon Powershot S100 and Nikon J1. To allow easy comparison with their peers, we have now added these shots to our comparison tool. Both the S100 and J1 can now be selected from the pull-down list within any review or in our standalone comparison tool.

Note: We have shot our standard comparison scene with two S100s, and selected the sharpest set of images overall. It is obvious though, from close examination, that the right-hand side of these sample images is slightly soft compared to the center and left-hand side. We are expecting a third S100 sample very shortly and we will revisit this studio comparison at that time.

Click here to see the Canon Powershot S100 in our studio comparison tool

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

JPEGs are shot at default parameters and raw files are converted using Adobe Camera RAW. Because Adobe Camera Raw applies different levels of sharpening to different cameras we use the following workflow for these conversions:

  • Load RAW file into Adobe Camera RAW (Auto mode disabled)
  • Set Sharpness and Noise Reduction to 0
  • Open file to Photoshop
  • Apply a Unsharp mask: 100%, Radius 0.6, Threshold 0
  • Save as a JPEG quality 11 for display and download.

Click here to see the Nikon J1 samples in our studio comparison tool


Total comments: 134
photo perzon
By photo perzon (Nov 19, 2011)

The DIME coin looks much much better in the S100 than any other

Jon Stern
By Jon Stern (Nov 19, 2011)

I advised a colleague to buy an S95 just before he went on vacation to India in Sept. I was concerned that he'd be upset now that it is already out of date, but seeing these image samples I think he was lucky to get an S95 before they went out of stock.

I also understand why Canon didn't also update the G-series to use this sensor. It would have been a downgrade.

I suspect this is as much about Canon wanting to move as much of their product line away from Sony CCDs as anything else. That and needing to use CMOS for 1080p video, which probably matters more for the more S-series which has more interest from the general consumer segment. In that category labels like "Full HD video" are more important than for the G-series customer, who is generally looking for the best quality stills for when they leave their DSLR at home.

By bobbarber (Nov 19, 2011)

Neither of these cameras will tempt me away from micro four thirds.

By einstrigger (Nov 19, 2011)

Huh...newer but not better. Lot's of detail loss or smudging in jpg and RAW. No need to compare to the J1, the S100 can't seem to match the S95, LX5, or XZ-1, which I consider to be the main competitors.

By JackM (Nov 19, 2011)

J1 cannot fit in a pocket, so it's not a valid comparison anyway.

By compositor20 (Nov 19, 2011)

canon jpg is now the best one just look at iso 1600... by sensor size you can extrapolate that canon 1dx will have the same quality at 12800 that the canon has at iso 800!.. look in the shadows... thats the thing that matters for high iso... its just the best one and doesnt even have the bigger sensor of the compacts

By bzanchet (Nov 19, 2011)

Wow till now a little disapointed... but you can't base the whole camera with just one photo... let's wait for some not studios samples... i think i've checked all the studio samples available, and my favorite so far is the gf3! Waiting for the gx1 and x10 samples to make my decison for christmas! Thank you again DP, the best photo web site ever!

By marike6 (Nov 19, 2011)

The whole right side, from the Kodak logo, down to the robot, is soft. This is surprising. Also, the paperclips on the diagonals show heavy aliasing. This is seen in the S95 and the LX5, but I think it's worse in the S100. Don't know about the 4th camera, as I switched it to Nikon J1 which does not show the stair-stepping aliasing seen in the others. Bad JPEG compression/algorithm?

Valentin Stan
By Valentin Stan (Nov 19, 2011)

Smaller than anything till now, 24mm with f2 => best thing yet. Can't wait to have it.

By Menneisyys (Nov 19, 2011)

Did you check out the shots (yellow hair / clock face)? If the tested camera is a representative of the image "quality" of these shots, then, this camera is MUCH worse, IQ-wise, than even the S95, let alone, say, the LX5.

By Menneisyys (Nov 19, 2011)

Also check out the yellow "hair" somewhat around the upper left corner of the lower right quarter, to the right from the green-blue feathers. Awful, even at ISO 80 and RAW, even compared to the S95, let alone the LX5. Smearing at full steam, completely destroyed details.

By PaulRivers (Nov 19, 2011)

Except that if you look at fine details elsewhere in the shot, the s100 is often very good if not the best. If you look at the side of the woman's face that's just a little left of center (with the red background), the s100 is actually a tiny bit clearer than the s95.

By my-2-cents (Nov 19, 2011)

Ok, there is something wrong with these test shots or the camera. Decentered? I have an s100 and in practical shots it is great.

1 upvote
Lee Jay
By Lee Jay (Nov 19, 2011)

Definitely decentered. Right, lower-right, bottom - soft. Left, top-left, top, sharp. This copy definitely has something wrong with it.

By fblanco (Nov 19, 2011)

I'm a fan of the Canon S and G Powershots, but these images from the S100 seem to be of impossibly poor quality. I've never seen a worse rendering of the blue watch in the lower right corner, for example. Perhaps a really bad copy?

By Jarda_Houdek (Nov 18, 2011)

No improvement. Better take the S95 with it's extra buton.

photo nuts
By photo nuts (Nov 18, 2011)

There were some initial rumors the S100 was >1 stop better than the S95. Well, that's all horses**t. Better than Olympus XZ1/Panasonic LX3, same as Canon S95/Nikon P7000 and worse than Nikon J1/V1.

What a shame.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By Menneisyys (Nov 19, 2011)

Agreed. Pure disappointment... now, I'll surely go the m43 way if the 12-35 turns out to have the IQ of that of the Oly 12/2.0 at 12 mm.

1 upvote
By panini98 (Nov 19, 2011)

XZ-1 is easily the best at ISO100- ISO400.

1 upvote
By monci (Nov 19, 2011)

I'm waiting for the Fuji x10 samples....

1 upvote
By Menneisyys (Nov 18, 2011)

Wow.... check out the watch face in the lower right corner... way worse than that of the S95. And it's not even extreme corner.

Interestingly, shots in the center of the image are certainly better than the S95, particularly at higher ISOs, and the batteries in the lower left corner aren't that much worse than those of the S95. I'd say the lens of this camera is decentered; hence the dreadful softness in the lower right corner.

EDIT: compared to the LX5, the latter is way better in the corners. Noise-wise, a BIT worse at ISO 3200. At ISO1600, there's absolutely no difference, noise-wise, between the LX5, S95 and S100. I'd say the differences between the S95 and S100, noise-wise, at ISO 3200 are minimal.

Frankly, I've expected better... Now, I'll surely wont get this camera.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 19, 2011)

I should mention at this point that we've done studio comparison shooting with two samples, and we have a third on the way. If the third looks better then we'll replace these samples. Bear in mind though that our studio scene is exceptionally demanding and is captured at a subject distance of roughly 1 meter. It isn't completely representative of IQ at all focal lengths and distances.

By PicOne (Nov 19, 2011)

What aperture are they shot at? And why are the Canon Jpeg file sizes significantly smaller than the others' compared to?

By Menneisyys (Nov 19, 2011)

"Bear in mind though that our studio scene is exceptionally demanding and is captured at a subject distance of roughly 1 meter. It isn't completely representative of IQ at all focal lengths and distances."

Thanks! Could you quickly test whether the clock face is equally bad (soft) with both cameras? That is, is it an unfortunate decentering issue only plaguing one camera, or a generic one affecting all S100's?

Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 19, 2011)

@PicOne - f/4.5 - it's in the metadata (click the little cog icon under the tiles). As for why they're smaller, you'll have to ask Canon. In our test shooting, JPEGs are always captured at the highest quality, lowest compression settings available.

@Menneisyys - we compared samples from both the cameras that we've used and published the best set. We will revisit this again when we get a third sample.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
By AbrasiveReducer (Nov 19, 2011)

The watch is particularly awful but I infer from Barney Britton's comments that they think it must be an anomaly and they will keep trying until they get a good one.

By vangjeldima (Nov 19, 2011)

Definitely something is wrong. S100 or Test? I have seen four reviews (pictures comparative test).
It couldn’t be true test of this camera.

By lightsculpture (Nov 19, 2011)

The yellow hair at the bottom right hand corner is practically out of focus. The CA and corner softness is very clearly a lens issue. The sensor itself is very impressive. Comparing the portions which are in focus (eg, the paper money) at ISO1600 against the GF3 and EPL2 will show that this new sensor can hold its own very well against much larger sensors.

Barney, I noticed you are using 78mm equivalent to shoot these photos. Another website, Imaging Resource, used 26mm (120mm equiv) and the corners look pretty sharp. Perhaps you can experiment shooting at other focal lengths just to verify if it only happens at this specific focal length.

By ybizzle (Nov 18, 2011)

Would be nice to see the X10 added so we can compare it to the S100 as well. My guess is the Fuji will take the win.

1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Nov 19, 2011)

Soon, very soon :)

Lee W
By Lee W (Nov 18, 2011)

Wow, looks very poor in both Jpeg & Raw. Especially in the corners.

By wetsleet (Nov 18, 2011)

Compared to the J1 it does. J1 is a bit of a revelation.

By z909 (Nov 21, 2011)

I also find the Olympus is too big to fit in my pockets, so I am interested in the new S100.

However, it seems prudent to wait 6 months. See how other buyers find the photo quality and confirm if the (alleged) S95 lens reliability issues have been fixed.

Total comments: 134