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Just Posted: Canon PowerShot S100 review

By dpreview staff on Dec 23, 2011 at 00:28 GMT

Just Posted: Our review of the Canon PowerShot S100. The S100 is the latest in Canon's range of pocketable photographer's compacts, building on the success of the popular S90 and S95. This most recent model offers a more ambitious 24-120mm equivalent, f2.0-5.9 zoom in front of a Canon-made 12MP 1/1.7" type CMOS sensor, marking a much bigger advance than in the last update. Is it another step towards the perfect pocket shooter or has the camera giant over-reached itself? Find out in our review.

Note: As part of the process of working through this review we have replaced our previously-published S100 studio samples with new files. The updated shots can be accessed via the studio scene comparison widget, both in its standalone form (accessed via the 'reviews' dropdown at the top of every page) and from within the 'compared to...' pages of any review.

247
I own it
66
I want it
41
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments

Total comments: 148
12
rickspencer4
By rickspencer4 (Jan 1, 2012)

Some shots from yesterday, Lambertville New Jersey

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2406575529944.2109993.1417849145&type=1&l=5ffa716a4b

0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Dec 30, 2011)

" From this we can see that the S100's lens is in fact only about 1/3 stop slower than the S95's across the cameras' shared range "

Is there an error in your table?

Because the 1/3rd stop is true for every focal length except 50mm.

At 50mm you are reporting a 2/3rd stop advantage for the S95.

Thanks!

0 upvotes
Johnderock
By Johnderock (Dec 29, 2011)

A question for Barney and other specialists
When we were using 35mm films, there were lots of excellent pocket cameras around, not to mention Minox or Rolley 35, Contax T, Konika etc
They were using what is called today "full frame" and the size was like today's S100.
In the digital age, I cannot understand why al manufacturers are struggling to build "compacts" and need to reduce the size of the sensor.
Why are NEX lenses so huge ? And the sensor is APC-C, not even full frame!
Why don't they just take a Minox 35 body and fix a full frame CCD at the back ?
Any idea someone ?

1 upvote
oysso
By oysso (Dec 29, 2011)

very easy:
To make good small compact FF , you would have to have fixed optics....
Most people don't care about controlling DOF but they like to zoom.
Hence the transition to smaller sensored cameras.

0 upvotes
sensible_name
By sensible_name (Dec 29, 2011)

I believe the main reason is because of the limits on diffraction angles on current digital sensors. As the focal distance gets shorter, the effective imaging circles is going to be smaller for digital sensors than films.

As for NEX lenses, I doubt they can be made much smaller. Bigger imaging area simply needs bigger glass. I've always thought NEX series was pointless exactly because of it. Smaller bodies don't mean anything without smaller lenses. I think Nikon made a wise decision with their 1 system regarding the sensor size. Sensor technology is only going to get better, and smaller sensors will always mean better portability, which is the major selling point of mirrorless systems. That said, I think Nikon missed the mark with the lenses they released. They should be smaller and faster. Nikon 1 system should be a very nice platform to use with C mount lenses still.

0 upvotes
fishfrys
By fishfrys (Dec 29, 2011)

I'm sure that the NEX lenses could be made smaller. My M9 w/ 35 1.4 Summilux is shorter front to back than my NEX-5 is with the 24 1.8. That's a faster lens w/ a full frame sensor on a bulkier body, so Sony has work to do.

0 upvotes
fberns
By fberns (Jan 2, 2012)

I would appreciate some more manufacturer's effort in the direction: big sensor, small lens, too!

But, Johnderock, it's not THAT easy: the image sensor (+ glass cover/filter) is thicker than just film, then often, there's an image stabilisation mechanism behind the sensor or in the lens (adds a frew mm too) and, don't forget that there's almost always a display just behind the sensor. All that depth adds up... unfortunately.

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Jan 2, 2012)

There's no insurmountable problem with making small lenses for an APS-C sized sensor. Samsung's NX range features an optically excellent 30mm pancake prime, 16mm and 20mm lenses that are also good, and a 55mm apparently on the way.

It seems Sony made some different design decisions with NEX, which seem to have precluded them creating compact lenses for the system. This is a great shame, as the NEX bodies are excellent in themselves.

0 upvotes
Laminated
By Laminated (Dec 28, 2011)

I am disappointed in this camera because I had such high hopes. Blame me for having high hopes, but I think the market also is pulling for truly super pocket camera. If you have a recent smart phone you can take good pictures anytime, but there is a need for a pocket device that takes great pictures - a Porsche of the camera world - small, light, the highest performance. What canon delivered is more like a Mini Cooper - small, expensive and OK performance - a niche product. Being new from lens to sensor I was hoping for a remarkable camera - one that justifies the really high price. This camera is probably worth the price, but Canon has made me really think twice and I was hoping for a no-brainer.

2 upvotes
Rubenski
By Rubenski (Jan 3, 2012)

Sorry Laminated but if you rely feel that a 'smart phone' can make good pictures 'anytime' you certainly do not have any professional aspirations when it comes to taking pictures. This is 'tourist' talk. For the average tourist a picture is a picture as long as the subject is visible.

And 'small and light' and 'the highest performance' simply is'n't possible. Look at the new Canon EOS 1DX, ever wandered why the pros use these kind of machines in stead of their smart phone? Believe me, the S100 is a great little camera with just a few shortcomings but nonetheless probably the best real pocketable in the world.

I hope this forum stays clear of 'smart phone talk' because this is really degrading the work of professional photographers.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
1 upvote
openskyline
By openskyline (Dec 27, 2011)

CON: "Anything that requires a greater telephoto reach such as sports or wildlife"

very bad review whoever wrote that, it will apply for all the P&S cameras, not just a S100, it's a given, why bother to mention as a CON.

1 upvote
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Dec 27, 2011)

Because some P&S cameras offer lenses with much more reach on the telephoto end. Some compact 'travel zoom' cameras have zooms that go to 300mm equivalent at the long end, and some newer superzoom bridge cameras go past 800mm equivalent.

The S100 seems to compete with these P&S cameras (same price range), so mentioning it seems appropriate.

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 28, 2011)

Because there are some cameras in this segment of the market, and indeed lower in price that offer longer zooms...?

1 upvote
Bomple
By Bomple (Dec 27, 2011)

Hi, there's a very annoying restriction in the s95 which limits the use of raw to the P/A/S/M modes. Unfortunately this wasn't mentioned in the review of the s95.

Does anyone know if this restriction is still present in the s100?

0 upvotes
Bomple
By Bomple (Jan 9, 2012)

I downloaded the manual of the s100 and the restriction is still there.
That means no raw in full auto or scene modes.

I think this should have been mentioned somewhere in the review, as this is a major flaw of the camera and severely limits the use of raw.

0 upvotes
leopold512
By leopold512 (Dec 27, 2011)

After you preview of this camera I thought that I will upgrade my S60 to the S100 (much better video skills and larger lens range). But after your test I am a little bit confused. How can the image quality be better than the S95, when the optic is not so good. Are the pictures of the S100 as sharp as the pictures of the S60? Is the S100 worth to update from the S60 or will i be disappointed? What compact camera would be ok?

1 upvote
Rubenski
By Rubenski (Dec 27, 2011)

Upgrade from S60 to S100? Simply check the net for other reviews and you'll be convinced. S100 is the best real compact out there and certainly beats all it's predecessors in IQ and range of features. DP is in fact the only website that apparently wasn't so lucky with the cameras provided to them, all the others rate the S100 highly!

1 upvote
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Dec 27, 2011)

I would suggest average the results of all the tested cameras if possible better without introducing errors or difficult to understand statistical methods (which may be inevitable). but becasue the best results are chosen for each camera, a near-real world test will have to average all the shots and cost a lot more without automation.

it's statistics, distributions, deviations ... buyers' chances.

0 upvotes
Grisby
By Grisby (Dec 26, 2011)

Will DPReview now be using the best results of 5 cameras for all their reviews of just for the the Canons? Also, if test results are not relevant in the real world why post them at all?

4 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Dec 26, 2011)

i still want the VASS (vari-angle swivel screen) of the G12, but not it's non-24mm equivalent lens

s100 has moderately fast 24mm equivalent lens (for its small sensor size), but lacks VASS.

i am hoping the G12 update will have a 24mm wide short (or medium) zoom, and a G with VASS has always been a norm (w/ the odd wayward exceptions).

but more importantly, i hope they offer a sensor larger than 2/3" (beyond the largest size offered in their Pro1 long ago), and finally give us some serious 'prosumer' on-the-go sensor power in low light and lower noise at higher ISOs (a mini 1Dx?). offer multiple exposure as well as a full HDR Engine capable of doing HDR from SINGLE exposures (not crude HDR from flawed 'different' exposures (more than one))

and 1080p video of course, which seems the norm for digicams nowadays.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (Dec 27, 2011)

sensors for smaller format cameras can actually be made better than 35mm full frames at unit area level, and will perform better with the same caliber lenses, which are impossible to make for compacts because hard limits. an S100 will need an 11/0.26 lens to compete with 50/1.2 on 1DX, which is physically impossible, but it should be able to beat 400/5.6 with an 87/1.2 (at about the same size and price).

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
oldhappycat
By oldhappycat (Dec 26, 2011)

While I appreciate the candor about problems with the S100, it does raise some questions.

The studio shots comparisons are a defining element of the DPR reviews. The S100 review suggests that a camera with so-so studio performance can produce excellent real-life performance. Does that not call in to question the usefulness of this central part of DPR's reviews?

2 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 26, 2011)

Studio testing is invaluable for nailing down the pixel-level IQ differences between similar cameras in an increasingly mature market. They are repeatable, easily graspable and because of the fixed shooting parameters we an create a database of images (see our studio comparison tool). But because our studio isn't exactly a 'typical' environment we augment our studio testing with a lot of real-world shooting. That's the way we've always worked. Fixating on either type of testing exclusively wouldn't give the full picture.

3 upvotes
DemonDuck
By DemonDuck (Dec 26, 2011)

My own opinion is that any camera with a sensor smaller than APS-C is dated and a waste of money. You can get two NEX 3 bodies for the price of one S100.

But that's just my own slanted viewpoint.....

1 upvote
AkinaC
By AkinaC (Dec 26, 2011)

Well, the NEX 3 is also dated(in terms of year). Plus, all the smartphones are wasted of money as their camera sensor is much more smaller.

You know this is a slanted viewpoint, the why bother post your message up anyway.

0 upvotes
DemonDuck
By DemonDuck (Dec 26, 2011)

Just to give people like you something to snark about....

0 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Dec 27, 2011)

@DemonDuck, agree with what you say.

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Jan 2, 2012)

And you can fit a NEX-3 in your pocket with a lens of equivalent zoom range fitted? That's amazing!

0 upvotes
Graham Meale
By Graham Meale (Dec 25, 2011)

A bit disappointing that the camera doesn't align HDR bracketed shots. A bit silly to have to carry a tripod.

1 upvote
RLPhotoAndImaging
By RLPhotoAndImaging (Dec 25, 2011)

Before selling my LX5, I found myself reaching for my wife's S95. Now, we can't wait till our preordered S100 arrives.

0 upvotes
keeponkeepingon
By keeponkeepingon (Dec 25, 2011)

DPreview missed a con:

ISO is fixed at ISO 80 for any exposure greater than 1 second.

This may not be an issue for many folks but if you are paying top $$ for manual controls, you would expect the S100 to have a wee bit more control of ISO.

3 upvotes
Earthlight
By Earthlight (Dec 26, 2011)

This is indeed surprising. Thanks for the heads up!

0 upvotes
Hobbit13
By Hobbit13 (Dec 27, 2011)

Yeah, that limitation bothers me allot with the S90! I'm often fideling with the exposure controlls at night, not getting the picture brighter, because it's stuck at 1 second exposure time.

0 upvotes
Jun2
By Jun2 (Dec 24, 2011)

Still think Olympus Pen E-PM1 is hell of a bargin, although it's a bit bigger than S100.

0 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Dec 24, 2011)

Agree. It seems there was a conscious decision to make the flash a push-on module in keeping with the "system" image. Yet, an in-body flash as found on compacts would put PM1 nicely in with P&S's while showing off its cool-premium qualities.
A bargain is relative. Those that wish to use the S100 for prints may not be all that happy. Would be interesting to see if the used S100 prices bring the new ones down to the fair level.

0 upvotes
lomo3108
By lomo3108 (Dec 25, 2011)

using the epm1 with the panny pancakes and new x lens, that may be a good idea to keep the size down.

1 upvote
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 25, 2011)

The idea that m43rds competes directly with the s100 is - ridiculous. It competes at the same level that a Canon XS competes with the s100. The camera body alone is larger than the s100, put the kit lens on it and it's huge. Here's a picture from imaging resource with the kit lens on it -
http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/EPM1/ZYLEFT-MD.JPG

Yeah, you can make it smaller with the pancake lens, then it's "only" about twice as big. For an additional $350, on top of the initial cost of the camera.

m43rds might compete with cameras like the g12, lx-5, xz-1, etc. But they're in whole different size class than the s100 - even with their smaller and doubles-the-cost lens.

1 upvote
CNY_AP
By CNY_AP (Dec 24, 2011)

I wish they'd include neckstraps - so much nicer for walking around places and keeping your hands free, and much less chance of dropping it. I also wish they'd include an intervalometer (full szie pics) and time lapse mode (in-camea movies) like my old nikon P5000 has. The P5000 (the timer) will only shoot at 1/30s at the fastest setting though - a bit too slow for most things.

1 upvote
Richard Ryan
By Richard Ryan (Dec 24, 2011)

Try and find one right now. Everything is sold out.

1 upvote
keysmith
By keysmith (Dec 24, 2011)

When (small) size matters, S100 is unbeatable.. LX5, XZ-1, X10 could be a little bit better, but also bigger. In my opinion the only TRUE compact (fits in pockets) is Canon S100/s95.

1 upvote
gail
By gail (Dec 24, 2011)

I agree. The "bit better" is what many forum participants say. Yawn! Are we all pros or semi-pros that "a bit better" is so crucial to our photos? There are many fine cameras, all with their pros and cons. If you need or want an premium camera that fits in your pocket, their are only a few choices: Canon S.

0 upvotes
Greynerd
By Greynerd (Dec 24, 2011)

I would not advise keeping a camera in your pocket as dust can get into these cameras (read countless postings in DPR) and you are likely to end up with scratched lcds/lens or jammed lens protection blades if the camera does not have a cap. Best to buy a small case and put it on your belt.
The lens seems very slow at full zoom for a newly released camera. It seems now you have a trade off between extra wide angle and wide aperture at long zoom. So there is no single solution.

3 upvotes
keysmith
By keysmith (Dec 26, 2011)

I think you can put it in your (empty from coins, keys) jacket pocket after you place it in a soft bag (cheap sunglasses bag/pouch like). Compact means small, and s100 is the smallest..

0 upvotes
solman
By solman (Dec 24, 2011)

Agree with Amin1. The Fuji X10 has the photo world on the edge of their seats.
Bring it on ... soon!

0 upvotes
Armin1
By Armin1 (Dec 24, 2011)

Where is the Fuji X10 review? I've been waiting for a month. It seems DPReivew completely forget about the X10.

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 24, 2011)

Maybe you missed the raw-shooting compacts roundup? Lots of original content in there. But a review will follow in early 2012 :)

1 upvote
many information that i get from this web

well in my pocket is a 8 MP phone camera 24/7..... that is compared to most P&S models not bad.

i take my DSLR with me when i want to MAKE a picture.. when i just want to TAKE a picture the PEN offer fantastic IQ and is no burden to carryCanon PowerShot S100 review

1 upvote
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Dec 24, 2011)

My sentiments exactly!!!

0 upvotes
NIK11
By NIK11 (Dec 23, 2011)

Am a little disappointed you've said nothing about DR, something many would be interested in.

I asked Andy Westlake in the S100 Preview comments section if DPRE would be comparing DR between S95/100, he replied 'of course'.

What happened?

Nick

0 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Dec 24, 2011)

DR is not forte of canon so they may have left it out as favour to canon.

0 upvotes
Simon Joinson
By Simon Joinson (Dec 24, 2011)

we don't generally test DR on compacts

1 upvote
NIK11
By NIK11 (Dec 24, 2011)

Maybe someone should tell Andy!

It's a pity, I think you are missing an important trick with DR measurement, especially with premium compacts aimed at enthusiasts.

Thanks for listening.

Nick

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 25, 2011)

The way we test DR isn't really that well-suited to testing compact cameras, and we're looking at improving this in 2012.

0 upvotes
OneGuy
By OneGuy (Dec 23, 2011)

I think of S100 as what Fuji F200 EXR should have been-- and that is what keeps my interest in Canon squeezing small sensors to deliver competing image to m43 and up. Possibly that is why Nikon has chosen a smaller sensor for their Sys1 as well. Yet, perhaps, there are manufacturing tolerances that are offering the greatest resistance.

DPR should not have explained away the quality variations with "practical considerations," simply because the DPR Studio setup is a unique and most helpful evaluation tool. (I can go to CameraLabs.com and get exactly the same center and corner crops just as DPR did for the S100 -- and then defer to raw for improvements.)

DPR members, moreover, are perfectly capable reading between the lines and I for one am not going to buy any and all cameras getting the DPR recommendation rating. But now I also know I am not getting an S100 new OR used. DPR was the first to talk about the variations (as far as I know after a short search) and three cheers for that.

0 upvotes
Penponds
By Penponds (Dec 23, 2011)

Significance of lack of viewfinder in the +40 age group...?! (long-sighted...)
My wife and I, (both in that age group) have been debating a discrete, easier to carry alternative to the 550D with a std zoom for her work purposes which last involved trips to boondocks of northern Afghanistan. Initially the S100 and SX230 HS appealed because of the GPS and the former's 24mm.

But on trying these alongside the G12 was a revelation.

The first two cameras were immediately considered by my wife to be too small for comfortable holding - yet she thought her primary concern was pocketability. The next revelation was that no viewfinder meant no dioptric adjustment, and not being able to comfortably see the LCD screen at normal distances. We haven't made the final decision yet - but it looks like a deal breaker. All the fantastic innovations and features of the S100 receding in significance compared with the discomfort and supreme inconvenience of putting on and off reading glasses...

0 upvotes
D R C
By D R C (Dec 24, 2011)

Go on ebay and buy a Canon S70/80 and then wait until they make the perfect camera for your needs!

Comment edited 30 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Rubenski
By Rubenski (Dec 23, 2011)

S100=
1. Test it thoroughly yourself before keeping it for years to come because you may end up with a 'faulty' camera.
2. HDR= tripod area anyway, in camera 'alignment' isn't sofisticated.
3. Did DP mention the 'exposure warning' on the S100? That's a great feature to become a better shooter. Expose for the highlights and watch your display. It's as easy as that.
4. Always carry it with you, Yes you can, because it fits in your pocket! And 'No, you can't' with your DSLR or MFT, so stop comparing it with these type of cameras and be honest: how many times did you leave your MFT or DSLR at home because...well you know.
And, may I say to all of you photo enthusiasts: Merry Christmas and a very happy new year, that all of you may shoot some stunning pictures! (sorry to post all of this text but I'm practising on my English as well, but still, I mean what I say). Greetings from Russia.

Comment edited 35 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
TrojMacReady
By TrojMacReady (Dec 23, 2011)

There are cameras that can do mutiframe HDR quite fine, using quite effective in camera alignment. Even my 2 year old camera can do it without the need for a tripod.

0 upvotes
JWest
By JWest (Jan 2, 2012)

The Samsung NX100 fits in my pocket just fine, has an APS-C sensor, and is always with me. Just because this is the right camera for you, do not assume it is the right camera for everyone. Happy new year!

0 upvotes
Ashley Pomeroy
By Ashley Pomeroy (Dec 23, 2011)

It looks nice, but you seem to have left out the display / operation page - f'rinstance, the conclusion mentions the rubbish manual focus control, but the review otherwise doesn't mention it (or show us what it looks like).

Perhaps it was too close to the S95 to bother with (to be fair, that part of the review - the menu screen listing - always struck me as being a lot of work for very little return).

0 upvotes
bigdaddave
By bigdaddave (Dec 23, 2011)

A good review thanks.
Nothing there to rush me into upgrading my S90 though, especially at the current price.

1 upvote
Sviz
By Sviz (Dec 23, 2011)

Where is the Dynamic Range section?

1 upvote
lovEU
By lovEU (Dec 23, 2011)

I like your review and appreciated the reading. Anyway, I'd be interested in your answer on two questions:

1. What does the S100 lack in your opinion so you didn't provide the cam with dpr's Gold Award? What is missing i.e. compared to the XZ-1? (lens?)

2. Like the S95 the S100 got a score of 72%. But in the review you gave several hints which features have been improved. So I'm not sure ... did I missed something crucial and why didn't your score raise a bit?

Thanks.

PS: Sorry for having cross-posted this at Canon Talk but I only now realized the "Comments" are a better place for such questions.

1 upvote
Kirppu
By Kirppu (Dec 23, 2011)

I tought exactly the same, only thing I came up is that S100 should have had come out last year to get the gold award. Let's keep in mind that these reviews ain't the absolute truth. :)

...and Happy holidays.

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Dec 23, 2011)

given that it cost 449 euro at amazon it better be good. :)
for a few euros more i can get the latest and greatest mFT.. for less then 450 euro i can get the prior mFT generation.

sure mFT is bigger and not as compact ... but quality wise it beats the hell out of these P&S cameras.

your milage may vary.... but beside "compactness" these P&S don´t offer me anything that would let me choose them over mFT.

im not really buying into the mFT system.
the mFT lenses are to expensive to have another full system beside my canon DSLRs. but with a good 14-42mm (or in that range) and a fast pancake, they replace my P&S cameras.
i will never again buy a P&S camera.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
2 upvotes
techmine
By techmine (Dec 23, 2011)

The moment you step into MFT territory you will start comparing it (specially the IQ) with your Canons and the lenses and the flash etc etc. IMHO the IQ of both won't match cent to cent, ever. So a high-end P&S really solves the purpose of being pocket friendly (in many ways) and capable of taking good quality pictures. I am glad to see players like Fuji (with their X10 and X100) are raising the bar in this particular category.

2 upvotes
JackM
By JackM (Dec 23, 2011)

mFT does not fit in a pocket. S100 fits in a shirt pocket. Very different cameras for different uses. I'll take the pocket camera, thanks. If I have to carry a bag, I'll carry my DSLR.

5 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Dec 23, 2011)

well in my pocket is a 8 MP phone camera 24/7..... that is compared to most P&S models not bad.

but when i go home and compare my PEN mFT pictures with the ones i have shoot with my LUMIX LX3 or LX5. well the difference is obvious. the PEN E-PL models with a pancake are not that big and in no way as cumbersome as running around with a DSLR all day.

i take my DSLR with me when i want to MAKE a picture.. when i just want to TAKE a picture the PEN offer fantastic IQ and is no burden to carry.

1 upvote
Josh152
By Josh152 (Dec 23, 2011)

mFT , quite frankly, is point less. It's too big to really replace a compact P&S unless you just us a pancake lens which is silly when you can use a high end P&S that has almost as good image quality (in fact in real world pictures you'd be hard pressed to tell the differnce.) and has much better lens coverage in a smaller package. If you're going to use longer lenses with a mFT, you might as well use a DSLR which really is a significant step up in image quality from a high end P&S.

Comparing the S95 to mFT is like comparing a passenger car to a Corvette. One is made to full fill a specific need and the other is a toy for people with money to spend.

4 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Dec 23, 2011)

Which is the passenger car and which is the Corvette? To the "pocket camera" user, the S100 is the biggest camera they are willing to carry. To the m43 user, their camera is the smallest they can live with. Neither is "wrong"; they just have different priorities.

4 upvotes
Vlad S
By Vlad S (Dec 23, 2011)

@Josh152: µ4/3 FT is not pointless. It sits very well separated from either compact or DSLR, and it's a compromise between these two categories that many users find very satisfying. µ4/3 has a clearly better low light performance and versatility than compacts at a significantly smaller size and weight than DSLRs. Still, many users have different priorities, and the perfect package is different for every user. Olympus XZ-1, Panasonic LX5, Canon S100, Fuji X100 target the same market, but offer different compromises in optics, size, features, and interface. It's great! At the same time, none of them is as flexible as MILCs. But then again, if someone does not have any intention to use anything than the kit lens, these compacts offer a very compelling alternative to MILCs.

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

"for a few euros more i can get the latest and greatest mFT."

In US prices, the s100 is $430. The actual latest and greatest mFT is the Panasonic gx1, with the power zoom lens (so that it's actually compact) it's $950. Getting the g3 + power zoom lens is priced similarly. That's about 200% the cost of the s100.

0 upvotes
thx1138
By thx1138 (Dec 23, 2011)

To me, a tiny sensor P&S is an anachronism. I have lost all interest in this class of camera now. If I want a quick snapshot I'll use my (admittedly inferior) camera phone, otherwise I would buy into an EVIL camera for similar money and vastly better IQ. It maybe a lot bigger, but it's still not that bulky and well worth the extra size for the far greater flexibility and of course much better AF.

The S95 like all it's competition is already reaching it's limit at ISO 400. I find it laughable that ISO 3200+ is even offered, the results are simply appalling, actually embarrassing. If you are happy sticking to ISO 100-200 you can get nice IQ, but that's a big limitation for a take everywhere camera IMO.

0 upvotes
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

"vastly better iq" is an ambiguous term that means...well, very little.

Resolution in good light? Dslr's without expensive glass are only a smidgen better

Dynamic range? Well m43rds is supposed to have better dynamic range, but some tests suggested that it didn't, you had to go to a real dslr to actually get better dr.

High iso performance? Up until the latest 3rd gen Panasonic sensor, if you stuck with the kit lens you got worse low light performance than the s95, because the difference in sensor performance wasn't bigger than the difference between the f2.0 lens on the s95 and the f3.5 lens on the kit lens. Yeah, m43rds was better with it's f1.7 lens. Now you have to carry 2 lenses around - great.

1 upvote
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

Whereas a dslr does iso1600 just fine, all the 2nd gen m43rds sensors started to crap out at iso1600. iso1600 is also the most common iso for indoor shooting - why would I carry all that extra size weight and bulk of m43rds just to have it not take great pics anyways? Might as well get the somewhat noisy results of the much, much smaller s95/s100.

3 upvotes
zxaar
By zxaar (Dec 24, 2011)

@AbrasiveReducer mFT are not the smallest ILC. Smallest would be pentax Q without viewfiner or nikon 1 with viewfinder.

0 upvotes
gerardeux
By gerardeux (Dec 24, 2011)

In many shooting circumstances (for me the important ones) you won't see difference in output between the mFT and this compact. No beating the hell there. A telephone camera however is just physically unable in the end. You have made your choices and are legitimizing them for yourself but who is waiting for that here?

0 upvotes
Chez Wimpy
By Chez Wimpy (Dec 24, 2011)

@Josh152
>It's too big to really replace a compact P&S unless you just us a pancake lens which is silly when you can use a high end P&S that has almost as good image quality

The pancakes also offer DOF control, and low light flexibility across a range of focals that compact cameras can't match. My travel kit is the GF1 + 14/2.5, 20/1.7, 45/1.8, two of which fit in a small belt pouch while the other is mounted. That allows me to shoot portraits indoors with a kit that is pocket-able (collapsed), and shoot street with selective DOF when it matters. Image noise at equivalent ISO is only one part of the equation: slower zooms and lack of DOF control on the part of compacts will always insure EVIL system cameras a niche between shirt-pocket cameras and full-blown DSLRs.

0 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (Dec 23, 2011)

Glad the review took the MF "window" to task. In the S95 it is virtually useless in most working conditions, especially outdoors. I assume there is no improvement in this version. Among other limitations, it has trouble focusing on close objects when the lens is wide.

Frankly, I own an S95 and consider it inferior in the most important respect, image quality, to an old Canon Powershot 870.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
1 upvote
increments
By increments (Dec 23, 2011)

Really liked the bit showing the real world effects of sample variation. I'd be interested in an in-depth article that shows how different kinds of variation affect different kinds of subject/scene.

3 upvotes
frosti7
By frosti7 (Dec 23, 2011)

Andy, well done review!
I appriciate the effort and time you guys take to go deeper into things like sample variation - it both serves a tool to keep track on the companies and explains the little-known phenomena to beginners,
your real-world tests give the artilce further justification,
Keep doing the professional reviews, you guys are ought to set new standards for photography tests!

3 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 23, 2011)

Kelcey and Andy (and me - a bit)

But thanks :)

0 upvotes
rickspencer4
By rickspencer4 (Dec 23, 2011)

I'm really appreciating mine. Shot a movie at a school function at full zoom, hand held and I was amazed at the clarity and steadiness considering I was holding it up in the air. https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=2355594855459

Here are couple pics : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.2355743379172.2108678.1417849145&type=3

I'm leaving the EOS 50D home more often...

0 upvotes
frosti7
By frosti7 (Dec 23, 2011)

your facebook pics are restricted to anyone not in your freinds list,
btw, i replaced my 40D with M43 and happy about it

1 upvote
rickspencer4
By rickspencer4 (Dec 24, 2011)

I edited the Facebook setting,

0 upvotes
Steen Bay
By Steen Bay (Dec 23, 2011)

Guess it's a typo/mistake that "Image quality (RAW)" is lower than "Image quality (JPEG)".

0 upvotes
lightsculpture
By lightsculpture (Dec 23, 2011)

Hi Barney, is there any plan to replace the samples in the Studio Comparison tool with the best samples? I think that would do the sensor justice. Since the quality control issue has been highlighted extensively in the review, I think there is no need to further illustrate that in the Studio Comparison tool. Now, we would really see what the sensor is capable of in high iso... That would also give us some idea on what to expect for G13. Thanks.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 23, 2011)

The samples in the studio scene now are the best in one respect (they are the most even, in these very restrictive parameters - 1 meter away, ~75mm equivalent FL). But a glance at the sample images in both the body of the review and the gallery should reassure you :)

0 upvotes
Tahir Hashmi
By Tahir Hashmi (Dec 23, 2011)

Going by the DPReview scoring, it seems like S90 is the best among S90, S95 and S100, with vastly better optics, and an overall score of 75 against 72 for the others.

How does that work out?

0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 23, 2011)

The S90 was reviewed a long time ago, when the market was entirely different, and using a different scoring system.

4 upvotes
ZoranC
By ZoranC (Dec 23, 2011)

5. When S90 came out number of owners complained about optical misalignment. IIRC there was no mention of that in DPR's review. IIRC same for S95. So if my memory serves me well how come attention is all of the sudden paid to S100?

Comment edited 26 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
ZoranC
By ZoranC (Dec 23, 2011)

As I look at results of cherry picked copy following questions are crossing my mind:

1. Was final, best, copy cherry picked with assistance from Canon or it was from same supply channel us mere mortals get our copies through?

2. Should reviewers post reviews based on best copy one can get or based on average copy one usually gets? I believe it should be later because results should represent typical result buyers will be getting. Otherwise review is misleading potential buyers into thinking they too will get so good results when they might not.

3. Are all other cameras DPR reviews cherry picked? If not why DPR is posting result from best copy of S100 against random copies of S95 etc? Playing field should be level and if it wasn't how we can know S95 wouldn't have topped S100?

4. Took 5 copies to get one that performs as it should?! WOW! What that tells us? That DPR "just" had bad luck with 4 or that majority of S100's will behave worse than product manufactured properly should?

5 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 23, 2011)

Respectfully, I really think you should read the review in full, and this article:

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/8370332082/first-impressions-using-the-canon-powershot-s100

both of which should answer some of your questions.

5 upvotes
ZoranC
By ZoranC (Dec 23, 2011)

I have read your review and article. I do not remember seeing anything that would directly answer my questions. Maybe I just missed them or couldn't remember seeing them. As one that is more familiar with this review could you please point to me where exactly those answers would be or briefly answer them directly? Thank you in advance!

0 upvotes
MGJA
By MGJA (Dec 23, 2011)

From the preview: "At the time of writing, we are expecting another sample from Canon and we will rush it into the studio and out into the real world as quickly as possible."

So basically they had Canon send them a perfect sample. Now, before we all start wailing, I think most of the cameras they review are manufacturer samples sent out especially for reviewing purposes, often way before they're available through normal channels. Rather goes with the territory. Always assume that whatever online review you read is the best possible that piece of hardware will ever preform and that your own copy is likely worse. If anything, I'm amazed at Canon's amateurism in not securing good copies for a high-profile site like this from start.

All that said, I'm not sure I buy all this DPreview "doesn't matter in the real world" talk. We come here for technical details. If you think your tests are irrelevant, perhaps you should change them for test you consider reflect RW performance better.

3 upvotes
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

1 - dpreview gets it's copies from Canon directly. They've said that they come out of the "retail" stream or something like that. I mean if they got several bad copies, how much work could Canon be doing to provide them with good copies? Evidentally none.

2 - How would one go about getting the average copy? If you look at the review page -
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/CanonS100/page5.asp

They point out (with test shots) that copies that provided the clearest and sharpest studio results actually provided worse results in some real world shooting...

3 - I know they've also reshot Samsung nx200 shots. Frankly, you used the term "level playing field", and one has to ask - how do you get a level playing field? If you choose the best sample for all camera reviews, that is "level".

However, the fundamental problem as they point out is that a camera that does the best with the studio shots actually does worse in several outdoors shots than the camera that does poorly in the studio shots

0 upvotes
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

4 - Again, read the review -
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/CanonS100/page5.asp

The fundamental problem from their testing is that there isn't really "good copies and bad copies". The "bad" copies that did poorly in their studio shots did well in normal shooting, the copies that did well in the studio shots did worse in normal shooting...how would one fairly test this? I mean I couldn't quickly find a link to how it's setup, but is it really fair to judge a camera based entirely on shots made at 3 feet away of a macro level scene with wine bottles and such at 70mm zoom? How often does one actually shoot like that in real life? The problem is fundamentally that different cameras may perform differently with different scenes.

1 upvote
ZoranC
By ZoranC (Dec 24, 2011)

To MGJA: Regarding "So basically they had Canon send them a perfect sample. Now, before we all start wailing, I think most of the cameras they review are manufacturer samples sent out especially for reviewing purposes, often way before they're available through normal channels. Rather goes with the territory."

No, it doesn't go with the territory. If that is what is going on then reviews have question mark over them, there is zero value to consumer in review of sample that those consumers are not likely to get. Years ago there was an uproar in computer hardware communities over reviews done with "golden samples" / cherry picked samples because consumers felt deceived into making purchase decisions based on results that they would never get from their copies. I don't see why it should be any different here.

1 upvote
ZoranC
By ZoranC (Dec 24, 2011)

To Paul Rivers:

Re "How would one go about getting the average copy?", very simple: Don't go looking for cherry picked copy. Instead get 3 random copies from 3 different random consumer outlets. Test all 3 and present result that is from neither best nor worst copy but from "average" copy, while providing link for consumers to look at other two if they want to.

Re "Frankly, you used the term "level playing field", and one has to ask - how do you get a level playing field? If you choose the best sample for all camera reviews, that is "level".", no, best from each is neither fair nor level to consumers. Random copy from S90, S95, LX5 etc (I still didn't hear answer from DPR did they cherry picked them too, until then I will assume they haven't) is not level and fair either.

Re "The fundamental problem from their testing is that there isn't really "good copies and bad copies".", as an engineer I find that nonsense.

1 upvote
coastcontact
By coastcontact (Dec 23, 2011)

The overall review rating of 72% is a mystery to me. It appears that none of the bar chart ratings exceeded 72%. What am I missing? I realize that Canon is the big dog in the industry but honesty in ratings should count for something.

1 upvote
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Dec 23, 2011)

Rating is useless. Sample comparisons and self-conclusion matters most.

5 upvotes
Beauly
By Beauly (Dec 23, 2011)

Funnily enough, a S100 appeared on my doorstep tonight. Ordered a month ago, on the box is the camera number. Anyone have any ideas about what batch is which? Or what these numbers mean?

0 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (Dec 23, 2011)

The reviewer(s) went out of the way to downplay the lens decentering issues. Going through five copies to pick one unit performing as it should is a little stretch. To say that soft corner/border does not matter in "real life" shooting is a deception in my book. Even if the difference is not easily distinguished, the worst thing is knowing about the potential problem and probability of the lemon which is statistically 80%.
I think the disservice of the review is twofold:
1.Telling the potential buyer that no matter how good or bad particular camera copy could be it does not make the difference in final IQ.
2. Helping manufacturer to get away with obvious deviation from expected quality standards for relatively expensive flagship model.

5 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 23, 2011)

Hmm, you must have missed the bit where we wrote that the sample variation we saw was 'a Bad Thing'...

as for the difference it makes in normal shooting, you can see for yourself, we've published plenty of samples. The simple fact is that even the worst performing camera (in terms of uneven sharpness in our studio) gave good IQ in normal everyday shooting. That isn't always true, and sometimes in fact the opposite is true (a camera that looks great in our studio might disappoint 'out in the world').

Comment edited 4 minutes after posting
6 upvotes
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

I think the reviewer went way out of their way to take and post comparison pics showing why it was not a huge issue. If they had just waved their hands and said "oh, this isn't a problem" I would have been miffed to, but with a half page (or a full page? don't remember) of pics showing why this didn't make a difference in real world shooting, including different shots at different levels of zoom - I'm personally really happy they went to that length, and being that they did I find your comment pretty ridiculous...maybe you just didn't get to that part of the review yet? That would be understandable...

6 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (Dec 23, 2011)

Now, Paul,
Would you rather have the best cam out of the tested bunch or the worst one? Is that ridiculous question also?

4 upvotes
panini98
By panini98 (Dec 23, 2011)

That's kind of like saying...

Benz A goes 0-100 in 6.04 seconds
Benz B goes 0-100 in 6.03 seconds
Benz C goes 0-100 in 6.01 seconds

Would you rather have the best out of the tested bunch or the worst one?

Truth is the difference between the 3 is so small and indistinguishable, that the difference between 'best' and 'worst' is not relevant. No one is able to consistently differentiate between the sample cameras under REAL LIFE conditions; the differences are so small they are not relevant for most people.

3 upvotes
Richard Franiec
By Richard Franiec (Dec 23, 2011)

Not sure if this is a good analogy, maybe it is depending on what MB is claiming for 0-60 for this particular model. There is no claimed tolerance range for S100 lens. DPR finding is the only reference to inconsistencies and huge kudos to them for reporting the facts.

To answer the question, I surely would settle for Benz C if I can test all three (5) of them and could afford or like one.

Now, imagine for sale ad for S100:
"Canon Powershot S100 with slightly decentered lens. No issues in real life shooting". Would you go for it? Would the disclosure be irrelevant for most potential buyers?

I think, the implication of DPR findings will have bigger long term effect than we could envision at the moment. It should serve as a warning that brand cannot be built on the name alone. Quality and consistency is something consumer appreciate and expect.

0 upvotes
Charles King
By Charles King (Dec 26, 2011)

I think you're all missing something rather important.

Lens fabrication is far more complex that has been portrayed in this thread. There isn't a simple continuum of soft<--->sharp. Instead, the design needs to accommodate a variety of compromises in order to produce a lens that falls within acceptable tolerances at all focal lengths and focussing distances.

The review clearly showed that the lens that was soft in the studio was better outside. Would you buy a camera that was advertised as "Canon S100, performs perfectly in the studio at 1m, but lens is a bit soft on the right when focused to infinity"?

I don't think this is anything new. All lenses are subject to these tradeoffs, and those who engage in the quest for a 'good copy' of a lens are often fooling themselves. Absolute perfection just isn't going to happen.

The only real question is whether Canon tried to go too far here and produce a tiny lens that was fast and had a wider zoom range. Maybe they aimed a bit too far.

0 upvotes
Jim
By Jim (Dec 23, 2011)

Congratulations on getting this review out soon after the product's introduction. Many people here will appreciate it...me included. :-)

Jim

0 upvotes
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

"A 4-channel readout system also substantially improves the continuous shooting rate, up to 2.3 fps compared to the S95's 0.9 fps."

That's not right. Take a look at dpreview's s95 review -
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/q42010highendcompactgroup/page5.asp

"Continuous shooting performance is impressive too, and in JPEG (high quality) mode to the S95 can shoot at 1.9fps (approx) for as long as it takes to fill a memory card."

The s100 shoots at 2.3fps (jpg), but that's only a slight improvement over the s95's 1.9fps (jpg).

Someone seems to have put in the s90 number, which was 0.9fps, but the s95 was 1.9fps.

Comment edited 18 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 23, 2011)

Fixed now, thanks for pointing that out.

1 upvote
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

...or the jpg and raw specs are getting mixed up.

"Continuous shooting performance is impressive too, and in JPEG (high quality) mode to the S95 can shoot at 1.9fps (approx) for as long as it takes to fill a memory card. Frame rate drops in raw mode to approximately 0.9fps, but with a fast card installed, burst depth remains unlimited."

s95:
- raw - 0.9fps
- jpg - 1.9fps

s100
- raw - 0.8 fps
- jpg - 2.3 fps

I know it's not right because I've owned both, but I also got the s100 numbers from the dpreview review on this page -
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/CanonS100/page4.asp

...did raw shot-to-shot time actually go down?

EDIT: Barney posted right between when I started writing my comment and when I hit "Post", apologies for appearing to write the same thing after getting a response.

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Barney Britton
By Barney Britton (Dec 23, 2011)

A decrease in average fps of 0.1fps is barely significant. And remember that the S95 was reviewed a year ago, with a different memory card.

0 upvotes
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

"A decrease in *average* fps of 0.1fps is barely significant."

Just...fyi, totally agree, more of a reaction to the "it's so much faster" sentiment, perhaps a bit unfair on my part.

Comment edited 11 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

Love the chart under "Continuous shooting modes". :-) Faster in jpg, still dog slow in raw. Also wanted to say I think the s95 vs s100 aperture chart is fantastic!

4 upvotes
jcmarfilph
By jcmarfilph (Dec 23, 2011)

"Note: As part of the process of working through this review we have replaced our previously-published S100 studio samples with new files. The updated shots can be accessed via the studio scene comparison widget, both in its standalone form (accessed via the 'reviews' dropdown at the top of every page) and from within the 'compared to...' pages of any review."

Hopefully you will also find an X10 with sharper lens and replace the samples in the studio too. And oh please utilize the NR setting next time and include the low/off and high results. Just like what you did with the LX5.

2 upvotes
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

"Likewise the deletion of the S95's customizable 'S' button - again, something that depending on how you had your S95 set up, might require you to slightly change your way of working."

In my opinion, that isn't quite true, because the "RING FUNC." button on the back is in the same place and is assignable to all the same things as the old shortcut button was. It's more that they got rid of the dedicated "change the front ring function" button and renamed the shortcut button but otherwise it still does the same thing.

1 upvote
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

"As far as its operational ergonomics are concerned, the only thing we wish the S100 had, which it does not, is a dedicated ISO button."

Wish the review had mentioned that you can iso to the shortcut button - err, the "Ring Func." button.

0 upvotes
ANAYV
By ANAYV (Dec 23, 2011)

It did, Paul.

"...you're left with two choices for ISO - either assign it to the RING FUNC button, on the rear of the camera, or just dive quickly into the FUNC menu. Easy enough."...

and
"...The 'Ring Func' button is customizable, and can take on any of the functions offered by the S90 / S95's 'S' shortcut button. We suspect many users will set it to control ISO, and leave it there."...

Have a Merry Christmas/Happy Holiday Paul !!

0 upvotes
PaulRivers
By PaulRivers (Dec 23, 2011)

"Even though the added grips seem small they do a a lot to keep the camera firm in your hands. Although it's certainly no replacement for a wrist strap."

Just my opinion - I put the wrist strap on my s95 after trying to avoid doing so. On my s100 - haven't, and I've had it over a month. :-) The s100 is actually better enough that I don't feel the need to have a wrist strap! :-)

0 upvotes
Total comments: 148
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