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ISO Accuracy

The actual sensitivity of each indicated ISO is measured using the same shots as are used to measure ISO noise levels, we simply compare the exposure for each shot to the metered light level (using a calibrated Sekonic L-358), middle gray matched. We estimate the accuracy of these results to be +/- 1/6 EV (the margin of error given in the ISO specifications). Note that these tests are based on the sRGB JPEG output of the cameras, in accordance with ISO 12232:2006, the standard used by camera manufacturers.

By our tests, the S100's measured sensitivities are about 1/3 stop lower than indicated (i.e. images are fractionally darker than expected for any given set of exposure values).

Noise and Noise Reduction (JPEG)

Note: this page features our interactive noise comparison widget. By default, we show you the default noise reduction settings of the camera tested, and three other models of the same class. You can select from all available NR options, and from other cameras. The 'tricolor' patches beneath the familiar gray/black/portrait images are taken from the same test chart, and show how noise impacts upon blue, green and red areas of a scene.

ISO range noise comparison

The combination of Canon's homegrown CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5 image processor does a good job of managing noise while maintaining a reasonable amount of detail. Noise is well-controlled throughout the ISO range, and JPEG noise reduction retains most of the fine detail up to ISO 800. After that point, more aggressive noise reduction begins to obscure low-contrast detail.

In general, the S100 out-performs both the Canon S95 and the Panasonic LX5 in terms of visible noise in JPEG. And although the noise at ISO 3200 appears similar between the S100 and S95 on the graphs, the retention of detail is much greater in the S100 (as you can see by comparing the faces from the samples tab).

Raw noise (ACR 6.6 noise reduction set to zero)

In regards to luminance noise, Canon's new 12MP CMOS sensor produces similar results when compared to its predecessor the S95, although chroma noise is marginally more prominent across the ISO range. However this is not the whole picture. The increase in resolution allows the S100 to retain more true image detail at a given ISO setting than the 10MP sensor in the S95.

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Total comments: 4

I have owned PowerShot S100 for a while and in many ways it worked well - for a while. Bought the S100 for the GPS feature which can be quite slow. In areas that are less than open a signal may not be received, but it mostly worked. The largest drawback and reason I am writing this "comment" is because my S100 camera just stopped working on a trip through India, Nepal and the UAE. A message appears "Lens Error - Will shut down automatically - Restart camera". The camera turns itself off and the lens will not retract and CANNOT be restarted. If you are planning an important vacation you may want to consider another camera. Please check other reviews regarding this issue elsewhere. I do not want others to have a vacation of a lifetime ruined my a nonfunctioning camera.

1 upvote

for $98 refurbished directly from Canon's website is a steal


Great review, Kelcey :) Canon PowerShot S100 is a very nice pocket camera. Some extra zoom would be nice though, it is quite expensive for just 5x optical. I think there are some more capable cameras for $350 out there.

1 upvote

Powershot S100: 5.2-26.0mm f/2.0-5.9
Canon 71.6∠2.60 ∅ 2.0 ev (Wide)
Canon 16.4∠4.41 ∅ 5.9 ev (Tele)

Total comments: 4