S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

Started Dec 19, 2011 | Discussions
(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 14,097
S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

Based on my personal experience plus what I've read in these forums and user reviews at venues such as Amazon, I'm not convinced that the S100 is really suitable for point-and-shooters or those who are unable, or unwilling, to post process images.

I'd be interesting in the opinions of others.
--
My S100 Galleries ~ http://www.pbase.com/gailb/canon_s100
My Canon S100 Blog: http://www.digicamhelp.com/topics/camera-logs/canon-s100/

PanaNewbie Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

That's what I'm struggling with right now... I'm willing to pay whatever, for the best P&S camera. I am reading the S100 makes bad auto decisions, people suggesting to +1 this and -1 that, etc etc. I'm looking at the S100, Fuji X10, Panny LX5 and Olympus XZ-1 and am having a hard time in finding out the best small sized P&S.

Good low light, good natural colours, good video, which rules out the XZ-1 so that leaves me with S100, Fuji X10, Panasonic LX-5.

gail wrote:

Based on my personal experience plus what I've read in these forums and user reviews at venues such as Amazon, I'm not convinced that the S100 is really suitable for point-and-shooters or those who are unable, or unwilling, to post process images.

I'd be interesting in the opinions of others.
--
My S100 Galleries ~ http://www.pbase.com/gailb/canon_s100
My Canon S100 Blog: http://www.digicamhelp.com/topics/camera-logs/canon-s100/

VisionLight
VisionLight Veteran Member • Posts: 4,686
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

Gail,

To me, the S100 ISN'T really for the true point-&-shooter, but also IS a point-&-shoot that gives great results for those with a little bit of photographic knowledge. A conundrum to be sure.

Would I reccomend it for the person who just wants to turn it on and take pictures, with nary a glance at the manual? (For argument's sake, we'll define this as a true point-&-shooter.) Absolutely not. There are great cameras for that purpose at less than 40% of the cost. However, for the beginner who is interested in learning the craft, and can afford the S100 ,it's a great P&S. Start small with Program mode. Learn a little about the exposure it chooses, etc. Graduate to the less auto modes. Get better at it. etc., etc. Even get some insight into post processing with some of the internal features it has. All in one neat little package, chock full of goodies.

And then there's the more advanced user. Now it's a great P&S, because we know enough about setting all the menu options to our likes, pick a shooting mode, and then just go out and shoot (i.e., point & shoot). The pictures in my DPP v. ACR6.6 thread (repeated below, if you haven't seen them) are all P&S. I was still testing the camera at the time, so they were just random shots. 6 images taken in Tv over 20 minutes at RAW/Lfine JPEG with no Post at all (except default RAW conversions, of course). I took the camera out, pointed and shot. I actually call it my professional P&S.

Vision

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Kevin Knapp Forum Member • Posts: 86
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

Gail,

Having had an S90 and now an S100 (just like you), I would NOT recommend this camera series for a casual point and shooter. Though I consider them to be among the finest P&S cameras ever made, you need to play with the camera settings to coax out their best results - they will often underwhelm when left on "auto". For someone who will only be taking pictures using the automatic setting, I'd recommend whatever the latest and greatest Elph is...

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brobar Contributing Member • Posts: 506
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

I think it makes an excellent camera for the Point-&-Shooter... however if that is the only way it would be used then I feel the money could be better spent elsewhere. I really dig into the manual settings (half the time) to fine-tune the settings just to my liking to get that image just like I want it... then tweak it in PS if I need to. My wife on the other hand grabs my S100 and takes it with her to parties or get-together and leaves it strictly on Auto mode and couldn't be happier with the results. She LOVES that camera and never ever takes it out of Auto. So she would say it makes a great little p&s camera.

If I were going to purchase a camera for her specifically for the purpose of p&s... I wouldn't purchase the S100... because all of those great features along with RAW and manual modes would just go to waste. At today's $230 price for the S95... I would say that price would be a no brainer... even if the RAW and manual features went to waste by not being used.

Long story short... I think it would make a point & shooter (like my wife) extremely happy... but it is a ton of money to spend on features that really aren't being used by your typical point & shooter.

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-Brock
A few of my images: http://www.brockbarnes.com

PC Wheeler
PC Wheeler Forum Pro • Posts: 17,875
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

gail wrote:

Based on my personal experience plus what I've read in these forums and user reviews at venues such as Amazon, I'm not convinced that the S100 is really suitable for point-and-shooters or those who are unable, or unwilling, to post process images.

A provocative statement, Gail. But perhaps not so much. I do think of the S90/95/100 as "enthusiast" cameras and most users in that category will pay attention to settings and do some post processing. I tend to think of myself as using my "bigger" cameras -- the m4/3s and DSLRs with interchangeable lenses -- most often in a point-and-shoot mode (typically P mode) than using A mode to optimize shots for a lens' characteristics. I guess I use the S100 when I don't feel like carrying a more bulky camera -- or where one is verboten -- vs. thinking that I'm now using a less capable P&S camera.

If the S100 etc. work well in the A mode, it should be suitable to point-and-shooters, though a waste of money if that's all they use it for. They might be better off with a lesser camera, or even with something like the SX230HS which provides more reach.

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Phil

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aeneon Senior Member • Posts: 1,111
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

Hi gail

I dont think the S90 S95 or S100 is really suitable for those unwilling to spend time to learn and master the settings and controls , i mean its a lot of camera and a lot of control in a small body and you can probably imagine it being left on auto for some and thinking to yourself " oh what a waste" I feel for those who dont want to learn and master the higher end compacts and discover what they offer, that there are easier p&s's to suit them and that they'll get as much pleasure from them to. Also you pay extra for the RAW features to, why bother if you dont intend using it. I always shoot RAW but lots dont.

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geepondy Senior Member • Posts: 1,970
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

Without owning the camera, based solely on what I've read about the camera here, convinced two casual users who for some reason slightly value my opinion, to buy S230s. I knew the extent of the their digital editing would pretty much be what Picasa or other basic editing programs offered. I've been very pleased with the S100's raw performance but agree with others in that the default jpg output is rather blah, at a minimum in serious need of a contrast boost. Wonder why Canon picked this jpg path rather then the punchier jpg output of the S95?

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VisionLight
VisionLight Veteran Member • Posts: 4,686
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

geepondy wrote:

Without owning the camera, based solely on what I've read about the camera here . . .I've been very pleased with the S100's raw performance but agree with others in that the default jpg output is rather blah, at a minimum in serious need of a contrast boost. Wonder why Canon picked this jpg path rather then the punchier jpg output of the S95?

I was just wondering if you thought the images in my post above were "rather blah, at a minimum in serious need of a contrast boost." They are straight from the camera JPGs taken at the camera's default settings with absolutely NO post processing. The images were shot in dual RAW/Lfine JPEG mode and the DPP default and ACR6.6 conversions are in my gallery (note: ACR was only adjusted for camera lens and camera standard to equal DPP). On my 30-bit, fully calibrated monitor, I see no difference between the straight JPG and the DPP RAW default conversion, side by side at 100%. Did a second side-by-side test on my other 30-bit fully calibrated monitor at 400%. Still saw no difference. Remember, most people do not have professional monitors that are maintained at proper calibration and are viewed at the correct ambient room luminance. Nor do most people use color corrected software to analyse their output. The typical 18-bit or even 24-bit consumer monitor may not be the best equipment to make decisions on, but it is what almost all consumer reviews are based on.

This test alone gave me the confidence that I didn't always have to shoot RAW with the S100 to get the results I seek.

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PanaNewbie Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

Well for me, wanting the best quality from a P&S, spending $250 vs. $500 is a non issue. I'll spend $600 for the Fuji X10 if need be, but I just don't have the time or desire to learn about shutter priority, +1EV, etc. I mean I can handle forcing the flash off, or picking a higher ISO in auto mode but that's about it.

The S100 will take better pics than the SX230 for example, especially in low light / high ISO so I value that over zoom range, so I'd be one of the people who waste a camera and get looked down upon by RAW shooters, but I don't care.

The only unnerving thing about the S100 is how... I dunno... violent (if that's the right word) the arguments are over it. You either love it or hate it, very polarizing model that people are going out of their way to trash it w/o ever owning it or seeing it, and the people (gail, paul, et al) loving it (probably because they know how to fine tune things). Still have a while before our next family trip so can still sit back and wait for an XZ-2, LX-6, Fuji X11, Canon S105 which may be the holy grail of all cameras

aeneon wrote:

Hi gail

I dont think the S90 S95 or S100 is really suitable for those unwilling to spend time to learn and master the settings and controls , i mean its a lot of camera and a lot of control in a small body and you can probably imagine it being left on auto for some and thinking to yourself " oh what a waste" I feel for those who dont want to learn and master the higher end compacts and discover what they offer, that there are easier p&s's to suit them and that they'll get as much pleasure from them to. Also you pay extra for the RAW features to, why bother if you dont intend using it. I always shoot RAW but lots dont.

PanaNewbie Regular Member • Posts: 300
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

Is P-Mode something that is set once, and that's it? Eg; you set some things + or -

and then just shoot in P mode as your new auto mode? Would that initial setup then work for sunny outdoors, indoor low-light, etc?

Or do you have to change P-mode for each different situation?

OP (unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 14,097
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

PanaNewbie wrote:

That's what I'm struggling with right now... I'm willing to pay whatever, for the best P&S camera. I am reading the S100 makes bad auto decisions, people suggesting to +1 this and -1 that, etc etc.

A number of the negative s100 users reviews I've read were made by those who use full auto mode. My guess is that poorly focused images resulted from using the multi-point or tracking autofocus. As far as I can tell, you can't switch to single area focus in Full Auto so you have little control where the camera focuses, which can be very important especially when taking photos in low light.

I don't use Full Auto mode, only tested it a few times on the S100. I prefer Full Auto mode on the S90. But you need to get feedback from those who primarily use Full Auto with the s100.

I use PMode 90% of the time and, as soon as I get a camera, switch it to single area focus.
--
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My Canon S100 Blog: http://www.digicamhelp.com/topics/camera-logs/canon-s100/

OP (unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 14,097
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

Vision, nicely expressed. I feel the same way you do.
--
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OP (unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 14,097
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

Kevin Knapp wrote:

Gail,

Having had an S90 and now an S100 (just like you), I would NOT recommend this camera series for a casual point and shooter.

you need to play with the camera settings to coax out their best results -

I agree. I also think some photos are in need of post-processing to bring out the best results.
--
My S100 Galleries ~ http://www.pbase.com/gailb/canon_s100
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keeponkeepingon Senior Member • Posts: 1,424
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

How about a 500HS (as low as $150) or the Nikon P300 ($269 ranked above the S95 by consumer reports)?

Both have most of the features of the S100 (including a fast lens) but they are lacking the manual controls and larger sensor.....

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OP (unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 14,097
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

PC Wheeler wrote:

While I know Program Mode is technically an automatic mode, it is far more flexible than a pure auto mode that does all the "thinking" for you.

In P Mode, you can change several settings such as Focus and Image Stabilization; Exposure Compensation and Flash Compensation. Heck, as far as I can tell, you can't even change white balance in Full Auto mode. The S100 Auto white balance is very, very good but there are times it really does need to be manually changed.

In P Mode you can use AE Lock, that lets you change the shutter speed and aperture value combination. All these options give the photographer a lot more control than Full Auto.

OP (unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 14,097
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

brobar wrote:

Long story short... I think it would make a point & shooter (like my wife) extremely happy... but it is a ton of money to spend on features that really aren't being used by your typical point & shooter.

Good points.

I owned the Canon SD4000 for some time (but returned it after finding a lens defect that was not initially apparent because it only showed up when shooting a totally solid area). I so enjoyed the camera, ease of use and image quality. It was almost half the price of my S90. I decided not to get a replacement because, to be honest, I like the sophistication offered by cameras like the s90/95/100.

Still, in my limited experience (and I defer to people like your wife), I find the S100 Full Auto mode a bit finicky.

syswalla Junior Member • Posts: 26
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

It's information like this that keeps me coming back to this forum. While I have a darn good monitor, I don't have it calibrated and probably won't make the time or investment to do so any time soon. However, I appreciate those that do and share their information with the rest of us more casual enthusiasts.

Thanks for passing this along VisionLight.

VisionLight wrote:

I was just wondering if you thought the images in my post above were "rather blah, at a minimum in serious need of a contrast boost." They are straight from the camera JPGs taken at the camera's default settings with absolutely NO post processing. The images were shot in dual RAW/Lfine JPEG mode and the DPP default and ACR6.6 conversions are in my gallery (note: ACR was only adjusted for camera lens and camera standard to equal DPP). On my 30-bit, fully calibrated monitor, I see no difference between the straight JPG and the DPP RAW default conversion, side by side at 100%. Did a second side-by-side test on my other 30-bit fully calibrated monitor at 400%. Still saw no difference. Remember, most people do not have professional monitors that are maintained at proper calibration and are viewed at the correct ambient room luminance. Nor do most people use color corrected software to analyse their output. The typical 18-bit or even 24-bit consumer monitor may not be the best equipment to make decisions on, but it is what almost all consumer reviews are based on.

This test alone gave me the confidence that I didn't always have to shoot RAW with the S100 to get the results I seek.

OP (unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 14,097
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

aeneon wrote:

I always shoot RAW but lots dont.

I almost never shoot RAW.

I especially like the jpeg quality from Canon cameras like the S90 and S100 that I've owned; (and even the SD4000) in both good and low light. They edit nicely for my needs.

OP (unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 14,097
Re: S100: for the Point-&-Shooter, or not?

geepondy wrote:

but agree with others in that the default jpg output is rather blah, at a minimum in serious need of a contrast boost. Wonder why Canon picked this jpg path rather then the punchier jpg output of the S95?

My S90 has slightly punchier colors too. But the s100 jpegs can easily be made punchier by tweaking the My Custom Color setting. I believe it was Steve's Digicam's review that said they can be tweaked to look the same as jpegs out of the s95.

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