UPDATED: Canon's S100 is a small, pocket-sized advanced compact that packs a larger than average 1/1.7in sensor, a 24-120mm zoom and full manual control. But with the advanced compact market more competitive than ever can the S100 still cut it a year after its launch? The What Digital Camera Canon PowerShot S100 review finds out...

Product Overview

Overall rating:


Canon PowerShot S100

Overall score:90%
Image Quality:90%


  • Front control ring, small size, GPS, image quality


  • No hotshoe or full flash control, expensive, AF-area buried in menu settings


Canon PowerShot S100 Review


Price as reviewed:



Canon PowerShot S100 review – Design

The S100’s small body is dressed in a textured finish as per the EOS 7D DSLR. This gives the camera a metallic-like, high quality feel that’s robust and, thanks to the front grip and rear thumb rest, easy and comfortable to hold.

While the PowerShot S100 may look like a standard compact in many respects, there’s a front control ring around the lens that can have a function assigned to it. In Auto mode, for example, it operates a step zoom to speedily jump between 24, 28, 35, 50, 85, 100 and 120mm with great proficiency (it’s very fast), while other modes have a ‘standard’ setting – aperture is altered in Aperture Priority; shutter in Shutter Priority; and ISO in Programme Auto. In any of the manual options pressing the ‘Ring Func.’ Button on the back of the camera reveals a list of options (ISO, Exposure Control, Focus, White Balance, Step Zoom, i-Contrast, Aspect Ratio and Custom) should you wish to re-assign the lens ring’s function. In combination with the rear rotational d-pad and main mode dial on top of the camera the S100 ensures that full, customiseable control is always at your fingertips.

While the S100 doesn’t have a viewfinder or hotshoe like its (much) bigger brother the Canon G12, the rear LCD is 3inches in size and has a 461k-dot resolution. As per all LCD screens brighter sunlight can make viewing difficult, yet Canon’s PureColor II G tempered glass outer layer means the S100 outperforms lesser compacts in this department.

A small pop-up flash provides some control though the ‘medium/maximum’ output doesn’t offer an accurate way of measuring fill flash and no hotshoe means no external flash control. We’d liked to have seen a full flash ability with proper fractional (1/1, 1/2, 1/4, etc.) power control, plus the ability to control external flashes and/or a hotshoe for mounting a more powerful ‘gun.


Video:1080p at 24fps, AVCHD output as MOV files
Memory Card:SD (HC/XC)
LCD:3in, 460k-dot
Sensor:12.1MP 1/1.7in CMOS
Other:24-120mm (5x) optical zoom lens with f/2.0-5.9 aperture, built-in ND filter (3 stops), DIGIC 5 processor (first Canon to feature this latest processing engine), GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) with position logging built-in, front and rear grips, textured finish, 2.3fps max burst mode
Metering System:Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (centre or linked to Face Detection AF or FlexiZone AF frame)
Exposure Modes:Smart Auto (32 scenes detected), Program AE (P), Shutter priority AE (S/Tv), Aperture priority AE (A/Av), Manual (M), Custom (C), Scene (SCN), HDR, Effects (Nostalgic, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap), Movie
Connectivity:mini HDMI, A/V out
Weight:198g approx
Flash Modes:Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Power:Rechargeable li-ion
Lens:24-120mm f/2.0-5.9
ISO Range:80-6400; Auto
Dimensions:98.9 x 59.8 x 26.7mm
File Formats:JPEG, Raw, Raw & JPEG
Shutter Speeds:15-1/2000th sec
White Balance:Auto (including Face Detection WB), 7 pre-sets, Custom, Multi-area WB correction available in Smart Auto
  1. 1. Canon PowerShot S100 review - Features
  2. 2. Performance
  3. 3. Image Quality
  4. 4. Value & Verdict
  5. 5. Design
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