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...
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.