Aimed squarely at the serious photography enthusiast, the new Canon PowerShot S110 aspires to build on the success of its original ancestor - the pioneering Canon S90 - bringing with it a host of updated and new features.

Canon has bestowed the new compact camera with a freshly designed high-sensitivity 12.1MP 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor, latest generation Digic 5 processor, 0.2 second autofocus acquisition and a 3-inch capacitive touchscreen with a resolution of 460,000 dots.

Canon PowerShot S110 review

It also boasts a newly expanded sensitivity range that tops out at ISO 12800 at full resolution, plus 1080p HD movie recording, raw file support, 10fps continuous shooting and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Owners of the Canon PowerShot S110's immediate predecessor - the Canon PowerShot S100 - may be disappointed that the new camera sacrifices built-in GPS functionality, but it's still possible to geotag your photos by syncing with a GPS-enabled smartphone.

Canon PowerShot S110 review

On paper, the Canon S110 certainly looks like a decent all-rounder. However, with recent launches such as the Sony RX100 and Fuji X-F1 - both of which boast larger, higher-resolution sensors - whether it offers enough to stay ahead of the game remains yet to be seen.

The Canon PowerShot S110 has a full price of £429.99/AU$549/US$449.99, putting it up against its sibling the Canon SX50 HS and rivals including the Nikon P7700 and Panasonic LX7.

Build quality and handling

As we've come to expect from cameras occupying the upper echelons of the Canon PowerShot range, the new Canon PowerShot S110 is robust in its construction, boasting a lightweight, compact body that retains the good looks and user-friendly styling of the Canon S100.

Available in classic black or a contemporary white finish, the innovative newcomer improves further upon the petite dimensions of the model it replaces, with a slimmer profile that enhances its pocketability.

Canon PowerShot S110 review

The Canon S110 also carries over some key features such its ancestor's 5x optical zoom lens, which offers a focal range that's equivalent to 24-120mm on a 35mm camera.

At the wide-angle end of the range the lens offers a fast maximum aperture of f/2.0, however this drops to a somewhat disappointing f/5.9 at the telephoto end. Otherwise, the Digic 5 processor that proved its mettle in the Canon S100 makes a repeat appearance, delivering snappy start-up and shot-to-shot times, as well as fast raw file recording and more besides.

Canon PowerShot S110 review

The placement of the controls on the Canon S110 is identical to that on the Canon S100, with a comprehensive range of no-nonsense buttons and dials that combine to offer a simple and pleasurable operating experience.

One minor criticism is the lack of grip on the front of the camera - which is perfectly smooth aside from a lightly textured Canon decal - making it somewhat slippery in the hand.

Canon PowerShot S110 review

The overall design and layout of the controls leaves little room for complaint. There's a handy one-touch recording button for capturing Full HD movies at a moment's notice, a rotating control dial around the four-way d-pad (which also offers shortcuts to key functions) plus the much-loved customisable control dial surrounding the lens on the front of the camera.

The top panel plays host to a well-stocked mode dial, with the full range of manual exposure modes available for more advanced users, plus a customisable slot to store your own unique combination of settings.

Canon PowerShot S110 review

Beginners are also catered for with the camera's Auto mode, together with a bank of user-selectable scene modes, Movie Digest and a further slot for the previously mentioned HD movie recording options.

There's also a position on the dial dedicated to Canon's popular Creative Filters, which enable you to imbue your shots with a range of special effects in-camera.

Canon PowerShot S110 review

The filters available include HDR, Nostalgic, Fish Eye, Miniature, Toy Camera, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent and Color Swap - each of which produces its own distinctive look.

All of these measures - coupled with the time-saving quick on-screen menus that can be called up using the Function button in the centre of the d-pad - add up to a slick shooting experience that makes the Canon S110 a real pleasure to use.