Canon S100 review

A sexy GPS-enabled, high-end compact

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  • Great build quality
  • Responsive GPS system
  • Superb image quality – particularly when shooting raw
  • Excellent manual control over settings
  • Very impressive performance at high ISOs


  • Launch price is a little steep
  • Limited control over the built-in flash
  • Some features aren't as easily accessible as we'd like

With a growing demand for ever-smaller, more sophisticated digital cameras, camera manufacturers have to push the boundaries to vie for consumers' hard-earned cash.

When it comes to developing high-end compacts, Canon usually succeeds in coming up trumps. That said, with a threat on the horizon in the shape of the latest highly specified compact system cameras (CSCs), camera manufacturers have to make their advanced compacts work harder than ever to win customers.

To that end, Canon has gone all-out when developing the replacement for the older PowerShot S95. The new PowerShot S100 – incorporating a 12.1Mp, 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor, 24-120mm (35mm equivalent) zoom lens, the latest DIGIC 5 processor and GPS functionality – is a fully-featured compact that's aimed at advanced enthusiasts.

Compared to its predecessor, the S100 has undergone some radical changes, sporting a completely revamped feature set. The camera's sensor is the same size as the one in the S95, but the CCD has been swapped for a CMOS, and the resolution has been ramped up to 12.1Mp (maximum image size is 4,000x3,000 pixels), compared to the S95's 10Mp (3,648x2,756).

The processor has been upgraded from DIGIC 4 to the latest DIGIC 5 version, promising increased speed and better image quality. The ISO sensitivity range on offer from the new model has also been extended to cover ISO80-6400, whereas the S95 topped out at ISO3200. The S100 retains the ability to shoot raw files, and it offers a speedier default burst mode – 2.3fps compared to 0.9fps – as well as a new High-speed Burst HQ mode that can capture up to eight full-resolution shots at a rate of 9.6fps.

Canon s100 review

Further new additions include a closer-focusing 3cm macro mode (improved from 5cm on the S95), plus the new ability to shoot Full HD 1,920x1,080 video at 24fps with stereo sound: an improvement over the old model's 720p recording. So there's plenty of new functionality to explore, but has Canon succeeded in taking the lead in the competitive advanced compact sector of the market? Read on to discover how much of a difference these changes make to the S100's real-world performance.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Green CompliantYes
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution12.1 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilyPowerShot S
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom5x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameCanon
FeaturesSelf-timer, Face Detection, Wink Detection, Smart Capture, Smile Detection, Continuous Shooting Mode, Orientation Sensor
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsMPEG-4, QuickTime MOV
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)173 g
Green Compliance Certificate/AuthorityRoHS, WEEE, REACH, ENERGY STAR
Image Sensor Size1/1.7" (7.60 mm x 5.70 mm)
Maximum Image Resolution4000 x 3000
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height59.8 mm
Width98.9 mm
Depth26.7 mm
Product SeriesS
Focal Length5.20 mm to 26 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product ModelS100
Product NamePowerShot S100 Compact Camera
Product LinePowerShot
Exposure Control
  • Program AE
  • Aperture Priority AE
  • Shutter Priority AE
  • Manual
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part Number5244B009
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The PowerShot S100 uses Canon EOS sensor know-how and the latest Digic 5 processor to deliver exceptional images even in low light. With an f/2.0 lens, RAW and GPS this is an expert compact with impact.

Package Contents
  • PowerShot S100 Compact Camera
  • Battery Pack NB-5L (with Terminal Cover)
  • Battery Charger CB-2LX/CB-2LXE
  • Interface Cable IFC-400PCU
  • Wrist Strap WS-DC11
  • Getting Started
  • Software Disk
  • Warranty Card
Limited Warranty1 Year