Predictably with 14 million effective pixels on a 1/2.3 in CCD sensor, the loss of the detail at the highest setting means ISO 3200 is best avoided, but the camera does not disgrace itself at all. In fact, even though the impact of the noise reduction algorithm is clearly visible in ISO 400 images when they are viewed at 100% on the computer screen, at more sensible printing sizes, the results look very good.

At the lower settings the images make superb A3 prints, though some details occasionally look a little oversharpened.

In good light the lens focuses quickly and the Subject Tracking system does a good job of following moving subjects, provided they don't move too quickly. The macro facility is a little disappointing with a closest focus of 10cm, so this isn't the camera for snapping small details. As light levels fall the AF system starts to struggle a little, especially with subjects close to or within the macro range.

While there is a selection of white balance options, the auto mode does an excellent job in a range of conditions, though it can make images a little warm in direct sunlight, and images from the S3100 are vibrant and attractive.


Head of Testing, Cameras

Angela (Twitter, Google+, website) is head of testing for Future's photography portfolio, writing and overseeing reviews of photographic equipment for Digital Camera, Photography Week, PhotoPlus, NPhoto and Practical Photoshop as well as TechRadar's cameras channel. Angela has a degree in photography and multimedia and prior to joining Future in October 2010 was Amateur Photographer magazine's technical editor.