Why I’m buying the Canon S100

I’m very excited about the new Canon PowerShot S100. Really. I am!

I had a love/hate relationship with the Canon S90: loved the image quality, size and external controls; hated the ergonomics, as did many others. My feelings about the ergonomics are widely known. It’s no point repeating them here.

I posted in a photo forum that I had pre-ordered the S100. It was no surprise that, almost immediately, someone replied:

“As I recall you were extremely critical of the S90’s ergonomics when it came out. I am quite surprised at your turn about. What changed your mind?”

My response:

“I haven’t turned about. Canon has.”

Indeed, the 12 megapixel S100 has sorely needed ergonomic improvements, albeit minimal, and includes several significant feature upgrades.

Ergonomics of the S100

Ergonomically, and thankfully, the camera now has a small finger grip on the front, as well as a decent thumb grip on the back. Both should help reduce the possibility of the camera sliding out of your hands.

According to Canon’s press release, the rear control dial is improved to prevent inadvertent changes to camera settings. This better be true, or I’ll return the camera! The control wheel on the S90 was like a nightmare for many of us.

Welcome S100 improvements

The S100 is powered by a new DIGIC V processor, which Canon says is faster, better in low light and renders colors more accurately than its predecessors. The camera captures images at eight frames per second when set to its new High-speed Burst HQ mode. In standard burst mode, the camera can shoot 2.3fps, almost double the speed of the s95.

Besides a new processor, Canon now incorporates a CMOS, rather than a CCD, sensor in the camera. The size of the sensor size remains the same (1/1.7”), still small compared to interchangeable lens cameras but larger than those found in most compact cameras. ISO now goes up to 6400. How it does at higher ISO numbers, remains to be seen.

5X, wide angle zoom

While the S100 retains its fast, F/2.0 lens at the widest angle, the zoom reach is wider and longer than previous models. It has a 24-120mm equivalent wide angle 5X zoom.

The S100 now shoots1080p HD video. And there is a dedicated video button. You can zoom  while recoding movies and the camera automatically adjusts focus. Many owners of the S90/95 longed for these features. For those who shoot a lot of video, they are welcome enhancements.

The S100 has other improvements as well. But, for most photo enthusiasts, image quality is what counts. Hopefully, the quality will live up to the hype typically found in press releases.

As soon as I receive my Canon S100, I’ll dig in and post a review.

Pre-order the Canon S100 at Amazon

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