Canon S100

My Canon S100 camera settings

Written by Digicamhelp Editor

The first thing I do when getting a new digital camera is change many of the factory default settings. Here are my settings for the Canon S100.

The first thing I do when getting a new digital camera is change several of the factory default settings. After years using digital cameras, I’ve found some settings are more effective than those preselected by the manufacturer. It’s important to experiment and find the most suitable “default” settings for you, which can be tweaked according to the subject and lighting.

Generally, I keep my s100 settings as follows:

  • Shooting mode: P or Aperture priority mode
  • Focus – Single Area (gives me control of where the camera focuses)
  • Auto Focus frame — Center, normal size
  • Flexizone: Activate when needed [What is FlexiZone?]
  • Metering — Evaluative
  • Image Stabilization: Shoot Only
  • Sensitivity – Auto ISO
  • Max ISO speed (when in Auto ISO mode): 1600
  • ISO rate of change: Normal
  • High ISO Noise Reduction: Low
  • My Custom Colorsdecrease  skin tone and blue by one notch. All other settings are left at factory default. See sharpness settings below.**
  • Dynamic range correction (i-Contrast): OFF – Use with caution and watch the ISO settings when using i-Contrast. Depending on which of the three settings are uses, noise may appear in images even when taken outside in bright light.
  • Exposure Compensation: Zero to -1/3 EC for bright scenes. Increase or decrease when needed.
  • Control ring – assigned to Exposure Compensation
  • Ring/Func button – ISO
  • Flash – OFF
  • Red-eye mode — OFF
  • Digital Zoom — OFF
  • LCD Review – OFF
  • GPS – OFF! (read why)

Note: if a function isn’t listed, it’s kept at the factory default. However certain functions are listed even though they are kept at the camera default. This is to help camera owners become aware of certain advanced functions that may get overlooked.

** If you want to increase in-camera sharpness do so sparingly. A too high sharpness adjustment can cause sharpening artifacts, especially on the edges of items in a scene.

100% crop; ISO 320, Handheld. The the color shift is not due to sharpening but variation in lighting when photographing this particular scene. Click to enlarge.


  • Rich, the settings will be saved unless you reset the camera. They will stay the same when you use AV or TV mode, however, they will not be used when shooting in a scene or creative mode or Full Auto mode since the factory default settings for the the scene will over ride them. If you use certain settings a lot, they can be stored in C mode. It will even save the focal length of the lens when you saved those settings. Please check your manual about saving the settings for C mode.

  • Hello, thanks so much for posting this! I know it is dated, but im assuming its still valid.

    I am not a photographer by any means, I bought this camera because we are taking my child to Disney for the first time and i felt it was time for an upgrade.

    Anyhow .. I have made most of the changes you suggested, I do have some confusion though…

    Do the settings save automatically? Or do i need to often check them to see if they reset or something?

    Will I shoot with these settings only if i switch to “P” mode on the dial? I’m assuming if i switch back to Auto it will override all of these changes, is that correct?

    You mentioned “P” or “AV” .. will these settings be retained in both settings? Or do i need to make them again in AV mode and let them save?

    Thanks so much, sorry for elementary questions

  • Andre, good catch! Actually it wasn’t the increase in sharpness that changed the background light. I forgot to point out that I was in a doctors office. When a person moved away from the reception desk, it added more artificial lighting onto the scene that, in the instant the shot was taken, changed the color.

    You should have no color changes when increasing sharpening, except certain edges may look lighter. Take some test shots until you find the sharpening level that’s satisfactory to you. I prefer to sharpen my own images when editing, but not everyone does.

    Sounds like you’re having fun with your new S100. Congratulations for trying a variety of settings. The more you become familiar with the new camera, the better. Thanks for sharing some of your findings.

  • Hi Gail,
    Thanks for your camera recommendation. I really like my new s100. I notice in your example, when you increase your sharpness, it also changes the color. Is it because of the sharpening or because the background light is changing? Do you think the color is still good/accurate enough cause i like to add my sharpening setting +2.

    I also tried i-contrast setting and shadow correction on (auto setting) for indoor shooting. It definetely makes everything brighter but pinkish, oversaturated and weird. The red is so extreme when the i-contrast is on. The only time i found i-contrast to be useful is when i took a portrait without flash with lots of shadow in the face. It helps a bit.

  • David, it wouldn’t hurt to switch out of Auto Mode and start using P Mode. One of the settings I change most is Exposure Compensation so if you’re unfamiliar with it, take some time learning about it. Every camera is different, and I’ve never owned an Olympus digital camera, but my guess is that many of the setting changes would apply. Especially get away from multi-area focus. When I get a new camera, I take hundreds of test photos to become familiar with the settings. I highly recommend you do the same before that special travel or backpacking trip. Digital cameras are so complex today; think about the types of photos you take and concentrate only on camera settings that will be useful for those types. Once you become comfortable with P Mode, you can venture out and try AV and TV modes. Enjoy your new camera!

  • Hi Gail,
    I am fairly new to doing more with my camera than just using auto and shooting. I just picked up an Oly EPL1 in hopes of doing a better job. I mostly use my cameras when traveling, backpacking etc. Should I set it up as per the settings you list above? Thanks.


  • One thing I’ve changed from your settings: the ring func button. The ring (in P mode) always has ISO at your fingertips if you push the up button and then turn the ring. So setting the ring func button to something else just gives you more options at your fingertips. White Balance and Self timer seem like better options (and keep from redundancy).

    For mid day shots, I also find -2/3 to -1 give better shots. But I’m in bright SoCal sun, so that may be different depending on where you shoot.

  • george, you can change the AF Frame size in the Menu setting. Click the menu button. The AF Frame size is found under the camera icon tab.

    To select Single Area Focus, hit the FUNC/SET button. Scroll to FlexiZone and select FlexiZone, which is set by default to have the focus area indicator in the center of the frame.

    For additional information about these (and other) settings, check the pdf manual that came with the camera.

  • Where are the following menu items, i cannot find them

    Focus – Single Area
    Auto Focus frame — Center, normal size

  • Michael, I’m not a RAW shooter; don’t personally like to process RAW files. However, if I’m photographing something really special, I may shoot RAW+JPEG and use the RAW file as a back-up. I use Photoshop CS3 and can often adjust White Balance with the Photo Filter adjustment layer.

  • Hi Gail; I take it that you don’t often use the RAW+Jpeg setting? Many of these settings are unavailable in RAW. I’ve just started to play with my s100 and am trying to decide if I should mess around with the RAW files or just go strait to the Jpegs.

  • Thanks, Julie.

    Thus far I’ve found my default settings that worked on the s90 for outside photos shouldn’t be assumed a given for the S100. Using minus Exposure Compensation on the S100 resulted in somewhat slightly under exposed images (easily corrected with a Levels Adjustment) but similar photos taken with the S90 were fine. For important photos, I’d bracket, either manually or automatically.

    I keep my camera set to Auto ISO most of the time. For the images you reference, the camera selected the amount of sensitivity. I’m sure different settings would have produced crisper looking images. I’ve only had the s100 a few days and it will take more time to become familiar with setting choices.

  • Hi Gail,
    I think I saw your early results elsewhere–thanks so much for both of these; I’m one of those very eager to try out this camera.

    My impression is that you may have found the settings that worked above with s90 (like exposure compensation) aren’t necessary–even decrease the quality–with s100. Do you think that’s the case?

    Also, weren’t many of your test photos in ISO 80 in somewhat dimmer light? Was there some reason you chose such a low ISO? I wonder if the test photos you shared (thanks again!) would have actually looked crisper with diff. exposure and ISO settings.

    Looking forward to more.

  • Hi Gail,
    Glad to see that you are the first to burst the S100 bubble.
    Good luck, I’ll be reading your info.
    William (wfjw)