Pocket point and shoot championship faceoff: Canon PowerShot S100 versus Canon PowerShot S110

Pocket point and shoot championship faceoff: Canon PowerShot S100 versus Canon PowerShot S110

If you’re looking for a Black Friday electronics purchase and don’t need a big-screen TV, it might be worth considering an upgrade to your point and shoot. As far as cameras small enough to fit in your shirt pocket, no one makes them better than Canon. Canon has just updated the amazing to the . We did a side by side comparison of the two to give you a perspective on whether it is worth the price for the newer model or you should take advantage of the great deals on the slightly older S100.

The model has changed, but the guts are the same

Inside the is very much like the it replaces. It has the same 12MP 1/1.7” sensor, the same DIGIC 5 image processor, and an equivalent 24-120mm (35mm equivalent) f/2 – f/5.9 lens. Controls are essentially identical also. Canon has also improved the digital zoom capability of the S110, but since digital zoom is the first thing I turn off when I get a camera, that isn’t of much use to me, or to anyone else who is buying it to capture high-fidelity Raw files.

Speaking of Raw files, The PowerShot superstars are without a doubt the best Raw file capture devices that can fit in a shirt pocket. With ISOs ranging up to 12,800 (for the S110 and 6400 for the S100) and clean, mid-resolution images (12MP), they’re an amazing blend of convenience, value, and functionality. Shutter lag has been improved (by 1/10 of a second). Curious about the higher ISO range on the S110, I wanted to know if that actually meant it was better in low light. From my test images, high ISO noise was just about identical on the two models for any specific ISO. So the higher ISO setting is a convenience if you need it, but doesn’t seem to reflect any better low-light image quality.

Both cameras are small – 2.3 x 3.9 x 1.1 inches for the S110 and weigh in at a fairly meager 7 ounces. They don’t compete with the tiny ELPH line for compactness, but if you want Raw files and potentially pro image quality, they’re as small as it gets. Note that I don’t expect cameras in this size to compete with the slightly larger breed (RX100, Lumix LX, Nikon 1, G15, PEN-3, etc.) If you want the ultimate small camera, those larger versions add features and performance, but if (like me) you have a DSLR for your main camera and want a second camera that fits in your shirt or hip pocket for use “in a pinch” the Canon PowerShots are a great option.

Canon PowerShot S110 adds WiFi and Touchscreen, loses GPS

For hunt and peck aficionados, the S110 adds a touch screen. Personally, I’m not really a fan of touchscreens on my cameras, as I’d rather be able to control them with my fingers, and without having to look down. That’s more of an issue with DSLRS – where the controls are adequate without using the menus. For point and shoots, there is certainly merit to the argument that touch is a quicker solution than navigating menus. I’m not convinced it is any faster, but it certainly saves novice users from having to remember which control moves the menu cursor which way. To make a long story short, I’m not willing to pay more for a touchscreen on my camera, but you may be.

The touch screen does offer touch focus, which I think is a pretty cool feature. Of course it is easiest to use when nothing much is moving in the frame, which is when it is easiest to focus, period. Some people will also miss the small rubber grip strip on the S100.

The S110 also adds WiFi capability. It is a fairly complete replacement for a direct-cable connection, but not very imaginative. I’ve written about it before, for the way its WU series adapters work. Canon uses a fairly cumbersome track logging approach over the WiFi connection to a smartphone to replace the native GPS functionality in the S100. That’s frankly a real shame. GPS should be getting added to more phones, not taken out of them, and the smartphone replacement is awkward and requires draining the battery on your smartphone just in case you want to use your camera. Personally, I’d vote to trade back and get GPS, even if it means giving up the fairly pedestrian WiFi interface.

My Vote: Get a while you can

If you haven’t already invested in a modern, high-end point and shoot like the Lumix-LX5 or LX7, the , or the Canon PowerShot S95 or , I’d get the S100 for the great bargain it is (its now down to under $320) and save yourself $130 over the . In fact I did, and so far I’m quite happy.