on November 4, 2011
I owned five Powershot S Series (s30,s50,s60,s80,s90) cameras prior to purchasing the s100. I took close to 100,000 photos with my s90 in the two years that I owned it. I am a semi-professional photographer that owns multiple Canon EOS DSLR cameras with L lenses.
First off, I don't think it's fair to compare the s100 to DSLRs, APS-C, Four Thirds cameras. These large sensor cameras are in another class and even my really old Canon 10D with 6MPs will at low ISO have better image quality than the s100. If you don't mind a larger camera that is not pocketable and are willing to spend more, the s100 is not the best camera for you. For example, the Sony NEX-5N will give superior results to the s100 in nearly all situations.
The s90, s95 and now s100 are all unique in that the are truly pocketable--all the competitors are too large for pant pockets (Panasonic LX5, Olympus XZ-1, FujiFilm X10). Some of these cameras are quite good and all of them provide faster lenses across the zoom range (the s100's size precludes a faster zoom lens). But none of these competitors are comfortably pocketable--this means that the s100 has practically no competition for it's size as a truely pocketable semi-pro camera.
If you don't need the manual control, the Canon 300HS will also take great pictures for less than half the price in a smaller/slimmer camera body. The s100 does have a great AUTO mode and multiple Scene modes which in most situations does an excellent job. But shooting both the s100 and 300HS in AUTO will lead to very similar results. The s100 differentiates itself by providing excellent manual control and the ability to shoot RAW images.
Now if you are someone that wants pant pocketable camera with excellent manual controls and image quality, the s100 is very hard to beat. I take ten times more shots with my s100 than my DSLRs because I ALWAYS have it with me.
If you already have a s90 or s95, there is little need to upgrade to the s100 immediately. The s100 has some worthy upgrades (24mm, GPS, better designed body) but the image quality is near identical to the s95/s90. My s90 took many falls and goo in an airplane pocket killed the flash otherwise i'd stay with the s90. I have now taken close to 1500 photos with the s100 and here are my experiences of it's pros and cons:
* The s100 is cleaner at high ISO (eg 1600 and above) but the difference isn't as substantial as Canon claims (for low ISO, there is no difference in noise)
* s100 is even slimmer than the s95 which is was already quite pocketable
* GPS is a great addition and quite accurate most of the time
* rough texture finish makes the camera easier to hold and also looks great
* rubber grips make camera easier to hold but don't expect miracles
* mirror like shutter button is easier to find especially given the removal of the func button from the top of the camera
* back wheel now has the perfect resistance and feedback
* the delete button is not on the dial so I can finally delete while viewing a zoomed in on an image!!!
* lens zooms very quickly (sometimes too quickly to get accurate zoom)
* fast shutter speed (in fact in Continuous drive mode it is very difficult to take one photo--always get two photos and I am fairly fast releasing the shutter button--an additional slower Continuous mode option would have been helpful)
* 8 shots in a second is a handy feature to have though not often used (limited to 8 shots and then have to wait for the photos to be written to the card)
* 24mm wide-angle is very useful for indoor photography
* lens is sharper across zoom range than the s90--with sharper corners (people have reported variation in the sharpness of the lens on early models)
* ability to control max ISO and ISO selection criteria for Auto ISO
* dynamic range correction works well
* dedicated movie recording button
* 1080p video recording (much better resolution but not as good low light capture than s90&s95 but can't match Sony HX-9V)
* can zoom while recording video with minimal noise
* all Canons Point&Shoots have slower focus especially in the dark. The s100 is comparable or slightly slower than the s90. Fuji and Sony have made strides to provide faster focus and I hope Canon follows. Set shortcut button to Focus-lock to pre-focus--once focus is locked the s100 is really fast
* NIGHT PHOTOGRAPHERS: a major con for me is that the s100 is locked to ISO80 for shutter speeds over 1sec. May not matter to most people but I loved shooting 15sec ISO400 shots with my s90
* The display does not brighten as much in a dark room making composition more difficult. The s90 shows a very grainy but bright image in a near dark room where the s100's display is very dark (also if multiple shots are taken with the shutter button half pressed the display is darker for the subsequent shots)
* The s100 is better in high-ISO short shutter speed situations but the s90 is better for long shutter speed photography
* Auto mode is limited to 1/8 (have to switch to P mode if you don't want to use a flash in a dim room)
* HDR requires a tripod because camera does not align images (given the tech Canon really should auto-align the images).
* battery life slightly worse than s90 (buy a second battery--I had three for my s90)
* fast zoom with steps sometimes makes it difficult to get the exact zoom desired
* Movies are great in well-lit areas but have a lot less gain than the s90 resulting in hi-res but darker movies
* Sony's panoramics are fantastic and Canon is still using same approach as it did in the s30 in 2001!
* always open flash if it is needed before handing the camera to anyone else. Everyone initially presses down on the flash resulting in a flash error.
* price but you get what you pay for
UPDATE 03/25/2012: Had to call Canon Support for the first time in a decade (lens error on s100). Discovered, that you have to pay to mail back the camera to their facility in Virginia and be without a camera and wait 2 weeks to get it back. Maybe I have been spoiled by the excellent warranty Amazon provides for it's products.
UPDATE 05/31/2012: My Canon Service Center experience was much better than I expected. They kept me informed on each step of the process and got the camera back to me within a week. Yes, I had to pay to mail the camera to Canon and be without the camera for a week but the overall experience was excellent. (Have taken over 12,000 photos with S100 and still love it).
SONY RX100 Announcement 06/05/2012: Sony has just announced what I consider to be the first pocketable camera that delivers better features and image quality than the Canon S95/S100. The only major con against the RX100 is that it costs $650. For that price you get a larger sensor, better iso performance, better video, much better auto focus, better features, ect. If price is not a concern the RX100 which will be released in July is the best pocketable camera to get based on early impressions of reviews and image quality comparisons. Sony DSC-RX100 20.2 MP Exmor CMOS Sensor Digital Camera with 3.6x Zoom
UPDATE 09/18/2012: The Canon S110 was announced yesterday and is mostly unchanged from the S100 with the following notable changes: Wi-fi functionality, touchscreen, GPS functionality removed, presumably faster focus. Will cost $450.
I will soon update this review to update it based on the options available today since there have been a number of changes in this camera segment in the last year.
on November 3, 2011
At the time of this writing the S100 was just released. I recently bought the S95 on the recommendation of a friend who is an avid photographer, thinking the S100 would not be released until much later. The S100 just started showing up in stores so I bought it as well, intending to return one of the cameras. So I had the opportunity to compare them both!
To preface, I'm an intermediate level photographer, and it is just a hobby. I do own a DSLR, but it is one of the lower end models in the DSLR world. Still, I have become comfortable with manual adjustments and own a few lenses for it. However the majority of my pictures end up being taken with the camera most conveniently at hand (iPhone), and in this case I was looking for something that could offer a big step up in image quality without having to carry the larger DSLR.
Both the S95 and S100 are excellent cameras. However, there are key points about the S100 that give it the advantage. The rubber grips on the front and back are excellent. The flash pops up on both the S95/S100 where you would naturally place your left hand. Having the rubber grips for your right hand allows this to be a one-handed camera, or at least allows better support with the right hand since the left hand may not be able to rest where it feels most natural, which for me tends to involve a finger resting on top of the flash. This is an issue for both the S95 and S100, but the S100 mitigates it by having better support for the right hand - the rubber grips and better shutter button position. More on that next.
The shutter button is larger on the S100. This feels more natural and easier to access. Also the position of the shutter button has been moved more towards the right edge. It may seem small but this is a big improvement. If you have shorter fingers you may find it more difficult to naturally reach the shutter button on the S95 than the S100. The shutter button on the S95 is just a bit too far from the right edge for my taste, making it a bit difficult to reach when bending your shooting finger to press the button. Canon certainly recognized that as evidenced by the new location of the shutter button on the S100.
The buttons on the rear of the camera have been changed, including having a single-press button to start shooting a video. This is great since most videos for me involve catching fleeting moments of my kids in action. On the S95 you need to turn the mode selection dial to movie mode first. Regarding video, the S100 also allows zooming in/out while shooting a movie. As I understand it, the S95 did not allow that.
The processor has been upgraded and the S100 does feel slightly faster because of it when navigating through menus.
I took comparison shots in my home using both cameras and I found a slight advantage for the S100 in terms of image quality. There was a bit more detail using the S100, but honestly it wasn't significant. Still, in my head-to-head tests the S100 was the winner.
For me the main difference is in terms of the user interface. The button layout is better on the S100 and the addition of the grips is helpful. This camera feels easier to shoot because of this. This may seem small, but all of these button layout changes and grip additions add up to a camera that overall is more convenient for me to shoot. That's why I chose the S100. This is, after all, my camera of convenience.
The only downside I found for the S100 is that it is priced higher than the S95.
If you are on a budget and tried the S95 and like how it feels, then get it. You will be very happy with it! The pictures were very similar in quality between the two, and the S95 is a high quality camera. Everything about it mechanically boasts of durability and quality. But if the price difference is not an issue then I recommend the S100.
on April 15, 2012
I began getting a lens error. This disables the camera from taking photos. At first, it was very infrequent and intermittent, but got worse. It didn't gradually get worse, but in giant leaps. I returned it to Canon for repair. They sent it back saying it was fixed. It worked for one day, then the lens error came back 100% of the time, worse than ever. I sent it back asking for a new one, but the Canon rep said that they had to look at it first. Now, I have to wait a couple more weeks. My expectations of Canon product and service quality were definitely not met.
UPDATE May 4, 2012: I got it back. It took 2 1/2 weeks. I popped in the battery and SD card, powered up and guess what... lens error. Lens stuck in the open position. Took out the battery, put it back in and powered up again. Problem gone. Turned it off and on about a dozen times. Still no problems. Took out the battery, put it back in and powered up again. Turned it off and on a few more times. No problems. But that initial lens error gives me absolutely no confidence that the problem will not come back.
UPDATE May 5, 2012: LENS ERROR. AUGH!!!
UPDATE: May 24, 2012: A couple weeks ago, I sent my camera in to the Canon service center for the 3rd time. I wrote a detailed description of the problem and requested that the technician contact me when making the repair. Also called and emailed customer support explaining how frustrating this problem is and I wanted to make sure that they took extra care in repairing this camera. No contact from the technician. Received camera yesterday. Turned it on this morning, worked fine. Turned it on this afternoon. LENS ERROR! Turned it on tonight, LENS ERROR again.
UPDATE June 1, 2012: I returned the camera (for the 4th time). This time, Canon shipped me a new unit and I received it yesterday. This morning, it worked perfectly. I'll use it for a month and post an update.
UPDATE July 9, 2012: So far so good. NO lens error. It turns out that that the camera that I had originally had a serial number that Canon stated was susceptible to lens error, especially in hot humid environments like where I live. With that said, the photos are excellent for a compact camera. I especially like the color and clarity. Excellent good low light capabilities (again, for a compact camera). I've even used the video and found it to be very good. I am very pleased with the replacement camera, but I'm leaving the rating at one star so that people are aware that there is a series of serial numbers to avoid (1st 2 digits beginning with 29 through 41).
on November 3, 2011
This camera, in my opinion, isn't nearly as good as the s95. However, it does have its positives, namely its user interface, wide angle lens and aesthetics.
A very surprising positive for this item, is the user interface, specifically the button layout on the back of the unit. Canon reduced the total number of buttons and moved them around. Shockingly, I immediately adjusted to the new layout and found it very hard to return the unit, mostly due to the buttons' ease. After years of Canon's old layout, I am still amazed that I adjusted in less than a week to the new layout.
The unit also features a rear thumb rest and front grip, combined with a less slick and more textured finish, the unit feels much better in your hand than the s95 ever did.
The s100 features a 24mm lens vs. the 28mm lens of the s95. That is a huge improvement in wide angle shooting and creating more life-like scenes.
Unfortunately, that's where the good ends on this camera. For me, the biggest issue is the awful white balance of this unit. As we all know, a big selling point of this point and shoot, is the 'bright' f/2.0 aperture lens. The s95 absolutely excels in low light shots, creating nearly 'professional' quality photos. I took a series of low/ambient light shots with both cameras on the same settings, under the same conditions and the results were absolutely night and day. The shots with the s95 came out bright and light, the s100 shots came out orange and dark. With a huge adjustment to the white balance, the s100 shots looked ALMOST as good as the s95 shots. When viewed on a monitor at 100% the shots lost a large amount of clarity and contrast.
Canon 'upgraded' the CCD sensor of the s95 to a CMOS sensor. Apparently they've never heard the phrase 'if it's not broken, don't fix it.' Also, if you zoom to 28mm, the aperture goes to f/2.2, which is 'dimmer' than the s95 at 28mm.
With these gripes aside, the s100 is still a solid performer. It just isn't an improvement over the s95. The bottom line is that the aesthetic improvements and wide angle lens do not make up for the white balance/darkness issues when shooting in low/ambient light. Canon, you messed up on this one.
on June 9, 2012
I've been a big Canon lover over the years. I've had 4 DSLR's and some pocket size cameras like the S95 and now the S100. Loved the S95. When the S100 arrived at our house, we were very excited to test it out during a trip to Las Vegas. After a few pictures in Vegas, my wife started to get Lens errors. (I checked on Google and learned that a lot of people were getting these errors). No problem, I thought, everyone gets a bad piece of electronics every once in a while....and I've had good luck with Canon I sent the S100 to Canon for repair. It took about 3 weeks from the time I sent it to them until the time I got it back. They claimed they replaced the optics and it was a warranty repair. My wife and I started taking a few pictures. We got about 10 pictures in with the "Repaired Camera", when we started seeing the SAME Lens Error!! Very frustrating. The S100 has been re-sent to Canon for repair. It's been about three weeks and I'm still waiting for the camera to arrive. I dont' have high hopes that it will be fixed this time around. At this point, I just want a new camera to replace this lemon.
Received the camera back. Canon forgot to return the battery (even though it stated in their paperwork that we had sent them a battery) . Had to call support to have them send another battery. 3 days later. Received battery. Put battery in camera, turned it on. Lens Error!! Same Error after two full repair trips. Arrrgh.
Received camera back (3rd time from Canon repair). It appears they actually did something this time. I'm about 50 pictures in, and it continues to work. More testing is needed...but this is already 49 pictures more then the previous two repairs. Keeping my fingers crossed. :D If it turns out I have another lens error...I'll provide an update to this review.
Well...we had a good run there for about 6 months. Took a lot of images and no issues... but... went to Mexico for the holidays and the Lens Error is back. We managed to get 2 days worth of pictures of the trip...and then it started failing. Good thing the iphone5 takes good pictures, otherwise we wouldn't have pictures for much of the trip. I'm at a loss what to do next. I really don't want to repair it -again-.
on December 12, 2011
I have the S100, had the S95 and S90 before it and took magnificent images with both S90 and S95. I'm a professional photographer, have both a Canon 5D and 5D2 and many high end L lenses. I've had many Canon Elphs before the S series as well as various G series bodies.
The S90 was a spectacular camera, the S95 improved on it and I was very much looking forward to this camera because of improvements with ergonomics and the extra 4mm in wide angle at 24mm. In fact, I find distortion on the edges of 24mm unacceptable and have zoomed to 28 for much of what I've done with this camera.
I have not taken a sharp picture yet with this camera and I have plenty of experience with both this line of cameras and with photography in general. I don't know what's causing the blurriness, probably not the CMOS sensor, more likely the lens, but I agree with others giving this camera a less than wonderful review that the IQ in the S100 is not up to snuff. It may be a copy to copy issue, I don't know.
Time will tell if this is a copy to copy issue (a few bad apples) or something affecting all copies of this camera. I do know that I'm not going to keep the copy I have, I'm returning it and have ordered (re-ordered) an S95 as they're quite inexpensive now at $229.
If Canon comes out with a statement about this and explains that it was a few bad apples I'll re buy the camera in a second, it's exactly the camera I want and if the IQ is just as good as the S90 and S95 I'll be happy as the ergonomics have improved considerably.
I ordered a second copy of this camera from Amazon and the problems of the first are completely gone. I'm guessing it's a problem copy to copy with some lenses.
I particularly like having a 24mm lens in this camera and the extra 4mm of wide are very meaningful for what I use this camera for (hiking, landscape images). It's macro mode allows closer focusing than the S95, it will shoot at higher ISO with less noise, or, another way to put that is at the same ISO it exhibits less noise than the S95. The ergonomics of the buttons and case have been improved considerably and I'm now quite happy with this camera. I was able to buy (re-buy) an S95 for $229 on Amazon when they were discounted heavily during the holidays and I'll keep that camera as a travel backup but I plan to use the S100 as my primary hiking and travel camera now, the images I'm getting from it are excellent.
on November 6, 2011
I'm writing this review because these are two of the higher-end pocketable Canon cameras and you may debate between which is better for you. I've owned the S100 for 3 weeks/300 pics now and have had the SX230HS for 7 months and taken 1,000s of pictures with it.
They are both great cameras and you will, no doubt, be happy with either. They both have full manual controls, shoot 1080p video, and are very similar in size.
To me, there are two obvious differences that matter:
1. Zoom! The SX230HS clearly wins out in the long zoom competition. 14X vs. 5X on the S100. Does this really matter? To me: not so much. In my experience, I shoot 90% of my pictures at the widest possible focal length and aperture. Even the pictures where I zoom, 5X covers just about everything else.
Does this mean the 14X zoom doesn't have value? No. Some things are cool, like zooming in on the ball drop in Times Square, or reading some far away sign. Keep in mind that using that much zoom is limited to fixed subjects in very good lighting. Anything else will be blurry due to you or the subject moving during the relatively long exposure.
2. ISO noise. This one is not obvious to all camera buyers yet, but once you know what it is, it becomes the most important feature. I have posted some 100% crop photos here with side by side comparisons of a ruler and a flat wall. I like this test because it shows both noise and smoothing processes that remove fine detail.
So how do they compare? The S100 is much better than the SX230 as you can see from the test shots. The S100 has more detail (numbers and lines on the ruler) and less noise (splotchyness).
There are purists out there that will say you can't compare the two because the S100 has a DIGIC 5 vs. the DIGIC 4 in the SX230 and they are using different noise reduction strategies. That doesn't change the fact that I greatly prefer the noise reduction on the S100 and I think the detail is retained better as well.
Also aiding the S100 is a wider aperture f/2.0 vs f/3.1 (1.3 stops). This gives you the ability to use a faster shutter speed at the same ISO to reduce motion blur. Or use lower iso for less noise at the same shutter speed.
I'll take the better noise handling over the zoom.
The superior S100 Image Quality (IQ) makes this my primary camera for almost all situations now. The zoom on the SX230 just doesn't come into play enough where I would get more benefit from it over better IQ on the S100.
Why do I give it 4 start instead of 5? Cons listed by other users:
Long exposures are stuck to ISO 80 and 15 seconds max, HDR needs a tripod, battery life (though I got a cheap battery on Amazon, works well).
Hope this helps.
on March 1, 2012
I assume you have read reviews complaining about lack of picture sharpness in some samples of this camera. I suggest reading the in-depth review at dpreview.com, which is a bit more detached and objective than some of the negative reviews here. (This is only natural. Someone who has spent the money to buy a camera, and has been disappointed, will react less objectively than a reviewer who tests four sample cameras, compares their image quality, and doesn't have to spend money on any of them.)
Personally I am satisfied with the lens on my sample of the S100, and I speculate that there were production problems in the first models to come off the line. You always run a risk by being an early adopter, especially if the model is brought to market hastily for the Christmas season, as this was.
S95 owners will find just enough differences in the controls to be irritated by the S100. After a relearning process, however, I felt that the functional changes were improvements, especially when I want quick access to aperture/shutter speed, ISO, and exposure adjustment. I also appreciate the completely new features such as GPS and automatic dynamic range compression. And most of all I like the wider lens. I am not so thrilled by the rougher finish of the metal body and the finger/thumb grips, presumably included to satisfy users who complained that the S95 was too slippery. I liked the S95's totally clean styling.
For those who never touched an S95 (or its predecessors), you have a treat in store: I consider this the most amazingly feature-packed pocket camera, besides being one of the smallest. Almost all the features from my full-size D5 mark II have been replicated here, and are fairly intuitively accessible. Or, of course, you can just set it to Auto. But that isn't why you want this camera, is it? The intended buyer, I think, is a fairly serious photographer who wants total feature-control in a package small enough to take anywhere, with minimal sacrifice of image quality. Yes, the small physical size of the 12MP sensor introduces some additional image noise compared with a full-frame camera, and you may miss the higher pixel count from time to time, but still--an incredible achievement, and very beautifully executed.
on January 3, 2012
I have been seeking an affordable camera which will give high quality photos and video clips for both home and work purposes. During the past week, I have closely compared the S100 to the S95 by taking a series of approximately sixty photos and five videos at various locations using the same shooting conditions whenever possible for both cameras. Afterwards, the photos and videos were compared on a 27-inch monitor. Here are a few of my observations. Both cameras gave excellent outdoor photos during a clear, sunny day. However, on my large monitor, the S100 gave comparably excellent indoor photos in either auto or P mode even when zoomed while the S95 showed more overall graininess particularly when zoomed or in low light. Although the photo image quality for both cameras was excellent, the video image quality was different. Out of fairness, it is important to note that the S100 will shoot 1080p HD video whereas the S95 is only capable of shooting 720p HD video. Thus, it is not surprising that the S100's HD video image quality was improved compared to the S95's. However, in addition, the S100 gave smoother video playback with good autofocus even when zooming. More astonishing was the ability of the S100 to give excellent video quality under a wide range of indoor lighting conditions while the S95 gave bright purple lines on both the LCD and in video playback when it was near various types of long-life incandescent light bulbs. The bright purple lines were reproducible, observed near three light bulbs in my house, and made some of the S95 video clips completely unusable. (I do not know if my copy of the S95 was defective.) Since I will use my new camera for work-related photos and videos, too, the purple lines on the S95 were unacceptable to me. The battery life of the S100 seemed poor during the first charge/discharge cycle. I did try the GPS, and while it worked, it drained the battery more quickly than expected. With neither the GPS nor its logger on, the battery life is more tolerable now that I am past the first couple of charge/discharge cycles, but I plan to have a spare battery with me at all times when I use the S100. Based on all of my tests, the features of the S100 are excellent for its size. The photo images seemed to have greater clarity on my big monitor than those from the S95, and the S100's video quality is much improved over the S95. My only complaint is that the S100 is a power hungry little camera, and I think that Canon's design engineers should consider a longer-lasting battery even if it makes the camera a little larger. I am now a very happy S100 owner, and I am glad that I took the time to do my photo and video tests. The battery issue is the only reason I gave the S100 four stars instead of five. It is worth noting that owners of both the S95 and S100 will benefit from learning to use the different shooting modes as well as knowing about options available in the recording and function menus. In addition to Canon's User Manual, there are a couple of excellent books specific to using the S95 that are also helpful for learning how to get the best quality photos and videos from the S100. Search "S95" at any bookstore to find them. One of these books has recently been updated for the S100: "Photographer's Guide to the Canon PowerShot S100" by A.S. White.
Update: Since several reviewers have observed S100 photos that were entirely out of focus or had edges that were out focus, I reexamined selected photos for the S95 and S100. For this examination, my 27-inch monitor was set at a screen resolution of 2560 x 1440, which is the highest available setting. In addition, I zoomed in on the photos so that only 8.3% (1/12th) of an overall photo filled the screen. For each photo, all four edges were carefully examined for clarity and compared to the center. The photos selected for examination had considerable detail in them. Some had pine needles, tree branches, bridge trestles, and buildings near the edges. Others had wallpaper designs, signs, and posters with words printed on them. (No low light or zoomed photos were selected.) With only 8.3% of the photos filling the entire screen of my 27-inch monitor, the images on my copy of the S100 were uniform in clarity all the way out to the edges and corners. For the selected photos, the images on my copy of the S95 were similarly uniform in clarity everywhere except for the lower right corner. Surprisingly, the lower right corner was consistently blurry in multiple photos. It is worth noting that with only 8.3% of the photos filling the entire screen, both cameras gave slightly fuzzy images, but when entire photos were visible, each camera gave sharp, clear images. Some reviewers have complained about the LCD screen, too. When I was comparing the S95 to the S100, I did note that the LCD image on the S95 was more pleasing than the image on the S100. While I was considering this, I got out my old Canon PowerShot SD550 and compared the image on its LCD screen with that on the S100 and S95. Next I compared each image with the real-life objects each camera was supposed to be depicting. With the LCD screen in the default setting for each camera, the images on both the SD550's and S100's screens showed colors that were more faithful to real life while the image on the S95's screen appeared more vivid than real life. It is worth noting that the screen brightness can easily be changed for indoor or outdoor photos. There are five brightness settings available on the S100. I assume that these settings are available on the S95, too.
on December 9, 2011
I was really excited for this camera - there are very few in this market segment, a small compact camera intended for enthusiasts. It has full manual controls and can save images in Raw format.
On the plus side, the ergonomics and build quality are excellent. It was lighter than I expected, but still feels very solid, with high quality buttons and switches. The screen is big, bright, and gorgeous.
Its ultimate downfall in my mind is image quality. I'm not sure if the lens on mine was bad or whatnot, but both the left and right edges were blurry in pretty much all pictures I took. This includes brain-dead easy things to shoot, like the facade of buildings in sunny conditions outdoors. On top of that, the images seem more noisy than I expected, even at the minimum ISO setting of 80.
I've owned several Canon cameras over the last few years and this one is definitely a let-down in my mind. It went back to the store, and for now I'm going to keep my 1.5 year old Elph instead.
*** UPDATE *** : The day after I tested the S100, I just borrowed my friend's S95 (the previous model in this line of cameras) and took the exact same test shots again. The facade of a building in the same exact conditions (clear skies, 2 hours before sunset). And I brought along my current compact, a canon SD780. The result was as expected: While not as sharp as a prime lens on an SLR, both the S95 and SD780 were reasonable shots with no obvious blurry sections. When you put them side-by-side with the S100 shots from the day before, the difference is absolutely obvious - the S100 shots look blurry to the point of being awful and almost unusable. This is not just me being a snobby camera nerd - any casual observer could see the difference quite easily.
I would love to believe that I had a one-off example of a bad camera, but the DPReview preview of the S100 seems to indicate this problem is much more widespread than that. Get it together, Canon. I have been a fan of your products for many years and have never been this disappointed.