Canon S100 Review

 
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Canon PowerShot S100 Performance


Timing and Performance

Sluggish to very good speed for an enthusiast compact camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

2.4 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy and capture a picture.

Shutdown

1.3 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

1 second
(after 20 L/F JPEGs)*
2 seconds
(after 20 RAW files)*
5 seconds
(after 8 L/F JPEGs in HQ burst mode)*

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/s UHS-I SDHC memory card. Slower cards may produce correspondingly slower clearing times.

About average startup and shutdown times here for a compact camera, similar to the S95. Buffer clearing is pretty good with a fast card.

 

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

1.9 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

1.8 seconds

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

1.0 second

Time to display a large/fine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching performance was a little sluggish.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.571 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.572 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Full Autofocus
Flash enabled
0.827 second
Time to capture while forcing flash to fire, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Prefocused

0.071 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Full autofocus shutter response in the default AF mode is slower than average at both wide-angle and full telephoto, at 0.57 second. However, these results are a bit faster than its predecessor, the S95, which tested at 0.62-0.64 second. Enabling the flash increases lag quite a bit to 0.83 second, due to the preflash metering involved. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a lag time of 0.071 second, which is also a bit slower than average for a digicam, but an improvement over the S95's 0.096 second lag.

 

Cycle Time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
2.30 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 1 second to clear.*

Single Shot mode
RAW

3.00 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 2 seconds to clear.*

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

3.10 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 2 seconds to clear.*

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.43 second (2.35 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
1 second to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, with no signs of slowing.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.78 second (1.29 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
2 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, with no signs of slowing.

Continuous mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

0.91 second (1.10 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
3 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, with no signs of slowing.

HQ Burst mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.11 second (9.20 frames per second);
8 frames total;
5 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer size of 8 shots.

Flash recycling

7.5 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/s UHS-I SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are sluggish, at 2.3 seconds for large/fine JPEGs, 3.0 seconds for RAW, and 3.1 seconds for RAW + L/F JPEGs. These results are roughly comparable to the S95's numbers.

The PowerShot S100's standard Continuous mode was faster than the S95's, but still sluggish for its class. The S100 captured large/fine JPEGs at 2.35 frames per second (vs 1.87 fps for the S95), which is just above Canon's spec of 2.3 fps, and the S100 seemed to be able to capture frames continuously at this rate. The burst rate dropped to 1.29 frames per second when capturing RAW files (vs 0.98 fps for the S95), but again with apparently no buffer limit. RAW + L/F JPEG was even slower, at 1.10 fps (we didn't test that for the S95). The good news is that the S100's new High-Speed HQ Burst mode was quite fast, capturing full-resolution JPEGs at 9.2 frames per second which is just below Canon's 9.6 fps spec, but buffer depth was only 8 frames. RAW capture is not supported in High-Speed HQ Burst mode.

The flash took 7.5 seconds to recharge after a full-power discharge, which is slower than average, and slower than the S95's 6.0 seconds.

 

Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

11,024 KBytes/sec*

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds were very fast. Note that we used a pretty fast 45MB/s UHS-I SDHC card, so slower cards may result in slower download speeds.

Bottom line, the Canon PowerShot S100's timing performance isn't something to write home about. Timing was generally similar to the S95, with minor improvements in some cases, along with some slower numbers as well. The only major improvement in performance is the new High-Speed HQ burst mode which can capture JPEGs at 9.2 fps, but buffer depth in this mode was only 8 frames and RAW capture isn't supported.

Battery Life

Battery
Below average battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard)
200

The Canon PowerShot S100 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is pretty short (same as the S95's), so we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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