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Canon PowerShot S110

Canon updates their Digital ELPH with improved color, movie capture, and direct print capabilities!

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Page 2:Executive Overview

Review First Posted: 5/24/2001

Executive Overview
The Canon PowerShot S110 is the next-generation Digital ELPH, succeeding the very successful PowerShot S100 model introduced last year (the first digital member of the Canon ELPH family), and following closely on the heels of the S300 model -- introduced earlier this year (February 2001) at the Photo Marketing Association show in Orlando. The S110 is similar in design and image quality to the S300, except that it has a 2x (35-70mm equivalent) zoom lens compared to the S300's 3x (35-105mm equivalent) zoom. Both cameras incorporate improved technology and updated features, including direct connectivity to the Canon Card Printer CP-10 dye-sublimation printer, 20-frame-per-second movie clips with audio, faster shutter speeds (1/1,500 to 1 sec.), an adaptive color filter system for better color reproduction, and a high-speed digital signal processing IC connector that reduces power consumption when transferring images to the computer or printer.

Like earlier members of the Digital ELPH family, the S110 is among the slickest digicams we've seen. Its solidly built, all-stainless steel body measures only 3.4 x 2.4 x 1.1 inches (87 x 57 x 26.9 mm) with the lens fully retracted, and weighs about 8 ounces with the battery and CompactFlash card installed. It's so small, in fact, that it easily fits into the palm of one hand, and a credit card laid over the camera's front panel completely covers it from edge-to-edge. The 2x zoom lens telescopes outward approximately one-half inch when the camera is powered on in the Shooting (Record) mode, and retracts when the camera is powered off or in Playback mode -- protecting the delicate glass surface with a sliding lens cover.

A real-image optical viewfinder and 1.5-inch color TFT LCD monitor are provided for composing images. The optical viewfinder features a center target on the glass, which serves as the focusing and metering point for the camera's automatic exposure systems. The viewfinder also zooms along with the lens, showing approximately 80 percent of the actual image area. The LCD monitor has an optional image display, with a separate information display that appears for several seconds when the camera is turned on, or whenever you engage one of the user controls on the back panel. The LCD image display is much more accurate than the optical viewfinder, showing approximately 98 percent of the actual image area, but it also drains the battery more than twice as fast when it is turned on.

The S110's lens is a high-quality Canon glass aspherical zoom lens, with focal lengths ranging from 5.4-10.8mm (35-70mm equivalent on a 35mm film camera), and maximum aperture settings of f/2.8-f/4.0, depending on the zoom position. Focus is automatically controlled, with Normal, Macro, or Infinity (Manual mode only) focus modes available. There's also an Autofocus Assist light to aid focusing in dark situations. The 2.5x Digital Zoom is enabled by zooming past the 2x optical zoom range when the LCD monitor is activated, though it visibly reduces image quality as it enlarges only the central portion of the image.

Exposure is automatically controlled at all times, with four Shooting modes selectable through the Record menu: Automatic, Manual, Stitch-Assist (with options to shoot from left to right or right to left), and Movie. In Automatic mode, the user has control over Resolution, Compression, Flash, Self-Timer, and Normal or Macro focus modes. Manual mode expands the user controls to include Exposure Compensation, White Balance, Infinity focus, and Continuous Shooting. Stitch-Assist is Canon's panoramic mode, allowing you to take a series of up to 26 images to be "stitched" together on a computer. In Stitch-Assist mode, the camera retains all functions except Digital Zoom, Red-Eye Reduction, Auto Flash, and Continuos Shooting modes. (However, all readings are based on the first frame in the series and cannot be changed in subsequent frames.) Movie mode offers no Flash, Continuous shooting, or Compression settings, and the Resolution options are reduced to 640 x 480, 320 x 240, oand 160 x 120 pixels. All other features remain intact.

The S110 determines exposure through an evaluative metering system, linked to the autofocus metering field inside the optical viewfinder brackets. Shutter speeds range from 1/1,500 to 1 second, with an automatic noise reduction system for exposures slower than 1/6 second. The camera's light sensitivity is rated at ISO 100, though it increases to ISO 150 at low-light levels. Exposure is adjustable from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third-step increments, allowing you to lighten or darken the exposure as needed. White Balance options include Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, and Fluorescent settings, accommodating most light sources, plus an additional Black-and-White shooting option.

External controls include (on the top) an On / Off button, Zoom lever, and Record and Playback switch, and (on the back) a Flash button with Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, On, Off, and Slow Synchro options; a Drive button to access Continuous Shooting (Manual only) and Self-Timer modes; a Focus button that switches between Normal, Infinity (Manual only), and Macro modes; a Menu button; and a Display On / Off button. The Flash button also serves as an option Set button when using the camera's menu system.

Images are stored as compressed JPEGs on CompactFlash Type I memory cards (an 8MB card is supplied with the camera). Resolution options include 1,600 x 1,200, 1,024 x 768, and 640 x 480 pixels, with selectable compression levels of Superfine, Fine, and Normal. You can download images to a computer via the included USB cable and Canon's Digital Camera Solution Disk software (Version 4.0), which is supplied on the accompanying software CD. The Solution Disk provides ZoomBrowser EX (Win) and ImageBrowser (Mac) programs for loading images onto the computer; PhotoStitch software for piecing together panoramic images; and a Remote Capture utility that enables you to remotely operate the camera from a computer. Image editing programs include ArcSoft PhotoImpression, Adobe Photoshop LE, and Adobe PhotoDeluxe Home Edition.

The S110 is powered by a rechargeable Li-Ion battery pack, designed specifically for Canon Digital ELPH cameras. It comes complete with a dedicated battery charger and an AC adapter kit is available as an option. Fully charged, the battery will power the camera continuously for 60 minutes in capture mode with the LCD turned on, or for 120 minutes in playback mode.

Since its introduction as the world's smallest film camera in 1994, Canon's ELPH camera has enjoyed noterity as the "coolest" consumer camera on the market. While it's much harder to maintain that title in the digital world, the Digital ELPH series has certainly challenged the competition in terms of design, image quality, and features. While exposure options are somewhat limited, the S110 more than makes up for it in image quality and creative options, providing such "fun" features as continuous shooting, panoramic stitching, and QuickTime movies with sound. We highly recommend it for the point-and-shoot consumer who's willing to pay a little extra money for a lot of extra *cool.*


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