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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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PowerShot S110 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 5/24/2001

We've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for our test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it! ;)


Outdoor portrait: (919 k)
The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why we set it up this way. The object is to hold highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the Canon S110 handles the challenge fairly well. We shot samples of this image with the automatic (895 k) and daylight (890 k) white balance settings. The daylight setting produced a slightly warm, magenta image, while the automatic setting resulted in a cooler cast. We chose the automatic setting for our main series, as the overall color balance and skin tones appeared more natural. Overall color looks very nice. The blue flowers in the bouquet are nearly accurate, and if anything slightly more intense than in real life. There's very little tendency for these blues to go purple, a common problem with digicams. The red flowers are both very bright, with a slight glow. However, petal detail remains quite good on both flowers. Resolution looks fairly high, with a lot of fine detail visible throughout the image, particularly in the flower bouquet. The shadow areas show good detail as well, with a low noise level. We shot our main image with a +0.3 EV exposure adjustment, which overexposed the highlights a tiny bit. Increasing the exposure compensation to +0.7 EV (918 k) brightened the shadows a fair bit, but we felt lost too much detail in the highlights. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.3 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 250
F/ 10
(918 k)
0.3 EV
1/ 200
F/ 10
(919 k)
0.7 EV
1/ 160
F/ 10
(918 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 125
F/ 10
(883 k)
1.3 EV
1/ 100
F/ 10
(870 k)



 
Closer portrait: (917 k)
The S110 does a nice job with this closer, portrait shot, thanks to its 2x zoom lens, though we did notice just a hair of distortion. (Shorter focal length lenses tend to distort facial features in close-up shots like this and the availability of longer focal lengths is a key feature if you're going to be shooting close-up people shots.) Continuing with the automatic white balance setting, which again produced a good color balance, we shot our main image with no exposure compensation at all. Even the slightest adjustment to the +0.3 EV (903 k) setting made the highlights much too bright. Color seemed just slightly subdued in the shadows, but overall looks very nice. Resolution appears a little higher in this shot, with very fine details visible throughout the image. The individual strands of the model's hair are clear and distinct, and her face reveals more fine detail than in the wider Outdoor Portrait. Additionally, the subtle surface texture of the house siding (a lighter texture than the wood grain) is fairly sharp and distinguishable. Noise remains low in the shadow areas, with a small amount visible in the house siding. The table below shows the results of a range of exposure settings from zero to +1.0 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 160
F/ 10
(917 k)
0.3 EV
1/ 125
F/ 10
(903 k)
0.7 EV
1/ 100
F/ 10
(885 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 500
F/ 4
(887 k)



 
Indoor Portrait, Flash: (709 k)
The S110's built-in flash does a good job of illuminating the subject while producing a reasonably bright exposure. In all of our test shots, the S110 produced a strong orange cast in response to the background incandescent lighting (a common problem with digicams). We first shot with the flash in the normal (669 k) shooting mode, with no exposure compensation adjustment. This first image produced a somewhat dark, orangish-magenta background behind the subject. Lighting on the model is dim, barely affecting the orange color cast. Next, we shot with a +1.0 EV (709 k) exposure adjustment, which produced a much brighter image. Flash intensity on the model is much stronger, counteracting the orange cast. The white shirt still shows a few orange tints, but is much brighter and whiter overall. We also noticed more vibrant color in the flower bouquet. Next, we switched over to the slow synchro (714 k) flash mode, shooting with no exposure compensation adjustment at first. This resulted in an even brighter overall image, thanks to the slower shutter speed (which allows in more ambient light to balance the light coming from the flash). The orange cast is still present, but color improves in the flowers, thanks to the increased overall light level. Finally, we kept the flash in slow synchro, but increased the exposure compensation to +1.0 EV (720 k). This brightened the white shirt even more, and also decreased some of the orange cast in the model's face. Overall, we liked the normal synchro, +1.0 EV version the most, and chose it for our main shot for this category.


 
Indoor portrait, no flash: (742 k)
This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting, and the S110's incandescent white balance system performs well. We shot samples of this image with the automatic (723 k) and incandescent (732 k) white balance settings, choosing the incandescent setting for our main series. The automatic setting resulted in a slightly warm image with a light, sepia color cast. The incandescent setting produced more accurate results, though the image is still a little warm. Overall color is pretty accurate, though the white of the flowers and model's shirt have a yellow tint. (We'd judge this to be close to the optimal handling of this subject though, as you'd normally want enough of a color cast left in the image to suggest the "mood" of the original lighting. The blue flowers in the bouquet have purple tints at the edges of the petals, and the red flowers are a little oversaturated. We also noticed strong magenta tints in the skin tones, especially in the shadows. Resolution is high, with good detail visible in the model's hair and in the flower bouquet. Details are also fairly sharp. Noise is moderately low, and mainly noticeable in the shadow areas and the dark table top. Overall, a good job on a very tough subject. We chose an exposure adjustment of +0.7 EV for our main image, as anything beyond that produced overly bright highlights. The table below shows a range of exposures from zero to +1.3 EV.

Exposure Compensation Settings:
0 EV
1/ 13
F/ 3.2
(691 k)
0.3 EV
1/ 10
F/ 3.2
(724 k)
0.7 EV
1/ 8
F/ 3.2
(742 k)
1.0 EV
1/ 6
F/ 3.2
(742 k)
1.3 EV
1/ 5
F/ 3.2
(725 k)



 
House shot: (1360 k)
We shot samples of this image with the daylight (1363 k) and automatic (1360 k) white balance settings, neither of which produced dead-on, accurate results. The daylight setting resulted in a slightly warm image, though overall color looks good, while the automatic setting produced a slightly cooler image. In the end, we felt that the automatic setting produced the most accurate white value, and we chose it for our main image. Despite the slight cool cast, color looks nearly accurate. The red bricks have a bluish tint to them, but still look fairly accurate. Resolution is moderately high, with most of the fine details distinguishable in the bricks and shrubbery, as well as in the tree limbs above the roof. Details are also reasonably sharp, though the more organic details of the trees and shrubs are less distinct. The roof shingles show a small amount of noise, as do the shadow areas on the house front. In-camera sharpening shows up as about one pixel of a halo along the light and dark edges of the roof trim. Overall, the S110 does a good job.


 
 
Far-Field Test (1325 k)
This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.

We shot this image with the automatic white balance setting, which produced an accurate color balance, without any strong color casts. Colors are bright and vibrant, with good saturation and accuracy (particularly in the greens throughout the image). This shot is a strong test of detail, given the practically infinite range of fine detail in a natural scene like this, viewed from a distance. Resolution looks moderately high, with great detail in the tree branches, bricks, and house front. Overall sharpness looks great as well, with crisp, distinct details even in the trees and shrubbery. We also judge a camera's dynamic range in this shot, comparing how well the camera holds detail in both the shadow and highlight areas. The S110 loses all but the strongest details in the bright, white bay window, tricked by the extremely bright paint. The intense brightness of the white paint produces a small halo around the outside edges of the bay window as well. The shadow area under the porch fares a little better, as the camera picks up the subdued brick pattern and some details on the porch light. Noise is low in the roof shingles and shadow areas, and faintly present in some of the window screens. The table below shows our standard resolution and quality series.

Resolution/Quality series
Large/Fine
1/ 100
F/ 9
(1325 k)
Large/Normal
1/ 100
F/ 9
(838 k)
Large/Economy
1/ 100
F/ 9
(421 k)
Medium/Fine
1/ 100
F/ 9
(599 k)
Medium/Normal
1/ 100
F/ 9
(385 k)
Medium/Economy
1/ 100
F/ 9
(214 k)
Small/Fine
1/ 100
F/ 9
(255 k)
Small/Normal
1/ 100
F/ 9
(173 k)
Small/Economy
1/ 100
F/ 9
(95 k)



 
 
Lens Zoom Range
We've received a number of requests from readers to take shots showing the lens focal length range of those cameras with zoom lenses. Thus, we're happy to present you here with the following series of shots, showing the field of view with the lens at full wide angle, at full 2x telephoto, and at full telephoto with ?x digital zoom enabled. The S110's wide angle setting captures a fairly large area, without any extreme barrel distortion noticeable along the curb of the street. Resolution is moderately high, with good detail visible in the cars parked in the driveway, as well as in the trees behind the house. The 2x telephoto gets a little closer, managing to increase overall sharpness and resolution slightly. The details of the bright bay window are still washed out, but the stronger outlines are visible. Image resolution and sharpness decrease with the digital zoom, and the exposure appears to darken slightly as well. However, noise remains low and we don't notice many artifacts.

Wide Angle
Shutter: 1/ 200
Aperture: F7.2
(588 k)
2x Telephoto
Shutter: 1/ 640
Aperture: F4
(540 k)
2x Digital Zoom
Shutter: 1/ 160
Aperture: F10
(365 k)



 
 
Musicians Poster (1114 k)
For this test, we shot with the automatic (1115 k) and daylight (1114 k) white balance settings, this time choosing the daylight setting as the most accurate. The large amount of blue in the image often tricks digicams, and the S110's automatic white balance system produces very cool results, with pale, bluish skin tones on the models. Though the daylight setting produced slightly warm results, we felt the warmer skin tones were more accurate than the pale tones of the automatic setting. The Oriental model's blue robe is about right, without a strong color cast (this is often a difficult blue for digicams to reproduce correctly). Resolution is high, with great detail in the bird's wings and silver threads of the blue robe. The more subtle details of the wings are visible, including the color gradations on the larger bird and the feather lines of the smaller one. We also noticed clear, sharp details in the beaded necklaces, flower garland, and violin strings (with just a hint of a moire pattern in the strings). Noise is moderately low throughout most of the image, but is slightly higher in the blue background (some noise could actually be the film grain in the poster itself). Once again, the S110 performs well.


 
Macro Shot (1234 k)
The S110 does pretty well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of about 3.87 x 2.90 inches (98.32 x 73.74 millimeters). Color, detail, and resolution all look great, with excellent detail visible in the coins as well as on the brooch and dollar bill. We noticed a small amount of barrel distortion from the lens' wide angle setting, and a very slight amount of corner softness. The S110's built-in flash (1204 k) does a reasonably good job of throttling down for the macro area, though coverage is a little uneven due to the spacing between the flash head and lens. There's a small reflection in the large coin and on of the brooch, but not enough to strongly affect the performance of the flash.


"Davebox" Test Target (690 k)
We shot samples of this target using the automatic (690 k) and daylight (691 k) white balance settings, which both produced slight color casts. The daylight setting resulted in a slightly warm image, with a yellowish/orangish tint to the white color block and resolution target. The automatic setting produced a more accurate white value, almost perfectly neutral. The large color blocks look about right, though the cyan, yellow, and kelly green blocks are a little weak. The large red and blue blocks are a little oversaturated, producing a small halo around both. The S110 captures the subtle difference between the red and magenta color blocks on the middle, horizontal color chart (which is a common problem area for many digicams), though the black separator line has a reddish tint and the red block appears orangish. Exposure is just a little bright, as the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 chart are visible all the way up to the "B" range, though only faintly (this is another common problem area for digicams). The tonal gradations of the smaller, vertical gray scales look nice, resolving all but the two darkest blocks on each scale. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows good detail, with moderate noise. The bright highlights of the white gauze area also maintain a nice level of detail. Resolution is pretty high throughout the image, with good detail in the silver disk and box hinges as well as in the mini-resolution target. Overall, very nice, accurate color.


 
Low-Light Tests
The S110 had some trouble with the low-light category, producing somewhat dark images from 8 foot-candles (88 lux) down to 1 foot-candle (11 lux), darkening rapidly after that point. Noise is low in all of the images, an excellent attribute: The low noise makes it easy to brighten the images after the fact, using the computer. This shot (500 k) shows the result of an "auto levels" in Photoshop(tm), with an added gamma boost (1.3 gamma), producing a very bright and virtually noise-free image. We were a little puzzled by the S110's dark exposures on this shot, given that the images were dim at 8 foot-candles, but no darker another three stops down, at one foot-candle. To put the S110's low-light performance into perspective, an average city night scene under modern street lighting corresponds to a light level of about one foot-candle, meaning you should be able to capture city night scenes without a flash. The table below shows the best exposure we were able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all of our sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

8fc
88lux
4fc
44lux
2fc
22lux
1fc
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.3lux
1/16fc
0.67lx
Click to see S11L10NR00.JPG
643 KB
1/ 6
F2.8
Click to see S11L10NR01.JPG
610 KB
1/ 5
F2.8
Click to see S11L10NR02.JPG
604 KB
1/ 3
F2.8
Click to see S11L10NR03.JPG
589 KB
1
F2.8
Click to see S11L10NR04.JPG
478 KB
1
F2.8
Click to see S11L10NR05.JPG
423 KB
1
F2.8
Click to see S11L10NR06.JPG
356 KB
1
F2.8
Click to see S11L10NR07.JPG
311 KB
1
F2.8



 
Flash Range Test
In our testing, we found the S110's flash brightest at eight feet from the target. Flash power was a little low, however, and an orangish color cast was visible in all of the flash images. The flash remained reasonably bright as far as 11 feet from the target, but began to decrease in brightness incrementally with each additional foot of distance. The flash was still reasonably effective at 14 feet from the target, though with less intensity and a stronger color cast. We'd say that Canon's 7 foot range rating for the flash with the lens set to telephoto is a little conservative. Below is our flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.


8 ft
1/ 80
F/ 4
(51 k)

9 ft
1/ 80
F/ 4
(476 k)

10 ft
1/ 100
F/ 4
(478 k)

11 ft
1/ 125
F/ 4
(535 k)

12 ft
1/ 80
F/ 4
(372 k)

13 ft
1/ 125
F/ 4
(436 k)

14 ft
1/ 125
F/ 4
(433 k)



 
ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test (779k)
The S110 turned in a pretty good performance on our "laboratory" resolution target, cleanly resolving target details out to 550 lines per picture height, both vertically and horizontally. Strong detail was visible in both directions out to 800 lines per picture height, albeit with some aliasing. "Extinction" of the target lines occurred at about 1000 lines per picture height.

The lens appears to be of good quality, showing relatively good sharpness in the corners, and very little chromatic aberration. (Visible as colored fringes around target elements in the corners.) Optical distortion on the S110 is a good bit lower than average at the wide angle end, where we measured an 0.48 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared much better, as we couldn't find even a pixel's worth of pincushion distortion. Overall, a surprisingly good performance from such a compact lens design.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Large/Fine
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(779 k)
Large/Normal
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(474 k)
Large/Economy
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(214 k)
Medium/Fine
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(343 k)
Medium/Normal
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(212 k)
Medium/Economy
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(109 k)
Small/Fine
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(151 k)
Small/Normal
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(100 k)
Small/Economy
1/ 125
F/ 2.8
(56 k)



 
Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity
We found the S110's optical viewfinder to be a quite tight, showing only 77.2 percent of the final image area at wide angle (682 k), and about 81.8 percent at telephoto (683 k) (at the 1,600 x 1,200-pixel resolution size). We also noticed that images framed with the optical viewfinder were slanted toward the lower right corner, indicating a slightly shifted CCD. Images were also shifted toward the lower right corner, with extra space along the top and left sides of the frame. The LCD monitor was more accurate, showing approximately 98.75 percent of the final image area at wide angle (683 k). However, the LCD monitor proved to be a little tight at the telephoto (677 k) setting, as our standard lines of measurement wound up outside the actual image area. Since we generally like to see LCD monitors as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the S110 did fairly well in this regard. Flash distribution is even at the telephoto setting, with just the faintest falloff in the corners. At wide angle, flash distribution is less even, with stronger falloff around the edges and in the corners of the frame.


Wide Angle (Optical)
1/ 200
F/ 2.8
(682 k)

Telephoto (Optical)
1/ 100
F/ 4
(683 k)

Wide Angle (LCD)
1/ 60
F/ 7.2
(683 k)

Telephoto (LCD)
1/ 100
F/ 4
(677 k)


 

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<<Reference: Datasheet | Print-Friendly Review Version>>

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