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Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH

Canon packs 2 megapixels and a 2x optical zoom into the "smallest digicam on the planet!"

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 6/20/2000

Canon didn't go wrong with the naming on this camera, PowerShot S100 Digital Elph says it all. Canon's ELPH series of APS-based film cameras have been runaway bestsellers in camera retail shops around the world. Consumers really like their exceptionally compact design and easy pocketability, thanks to their rugged cases. The Digital ELPH duplicates these features, and in all ways begs to be taken along. We highly approve of this, since we're firm believers that cameras that sit home in drawers don't take many pictures. The retracting lens features a smart design that keeps the camera front completely flat when the camera is off, making it a perfect fit for the smallest of pockets, while an automatic metal lens cover means you don't have to worry about smudging the lens. The S100 measures 3.4 x 2.2 x 1.1 inches (87.0 x 57.0 x 26.9 mm) and weighs in at a mere 6.7 ounces (190 g) excluding the battery. Need we say more about the S100's compact portability? (OK we will: This is by far the most compact digicam we've tested to date!)

The front of the camera reveals the distinctive ELPH styling, with the lens off-center slightly toward the right, and viewfinder, flash, and focus-assist illuminator windows just above it. The focus-assist light is in the middle, a bright white LED that helps the camera focus in low light levels. (Yes, that's a standard-size playing card just peeking out from behind the camera! That gives you some idea of just how small the digital ELPH is!)

The zoom control, shutter button and power button are all on top of the camera, each making just the slightest protrusion in the S100's sleek design.

On the right side of the camera (when looking at the back panel) are the wrist strap attachment and the CompactFlash slot, the latter of which fits securely beneath a locking plastic door.

The opposite side of the camera simply holds the USB/video input jack, which is protected by a snug rubber cover. This is an interesting space saver on the camera, as the video and USB cables share the same output jack.

The majority of the camera controls live on the back panel with the optical and LCD viewfinders. A small, textured thumb grip provides a relatively secure hold on the camera and gives a good grip for one-handed operation (for small to medium hands, those with larger hands may have a little difficulty negotiating the controls, which are a little close together).

The S100 features a nice, flat bottom, which holds the metal tripod mount and battery compartment. We don't usually like to see the tripod mount so far over to the side of the camera because the weight of the camera so far off-center on the tripod head can overly stress the mount threads. Given the S100's tiny size and the solid metal tripod socket, this may not even be a concern though. One consequence of having the tripod socket so close to the edge though, is that the camera may not rest level on some tripod heads. (Again, a minor concern, since you can usually just tilt the tripod to align the camera however you'd like.)

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