Canon moved to upgrade the wildly successful S95 with the S100. It’s sometimes challenging to figure out just what manufacturers were thinking when reviewing new camera models, as this one seems to be something less than a generational improvement over the S95.
Canon swapped out the 10-megapixel CCD in the S95 for a 12-megapixel BSI CMOS chip in the S100. The BSI sensor should deliver stronger low light performance, with the ISO rating extended from 3,200 in the S95 to 6,400 in the S100.
Those are the biggest differences in the specs. The continuous shooting mode is slightly higher in the S100 (2.3 fps vs 1.9) and low light performance will be improved. Overall, fielding cameras like the S100 puts Canon in a poor competitive position with manufacturers like Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic which are fielding cameras with better specs at competitive prices.
Two worthwhile features in Canon’s S100 are the Digic 5 image processor and the fact the S100 is one of the few pocket cameras to record full 1080 video at 24 fps for timeline compatibility with its larger DSLR cousins. If you shoot a lot of video, that feature will be surprisingly compelling.
Another surprise was the addition of stereo microphones for sound and a lens control ring that enables control of many of the camera settings and built-in GPS.
It’s a fair conclusion to say the S100 is a decent camera, but not one likely to stem the loss of market share to Sony, Panasonic and Fujifilm in the consumer camera space.