December 2011

PowerShot S100

Latest PowerShot model with an all-new imaging processor, lens, and sensor

Photo 1: PowerShot S100 in black

Photo 1: PowerShot S100 in black

Photo 2: PowerShot S100 in silver

Photo 2: PowerShot S100 in silver

In this month’s technical report, we examine some of the features of the PowerShot S100, which was announced in November 2011. The S100 is equipped with a 12.10-megapixel, high-sensitivity CMOS sensor and an f/2.0 (max. wide angle) 5x zoom lens (35mm-film equivalent focal length range of 24 – 120mm) with a lens-shift image stabilizer.

Development objectives

The market has embraced the reborn PowerShot S series, beginning with the PowerShot S90 and S95. It has recognized that only Canon can deliver these high-end digital cameras that pack into a compact body a bright f/2.0 lens and the HS System for superb low-light shooting, paired with the analog feel of the control ring.

The new PowerShot S100 (photos 1 and 2) was developed as the successor to the PowerShot S95. While remaining true to the basic concept of the S95, the S100 boasts a fully redesigned imaging processor, lens, and sensor and marks a significant advance in image quality and functionality with the inclusion of Full HD movies, GPS, and other new features.

The following statement summarizes the development aim for this camera.

The aim was to develop a high-end compact digital camera worthy of the Canon name that represents a legitimate evolution of the S series’ pursuit of simplicity in design and outstanding image quality.

Feature 1 — Outstanding image quality

Photo 3: DIGIC 5

Photo 3: DIGIC 5

New DIGIC 5 imaging processor

Canon has equipped its digital cameras with imaging processors developed in-house since 1999. These proprietary imaging processors have continued to add to the appeal of digital cameras by providing high image quality and high performance levels.

The PowerShot S100 achieves even higher levels of image quality and performance (Table 1) with the inclusion of the newly developed DIGIC 5 imaging processor (Photo 3).

Table 1: DIGIC 5’s image quality and performance improvements

Table 1: DIGIC 5’s image quality and performance improvements

Improved noise reduction

Taking advantage of the DIGIC 5’s superlative calculation and processing power, the S100 virtually eliminates noise components while preserving image resolution even at high ISO speeds.

Improved white balance performance (Multi-area White Balance)

The DIGIC 5 divides the frame into multiple areas and determines the type of light source using color information from each area. This technique allows the camera to recognize “mercury lamp + other light source” and “flash + other light source” shooting conditions. With this capability, the camera can adjust its settings accordingly to get the best coloring even when the subject and the background are illuminated by different light sources.

Improved shadow correction performance

In keeping with the new DIGIC 5’s additional processing power, the S100 runs redesigned analytical algorithms for interpreting the attributes of captured images, such as exposure and dynamic range, and for controlling the amount of correction applied based on the analysis. This results in more natural transitions between light and dark areas than on previous models.

Figure 1: High-sensitivity CMOS sensor

Figure 1: High-sensitivity
CMOS sensor

1/1.7 inch, high-sensitivity CMOS sensor with 12.10 effective megapixels

The PowerShot S100 runs on a Canon-developed high-sensitivity CMOS sensor (1/1.7” with 12.10 effective megapixels) (Figure 1). This exceptionally fast sensor is the result of taking our leading EOS sensor technology and optimizing it for a compact camera. The sensor’s speed is what gives the PowerShot S100 faster AF performance, high-speed continuous shooting, full HD movies, and Super Slow Motion movies.

f/2.0 5x zoom lens with a lens-shift image stabilizer

The PowerShot S100 is fitted with a 5x zoom lens with a 35mm-equivalent focal length range of 24 – 120mm and a maximum aperture of f/2.0 (max. wide angle) – f/5.9 (max. telephoto angle). The lens is constructed with seven elements in six groups, including three aspherical elements (one double-sided aspherical UA element, one double-sided aspherical element, and one single-sided aspherical element) (Figure 2). Distilling many of Canon’s optical technologies, the lens delivers excellent magnification and wide-angle performance while remaining compact — it fits inside the size of a 10-yen coin when retracted (Figure 3).

Figure 2: Lens construction diagram

Figure 2: Lens construction diagram

Figure 3: Compact coin-sized retractable design

Figure 3: Compact coin-sized retractable design

Advanced HS System

The PowerShot S100 offers dramatically improved image quality and a more advanced HS System thanks to the new image sensor and the new DIGIC 5 imaging processor.
The HS System has been improved so that various parameters can be set when shooting at high ISO speeds. In the M, Tv, Av, and P modes, the ISO speed can be set as fast as ISO 6400. The advanced HS System lets users take low-noise photos while selecting the number of recording pixels and adding various parameters even when shooting dark scenes or at fast shutter speeds.

Improved detection precision of backlit subjects

An improved backlight detection algorithm allows the PowerShot S100 to detect primary subjects (people) in darker scenes where backlight detection failed in the past. This improved ability makes it easier to obtain natural looking photos because the flash can fire more appropriately when in Auto flash mode.

Optical image stabilizer with a stabilization gain of about four f-stops
Smart Flash optimizes flash levels and brightness for the scene
Servo AF / Servo AE
Tracking AF
i-Contrast adjusts images for the best exposure and tonal quality according the scene

Feature 2 — Rich functionality

Intelligent IS

The PowerShot S100 comes with Intelligent IS, which has the camera automatically select the best image stabilization mode according to whether still images or movies are being taken, the zoom position, and the shooting distance. When shooting in Auto mode, the selected image stabilization mode is displayed as an icon on the LCD monitor (Table 2).

Table 2: Intelligent IS

Table 2: Intelligent IS

Wide array of scene modes*1

The High-speed Burst HQ mode can shoot continuously as fast as ~9.6 fps.*2 This mode continues to shoot until the camera’s internal memory is full and then writes all the frames to the memory card in one operation. In this way, it is possible to shoot continuously at high speeds in high quality regardless of the number of recording pixels.

The PowerShot S100 is loaded with many other scene modes — such as the Movie Digest mode, which captures short movie clips up to four seconds long immediately before each still image is taken and combines the clips into one movie file over the course of a day, and the Handheld Night Scene mode, which captures multiple images for one shot and accurately combines the images in-camera to obtain a beautiful night photo without using a tripod — that let users get more enjoyment out of taking photos that match different conditions and locations.

The PowerShot S100 adds a new Creative Filters position on the Mode dial. This position combines the newly added Toy Camera Effect and Monochrome filters with the filter-effect scene modes on the PowerShot S95.

*1. See the list of shooting modes in Table 3.
*2. This mode shoots a maximum of eight frames per burst.

Smart Auto mode with 32 auto-detection scenes, and Smart Movie mode with 21 auto-detection scenes
Dedicated Movie button, and enhanced movie shooting with optical zooming and stereo audio

The S100 is the first S series camera to have a Movie button that starts movie recording instantly even when the camera is in a still-image mode. Some of the movie recording modes the camera supports are Full HD Movie, which records at a 1920 x 1080 resolution (and at 24 fps), iFrame Movie, which records in the Apple iFrame format, Super Slow Motion Movie, which captures in slow motion actions too fast for the naked eye, and Miniature Effect, which creates miniature-model effects and sped-up effects.

Continuous Shooting AF keeps moving subjects in focus while continuously shooting
Multiple aspect ratios
Histogram display

The GPS function picks up GPS satellite signals, calculates the camera’s position, and writes this shooting location data together with the photo on the memory card. (Users can check the location data during playback (Figure 4).)

The S100 also has a logger function that runs only while the camera is turned off. The logger launches the GPS function periodically and automatically writes the current position to the memory card.

Using the supplied Map Utility software application, users can display a map on a computer that shows the path they followed with the camera and the places where they took photos (Figure 5).

Figure 4: Location information displayed during playback

Figure 4: Location information displayed during playback

Figure 5: Map Utility window

Figure 5: Map Utility window

Feature 3 — More comfortable operation

3.0 inch LCD monitor with ~461,000 dots (Pure Color LCD G)
Configurable Control Ring gives a manual feel to setting shooting parameters
Auto pop-up flash
On-screen tips
Smart Shuffle has the camera automatically select and display four images based on the current playback image
Group Images playback displays only one image from a group of images taken in the High-speed Burst HQ mode
Movie Digest Playback is specialized for playing movies recorded with the Movie Digest function
Scroll Display playback for quick image searching
Special effect transitions and slideshows that apply effects when switching between playback images
My Category playback that displays only images in the selected category or with the selected date stamp
Customizable My Menu screen for frequently used shooting options

Feature 4 — Simple, high-grade square body that carries on the S series genealogy

The chiseled body is clad with an aluminum-alloy cover that is lighter and more rugged than past models. The body unceremoniously houses a GPS unit without any conspicuous bump at the top of the camera. The camera comes in two color variations: silver with an anodized aluminum and metallic coating reminiscent of titanium, and black with a matte finish and a subdued coating on the control components. Both models are styled to engender the precision and feel of an optical instrument.

The grip and operational feel of the camera has been further refined with front and back grip points and a multi-level arrangement of dials and buttons that places them at different heights.

Feature 5 — Enhanced printing options and digital communications

Select images for printing with DPOF
PictBridge support
HDMI mini connector

Feature 6 — Array of system accessories

Photo 4: HF-DC2 high-power flash unit

Photo 4: HF-DC2 high-power flash unit

Photo 5: WP-DC43 waterproof case

Photo 5: WP-DC43 waterproof case

Photo6: PowerShot S100 and its kit components

Photo6: PowerShot S100 and
its kit components

Eye-Fi card support
Accepts SDXC memory cards
Exif 2.3 support
High-power flash (sold separately)

Available as an option, the HF-DC2 high-power flash unit (Photo 4) fires when it detects the camera’s flash. The HF-DC2 comes with a wide-angle adaptor that covers angles of view as wide as 24mm (35mm-film equivalent). The unit comes with a mounting bracket so it can be attached to the PowerShot S100.

Waterproof case (sold separately)

Available as an option, the WP-DC43 waterproof case (Photo 5) allows the S100 to be used underwater to depths of 40 meters.

This completes our look at the PowerShot S100 this month. Table 3 lists the camera’s main specifications, and Photo 6 illustrates the kit components that come with the camera. There is no suggested retail price for the PowerShot S100.

PowerShot S100
Image sensor (CMOS) 1/1.7 inch sensor with ~12.10 effective megapixels (~13.30 total megapixels), high-sensitivity type
Color filter type RGB
Photographic lens
(35mm-film equivalent)
24 – 120mm, f/2.0 (max. wide angle) – f/5.9 (max. telephoto angle), 5x zoom
Digital zoom ~4.0x (~20x max. zoom when combined with the optical zoom)
LCD monitor 3.0 inch (TFT color LCD, ~461,000 dots, excellent color reproduction and wide viewing angle), brightness adjustment, Quick-Bright LCD
Autofocus (control method) Single (Continuous when in Auto shooting mode), Servo AF / Servo AE, Face AiAF / Tracking AF / Center / FlexiZone
Focusing range Auto mode: 3cm to infinity (max. wide angle) / 30cm to infinity (max. telephoto angle), Macro mode: 3 to 50cm (max. wide angle) / 30 to 50cm (max. telephoto angle)
Shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter speeds 1/2000 to 1 sec., 1/2000 to 15 sec. (total shutter speed range from all shooting modes)
Light metering methods Evaluative, Center-weighted average, Spot (fixed to center / linked to AF frame)
Exposure compensation ±3 stops in 1/3-stop increments
ISO speeds When in P shooting mode
(Standard Output Sensitivity / Recommended Exposure Index) Auto, ISO 80 / 100 / 125 / 160 / 200 / 250 / 320 / 400 / 500 / 640 / 800 / 1000 / 1250 / 1600 / 2000 / 2500 / 3200 / 4000 / 5000 / 6400
Flash ranges 50cm – 7.0m (max. wide angle), 50cm – 2.3m (max. telephoto angle) (when ISO speed is set to Auto)
White balance Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Flash, Underwater, Custom
Shooting modes C, M, Av, Tv, P, Auto,*1 SCN,*2 Creative Filters,*3 Movie
*1. Smart Auto available
*2. Movie Digest, Portrait, Landscape, Kids & Pets, Smart Shutter,*4 High-speed Burst HQ, Handheld Night Scene, Beach, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Stitch Assist
*3. High Dynamic Range, Nostalgic, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap
*4. Smile Self-Timer / Wink Self-Timer / Face Detection Self-Timer
• Movie recording is possible by pressing the Movie button when in a still-image shooting mode.*5
*5. Modes that inherit still-image mode effects (other modes revert to movies in P mode): Auto,*6 Portrait, Landscape, Beach, Underwater, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Nostalgic,
Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap
*6. Smart Movie also available
Continuous shooting Normal: ~2.3 fps (when in P shooting mode); ~9.6 fps (when in High-Speed Burst HQ shooting mode)*
• When the scene is bright enough that the flash does not automatically fire. Speed depends on the zoom position.
* Max. number of frames per burst: 8
Recording pixels (still images)
(when set to a 4:3 aspect ratio)
RAW: 4000 x 3000, Large: 4000 × 3000, Medium 1: 2816 × 2112, Medium 2: 1600 × 1200, Small: 640 × 480
Compression (still images) Fine, Normal
Movies Standard movies / recorded with Movie button:*1 1920 × 1080 (24 fps*2 ), 1280 × 720 (30 fps*3 ), 640 × 480 (30 fps*3 )
iFrame movies: 1280 × 720 (30 fps*3 ); Super Slow Motion movies: 640 × 480 (120 fps)*4, 320 × 240 (240 fps)*4
Movie Digest movies: 640 × 480 (30 fps*3 )
*1. When taking Miniature Effect movies: 1280 x 720 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps)*4, 640 x 480 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps)*4
*2. Actual frame rate is 23.976 fps
*3. Actual frame rate is 29.97 fps
*4. Played back at 30 fps*3
Recording media SD memory card, SDHC memory card, SDXC memory card
Color space Standard (sRGB)
File format Compliant with Design rule for Camera File system and DPOF
Data types Still images: Exif 2.3 (JPEG / RAW (CR2))
Movies: MOV (video: H.264, audio: Linear PCM (stereo))
GPS log files: compliant with the NMEA 0183 message format
Power supply Rechargeable lithium-ion battery: NB-5L; AC adapter kit: ACK-DC30 (sold separately)
Dimensions (CIPA compliant) 98.9 x 59.8 x 26.7mm
Weight (CIPA compliant) ~198 grams (including battery and memory card) / ~173 grams (body only)

Table 3: Main specifications of the PowerShot S100