Canon PowerShot SX100 IS review: Canon PowerShot SX100 IS

While the SX100 gets decent marks overall for speed, it does have some borderline performance issues that earned it some ratings demerits. It wakes and shoots in a reasonable 2 seconds. Its shutter lag for high- and low-contrast scenes--0.5 second and 1.7 seconds, respectively--are typical for this class, as is its 1.7-second typical shot-to-shot time. However, shot-to-shot time jumps to 4.3 seconds once you enable the flash, a seriously slow figure we haven't seen for several years. And burst shooting runs a mere 0.8 frame per second, which barely exceeds the single-shot shooting speed. Finally, the LCD is good, but not terrific, and not always easy to see in bright sunlight.

Photos and image samples from the Canon PowerShot SX100 IS

What the camera sacrifices in speed, however, it makes up for in photo quality. Perhaps it's just the result of an extra few months of tweaking since the S5 shipped, but the SX100's photo quality, especially at higher ISO sensitivity settings, clearly improves upon its siblings. At ISO 800, for example, there's far less of a mottled look in the SX100's shots, but with no increased loss of detail. The new lens has better distortion characteristics--less distortion and more symmetry--and photos look sharp without looking oversharpened. While there's a bit of magenta, yellow, and purple fringing, it's not nearly as severe in the SX100's photos as those of the S5 (or S3). Plus, the good aspects of those models' images--predominantly excellent exposure and color--highlight the SX100's photos, as well.

Despite its arguably best-in-class photo quality, the Canon PowerShot SX100's spotty performance, disappointing movie capture, and occasionally frustrating design keep it from earning a no-brainer recommendation.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Smaller bars indicate better performance)
Typical shot-to-shot time  
Time to first shot  
Shutter lag (dim)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-H3
1.3 
1.8 
1 
0.4 
Canon PowerShot S3 IS
1.7 
1.5 
0.8 
0.4 
Canon PowerShot S5 IS
1.6 
1.3 
0.8 
0.5 
Canon PowerShot SX100 IS
1.7 
2 
1 
0.5 
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3
1.3 
2.3 
1.3 
0.6 
Fujifilm FinePix S700
3.3 
1.3 
2.2 
0.6 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

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Canon PowerShot SX100 IS (silver)

Part Number: 2091B001 Released: Oct 1, 2007
MSRP: $249.99 Low Price: $499.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Oct 1, 2007
  • Optical Zoom 10 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CCD
  • Sensor Resolution 8.0 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Optical Sensor Size 1/2.5"
  • Lens 36 - 360mm F/2.8