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Cameras

Canon speeds up, adds Wi-Fi for PowerShot S110

Though the camera retains its disappointingly slow lens, Canon claims it's about 30 percent faster than the S100 at shooting.

Now it comes in white instead of silver. Canon USA

Canon made quite a few changes for its replacement to the popular S100, but alas, not necessarily for the better and it only addressed one of the camera's two biggest issues. More and more this camera is becoming less and less an enthusiast compact, despite support for raw and manual exposure controls.

On the plus side, Canon added Wi-Fi support for direct upload or mobile device connections and syncing; in exchange, though, it dropped the GPS, stating that geotagging functions are better performed by your phone or tablet. I suppose that makes sense, unless you're like me and prefer to leave location services turned off. It also incorporates a touch screen, which is pretty useful.

The company addressed the camera's lackluster performance, with an ostensibly faster autofocus system. That's always welcome, though the S100's (and the S95's before it) bigger performance issue is shot-to-shot time, where image processing becomes more of a problem. Since it uses the same Digic 5 processor, I'm not sure what impact Canon's improvements will have on that. Though it's the same resolution as before, Canon says it's a newly developed sensor, and it does claim a 10fps burst albeit for only 10 frames. We'll have see if that's followed by 15 seconds of file saving.

My biggest disappointment, though, its that the camera still has the same old slow lens. And to quote my S100 review, "The addition of the grip inset makes a big difference in shooting comfort." So Canon got rid of it. Sigh.

Here's the competitive field for enthusiast compacts in its price range (9/19/12: updated with more complete specs):

  Canon PowerShot S100 Canon PowerShot S110 Fujifilm XF1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7 Samsung EX2F
Sensor (effective resolution) 12.1mp CMOS 12.1mp CMOS 12mp EXR CMOS 10.1mp MOS 12.4mp BSI CMOS
1/1.7-inch 1/1.7-inch 2/3-inch 1/1.7-inch
1/1.7-inch
Sensitivity range ISO 80 - 6400 ISO 80 - 640012800 ISO 100 - ISO 12800 ISO 80 - ISO 6400 ISO 80 - ISO 3200/ 12800 (expanded)
Lens 24-120mm
f2-5.9
5x
24-120mm
f2-5.9
5x
25-100mm
f1.8 - 4.9
4x
24-90mm
f1.4-2.3
3.8x
24-80mm
f1.4-2.7
3.3x
Closest focus (inches) 1.2 1.2 1.2 0.4 0.4
Continuous shooting 2.3fps
n/a
0.9 fps
(with AF)
2.1fps
(without AF)
10fps
n/a
5 fps
12 JPEG/ n/a raw
(11fps without tracking AF)
n/a
Viewfinder None None None Optional EVF None
Autofocus n/a
Contrast AF
n/a
Contrast AF
n/a
Contrast AF
23-area
Contrast AF
n/a
Contrast AF
Metering n/a n/a n/a n/a
n/a
Shutter 15 - 1/2,000 sec 15 - 1/2,000 sec n/a 60-1/4,000 sec 30-1/2,000 sec
Flash Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hot shoe No No No Yes Yes
LCD 3-inch fixed
461,000 dots
3-inch fixed touch screen
461,000 dots
3-inch fixed
460,000 dots
3-inch fixed
920,000 dots
3-inch articulated AMOLED
614,000 dots
Image stabilization Optical Optical Optical Optical Optical
Video
(best quality)
1080/24p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
Stereo
1080/24p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
Stereo
1080/30p H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/60p AVCHD @ 28, Mbps; 1080/60p QuickTime MOV @ 28 Mbps
Stereo
1080/30p
H.264 MP4
Stereo
Manual iris and shutter in video Yes Yes n/a n/a n/a
Optical zoom while recording Yes Yes Yes n/a Yes
External mic support No No No No Yes
Wireless connectivity None Wi-Fi None None Wi-Fi
Battery life (CIPA rating) 200 shots 200 shots 300 shots 330 shots n/a
Dimensions (WHD, inches) 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 3.9 x 2.3 x 1.1 4.2 x 2.4 x 1.2 4.4 x 2.6 x 1.8 4.4 x 2.4 x 1.1
Weight (ounces) 7.0 7.0 (est) n/a 10.6 (est) 11.4 (est)
Mfr. Price $429.99 $449.99 $499.95 $499 $499.99
Availability November 2011 October 2012 October 2012 August 2012 August 2012

Yes, it's still the smallest camera available in its class, and a lot of people will continue to be attracted by the fact that it's a 5x zoom lens compared with the faster lenses offered by Panasonic, Samsung, and Olympus. And maybe there's some image improvement to go along with all these changes as well. Or, hopefully, Canon will continue to keep the S95 around for a bit longer.

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