Canon Powershot S110 Review: Compact yet powerful
[tabgroup][tab title="Packaging, Design and built, User interface"]
The Canon Powershot S110 comes in a typical cuboid shape tough cardboard box. Inside you’ll find the camera body the NB-5L 1050mAh battery pack, wrist strap, charger with the charging cable and an interface cable – apart from the manuals ofcourse. No HDMI cord even at 30k?
Oh and you get a 4GB card and pouch for a limited time I guess.
Design and built
The black review unit looks a pretty non-pretentious cuboid body. It’s all metal body that is tough and sure looks durable. The front part around the lens has a sandy texture; the rest is matte – all-in-all a very lovable body unless you want those glossy cameras to carry along with your lipsticks. Despite the metal and glass body, the Powershot S110 is very pockatable and with a decent weight.
Front: The lens with the control ring, auto-focus assist lamp and the stereo microphones
Top: Shutter release button with the zoom lever, mode dial, power button, Wi-Fi indicator, pop-out flash and two eyelets
Right: miniUSB and HDMI ports with flap
Bottom: Tripod mount, battery and SD card compartment
Back: 3-inch touch-enabled LCD monitor, control ring func. button, movie recording button, selection dial with the func. Set button in between, playback and menu buttons
The S110 starts in a blink and straightaway mean business. On the monitor you’ll see all current statuses and settings. Add the histogram, grid lines and a unique but very useful tilt scale by tapping the display button. The tilt scale will let you know whether your camera is straight or bent. Don’t worry, once you half-press the SR button to focus, the info on the top of the screen disappear and only a bottom line remains to tell you the metering, A, S, Exp and ISO. You can customize the display in camera settings.
First thing you want to do is to go to Menu and set it according to your preferences. You have various shooting settings as well as camera settings here. You can also set your favourite settings in one menu and make it default to appear when you press Menu.
Aim at the subject and half-press the SR button to focus first and then shoot. Drag the zoom lever to zoom in and out within the range of 5x optical and a total of 20x optical+digital zoom range. You can quickly change various settings like focus modes (normal, macro, manual), flash modes (off, auto, always on, slow synchro), exposure scale and Wi-Fi from the multi-functional dial. The function set button sits in between with the help of which you can switch various shooting functions like WB, ISO, colours, bracketing, dynamic range correction, no. of shots per click, self-timer, ,metering, ND filter, aspect ratio, still output format, still and video resolution. These options might become unavailable according to the shooting mode you’ve set on the mode dial.
There are the usual Auto, P, Av (Aperture priority), Tv (Shutter priority) and M modes. There is a C mode which lets you save a custom setting.
Then there’s the movie mode followed by a movie digest, scene and filter modes. In each of these modes, press function set key to change through options.
[/tab][tab title="Usability, features, connectivity, Performance"]
The S110 scores big in terms of usability. You have literally every button within the reach of your right hand. In addition because the body is not as heavy and big as some of the other cameras with similar specs, it’s easy to keep shooting and recording with one hand without feeling fatigue.
The multi-functional ring works in the same way as an Fn button you’d find on many devices, albeit with one less step – you don’t need to press a button first, just move the ring and start customizing.
The touch-screen is very responsive and is much faster and easier to operate than fiddling through physical buttons. The touch tower on the right of the screen (not available in Auto mode) further simplifies access to settings. You can toggle between different available settings (ISO, Tv and Av in M mode for example) and then rotate the control ring to change the values – how convenient is that! Note that the default function assigned to the control ring is not displayed here.
This advance image processing engine is 6 times faster than the entry-level DIGIC 4. It enables high burst shots at about 10fps, gives a better IS and shoots much better low-lights. Mid-ranges like the 650D use the same processor.
The S110 is Wi-Fi certified but never works end-to-end out-of-box. In every possible way you’d want to upload a media on net, you need another device and an installed app there. It is also quite sluggish and does not connect at times.
The 12-bit processed RAW mode lets you have more control over post-processing than JPEG – much more actually.
You have the usual wired data transfer feature. There’s no infrared for remote control. Now a much advertised feature with the S110 is its Wi-Fi feature. However you can’t transfer files out-of-box without installing a compatible app on your mobile or PC. Even the Image gateway needs initial setting up.
The camera is very fast and smooth to operate with absolutely no lag. The touch-screen is a joy to operate with, again, no touch lags. There’s almost 0 shutter lag on shooting a picture. Equally fast is the start of the movie recording
The colours come out very well and true. There is a very slight overcast on the image (I took them under bright morning sunlight) but apart from that the images are sharp enough. Auto mode brought out the sharpest results.
Low-light performance is brilliant, and you get a perfectly uploadable picture quality till ISO 1600. At 3200 you can make out the grains but post-processing can remove them. Note that we tested it under virtually no light. In real situation you’ll get much better light than this. 6400 and beyond that are not recommended.
One word of caution – don’t crop low-light photos too much as it will pixelate your image, thanks to the modest max resolution.
The slight overcast seen on the stills is totally gone while recording. The colours came out brilliantly vivid. The 5x zoom performs flawlessly with auto-focus. We stretched it till 16x on the guy sitting and you will notice only slight fuzziness which is much better than some of the other similarly priced cameras.
The promised 200 shots per battery charge is not much anyway, but we got around 175-180 shot while GPS and Wi-Fi transferring of files. This was when we did not even record movies.