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Canon PowerShot S110 Review

Daniel Bell reviews the Canon PowerShot S110, a serious compact camera with an f/2.0, 5x optical zoom lens and 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor.

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Canon Powershot S110

The Canon PowerShot S110 was released in September 2012 and is a serious pocket-sized compact camera, packed with Wi-Fi and a 3 inch touch screen. It is an update to the S100 and is available for around £370.

Canon Powershot S110

Canon PowerShot S110 Features

The Canon PowerShot S110 has a 12.1 megapixel CMOS BSI sensor and 5x optical zoom f/2.0 lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 24-120mm. The wide aperture lens coupled with 4-stop intelligent image stabilisation means the S110 should take sharp shots even in low light.

To make picture taking as easy as possible there is Smart Auto and there are also a range of scene modes as well as creative digital filters such as fisheye and miniature effects. If you want more control over your picture taking there are full manual controls as well as RAW shooting. High-speed Burst HQ mode allows you to record 10 full resolution images at 10 fps.

The S110 is armed with Wi-Fi which can be used for various functions. You can connect to your home network for easy image sharing and printing on a compatible Canon Wi-Fi printer. You can even use your smartphone's GPS to geotag your images.

There is a lens control ring which allows you to quickly adjust settings such as zoom, aperture, shutter speed, focus or ISO. On the rear of the camera is a 3 inch, 460k dot, LCD touch screen which allows you to set the focus and release the shutter by touching the screen. If you like to shoot underwater there is an optional waterproof case which protects to depths of 40m.

Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD with optical zoom and stereo sound or you can record super slow motion videos. To view your videos you can connect the S110 to a HD TV via HDMI.

Canon Powershot S110

Key Features

  • 12.1 megapixel CMOS BSI sensor
  • 5x optical zoom f/2.0 lens (35mm equiv: 24-120mm)
  • 4 stop intelligent image stabilisation
  • 3 inch 460k dot LCD touch screen
  • Wi-Fi and GPS via Mobile
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 80-12800
  • 3cm minimum focusing distance
  • 10 fps full resolution continuous shooting
  • Full manual controls and RAW
  • Lens control ring
  • Built-in ND filter
Canon Powershot S110

Canon PowerShot S110 Handling

The S110 has an extremely small body which is particularly remarkable given that it has many DSLR style features. If you were to stand the S110 and S100 together, nothing has changed much in terms of its design, except the front grip has been removed.

There is a mode dial on the top where you'll also find the zoom rocker, shutter release and on / off switch. The buttons on the rear are packed into the bottom right corner, but there is enough room for ring function, movie record, playback and menu buttons as well as a d-pad with a rotating wheel. The d-pad is used for cycling through the menus but also gives access to focus, exposure compensation and flash. If you activate the flash, it automatically pops up, deactivate and it goes back in. The control ring on the front can be set to change ISO, exposure compensation, focus, white-balance, zoom, i-contrast and aspect control.

The menu system is easy to navigate. To change shooting settings you use the function button in the centre of the d-pad, other general settings are changed through the menu button. The LCD screen is bright and clear but resolution is quite low for a premium compact.

Canon Powershot S110 Screenshot 1 Canon Powershot S110 Screenshot 2 Canon Powershot S110 Screenshot 3

To use the S110 with your smartphone you need to download and install the Canon CameraWindow app to your device. You can use this to send photos from the camera to smartphone and geotag your photos. Images can be resized before they are sent or left at full size. There are other apps available which do a similar job when it comes to geotagging, such as Geotag Photos Pro and gps4cam.

Battery life is rated at 200 shots according to CIPA test results, we were able to take 370 shots before the battery went flat, frequent use of the Wi-Fi will reduce your battery life quicker. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response   0.2 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.4 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.5 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.35 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   2.7 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   3.8 secs
Continuous Shooting   0.9 fps
Continuous Shooting - Flash   0.4 fps
High-speed Burst HQ   10 fps

Shutter response is a little slower than we'd like. Both continuous shooting and High-speed Burst HQ record at full resolution, with the latter restricted to 10 shots and only records JPEGs.

Canon Powershot S110

Canon PowerShot S110 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Canon PowerShot S110 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Portrait shots have pleasant skin tones, although there is a very slight hint of red-eye when using the flash. Although there isn't a landscape mode, the S110 is capable of taking good landscape shots with good blues and greens. You can use the "My Colours" options to emphasis the blues or greens. The rest of the images are well exposed and have good colour reproduction.

Canon PowerShot S110 Lens test images

Lens Performance - Image detail is good throughout the images and purple fringing is well controlled. The S110 has a good dynamic range which can be extended with DR correction which corrects overexposed areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 3cm which allows you to get close enough to take impressive macro shots.

Canon PowerShot S110 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 80, 100 and 200. ISO 400 sees images lose a little sharpness and a little more at ISO 800. Areas of the images at ISO 1600 are quite soft with a little detail missing. Loss of detail is much more evident at ISO 3200, with white dots appearing, and worsens at ISO 6400. Image quality is poor at ISO 12800, with lots of noise and missing detail. Colour reproduction remains good throughout the ISO range, so if you have to use the highest ISO settings, images will still look fine if they are resized for sharing on the web.

Canon PowerShot S110 White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights, the AWB preset has a colour cast, whereas the incandescent preset takes a much better picture. The AWB preset copes much better with our fluorescent lights. There are two fluorescent presets, the normal one performs well, with the fluorescent H preset having a colour cast.

Canon PowerShot S110 Digital filters

Digital Filters - The S110 is packed with a range of creative filters as well as "My Colours", although you're not able to use them if you are shooting in RAW.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p HD with stereo sound and quality is extremely good. You can use the optical zoom during recording, an example of which can be found on the ePHOTOzine Youtube Page. We have also uploaded a high-speed video.

Value For Money

The Canon PowerShot S110 is available for around £370.00. We have reviewed most of the newly released serious compact cameras, with a pick from different manufacturers below. For more choices, read our Top Ten Best Serious Compact Cameras article.

Nikon Coolpix P310 Fujifilm FinePix X10
Nikon Coolpix P310 Fujifilm X10 Panasonic Lumic DMC-LX7 Olympus XZ-2 Samsung EX2F
£185 £319 £355 £423 £430

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Canon PowerShot S110 Verdict

The Canon PowerShot S110 is an ideal serious compact camera if you're a big fan of small gadgets. It's pocket-sized, yet packs many features including full manual controls, Wi-Fi and a fast f/2.0 lens. It doesn't have built-in GPS, although Canon have provided their own solution via their smartphone app, but it's nothing you can't get from other similar apps. The Canon app does let you share your images at full size to your smartphone for instant editing and sharing. Image quality is excellent, with good colour reproduction and you can shoot at 10 fps. The Canon PowerShot S110 is recommended.

  The Canon PowerShot S110 packs a wide range of features and excellent image quality in to a very compact body.

Canon PowerShot S110 Pros

Built-in Wi-Fi
Full manual controls and RAW shooting
Pocket-sized with DSLR style features
Image quality is excellent
Fast f/2.0 lens
10 fps continuous shooting at full resolution
Lots of creative modes
Video quality is good

Canon PowerShot S110 Cons

No grip on the front of the camera
No built-in GPS
Battery life CIPA rating is poor
Is a little on the expensive side


Canon PowerShot S110 Specifications

Max Aperturef/2 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent24mm - 120mm
Optical Zoom5x
Image Sensor
Pixels12.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor Size1/1.7 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
  • 4:5
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3in
Screen resolution461,000 dots
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus3cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Face Detection
  • AF Tracking
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest15sec
Bulb modeNo Data
Exp modes
  • A
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity80 - 12800
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Flash
  • Underwater
Exposure Comp+/-3
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting2.1fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
  • 1280x720 HD 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
  • 320x240 QVGA
Video FPS30
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeRechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-5L
Battery Life (CIPA rating)200shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsNB-5L Lithium-Ion Battery Pack (3.7v, 1120mAh), CB-2LX Charger for Canon, NB-5L Lithium Battery Pack, Wrist Strap WS-DC11, USB Interface Cable, Digital Camera Solution, CD Instruction Manual (CD-Rom)

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Photographs taken using the Canon PowerShot S110

Derwentwater...... from a park benchThe river Tyne. hexhamHellebore exposedStormy weather....through the window, darklyA corner of the garden in early SpringA time to celebratesculptural   sunflower heads in DecemberOn course at AutumnCanoists on the Tynetaking an Autumnal walkNovember treesSwanning alongin among the daisiesRustic view.

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josa 10 25 Czech Republic
17 Dec 2012 6:03PM
A great pocket rocket...
27 Jan 2013 1:28PM
My colleagues and I bought 3 S100 cameras about 6 months ago. we were extremely satisfied with the image quality & the matchless convenience.

I used my camera really well travelling to Italy, Sicily, Dubai, Lebanon and other places. I shot about 3000 images and a few short movies.

However, the lens unit on my camera failed about a month ago for no reason at all. The same happened to one of my colleagues camera today even though she hardly used her camera.

Canon should pay more attention to the lens mechanism issue that caused many people to stop buying their products even though the image quality is really good. Reliability is a great issue!!!

I am so reluctant to advise anyone to buy the S110 if there is no assurance that the lens mechanism has been revamped.

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