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Canon PowerShot S100 Digital Camera Review$429.99
All four of the cameras compared here spent extra effort equipping their models with relatively advanced glass, yet the S100 surpasses them all. The margin is tight, but most of the S100's lens-related efforts are better than the competition. More on how we test resolution.
Because distortion is easily corrected in software, we often see cameras–even cheap point-and-shoots–earning the maximum score here. But these four all favor raw data over processing enhancement, and the resulting scores are lower. Distortion is the only lens test that the S100 doesn't lead, it's outdone by the Lumix LX5, yet still better than the Olympus XZ-1 and a major improvement over the G12.
The S100's ability to resolve fine detail is excellent. In our test, the camera detected up to 2200 MTF50's at the widest and middle focal lengths, with sharpness dropping off very slightly at 5x zoom. The results are slightly better than the Olympus XZ-1 and much better than the Canon G12 and Panasonic LX5.
Chromatic Aberration ()
Like all of the finely tuned cameras in our comparison group, chromatic aberration is essentially absent from sample shots. It was therefore unsurprising when the S100 aced our chromatic aberration test. When fringing does appear, it occurs in the typical spots: the edges of the frame at the longer focal lengths.
Quality & Size Options
The S100 offers five aspect ratio settings (16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 1:1, and 4:5) with four shooting resolutions for each one, plus a single 4:3 resolution for RAW shooting. This adds up to a grand total of 21 different shooting resolutions. Beyond that, two compression quality settings, Fine and Normal, may be selected for each resolution, though the option is not available in RAW.
Images were already fairly detailed by the time the S100's image stabilization took over, registering 83 MTF50's of detail on average. The stabilizer boosts this figure up to 92, a 9% improvement. More on how we test image stabilization.
The best stabilizer of this comparison group belongs to the Canon G12, which increased image quality by 37%. The G12 produced less overall detail than the S100 though, 34 MTF50's without image stabilization and 54 with the feature active.