Review: Canon PowerShot S110 Digital ELPH
Keller, DCRP Founder/Editor
Originally posted: Saturday, June 23, 2001
Wednesday, January 23, 2002
Digital ELPH cameras (would you call them ELVES in plural?) are
very popular as you might guess. Their tiny size makes them great
for vacations, and they have an attractive feature set to boot.
The new PowerShot
S110 ($599 list) is a slightly upgraded version of the S100
(see last year's review),
adding movie mode, better color reproduction, faster shutter speeds,
and a few other new features. There's also the PowerShot S300 ($699
list, see our review),
which has a 3X optical zoom lens, instead of the S110's 2X. Read
on to find out more about this small and sexy camera.
PowerShot S110 is known as the Digital IXUS V in some regions.
in the Box?
PowerShot S110 has an excellent bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
2.1 Mpixel PowerShot S110 camera
Li-ion battery and charger
featuring Canon Digital Solutions, ArcSoft Camera Suite, and drivers
you need is right in the box, with perhaps the exception of an AC
adapter (that's optional).
NB-1L battery has a small, portable charger that plugs right into
the wall socket. The battery is only 680 mAh, and Canon says it
will last around 85 minutes. Of course, this all depends on how
much you use the LCD.
camera supports direct connection to Canon's CP-10 card photo printer
(see our review),
but doesn't support serial connections to your computer.
Canon's software and manuals have always been better than what's
included with most other digital cameras. That's still the case
with the PowerShot S110.
is similar to the all weather case for the S110
of the coolest accessories for the S110 is the AW-PS200 all weather
case. For about $180, you can take your S110 down as deep as 10
ft (3 m). You can use all of the important controls through this
case. [Updated 6/25/01 with correct depth information]
now, you're probably familiar with the look of the Digital ELPH.
There's only one physical difference between the S100 and S110 and
I'll get to that in a few paragraphs.
S110 is very, very small - it's the size of a pack of cigarettes,
or a bit thicker than a deck of cards. The body is made entirely
of metal and it looks really slick. It's also easy to scratch so
take care of it. The physical dimensions of the S110 are 3.4 x 2.4
1.1 (W x H x D) and it weighs just 190 grams empty.
S110 is a one-handed camera if there ever was one. It fits in any
pocket and is great for "on the go" shooting. Let's start
our usual tour now.
the front of the PowerShot S110. The F2.8 lens has a 2X optical
zoom, with a range of 5.4 - 10.8 mm (equivalent to 35 - 70 mm).
The lens has a handy built-in cover, so no lens cap is needed.
above the lens is the AF illuminator, used for focusing in low light
situations. To the left of that is the optical viewfinder, while
the flash is to the right. The flash has an effective range of 1.9
- 9.8 ft. in wide-angle, and 1.9 - 6.6 ft. in telephoto.
below the flash is the only physical change between the S100 and
S110: a microphone.
back of the S110 is where most of the action is.
1.5" LCD is a bit smaller than most, but the quality is just
as good as the larger ones. It also seems to do a good job at preventing
above the LCD is the optical viewfinder. It's on the small side,
but so is the camera. There is no diopter correction for those of
us with glasses.
the LCD you'll find five buttons, some with multiple functions:
[menu] / Flash [rec]
[menu] / Drive [rec]
[menu] / Focus [rec]
the drive button can put the S110 into continuous shooting mode.
Here, you can take shots at 2.5 frames/sec until the memory card
the menu button once gets you to the mode selection menu (this camera
has no mode wheel), where you can choose between Auto Record, Manual
Record, Panorama Mode (called Stitch Assist), and Movie Mode. I'll
have more details on these a bit later in the review.
can see the release to the door covering the CompactFlash slot towards
the right. Just above that is a switch that moves between Record
and Playback mode.
top of the camera there are just a few buttons. There's no mode
wheel, nor is there an LCD info display (not surprising -- there's
just no room for them). You will find an on/off button and the shutter
release button, which has the zoom control around it. The zoom control
can also be used to zoom into your photos in playback mode.
one side of the S110, under a rubber cover, you'll find the "Digital"
port. This port does triple duty: video out, USB out, and Direct
Print (to the CP-10) out.
the other side of the S110, with the CompactFlash slot open. This
is a Type I slot, so no Microdrive supported. The slot is spring-loaded
and really send that card flying when you eject it. You can also
see the 8MB card which is included with the camera.
the bottom of the camera. Down here is the battery compartment and
a metal tripod mount. You can see the NB-1L Li-ion battery to the
the Canon PowerShot S110
S110 is quick at almost everything. It starts up and is ready to
go in just under three seconds. The LCD is on by default. There's
a bit of focus and shutter lag, but nothing major. The zoom is a
fast, but a bit on the unresponsive side. Shot-to-shot speed is
about 3 seconds, which is competitive with most other two megapixel
thing to note about taking pictures on the S110: in order to see
the shot you just took, you'll want to hold down the shutter release
button to keep that image on the LCD!
menu system on the PowerShot S110 is very simple and fairly easy-to-use.
There aren't too many choices either, which is perfect for the "point
and shoot" lover. Here's what you'll find:
compensation (-2.0EV to +2.0EV in 1/3EV increments)
Balance (Auto, Sunlight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Black
(L/M/S) - more below
(Superfine, Fine, Normal) - more below
(Off, 2 sec, 10 sec) - how long the photo is shown on the LCD
after it's taken -- you must keep the shutter release held down
Number Reset (On/off)
(basic stuff like date, language)
addition to the main menu, you can also change some addition options
by using the buttons below the LCD. Continuous shooting mode will
capture images at around 2.5 frames/second. There's also a self-timer
(10 sacs), and macro/infinity modes as well.
items are only available in manual mode. That's the extent
of the manual controls on the PowerShot S110, which is fine for
the point and shoot crowd.
promised here's some more information about the resolution and compression
choices, so here they are:
photos on included 8MB card
1600 x 1200
1024 x 768
640 x 480
take a look at some test photos, shall we?
PowerShot S110 did a very good job with our macro test shot, nailing
both color and detail. The shot is taken under some pretty bizarre
lights, and it's always nice when it comes out with the correct
coloration. You can get as close as 3.9" at full wide-angle,
and 10.6" at full telephoto in macro mode.
got two nightshots for you this time, and both exhibit the result
found on most point-and-shoot cameras: they're too dark. And since
you can't set the shutter speed or aperture manually, there's not
much you can do about it. On the bright side (no pun intended),
there aren't any "hot pixels" noticeable, which usually
look like colored dots in the dark sky.
I was pleased with the photo quality of the PowerShot S110. Take
a look at the photo gallery and judge
wanted to briefly mention the Panorama Helper feature found on the
PowerShot S110. When you take a shot (usually from left to right),
the camera takes what was on the right, and moves it over to the
left, and helps you align things for the next shot. It's hard to
explain in words, but easier in practice. Once you've completed
your panorama, you use Canon's excellent PhotoStitch software to
merge it into one image. You'll get the best results if you use
a tripod, of course -- good panoramas are rarely handheld.
PowerShot S110 can record movies (with sound) at a resolution of
640 x 480. Unfortunately, you can only record four seconds at that
size, so it's almost useless. You can't use the zoom during recording,
either. The chart below describes the movie mode options:
# of seconds 8MB CF Card can hold
with tradition lately, here's an unexciting sample movie:
Click to view movie (AVI format, 320 x 240, 7 sec, 2.4MB)
PowerShot S110 continues Canon's leadership in playback mode. Moving
between photos seems to be instantaneous, and the zoom & scroll
feature is the best of any digital camera (it's smooth and fast).
My only complaint is that it's hard to scroll around in an image
without the usual four-way switch (which they couldn't fit on this
the other playback mode stuff is here too - protection, rotation,
slideshows, and DPOF print marking. You can also print directly
to Canon's CP-10 printer, as I've already mentioned.
playback mode, the S110 shows some basic information about each
photo, but omits any exposure data. I suppose since there's no manual
controls, they figure most people won't care. You can get to this
information with the included software (just "Get Info"
on a picture), or with any EXIF Tag Viewer.
can play back movies on the S110, but since there is no speaker,
there is no sound.
Does it Compare?
PowerShot S110 Digital ELPH isn't going to make current S100 owners
run out and upgrade. But if you're shopping for a very small and
capable point-and-shoot digital camera, take a close look at the
S110. The biggest selling point for the S110 is its small size,
but don't pass up its good photo quality, excellent software, and
new movie mode. If you want a little more zoom range for $100 more,
check out the PowerShot S300 Digital ELPH, which has a 3X optical
good and very portable
mode with sound, as large as 640 x 480
bundle included with camera (including software)
I didn't care for:
the pricey side for a 2 Megapixel camera
recording times too short, zoom cannot be used
small 2 Megapixel cameras worth checking out include the Canon PowerShot
A20 and S300
Digital ELPH, Fuji
FinePix 2400, Kodak
Coolpix 775, Olympus
D-510Z, and Sony's DSC-P50.
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try out
the Digital ELPH and its competitors (if there are any when you're
there) before you buy!
how does the photo quality stand up? Check out the sample photos
in our photo gallery!
a second opinion? How about a third?
Digicams review of the PowerShot S110. If that's still not
Resource has one too.
welcomes your comments or questions. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to my limited resources, please do not ask for personal camera