Canon S100 versus S95

King of Pocket Cameras

Canon’s venerable Powershot S camera line, starting with the S90 two years ago, just got a step better with the new S100.

While not visually much different than last year’s S95, the S100 is probably a bigger jump than the S90 to S95 was.

What’s improved?

  • More grippy body – grips on the front and back, grippier finish
  • 1080P video instead of 720P (h264 mov files)
  • better noise reduction with DIGIC 5 image processor
  • better dynamic range and low light sensitivity
  • 12 megapixel camera
  • bigger wideangle/zoom range – now 24-120mm equivalent instead of 28-105mm
  • geotagging – Yay! So I can see where all the photos were taken.
Like the last upgrade, don’t feel compelled to upgrade from an S90 or S95. The picture quality has improved, but only noticeably in low light.

UPDATE: I was surprised to see that Gizmodo couldn’t recommend the camera due to battery issues. They’re either doing something wrong or have a bad camera. While the battery life on the Canon S series has never been great, the S100 isn’t any worse for me than the previous models. It can stay in standby for weeks (I’ve only had it a few weeks) and it can take around 200 shots. I keep the GPS photo tagging on and the GPS logger off.


Canon S95 versus S90

King of Pocket Cameras, Improved

Canon just replaced their PowerShot S90 with the S95, so I did the same. The Canon S90 was my favorite camera ever so I wanted to see what Canon could do to improve it.

The S95 retains everything that made the S90 great.

  • a relatively large 1/1.7″ CCD sensor capturing 10 megapixels (same sensor as Canon G10 and G11)
  • excellent built quality
  • lots of manual controls that can be assigned to ring on front of camera

What’s improved?

  • body finish is more grippy
  • wheel on back has stop clicks (many people didn’t like the freely spinning wheel on the S90)
  • added 720p movie mode (only 24 fps though) with stereo recording
  • High Dynamic Range scene option
  • better image stabilization
  • can be used with a neck strap (holes at both sides of the camera)
  • just a little bit thinner (see photo). Some will complain about the camera being too small and losing the little thumb grip, but I prefer a camera to be as pocketable as possible.


There are loads of  pocket cameras to chose from that will take good shots in brightly lit situations. It’s in the poorly lit situations that the larger sensor of the S90/S95 really helps. It’s not about the number of megapixels, but about how good the image sensor is at collecting light. The image sensor on the S90/S95 combined with image stabilization makes the camera worth the money for me. By adding a plethora of manual controls, Canon has made a camera that many professional photographers will be comfortable using when they don’t want to carry their big DSLR.

Currently costing $399 at Amazon, the S95 is not a cheap camera. It isn’t a necessary purchase if you already own the S90. But the Canon S95 is the current best camera that can fit in a pocket and it’s a worthy successor to the S90.