Even if this new version looks very much like the S95 (click here to compare them side-by-side), the S100 is a brand new camera in many respects. First of all, the lens was improved with a wider aperture and larger focal length range: the Powershot S100 comes with the equivalent of a 24-120 mm lens. This lens offers a fast f/2 aperture at wide-angle, along with a less impressive f/5.9 at 120mm.
The sensor itself also changed: the S100 uses a Canon 12.1 MPix “high sensitivity” CMOS sensor in a 5.5 x 7.5 mm (1/1.7") format. In combination with this sensor, the S100 gets the brand new DIGIC 5 image processor, which is supposed to be 6 times faster and offers more advanced image processing and noise reduction. Canon claims that this combination of a new image processor and a new sensor should reduce the noise in low-light conditions and increase the dynamic range. We will definitely check these claims when we get the DxOMark test results.
In addition to this effort to reduce noise, the S100’s ISO range was extended up to 6400 for better low-light shooting conditions, and it was given an improved image stabilization system with no less than 7 modes for such situations as video, macro, panning, and tripod photos.
Canon also announced a pretty nice continuous shooting speed for a compact camera: up to 2.3 fps, compared to the 0.9 fps of the S95.
Some nice additional improvements of the Powershot S100 are:
All of these new features come with one caveat, however: compared to the S95, the S100’s battery life is very short. You’ll want to keep an extra battery with you if you’re planning on shooting more than a couple hundred photos per charge.