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Steve's Digicams

Canon S100 Digital ELPH

First Look posted 5/20/00
(User review finished 6/01/00)


Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH
Click to take a QTVR tour of the S100

The new Canon PowerShot S100 (Digital ELPH) is undoubtedly the smallest 2-megapixel digital camera with an optical zoom. When powered down, the lens is safely tucked away inside of the highly durable stainless steel body and it measures just 3.4 x 2.2 x 1.1 inches. This is truly a "pocket size" camera that weighs a scant 6.7 ounces.

Inside is state of the art image processing hardware including a high performance 1/2.7-inch CCD imager with 2.11 million pixel resolution. Finished JPEG pictures are captured in Super-Fine and Fine quality in 1600 x 1200 resolution or Fine quality in 640 x 480 resolution.

Sequential shooting mode offers a capture rate of 2 pictures per second in full resolution with the LCD and flash off. The equivalent film sensitivity is fixed at ISO 100.

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH

When powered up, the all-glass f/2.8-4.0 aspherical 35-70mm (35mm equivalent) 2x optical zoom lens automatically extends out from the body. An advanced TTL AiAF three-point autofocus system permits the camera to automatically select the primary subject even when off-center.

As with all the Canon compacts, the S100 has a light-assisted autofocus that even works in the dark. Focusing range is 22 inches to infinity in normal mode and macro coverage is 4 to 22 inches in wideangle and 11 to 22 inches in telephoto.

Metering is accomplished using a 64-zone, center-weighted TTL exposure system. Shutter speeds are automatically controlled and range from 1 to 1/1500 sec (1-sec. for Slow-Synchro mode and manual with flash set to off). The builtin flash offers Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye Reduction and Slow-Synchro modes. Flash range is 11 in. to 10 ft. in wideangle or 11 in. to 7 ft. in telephoto. There's a high-speed USB interface for image downloads to the host computer.

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH

Is that really a digital camera hiding behind that credit card?

Jump to the complete S100 specifications.

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH

The bright 1.5" color LCD uses energy-efficient white LEDs for backlight illumination and has a non-reflective coating that reduces fingerprint and nose smears. The user controls are minimal but highly functional. Except for the power button, the shutter release and the zoom lever on the top, all other controls are located on the back below the LCD. The slide switch (upper right) lets you quickly switch between record and play modes.

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH

You access the onscreen menu to go from the Automatic (default) record mode to the Manual or Stitch Assist panorama mode. In Manual mode you can change the EV compensation, the White Balance, the Image Size/Quality or enable the B&W mode. See page two for all the details.

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH

New on the S100 is a lever that controls the zoom lens in record mode and works as the index and zoomed playback control in Play mode. The Power button must be depressed for more than a second to prevent accidental powerups. Below the shutter release is the slide lever to select record or play mode.

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH

On the bottom is a metal tripod socket and the battery access door. When mounted on a tripod the camera does not need to be removed to change the battery.

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH

All of the Digital ELPH's I/O is handled through one port. Cables are supplied for Video Out and USB data connections.

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH

The PowerShot S100 is equipped with a Type I CompactFlash card slot and comes with an 8MB CF card. It uses the same type of ejector mechanism as the S20 and S10 cameras so be ready to catch the card as it really "pops out" when the button is pressed.

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH

The S100 comes with a new Canon NB-1L 3.7v 680mAh lithium rechargeable battery pack and a 110/240V CB-2L 2-hour rapid charger (N. America) that plugs directly in the wall.

Canon PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH
Photo by James Hawk

Because of the Digital ELPH's small size it's very easy to take it with you wherever you go.  You might want to tie a string on it though, once your friends see this beauty they'll probably want to borrow it.

Continue on to
Page Two

PowerShot S100 Specifications

Image Sensor Approx. 2.11 million-pixel
1/2.7 inch charge coupled device
(effective pixels: approx. 2.02 million)
Image Quality
Super-Fine/ Large :
Fine/ Large :
Fine/ Small :
Recording media CompactFlashTM card (Type I)
Image format Design rule for Camera File System (DCF **)
(Images/ Thumbnails: JPEG)
Image Storage Capacity *
(with 8MB CF card)
Super-Fine/ Large :
Approx. 4 images
Fine/ Large :
Approx. 12 images
Fine/ Small :
Approx. 46 images
Sensitivity Equivalent to ISO 100
Lens 5.4 (wide angle) - 10.8 (telephoto) mm
(35 mm film equivalent: 35 - 70 mm)
F2.8 (wide angle) - F4.0 (telephoto)
Digital Teleconverter 2X, 4X (Maximum 8X digital zoom is available combined with optical zoom)
Focusing Range
(from the top of lens barrel)
Standard :
57 cm - infinity (22 in. - infinity)
Macro :
10 cm - 57 cm (4 - 22 in.) (wide angle)
27 cm - 57 cm (11 - 22 in.) (telephoto)
Viewfinder Real-image optical viewfinder
1.5 inch low-temperture polycrystalline silicon TFT LCD
Metering Method Center weighted metering
Focusing Method TTL 3 point AiAF
Auto Exposure Method TTL program AE
White Balance Control TTL auto/ manual
Shutter Mechanical + electronic
Shutter Speed 1 - 1/1500 sec.
(1-sec. for Slow-Synchro mode and manual mode with flash set to Off)
Flash Built-in (Auto, On, Off, Red-Eye Reduction, Slow-Synchro)
Flash Range
wide angle :
27 cm - 3 m (11 in. - 10 ft.)
telephoto :
27 cm - 2 m (11 in. - 7 ft.)
Camera Modes Shooting/ Replay
Continuous Shooting Speed Approx. 2 images/sec. (when the LCD monitor is off.)
Self-timer 10 seconds
Print Order Format Digital Print Order Format (DPOF)
Interface USB/ CF Card Slot (Type I)/ Video out
Power Supply Battery Pack NB-1L
Compact Power Adapter CA-PS300 (with DC Coupler DR-300)
Operating Environment Temperature : 0 - 40 degrees C (32 - 104 degrees F) , Humidity : 10 - 90 %
Dimensions (W x H x D) 87.0 x 57.0 x 26.9 mm (3.4 x 2.2 x 1.1 in.) excluding protrusion
Weight Approx. 190 g (6.7 oz.) excluding batteries and CF card

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