The cheap camera turned out to be an extremely reliable companion throughout the various adventures I've had - mountain climbing, treks and road trips. It managed to survive some of the worst possible torture in the harshest environment known to man - my pocket.
I loved its portability and its ease of use, while the limited settings forced me to think out of the box.
After 2 years, I eventually realised that to quench my thirst for more creative control, I needed something better than the L20. The time was ripe to move to the next level.
Which is why I bought this. My first Canon camera - the Canon Powershot S100. The best compact camera... in the world. After the Sony RX-100.*
*The Sony RX-100 is widely regarded as the best compact camera, even though its starting price of $650 makes it a premium product.
& no, it's not a DSLR! But it’s the closest thing to a compact DSLR you can buy. ;)
Now, before moving further in this review, I must point out that it took me nearly a week to retrieve the camera from the Parcel Post Office.
Why? Because the camera was worth more than Rs 10k, I had to go through a customs broker to get a customs declaration before it could be cleared. Which meant paying broker fees in addition to the VAT on the camera. & it’s yesterday that I finally received the camera.
Conclusion: I'm never ever buying anything worth more than Rs 10k again….
So here’s the unboxing. Package contents – CD, manual, charger, battery, strap, USB cable and camera.
Canon recently issued a product advisory on the S100, whereby some of the cameras with serials 29XXX to 41XXX have lens errors. Fortunately, I got a camera with serial number greater than 41XXX… :)
First impression - the amount of camera settings is simply mind-boggling. I honestly don’t know half of the settings that are on the S100. This is the point where I’ll have to grab the camera’s manual and update my knowledge of photography.
Well, I guess I’ll have to learn the language…
Specs-wise, the S100 is better in every way than the L20.
- Higher resolution of 12MP.
- 24mm wide-angle lens.
- Better LCD.
- Shoots RAW.
- Better low-light performance (f/2.0)
- GPS tagging.
- In-camera HDR.
- Records 1080p.
- Built-in ND filter.
The full specs can be compared on snapsort.
There are however a few drawbacks, starting with the shutter button placement. With the L20 having only a shutter button at the top, I kept hitting the dial on the S100.
The pop-up flash is placed where I usually grip with my left hand.
The S100 also locks the ISO to 80 for shutter speeds longer than 1 sec. Luckily, there’s the Canon Hack Development Kit to circumvent that. :)
Here are a few photo samples:
Canon S100 – f/4, 1/160s, ISO-80.
Canon S100 – HDR
Canon S100 – f/5.9, 1/160s, ISO-80.
Canon S100 – f/4, 1/100s, ISO-80.
I still have a great deal to learn about the S100 before I can do any comparisons with the Nikon L20. But so far, what I’ve noticed is that the jump in the performance was well worth the upgrade. & despite the huge amount of DSLR-like controls, the best feature of the S100 is that it remains very much portable. ;)