You don’t always need the newest camera. The classic Canon S110 is still an option for beginners and photography enthusiasts alike. I personally love versatile compact cameras, and they’ve been my trusted companions during my travels. They just make sense. While it’s fun to fiddle with lenses and settings on a fancier camera while trying to get that perfect shot, most of the time, all you need is a good photo. Not a masterpiece.

Compact classics like the Canon S110 tend to stick around. That’s why we’re still reviewing it five years after its release.

How the Canon S110 Compares to Competitors

Woman uses canon s110

With so many compact cameras on the market, and with how deceptive stats and specs can be, it’s good to make some comparisons to get a better idea. So we’ll compare the Canon S110 to the Sony RX100, Leica C Typ112, and Canon G9x.


HOW W​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​E REVIEWED

These reviews and comparisons result from researching user experiences and reviews found on the web. Our primary source for this article is Amazon customer reviews.


A Closer Look at the Canon S110

Woman wearing wristwatch setting up something from her canon s110

Canon PowerShot S110

Canon PowerShot S110 12MP Digital Camera with 3-Inch LCD (Black)
  • Built-in WiFi for Image Transfer to Social Sites, PC, IOS and Android Devices
  • 5x Optical Zoom with 24mm Wide-Angle Lens
  • 1080p Full HD Video With a Dedicated Movie Button

One of the classics of Canon’s Powershot series, the Canon S110 provides high-detail photos without the weight and price of many competitors. It’s pretty old by now, but it’s still worth looking into.

Technical specs

  • Sensor: 12.1-megapixel 1/1.7-inch CMOS
  • Processor: DIGIC 5
  • Focus range: 5.2 -- 26 mm
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.2 inches
  • Optical zoom: 5x
  • Digital zoom: 4x
  • Formats: JPEG, RAW, RAW + JPEG
  • Connections: HDMI, USB 2.0, composite video/audio

While similar to previous models, the Canon S110 features an improved sensor with ISO ranges between 80 and 12,800. Furthermore, it has Wi-Fi, unlike its predecessor. It’s lost the handgrip and GPS, however.

The intelligent stabilization system can operate in six different modes to reduce blur, depending on your shooting conditions. While previous versions had slight issues with autofocus times and shutter lag, the Canon S110 has no such issues.

Wi-Fi connectivity lets you print photos or upload them directly to social media from your camera. You can also transfer them to smartphones via the CameraWindow app. The Canon S110 uses SD cards for file storage, including SDXC and SDHC types.

An NB-5L Li-ion battery pack powers the Canon S110. According to CIPA standards, it’s good for 200 shots.

Performance

A three-inch capacitive touchscreen makes operation as easy as on your smartphone. Navigating menus and setting the focus point is quick and effortless. And if you’ve ever found yourself frustrated by the process of writing things on a non-touchscreen camera, you’ll find the on-screen keyboard a relief. Canon didn’t go the route of removing all physical controls, however. So it’s still enthusiast-friendly and lets you keep your eyes on the subject. In playback mode, you use the same gestures as you would on a smartphone.

There’s a touch shutter function for those who like the simplicity of that. You can also zoom in for better focal point precision. You can also choose an approximate focal point and let the Canon S110 perfect it with its camera-detected autofocus lock.

The Canon S110 lens offers a 24.120mm range, and 4x digital zoom to take it further. At full wide-angle, you get good results overall, but some slight softening of the corners and coma distortion do occur. Overall performance is better in the telephoto range, with no noticeable corner blur. In Macro mode, you get lots of sharp detail across the subject, with the typical soft corners of compact camera macros. The only problem is that the camera body blocks part of the flash at this range, which can lead to unexpected results.

Cycle times are so-so. You can capture a RAW file every 2.8 seconds, and a big JPEG every 2.2 seconds. In its continuous mode, you get JPEGs at 1.82 frames per second (FPS). In High-Speed Burst HQ mode, the Canon S110 captures 10 photos in one second. However, this locks the focus, white balance, and exposure into the first photo’s settings for all subsequent ones.

Image quality

The resolution is fine, capturing up to roughly 1,900 lines both horizontally and vertically. Extinction starts somewhere around 2,500 lines. You can set it to capture RAW images, JPEGs, or both at once. In addition to sharp images, you can capture 1080p videos at 24 FPS. If you’re fine with 720p, you can get 30 FPS. There’s also a built-in stereo microphone for videos.

Handheld no-flash shots after dark are no problem, as long as there’s normal city lighting or equivalent conditions. This is mostly true for wide-angle shots. As you zoom in, it gets darker. So it’s best to stay off the zoom rocker or use the flash.

You get a few different special modes and filters to play with. If you like these creative effects for quick social media pictures, for example, you’ll enjoy the Canon S110. There is an HDR mode, but it’s not very useful without a tripod. You can also affect image quality in a few ways. You can adjust noise reduction and ISO sensitivity ramping rates, which can let you trade noise levels for blur-free subjects.

The Canon S110 doesn’t oversaturate pictures like most compact cameras do. Colors are quite true to life, but it does shift the colors somewhat. Orange turns toward yellow, and so on. But it’s subtle. Skin tones may turn out a little pinker.

Buyers like the image quality and compact camera size, and they give it a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Pricing

The Canon S110 is a fairly old camera, so not many vendors carry new ones. You can find them for between $ and $$ . Used ones are plentiful and affordable.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100

Sony Cyber-Shot DSC-RX100 Digital Camera Bundle with Sandisk 16GB...
  • SONY AUTHORIZED DEALER - Includes Full SONY USA WARRANTY
  • 1” Exmor CMOS sensor, 20.2 MP, extreme low-light shots | Bright F1.8 Carl Zeiss Vario-Sonnar T* lens w/3.6x zoom |...
  • Full HD 1080/60p video | Shoot in almost any lighting with clean high ISO 6400 | Focus as fast as 0.13 seconds with high...

This is an alternative for more serious enthusiasts who need a bit more power than the Canon S110 can provide, but who don’t want to upgrade to a DSLR. It doesn’t have a lot more features, but it’s a more expensive high-end option that does most things with more finesse.

Technical specs

  • Sensor: 20.2-megapixel 1-inch Exmor CMOS
  • Processor: BIONZ
  • Focus range: 10.4 -- 37.1 mm
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.97 inches
  • Optical zoom: 3.6x
  • Digital zoom: 4x
  • Formats: JPEG, RAW
  • Connections: HDMI, USB 2.0, composite video/audio

It’s bigger and heavier than the Canon S110, mostly due to its larger sensor. The lens is a 28-100mm equivalent Zeiss stabilized lens. The Zeiss T coating keeps reflections to a minimum. It’s capable of higher image quality than the Canon S110 lens. The optical zoom, however, isn’t as strong. You get a much deeper digital zoom, but it will produce visible pixelation. The focal length isn’t quite as good as what you get from the Canon S110 either.

The screen is the same size as that of the Canon S110, but it offers more detail and contrast. However, it’s not a touchscreen. With recommended settings, it’s good for up to 330 shots or 165 minutes according to CIPA standards.

The maximum ISO is twice that of the Canon S110. It also offers 25 focus points, against the Canon S110’s nine. The color depth and dynamic range are slightly higher.

Sony’s RX100 doesn’t offer Wi-Fi connectivity. It is Eye-Fi connected though, and it has NFC for quick transfers with compatible devices. For storage, it takes SD cards and memory sticks.

Performance

You get the usual four shooting modes, Program, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, and Manual. There are also various automatic modes and the typical manual controls. You can shoot full HD video at 25 FPS, or lower quality at up to 50 FPS. You can record in AVCHD or MP4. There’s an external microphone jack if you need better sound. You can also shoot 17-megapixel still images without interrupting video recording.

The user controls are similar enough between the two cameras. However, the Canon S110 dial has firmer detents, while the Sony RX100 uses a free-spinning dial. This makes it easier to make mistakes with the Sony since you don’t get the feedback that you’ve made a change. One advantage of the Sony is that you customize shortcuts on the functions screen.

Users like the picture quality and strong point-and-shoot functionality, but not the user interface, so they give it a rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Pricing

Being a higher-end camera than the Canon S110, it will cost you more. You can find it for between $$ and $$$. You can also find many used deals.

This classic builds upon the P7700 and adds a better LCD panel and an electronic viewfinder. It also has a hot shoe. While similar in performance to the Canon S110, it offers more physical features.

Technical specs

  • Sensor: 12.2-megapixel 1/1.7-inch MOS
  • Processor: EXPEED C2
  • Focus range: 6 -- 42.8 mm
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.2 inches
  • Optical zoom: 7x
  • Digital zoom: 4x
  • Formats: JPEG, NRW (RAW)
  • Connections: HDMI, USB 2.0, composite video/audio

The first difference to note is the flip-out display, which also rotates to accommodate high and low angles and easy selfies. You toggle between the two with a dedicated button. The hot shoe on top lets you use a variety of accessories for better shots.

Offering a shoe and an electronic viewfinder makes it more enthusiast-oriented. Its battery lasts for 350 shots by CIPA standards. It has a faster lens and better shutters speeds, but no AE bracketing, which makes it less useful for HDR and low-light photos. Like the Canon S110, it has Wi-Fi. But it lacks a touchscreen, and it’s about twice as heavy.

Performance

It’s a heavy compact camera, but it has an ergonomic design and offers easy handling. The mobile display and viewfinder help a lot with tricky shots. You get the normal PASM controls and a variety of dials and buttons for quick adjustments.

The elaborate focus system has 99 points to choose from. So you can trust its point-and-shoot capabilities, while it’s also able to pull off those fine-tuned shots you want to perfect.

It can record video at 1080p, but not at high frame rates. There’s a mic jack, so it’s more capable of serious videos. You can also do time-lapses. It does continuous shooting too, but only at 8 FPS.

Users like the electronic viewfinder and the vari-angle LCD, but some think it’s a bit clunky and expensive. They give it a rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Pricing

You can find new ones for between $$and $$$. However, not many vendors carry them these days.

Canon G9x Mark II

Canon G9x Mark II Digital Camera Bundle (Silver) + Canon PowerShot G9...
  • 'WHOISCAMERA' CANON CAMERAS FAVORITE DEALER - Includes Canon Full USA Warranty.
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  • INCLUDED WITH THE CANON G9X Mark II CAMERA - Battery Pack NB-13L - Battery Charger CB-2LH - Wrist Strap WS-DC12

It’s time to compare the Canon S110 to another Powershot camera. The Canon G9X is newer and more geared toward enthusiasts.

Technical specs


  • Sensor: 20.2-megapixel 1-inch BSI-CMOS
  • Processor: DIGIC 6
  • Focus range: 10.2 -- 30.6 mm
  • Minimum focus distance: 2 inches
  • Optical zoom: 3x
  • Digital zoom: 4x
  • Formats: JPEG, RAW, RAW + JPEG
  • Connections: HDMI, USB 2.0

The first thing you’ll notice is that the screen has a much higher resolution. So you’ll have a better idea of how your shots turn out. Other than that, there are small technical improvements across the board. Canon has made a few sacrifices for the G9X, however. For example, the optical zoom is only 3x, while the Canon S110 does 5x.

Flash coverage is a bit shorter, and there’s no AE bracketing. The focal length is a bit lesser. Continuous shooting only provides six frames per second, rather than the Canon S110’s 10. And the camera is a little heavier, but not much.

Performance

You’ll have an easier time taking good pictures with the improved display. It also has a slightly longer battery life, rated at 220 shots by CIPA.

Since the picture resolution is almost twice as high, it’s much better suited for serious photography. The Canon G9X brings the focus points up to 31. It also has a significant advantage in low-light, high-ISO situations. The dynamic range is also higher. Another added feature is time-lapse photography. Other than that, not a lot has changed.

Users like the ergonomics and excellent image quality. What they don’t like is that the auto modes don’t provide RAW files. They give it a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

Pricing

You can find new ones for between $$and $$$ depending on the model and vendor.

PROS and CONS

With all the technical details and comparisons out of the way, it’s time to round things up. Here are the strengths and weaknesses of the Canon S110.

PROS

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Bright lens
  • Abundant controls
  • Beginner- and enthusiast-friendly

CONS

  • Short battery life
  • Lacks remote shooting support

If you’re looking for a camera that’s easy to use and takes good pictures, and you don’t need something fancy, a Canon S110 is a great choice. If you’re an average consumer or enthusiast, it’ll satisfy all your compact camera needs. And it’s an affordable option.

It’s not a high-performance camera. If that’s what you seek, the Sony RX100 and Canon G9X are better options.

OUR VERDICT

The image quality isn’t bad. You get reliable auto modes and PASM shooting with plenty of manual settings. You can customize the interface. Touchscreen controls are easy to use. It can give you full HD video with stereo sound. And it does alright at night in your hand. It definitely deserves its Amazon rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars.

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