Canon PowerShot S110 Review

November 21, 2012 | Mark Goldstein | |

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#1 andyclad

Wow. Well done to Canon for this little gem. Much more refined than the s100.
The handling of noise is great for a small sensor. The lens may not be the quickest, but the increase of ISO to compensate for low light isn’t going to be a problem here. I still own a sx220hs, and even though it handles noise quite well (much better than my xz-1), the CA from the lens and the poor metering lets it down badly. This canon has coped superbly with the overcast white sky, nothing overblown or washed out. Crisp detail is shown with the brickwork and cloud cover. Again the leaf pic looks interesting because of the lack of CA.A much improved lens.
Thank you Mark for including the Brixton Costa pics. For me this has become a real reference point over the last couple of months. The s110 handles the low light, high ISO and importantly captures great shadow detail without smearing everything.
People, don’t be to disappointed with the raw pics. Remember, these are direct from the chip and haven’t been cleaned up and processed by the camera on board software, which has to really work hard with such a small sensor.
I’m really looking forward to giving this one ago. Its just a shame that the battery capacity lets it down a bit. Cheers for your review.

9:47 pm - Wednesday, November 21, 2012

#2 Hubo

Night Shot image not found!

9:27 pm - Thursday, December 6, 2012

#3 Dave

Sorry Canon, the RX100 is the new best in class. You waited around too long and made no real changes from the S90 to S95 and S100.

9:15 pm - Friday, December 7, 2012

#4 Nith

I can’t view sample images. I keep getting “403 forbidden” error.

4:19 am - Tuesday, December 25, 2012

#5 Sveyo

Great review, Mark :) Canon PowerShot S110 is a very nice pocket camera. Some extra zoom would be nice though, it is quite expensive for just 5x optical. I think there are some more capable cameras for $350 out there. 
Here is a quick unboxing video of the PowerShot S110

10:29 am - Thursday, January 10, 2013

#6 Elie Boujaoude

My colleagues and I bought 3 S100 cameras about 6 months ago. we were extremely satisfied with the image quality & the matchless convenience.

I used my camera really well travelling to Italy, Sicily, Dubai, Lebanon and other places. I shot about 3000 images and a few short movies.

However, the lens unit on my camera failed about a month ago for no reason at all. The same happened to one of my colleagues camera today even though she hardly used her camera.

Canon should pay more attention to the lens mechanism issue that caused many people to stop buying their products even though the image quality is really good. Reliability is a great issue!!!

I am so reluctant to advise anyone to buy the S110 if there is no assurance that the lens mechanism has been revamped.

2:13 pm - Sunday, January 27, 2013

#7 fred

Actually I am using since 20 years DSLR camera.When S100 came on the market I stopped using DSLR with its heavy gear.So we bought(my wife&I ) 2 S100 cameras 2 years ago.With an interval of 3 months the lens units are clamped without any reason during our last Patagonian and France journeys resp.—So no camera for the rest of our vacation (10 days)—-.We are told in my home town Istanbul by the authorised service,this can unfortunately happen by certain serial#‘s.The lens units are repaired without any payment.But since that time we don’t travel any more without a reserve camera.Photograph quality is excellent but we do no more trust to its lens mechanism.Now I will think twice before buying a new Canon Camera.

3:44 pm - Monday, April 15, 2013

#8 Mark

You have to wonder if the lens error will carry over to the S120 coming out in October 2013.  This has been going on since the S100 release, so this problem is still going on since the recall of serials numbers starting with the S100.  This is the main reason I have been hesitant of buying any of the S-lines, maybe the Sony RX 100 is the one to buy. I think the S110 and S120 (preview online) are great cameras but who wants to deal with a lens error later on the down the road.

2:35 am - Monday, September 16, 2013

#9 Bob Woodhill

I own an S100 , have had “lens error ” twice !!! Is there any one out there ( preferably from Canon ) that can guarantee me that the S110 won’t have the same problem ! C’mon Canon put your reputation to the test ! About to buy a new Canon DSLR & replace the S100 .

6:35 am - Wednesday, September 10, 2014

#10 Juan

I just bought one I hope it doesn’t have a lens error will canon replace it if it does?/

12:53 am - Sunday, December 28, 2014

#11 Mark

@Juan If you bought a new one, you usually have to send it in to get it fix when under warranty.

I bought the PowerShot S120 few weeks ago (priced dropped over $100+ too) and love it.  Here is a quick run down on the lens error issues I researched:

S100: Canon announce there was an issue with a batch of cameras and did a recall on select serial numbers.

S110: The S110 appeared to still have some lens errors but not at higher incidence as the S100. And, some may of been user fault lumped in as well.

S120:  I waited quite a while before jumping in on this camera, about 2 years, The S120 seems to be clear of the issue, there have been some reported but at a very low level, in some cases it has been use fault (drop or banged into something). 

The problem with these compacts, not just Canon—all of them, if you drop or bang the thing into a wall, you may have problems. There not designed to take a major hit or crash to the ground. So, you have to baby the thing.

I recommend always wearing the hand strap while in use and keep it in a case at all times when not in use (if your on water, use a water-proof case or a dry-doc container.


3:19 am - Sunday, December 28, 2014

#12 juan

For $180 the price I paid would you say it was a great choice for a compact camera or should I have gotten something else (zoom no really needed in my case)

5:02 am - Sunday, December 28, 2014

#13 juan

Thanks for your support

5:04 am - Sunday, December 28, 2014

#14 SK

I bought a Cannon powershot s110 back in late 2013, within 4-5 months, the len malfuntion and was replaced by Cannon free of charge since it was under warranty. The lens malfunction again recently during my holiday trip and I had to rely on my iphone for photo taking. I sent the unit to the Cannon service center in Singapore and was told that it cost SGD $190 to replace the len.

1:51 pm - Monday, January 26, 2015

#15 Mark

@SK Sorry to hear about this.  I would complain to Canon until they get sick of you. I would try to get a Canon G16 (bigger but close to the S120 and no touch screen) out of them for the entire hassle, because you probably had it with the S series. 

Anyway, not worth getting it fixed, a new one is $160-$180, it seems the lens error carried over to the S110 from S100, not at a higher rate as the S100, but you would think they would fix this once and for all in the S110 series.  I almost bought the Canon G16 to avoid the whole issue, but it’s not as compact and no touch screen.

I hope the S120 I own does not have a problem, incident reports are very low, but you never know. I like the RX100 series but the camera is not as compact as the Canon S110/S120 series due the larger lens and the cost is higher (although it has come down) for the RX 100 I (now they have the RX II and III).

You have to wonder what the quality control process is for these types of compact cameras, not just Canon—all of them.  Certainly not being field tested for a long time.


12:04 am - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

#16 Steve

I bought an S100 in 11/2012 and now (2015) I have the lens error message! Lens will not retract and shows “will shutdown automatically, Restart Camera.” Well, camera never restarts. Lens is extended of course, I can review pictures, that’s about all it will do. Too bad, nice camera when it worked. My serial # begins with
47xxxxxx, so don’t think they will repair it. The S100 was babied, never dropped, had a strap and case for it. If Canon will not repair
for free, I will purchase another brand. I’m done with Canon! You would think in this day and age a camera brand could produce a product that doesn’t break on its own! Bye bye Canon!

7:00 pm - Sunday, May 10, 2015

#17 Mark

@Steve Sorry to hear that. The S100 is associated with lens error, I’m not completely confident on Canon’s serial list simply because they waited so long to announce it. I have the S120 since late 2014 and no issues so far.  If you like the S100, the closet thing to it is the Canon G16, somewhat bigger but solid and no retractable lens.  You can check out the Sony RX100 series too if your sticking with compacts.  good-luck.

8:56 pm - Sunday, May 10, 2015

#18 koko

by buying a second battery and the price becomes as Sony rx100, you can not boot from your laptop with micro usb

6:50 am - Thursday, June 4, 2015

#19 Ee Lee

I have one S110 and the lens error appeared during my holiday overseas.  I am so upset with Canon. The difference between S100 and S110 is the wifi.  They have the same lens.  They refused to repair for free, knowing that S100 has the same issue.  They quoted me $187.  What should I do?

2:37 pm - Tuesday, December 22, 2015

#20 Mark

@Ee Lee I would not send it in for repairs, to much money for $185 and in some cases, once they go in and do surgery on the camera, it may never be the same again and the problem could reappear. If you want to stick with a S110, you can get a used (or NEW) S110 on Ebay, for $199-$229 (in some rare cases even a S120). Then, sell your S110 on Ebay as “Lens Error” and for parts—- somebody will buy like a wholesaler for a refurb and will turn it around.

Just an FYI, all cameras with these type of folding lens has very small percentage of lens error including the Sony RX series (just google it). Of course, the S100 had a quite few in a production run and recalled.  The 120 has minimal reports of lens error.

Just keep in mind, you have to baby these cameras all the time; use a case and don’t pack them in a suitcase for a flight (just a carry on) etc., keep them out of the weather elements etc.

3:19 am - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

#21 Ee Lee

@Mark Thank you!

5:52 am - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

#22 Bo

Thanks Mark for sharing with us and for allowing comments!

I bought my S110 two years plus back and it has worked fine (treated as a baby but in daily use) but then I too got the dreadful lens error message with the lens extended suddenly for no reason at all. Just tried to switch camera off as usual and then on after a while.
I read about the S100 internal connector problem but found that this was maybe not my problem. There was a faint ticking sound from the motor and after opening the front I could connect 3V to the lens motor (current limited to 300mA and the connector disengaged) and drive the lens both in and out at about 100mA current (swap polarity for other direction), no problem, not stuck, no dirt or sand. Now I have ordered a replacement lens to try, but start to suspect the electronics. If the motor and motor driver works fine, I think the SW is not doing what it should. The SW should first try to open the lens. If lens stuck problems, the SW should then try to close the lens again before displaying errors and hanging. Not keep the lens open as it now does risking more damages. I like the Canon image quality as many does but the build and SW quality could be better.

A Sony is clearly out of the question for me after the Sony management decided to plant root kits on honest users PCs few years back in order to prevent music copying. I don`t need to copy music from a CD when I drown in music from the radio.

9:11 pm - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, 1080p, wide-angle, hdmi, wi-fi, 12 megapixel, wireless, RAW, manual, 5x zoom, touch-screen, touchscreen, touch screen, touch, prosumer, wi fi, gps, HDR, canon s110, Canon PowerShot S110 Review, s110 review

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