As with its predecessor, the S110 delivers a level of image quality that impresses across the board. JPEG images straight from the camera display rich tones and an even balance between shadows and highlights. In addition, the S110 also manages to retain good levels of detail in both shadow and highlights – even in when faced with tricky high-contrast scenes.
Metering proves consistent too, with the S110 very rarely getting things wrong in this regard. On the few occasions when it does, the S110 shows a slight tendency to underexpose rather than overexpose, which is thankfully generally much easier to fix in post-production.
The automatic white balance system proves as reliable as the metering module, and we’re pleased to report we didn’t experience any instances of images coming out artificially warm or cold.
One small criticism that could be levelled at the S110 is that colours tend to be fairly neutral with the My Colours processing presets switched off, however this is easily rectified by choosing an alternative preset: with 10 individual options (and a Custom setting) to choose from it shouldn’t be too hard to find something that suits your own personal taste.
Lens performance impresses too, and while the S110’s 24-120mm zoom might not provide quite enough telephoto reach for some, it keeps images impressively sharp throughout the entire zoom range. We did experience some slight issues with fringing on extreme contrast borders, although thankfully this wasn’t to the overall detriment of image quality.
Noise control is another area where the S110 performs well. At the lowest sensitivity settings, images are clean and sharp and while the middling to higher settings do show some signs of image noise creeping in, the S110 does a good jib of keeping it to a minimum. Even the highest available settings of ISO 6400 and ISO 12800 where fine detail does begin to suffer are far from unusable.
The Canon PowerShot S110 is a 12.1MP advanced compact that will most likely to appeal to enthusiast photographers looking for an easy-to-carry yet flexible compact companion. In this respect the S110 delivers on its remit, delivering impressive image quality – including the ability to shoot in Raw – a responsive touch-screen and full manual control, along with excellent build quality and built-in W-Fi. It’s not quite perfect though; compared to many of its rivals the S110's 5x zoom is slow at the telephoto end, and while the integrated Wi-Fi connectivity certainly helps to give it the S110 competitive edge, its functionality isn’t quite as complete as with some competing models. That aside, if you’re looking for an enthusiascompact the Canon S110 certainly warrants consideration.