With the Christmas compact camera rush about to go into overdrive, Canon are pushing their new compact hero, the Canon PowerShot S110, hard. Not even a year since its predecessor, the S100, hit shelves, does it do enough to top Christmas lists this year? We took it out onto the streets of East London for a play. Here’s our initial thoughts.A 12.1MP snapper using a CMOS sensor and the impressive DIGIC 5 image processing system, it features a 24mm, f/2.0 lens with 5x zoom capabilities. Available in a range of colours including black and silver, it’s a slim, small camera that might not suit chunkier hands, but has a textured finish and slight thumb recess for improved grip.New to the PowerShot line is the inclusion of a 3-inch touchscreen. As well as navigating menus, this can be used to set single-point focus points on the fly. It works very well, letting you simply take more control over your images without having to jump outside of the hand-holding Auto settings, which will be a relief to casual users. Next to the touchscreen sits a D-Pad and buttons for making selections, browsing menus and previewing images too.Though simple to use for newcomers, Canon have popped in plenty of features that wouldn’t be out of place on high-end cameras too. There’s a ring around the lens for adjusting settings dependant on the mode you’ve got the camera set to (functioning for instance as an aperture ring or zoom step), while you’ve also got a mode select dial on the top of the camera near the shutter button for jumping through pre-sets, each of which can be tailored to your needs through manual menu tweaks.Scene selection options are wide and varied, including portrait and night scene options, as well as nifty effects such as colour isolation options, letting you highlight one colour in a scene and wash all the others out to black and white. There’s also a HDR mode onboard, which should offer improved contrast by taking a series of three images at different settings, and combining them for best results. But unlike similar functions on smartphones, it requires you to be so steady that you’re almost certain to experience ghosting in your images unless you’re using a tripod or other support. On the whole though, the camera was a joy to use, finding accurate auto-focus points quickly (even in Macro mode), and delivering noise-free, vibrantly colourful images even in wintry low-light.The camera also has built in Wi-Fi, letting you send photos directly from the camera to a Wi-Fi printer, or to social networks through the Canon Image Gateway. You can even make small edits to your shots, like crops, within the camera before sending them on. Our brief play with the camera included the chance to send some images to a Canon Wi-Fi printer, and it was a totally painless experience. However, some fellow tech journos who’ve had a little longer with the camera than us have reported a difficult set-up when it comes to Wi-Fi, and difficulties getting their images onto social networks straight from the camera. It’s worth keeping in mind if they’re features on the top of your wishlist.The PowerShot S110 is a solid little compact then. Though Wi-Fi features seem a little clunky, and certainly a battery drain, image quality was of a high order, controls simple enough to use for casual snappers but with enough depth for more advanced users, and touchscreen focussing a lovely addition to the line. A good-looking little camera too, budding David Baileys could do far, far worse.
We’re looking to get hold of the PowerShot S110 in the coming weeks for a full review, so keep your eyes peeled. For the time being, for more info on the camera, click here.