|Home | Reviews | Q&A | Links | Gallery | Free Photo Hosting|
Canon have this to
say about the camera:
"Canon today strengthens
its PowerShot range of digital cameras with the addition of a new SX Super
Zoom model: the 9 Megapixel PowerShot SX110 IS, which replaces the
popular SX100 IS. Featuring a 10x optical zoom with optical Image Stabilizer
featuring a 35mm film equivalent focal length of 36-360mm - plus
a 3.0 LCD the PowerShot SX110 IS delivers outstanding telephoto
reach in an even more compact and lightweight body."
You can find more information on their website.
The Camera: a visual tour: (Photos of the camera taken with the Ricoh R10)
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm film camera - a medium/compact sized 35mm film camera.
Specifications / Features:
Average box contents - a larger memory card would be nice, as would a neck strap. A decent case (for example the Lowepro Apex 30AW), a large memory card and some high power rechargable AA batteries are recommended.
The menu system is logical and fairly straightforward. If you are familiar
with the way Canon menus work then you can use any Canon camera. The function
button gives (along with the other buttons on the back of the camera)
quick access to the most commonly used options with just one press of
the button, and the menu button works as it should providing access to
options that you rarely need to change (such as flash compensation). The
playback menu gives you some useful features such as slideshow, re-size,
red-eye correction, sound memo, and the usual print options.
Picture Size / Quality: The camera lets you choose the image size (9m, 6m, 4m, 2m, VGA, 2m with date, Widescreen), aspect ratio (4:3, or Widescreen), and how much compression is applied to the images (Superfine, Fine, Normal). Higher quality images take a large amount of memory, so a high capacity memory card is definitely recommended, unless you're prepared to sacrifice image size or compression to fit more pictures in memory. There is a very good choice of image sizes, compression options, and some choice regarding aspect ratios - it's just missing a 3:2 aspect ratio mode.
Battery usage: Battery life is rated at 400 shots with 2500 mAh Ni-Mh rechargable batteries, or 140 shots with Alkalines according to CIPA standards. I was able to take over 200 shots before the batteries went flat when I was using Alkaline batteries.
Memory cards: A large memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I would recommend at a bare minimum a 1gb memory card, if you intend to take JPEG images, and preferably a 2gb memory card, or larger. The larger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are likely to go on holiday then the largest memory card you can afford would definitely be worth investing in, as you don't always know when you will next be at a computer. You can use SD or SDHC memory cards - I tend to use Sandisk Ultra II Plus USB SD memory cards as these let you plug the memory card straight into a USB socket making it easy to transfer images onto any computer, they are available as 1GB SD, or 2GB SD cards and 4GB SDHC cards. Listed below are links to memory cards that will work with the Canon Powershot SX110 IS:
Find the latest
prices for SD memory cards at Amazon.co.uk: 1gb (1000mb): £2,
2gb (2000mb): £4,
4gb (4000mb SDHC): £6,
8gb (8000mb SDHC): £10,
16gb (16000mb SDHC): £35
Speed: The camera is fairly quick to switch on and take photos, from off, to taking a photo in 2.5 seconds. Focusing seemed fairly quick, except in very low light when the flash-assist is used - this takes a little longer to focus depending on the subject. The playback mode is also very quick. The camera shutter response seemed instant when pre-focused responding in 0.1 seconds or less - and shot to shot time was fairly quick, with a delay of around 2.0 seconds between shots without flash (with review off). The flash recharge time was very slow only allowing a shot to be taken every 5 seconds, although it was available in the continuous shooting mode, with a more reasonable shot to shot time of around 2 seconds. The cameras menus seemed quick. Continuous shooting is average, at roughly 1.3fps for multiple shots at the highest resolution, dependant on card technology used.
Ease of use: The camera is easy to use, especially in the AUTO mode (or new Easy mode) and has a number of scene modes that helps get good shots. The controls on the back of the camera are quite straightforward and the new layout of buttons is an improvement over the SX100. The menus are responsive and are also easy to use, and the options are big enough and easy enough to see clearly, although built in help would have been nice. The modes are fairly easy to access, mainly thanks to the large screen, and a lot of the options can be accessed using the buttons on the back. It's easy to see when photos are in focus, and the image stabilisation means that more of your shots will be sharp.
Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The layout of the buttons and controls are good, with the most commonly used options reachable with your right hand. The zoom control and shutter release is good. The scrolling wheel has multiple functions and in play mode is used to compare magnified sections of one image with the previous or next, making it simple to decide which shot is the one with least camera shake (much like the scroll wheel that's been common on DSLR for several years). I thought the camera felt very good ergonomically, with a good sized hand grip, however there is no rubber grip at the front or back of the camera. The camera feels like a solid, robust and well built camera that is easy to hold despite the small size, and fits easily into pockets.
Image Quality: Here are some real world sample photos taken in various settings, such as Inside, Outside, Macro, to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the Canon Powershot SX110 IS Sample Photo Gallery!
Inside: The camera has very good colour - It took a good "Heather and Flower" photo - there is no red-eye in the photo. It has a very good flash, and copes well with group photos, however there was some red-eye in some group photos, but for the most part red-eye was quite low. On AUTO ISO, the ISO setting was kept quite low in these photos (ISO200), however noise was noticable, and better results may be possible by using a lower ISO setting, especially if the subject is close to the camera. The camera did a good job at focusing even in low-light. There is an focus assist lamp to help focus. Colour is richly saturated. Photos taken on "Vivid" setting produces high saturation, and good contrast levels, on the normal setting images were less colourful and seemed to lack contrast. This can all be customised to your tastes.
ISO Noise Test: Noise is generally a bad thing - it fragments detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as it is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise and is most noticeable in darker areas. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels (ranging from ISO 80 - ISO1600), and manual ISO settings (ISO: 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 at 2M in Special Scene).
Below you'll find the noise test image, plus actual pixel crops, viewable at 100%, from the image taken at different ISO settings, compared with the 9 megapixel Pansonic Lumix TZ5, and 14.7 megapixel Canon Digital IXUS 980 IS.
ISO Noise Test Photos - Flash is off. Canon Powershot SX110 IS on the left, Pansonic Lumix TZ5 in the middle, Canon Digital IXUS 980 IS on the right. Any tonal difference is due to white balance or lighting / metering differences.
Noise results: The 9 megapixel Canon Powershot SX110 IS has the highest noise, but also the sharpest images, with ISO800 and 1600 particularly noisy. The 9 megapixel Panasonic Lumix TZ5 has less noise, but still shows a lot of noise at ISO800 and above. The Canon Digital IXUS 980 IS has low noise (particularly for a 14.7 megapixel camera), and the pictures are quire clean pictures, with an impressively smooth ISO3200 mode (albeit at 2mp) - these impressive results could be due to the IXUS 980 using the new Canon DIGIC 4 image processor, while the SX110 uses the older DIGIC 3 processor.
Image Stabilisation: The camera features real image stabilisation, called IS. This feature helps reduce image blur due to low light or long zoom photography. Examples showing this feature switched on and off can be seen below.
With image stabilisation switched on the images are much sharper and clearer, and are much more likely to come out blur free, especially in low light, when using the zoom or when using slow shutter speeds.
Outside: The camera has quite rich, saturated colours, switching to Vivid and setting exposure compensation to -1/3 or -2/3 bumps up the saturation further. There was very good detail, and the camera took a number of very pleasing images outside, with good contrast, but there was often chromatic aberations and purple fringing, especially in areas of high contrast on sunny days. In general 'normal' quality jpeg artefacts are not easily seen, however areas with strong contrasts benefit from use of the highest quality setting.
Zoom: This lens provides a 10x optical zoom starting at 36mm equivalent which is great for 'normal' everyday photography, zooming to 360mm allowing photos of distant objects. I've included examples below to show what the zoom is capable of. An example of digital zoom can be seen in the photo gallery. Digital Zoom basically takes a crop of the centre of the frame and enlarges the image, degrading image quality, and is therefore best avoided.
Exposure: The photos of the clock tower are exposed well with detail in the dark areas as well as the lighter areas - exposure in other photos was generally very good. Purple fringing was noticed in some of these photos. Vignetting was not noticed in these photos but was occassionally noticed when using the full 10x optical zoom. It can be useful to under expose images with bright backgrounds (eg; sky) with use of exposure compensation, as some of the clouds in these photos are slightly over-exposed.
Lens noise and zoom: The lens makes some noise, and gives you roughly 21 steps between wide and telephoto - this gives good controls over how you frame your subject.
Other Image Quality issues: Purple fringing / Chromatic aberration was occasionally seen particularly in areas with high contrast (for example tree branches against a bright sky). It was slightly higher than average compared to most other compacts, and is something that you should probably be aware of, especially if you take a lot of outdoors shots.
Macro Lens Performance:
The camera can take maco photos with the subject only 1cm away from the lens! Colour and detail is excellent and there appears to be low noise at ISO100 and below. Setting the white balance manually helps achieve better results. The camera can also take macro photos when zoomed in slightly, and will display the minimum focus distance on screen, which is helpful.
Video mode: The camera features a good video mode - it records VGA videos at 30fps with sound as AVI files. Compared to other digital cameras the Canon can't fit very long videos on the memory card, as it doesn't use very high compression, such as MPEG4. The video mode doesn't let you use the optical zoom whilst recording.
Summary: The Canon Powershot SX100 IS was almost the perfect pocket camera - it had almost everything you might possibly want from a camera, and managed to just fit in your pocket! The SX110 IS improves on the SX100 with higher resolution, smaller less bulky body, new 3" screen, and better layout of controls, all for roughly the same price. Unfortunately the camera is still missing a wide angle lens, HD video, suffers from purple fringing, and high noise. Apart from these issues, image quality is generally very good, with excellent detail, sharpness, colour, and saturation - as long as you stick to the lower ISO settings. The optical image stabilisation helps in low light - and the 10x optical zoom lens allows you to zoom into the subject. Given the excellent value for money this camera provides, and the abundance of features suitable for beginners and experts, I'd highly recommend this camera!
What I like:
What I don't like:
Additional Test Images are viewable in the Canon Powershot SX110 IS Sample Photo Gallery.