Every fall, aspen groves stun us with their brilliance. Despite drought, global warming and horribly managed forests, they faithfully turn radiant yellow. This year seems more vibrant than ever — good excuse to practice using my new Canon S100 camera.
I like Lou’s Canon G12, so when he suggested I upgrade to Canon’s S100 instead, I was skeptical. Yes the S100 is smaller with just about the same horsepower, but would I miss too many shots without an optical viewfinder (G12 has one, S100 does not)? I am still learning the camera, and the lack of viewfinder hopefully will be something I’ll get accustomed to. In bright light the LCD is a bit hard to read, but I compensate by taking a larger picture to crop later in Photoshop. The feature I like best is the ability to program the control ring that surrounds the lens on the front of the camera. I set this for exposure, and with the histogram displayed on the LCD as I bracket the shot, I get a lot of help with perfecting exposure.
Regarding size over viewfinder, advantage of size is winning. I would not have taken the S100 on the bike ride if it was the G12. Indeed, I rode for a while with it in my hand until the vista I was looking for opened up. This would not have been as easy with the bulky G12. Another impressive feature in this little camera, which will be especially helpful for ski shots, is the burst mode for action shots. The High Speed Burst HQ mode can capture 8 shots at 9.6fps (burst mode is difficult for shooting moving action without an optical viewfinder, but can be done with practice.)
Overall, both Lou and I highly recommend the Canon S100 as a compact but high-end camera for ski mountaineering and other sports where gear weight and size are important considerations. The weight (6.8 oz with card and battery) and size are good, and in our experience you’ll easily get several days out of the battery without excessive shot and video review on the LCD. If you do many multi-day trips without opportunity for battery charging, we recommend carrying a spare charged battery at 0.7 ounces. The S100 battery is an NB5L that crosses to numerous other Canon cameras, so it’s possible Lou and I could get away with one spare battery between us, since we both may be using compatible cameras (Lou has a Canon SX230 for his compact).