One more note about the ISO performance - the main goal was to compare the S100 to the S95, not to examine 'real world' high-ISO performance of the S100. There is certainly less ISO noise with the S100 than the S95 - but they are still using 1/1.7" sensors - and since ISO noise is determined primarily by total light gathered, even the 'better' S100 will be beaten soundly by a dSLR.
It's worth noting that almost every ISO noise test out there on the internet fails to look at 'real world' high-ISO performance, at least in terms of when you usually think of using high ISOs - in low light. Granted, higher ISOs can come in handy to push up shutter speed in decent light, too. But the problem with ISO noise tests is that when you increase ISO during the test, you have to decrease something else to keep the exposure the same. Most commonly, what is changed is shutter speed, so your high ISO shots are short exposures, which reduces the impact of read noise, the main noise component in low-light shooting. Although I shot my S100/S95 comparisons in the 'traditional' way (increase ISO and decrease shutter speed to compensate), when I ran my 5DII/7D tests
, I kept aperture and
shutter speed constant as I increased ISO, instead decreasing the illumination with ND filters. In that test, the noise at high ISO on both cameras looked worse than other published noise tests, because high ISOs were used in low-light situations (like the 'real world' but unlike most tests).
Why not cover sharpness and distortions?
Lack of time, mostly.
I might test those, at some point. But, while relative sensor performance was an unknown, about differential sharpness and distortion performance we can make some pretty educated guesses.
Sharpness will be slightly higher with the S100 than the S95, based on it's 12 MP sensor vs. the 10 MP sensor. Lots of comparative data to support that assertion - take any lens you like, and use DxOMark to compare resolution on different cameras with sensors of the same size (5DII/5D, or 7D/50D/40D, etc.). Resolution goes up with increasing MP.
Distortion will be higher on the S100 - it's got a 5x zoom range with a 5.2mm wide end, vs. a 3.8x range with a 6.0mm wide end. That's almost certain to mean more barrel distortion at the wide end, and probably more pincushion at the long end.
The battery drains so FAST. Picture quality is NOT much difference compared with S95 under low light.
I'll try to do some bettery life testing over the weekend. For me, this isn't normally an issue - I have two batteries (for all my cameras, actually), and I swap them out either at the end of the day or before I take the camera out the next time. That's really the best method, IMO. Li-based batteries perform best and last longest when they are used frequently and lightly - that's true for cell phones, laptops, and cameras. I find that having a pair of batteries and swapping them is the best approach, because I always have a spare battery ready.
Over the coming weekend, I'll try taking some 'real world' shots to compare the S95 and S100 in low light. Perhaps I'll even shoot the same scene with my dSLRs, for comparison.
For home use then, which can be GREATLY expanded if you could shoot kids on the move, and any other moving objects, I would NOT look at the S100...
Ahhh...the irony. Actually, the very first place I took my S100 to shoot something other than a test setup was my daughter's ballet and tap class. I wanted to see how it would do in exactly that situation. It performed pretty well, getting a few decent shots from the short class. No, it's not a dSLR. I shot a class with one, and of course the results were better (and no, I didn't mind the looks from other parents when I pulled out a gripped body with a 70-200mm f/2.8L
IS II, but the S100 didn't get any looks...). But it does ok, given that the reason I have one is for times when I simply cannot bring a dSLR. In those situations, compactness is key - for me, there's a big difference between the S100/S95 and a G12-m4/3, and a much smaller difference between the G12-m4/3 and my 5DII/7D. For others, that might not be the case, but my requirement is for the smallest possible camera giving usable results in RAW format. Anyway, here's a sample, 13mm (60mm FF equivalent), f/4, 1/100 s, ISO 800.