Canon PowerShot S100 VS. FujiFilm FinePix X10 – High ISO Comparison

This time, the new Canon PowerShot S100 took on the FujiFilm FinePix X10 for a High ISO duel. Let’s see which one of the two was left standing.

Taking into considerations some conclusions from the G12 vs. X10 high-ISO battle, I started off with white balance and exposure adjustments, in order to bring output from the two cameras as close together as possible.

After seeing the results of the G12 and X10, I expected a difference in white balance behavior between the X10 and S100, but was surprised by how much warmer images were coming out of the S100 and how much the output produced by the X10’s was more pleasing to the eye.

Here’s an example of Auto White Balance, with both cameras at f/5.6 and 1/4 seconds:

ISO 400, AWB (f/5.6, 1/4 sec):

Canon PowerShot S100
FujiFilm FinePix X10


It can be seen above that the S100’s output is darker than that of the X10.
Using the exact same exposure and ISO setting, images coming from the S100 were significantly dimmer. Since I wanted to compare apples with apples, I dialed up the S100’s shutter speed so that its output would match the X10’s and it turned out to be a gap of two thirds of a stop.

That wasn’t the end of it. Setting both cameras to the incandescent white balance setting didn’t help, so I resorted to setting a manual white balance reading.

After all that setup – here are the results:

ISO 400 (f/5.6):

Canon PowerShot S100 (1/2.5 sec)
FujiFilm FinePix X10 (1/4 sec)


ISO 800 (f/5.6):

Canon PowerShot S100 (1/5 sec)
FujiFilm FinePix X10 (1/8 sec)


ISO 1600 (f/5.6):

Canon PowerShot S100 (1/10 sec)
FujiFilm FinePix X10 (1/16 sec)


ISO 3200 (f/5.6):

Canon PowerShot S100 (1/20 sec)
FujiFilm FinePix X10 (1/32 sec)


Here are 100% crops of the images above:

ISO 400 (f/5.6):

Canon PowerShot S100 (1/2.5 sec)
FujiFilm FinePix X10 (1/4 sec)


ISO 800 (f/5.6):

Canon PowerShot S100 (1/5 sec)
FujiFilm FinePix X10 (1/8 sec)


ISO 1600 (f/5.6):

Canon PowerShot S100 (1/10 sec)
FujiFilm FinePix X10 (1/16 sec)


ISO 3200 (f/5.6):

Canon PowerShot S100 (1/20 sec)
FujiFilm FinePix X10 (1/32 sec)


The full images and 100% crops tell different parts of the story. The X10 has an obvious advantage in detail level, which is mostly evident at ISO 1600. Images of the S100 seem to have gone under heavier noise reduction, resulting in a softer outcome with less detail.

When examining 100% crops and concentrating on detail and noise levels, something is lost. Something that has to do with the vibrancy of the whole image.

With more natural, non-over-saturated colors and a two-thirds-of-a-stop brightness advantage, images of the X10 provide better color separation and a far more pleasing look and feel.
Comparing the S100 to other compact cameras might put others in the shade, but when comparing these two, the S100 is the one folding its tail.

Still, the PowerShot S100 is an admirable high-end compact camera, rising easily above most of the crowd, however – with an apparent trade-off of compactness over image quality.



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