Canon S100: Known problems

There have been a number of reported issues with Canon S100 cameras.

You can check for them prior to purchasing the S100, or during the time you can still return or exchange the camera. You can not, however, check for the Lens Error issue and it just happens without warning..

Lens Error

There have been increasing reports of an Lens Error problem that causes the lens to fail to retract and the S1oo shuts down, making the camera unusable. In July 2010, Canon issued a product advisory stating that they we will repair qualifying cameras free of charge even long after the warranty has expired.  Learn more about the advisory >

S100 corner softness

Corner softness, sometimes quite extreme, has been reported in some copies, including those tested by professional reviewers in a studio. The corner softness is most prominent the lower right-hand corner of images.

This corner softness is not generally seen in real-life photos (ie. photos taken outside a strictly controlled studio environment). If your images look fine and you’re happy with them, you’re good to go.

Tint on the LCD screen

The LCD screen on some s100 models has a yellowish-green tint. The tint doesn’t appear in images when viewed on a computer.

LCD blacks out

The LCD suddenly blacks out on the s100, though the menu items can be seen on the display. Any photos taken after the screen turns black are also black. There is no way to predict this problem and the camera will need to be repaired.

S100 Light infiltration

There have been a few reported of light infiltration when a light source is on the left top corner. The shots come out with a very long and bright line in the top center, in line with the light source.

Light filtration samples provided by Corrado Art

S100 video problems

Beeping sound during playback

On playback video, with the volume turned up, you may hear a brief beep every few seconds. The use of a very high speed Secure Digital Memory Cards appear to be the culprit. If you are experiencing this problem, try a different, slower memory card.

Ticking sound

Some users report a repetitive ticking sound when shooting video with AutoFocus enabled. The sound may not appear when the camera is new but after several months of use.

S100 flickering video

Some models have flickering video when recording inside in artificial light. Dark and light areas shift across the whole frame. This problem isn’t necessarily the same as the “rolling shutter effect” that can occur when panning too quickly with a camera that has a CMOS sensor.  Also, this is not to be confused with exposure changes that occur as you move the camera to different areas in a scene.

If you shoot a lot of video, and can’t decide between a camera with a CCD sensor (such as the S95) and one with a CMOS sensor (such is in the S100), refer to this article for a detailed explanation of the pros and cons of each sensor.

Canon provides firmware update to fix flickering video

Example of flickering video:

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21 Responses

  1. Corrado says:

    Final (disappointing) statement for light infiltration issue.

    The S100 went in assistance 2 times: the first time they even did not find the problem, even if I described very well how to reproduce it and sent many shots where the defect was visible.
    This first step took one month.

    The second time I shipped it again to the main assistance center. They finally reproduced the defect and agreed it was! Well, they replaced the full lens set and the sensor with a new one, made some tests and declared the camera now has no more that defect.They sent it back to me, I made ONE shot, the infiltration was still there! Replacing lenses and sensor do NOT solve the problem! More, their test was of course superficial as it was clear the infiltration was still there! Very disappointing behaviour by Canon, very very bad!

    I called them the following day and the answers they gave me were ABSURD! “don’t think about that infiltration while shooting, shoot as the defect were not present”, “it happens in very extreme situations”, “use your hand to block light while shooting”, “that happens just at night, shoot in daylight instead”, etc..etc..
    I was absolutely astonished by all this ridiculous “solutions”. Then he asked me AGAIN to send him the new shots where the “old” defect was visible. I sent him 20 shots and 2 videos (see link below), and after further 3 weeks (3!!) I’m still waiting for a response!

    3 months wasted, $ 450 wasted, no solution. It’s a shame. I’m not going to buy nothing more from Canon, anymore, cause they are not fair.

    BEWARE! this defect is present even on Canon S95 and it’s even worse! I personally saw it, see images below.

    As far as I understood this is a production defect of the S series, all S100 and S95 are affected by this problem, S110 should be too, as it mounts the same lenses pack. All possessor of these cameras should be able to reproduce it, just do like I did in the video. Then you can complain with Canon, if you want to.

    Defect on S100

    http://imageshack.us/a/img41/8744/img0044lj.jpg
    http://imageshack.us/a/img600/5148/img0024at.jpg
    http://imageshack.us/a/img90/8632/img0036fo.jpg
    http://imageshack.us/a/img163/7345/img0035ht.jpg
    http://imageshack.us/a/img825/5359/img0030pq.jpg
    http://imageshack.us/a/img266/3881/img0029nn.jpg
    http://imageshack.us/a/img443/2307/img0028gg.jpg
    http://imageshack.us/a/img571/1969/img0024cu.jpg
    http://imageshack.us/a/img26/7324/img0025kum.jpg
    http://img266.imageshack.us/img266/2637/yuknvgewyxvlqivrykokix.mp4

    Defect on S95

    http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/7660/img0066tb.jpg
    http://img547.imageshack.us/img547/6686/img0075b.jpg

  2. Gail Bjork says:

    A, thank you for your insights and suggestions!

  3. A says:

    Looking at your “flickering” video sample, I’d say this is actually the CMOS rolling shutter effect again.

    Video under artificial lighting is always prone to flickering/dark frames; particularly so under compact fluorescent and certain types of LED lighting which aren’t very well smoothed.

    This is made significantly worse by running a very different frame rate to the local electricity frequency.

    60 fps video in a 50Hz country is going to look bad under artificial light; and vice-versa.

    What you’re seeing in that sample video is the standard video flicker effect you get under some artificial lights, but as seen by a rolling shutter. Hence the pulsations.

    I would be very surprised if a different s100 would make any difference to this.

    Things that might help; changing settings so that the shutter is open longer; choosing a different video framerate; and/or changing your lightbulbs!

  4. Corrado says:

    Thank you Gail, I’ll post here the reply of the retailer, hope they give me a brand new instead of repair my one.
    If you are going to add this issue to the list, I can provide you with some shots where the defect is visible.

  5. Gail Bjork says:

    Corrado, yes others have had this problem though I do not believe it is widespread. Since it’s new, exchange it at the place you bought it. Make sure to check the serial number, too, as mentioned in this article. Please note that the lens problem in the article is not the same as you’ve experienced. Good luck.

  6. Corrado says:

    Hello, I have a new S100 and I noticed a light infiltration when a light source is on the left top corner. The shots come out with a very long and bright line in the top center, in line with the light source.
    Does anyone have this problem?

  7. Gail Bjork says:

    bhavin, sorry to hear about another problem after your Canon s100 was repaired. Mine had to be repaired twice too, as I’ve written about here. I know it’s very maddening. All I can say is that since my second repair, my s100 is working better than ever. Canon paid for the return shipping the second time. For anyone considering the S100, check the serial number. Make sure you don’t get one with where the first and second digits of the camera’s serial number are any number from ”29″ through”41.” This is the range with known problems.

  8. bhavin says:

    I just repaired my camera under warranty.I thought everything will work now but all of sudden i am seeing camera turns of randomly and lcd turns blank during the shooting.can not able to repair this camera even they says they replaced faulty parts.Never buy this canon S100 camera.

  9. James says:

    Hi guys, the ticking , grinding noise when you use AF in video recording is a MAJOR problem in s100 that canon refuses to acknowledge. I had this problem since day 1 , got my camera replaced TWICE (because service center couldnt fix it) and the problem still exists, Clearly a defect, since even brand-new units faced the same problem. Although the unit i tested in the showroom did not have this problem, but when i approached canon they refuse to accept it as a defect.

    The camera also takes a while to AF and sometimes the camera is struggling to AF even when taking photos. Keep in mind alot of people have s100 WITHOUT this problem, which means that not everyone is affected but a huge number are. Please avoid this camera i wasted $500 on it, i would get G1X instead.

  10. Gail Bjork says:

    David, your s100 should still be on warranty. I highly recommend you call Canon tech support and send it in for repair if needed. Canon recently posted a service advisory. My S100 is being sent to Canon this week because of a Lens Error. :(

  11. David says:

    My s100 (boughtin April) has started producing the clicking sounds mentioned above. They are very annoying. Has the reviewer brought them to Canons attention and asked them to investigate and find a solution? It’s like a bearing has broken down in the autofocus. Surely we shouldn’t have to put up with this on an advanced digital compact.

  12. Gail Bjork says:

    Mark, unfortunately, there is no way to determine ahead of time whether or not a camera will get the lens problem. If you’re interested in the camera, why not call Canon before you buy it and ask what they advise. Also, some extended warranties may cover the problem even if Canon’s warranty does not. Mack offers very comprehensive warranties. With the price of the s100 down when it first came to market, buying an extended warranty may not cost that much more relatively speaking and give you peace of mind.

  13. Mark says:

    Appears the S100 Canon lens error is beyond few, I see many reviews (seen already over 20+) on various retail review web sites reporting this problem not to mention the headaches invovled getting it fixed. I can’t find anywhere including from Canon what’s going on with this lens errors, how do you know if you buy a S100 today you won’t get it?

  14. alan says:

    I’m puzzled;I’ve taken a lot of pictures with my new s100 and they look great when viewed on the camera LCD screen; but when I download them to my laptop, the colors are dead and flat, way beyond what you can possibly rescue with an editing program, I mean the difference is HUGE.
    Even using the editing tools Canon provides in the package,the result is way below acceptable.
    I can’t make head or tail of this: why do they look so good on the small camera screen and so absolutely dreadful on a laptop screen?
    What am I doing wrong?

  15. Boessu says:

    My S100 was shipped with the new firmware 0101 already. Still has the shutter effect. But not always. It depends on the artifical light used. And it happens more on high- speed captures. And sometimes it wents away if I hold the camera to bright areas and stress to change the automated exposure in movie mode.

    Since this flicker only occurs on artifical lights, my guess is it happens on all S100. It depends on the sort of artifical lights, the impulse frequency (50hz vs. 60hz) and what exposure the camera does automatically set (as we know, this is some sort of luck and not always the same). There is no way to set shutter speed in S100 for movie mode. I’m in europe, I should set it to 1/25 or 1/50. Someone e.g. In US should set it to 1/30 or 1/60 (i know some video cameras who set this internally for the recording if you switch between PAL and NTSC for their direct video output). By the way it would also fix some issues because of the “slow” framerate 24p.
    So i think the only way to fix it is to give the availability to change exposure manually. Too sad: as we know Canon, this would mean to introduce a new feature in a already sold low price camera. So I doubt they’ll be kind enough to give us this feature to fix it.

    That makes an understatement to this camera. The movies aren’t that bad after all…

  16. Gail Bjork says:

    Max, so glad you find the article useful. On page three of the s100 manual it points that using the camera for an extended period of time it may become warm and that “this is not a malfunction.” Sometimes my s100 gets warm but it is nothing that concerns me. I’ve had the same experience with other digital cameras.

  17. Max says:

    Hi Gail, nice article, just received my s100 today. I noticed it’s getting a bit warm. Has there been anything written about that?
    Thanks

  18. Gail Bjork says:

    sbg, thanks so much for this information. The firmware update is also available at the Canon USA website.

  19. sbg says:

    Hi. Since today Canon has provided a firmware update for the S100 that is supposed to fix this flickering problem on some models. It is available here:
    http://cweb.canon.jp/drv-upd/cdc/pss100-v1010-win.html

  20. Gail Bjork says:

    sbg, nice work! What a great discovery. Thanks for sharing your solution to the flickering video, which I’m sure will help other S100 owners that have the problem.

  21. sbg says:

    Hi, very informative site you have, thanks. I have been struggling with the “flickering video” problem you noted under “problems” and have at least found a work-around for my camera. It involves turning both auto-white-balance and auto-exposure OFF. I have posted the results here:
    http://youtu.be/rv4lavh7nk8

    Maybe that might help others experiencing this bug!