S100: Tips & Cool Settings

Useful tips for getting the most out of the Canon S100 digital camera. If you have tip that would be of interest to other S100 owners, please share it in the commenting section below.

Turn off Continuous AutoFocus and Continuous Image Stabilization

“Continuous” settings on compact digital cameras generally slow things down a bit, drain the battery faster and may not always produce the best image quality in less than ideal lighting situations. These are among the first settings I change when getting a new digital camera (Note: you can not make these changes if when using Full Auto mode. I generally use P mode).

  • Switch Continuous AutoFocus to Single Area focus – This mode gives you more precise control over where the camera locks focus.
  • Switch Continuous Image Stabilization to Shoot Only IS – Shoot Only IS is generally better for capturing still images while Continuous IS is most useful when shooting movies.

Tips when shooting video with the S100

Changing Exposure Compensation for Video

Exposure Compensation can be adjusted in Video Mode prior to recording. Press Up on the control dial, then rotate the rear control wheel to increase or decrease EC. You can watch the exposure changes on the LCD.

Listening to audio during video playback when the camera is muted

If you prefer to keep camera sounds muted at all times as I do, you can still listen to the audio recorded in a video during playback. As a video is played back, press the Up button several times to turn on and increase the volume.

Setting up Custom mode (C mode)

After turning on the camera, select a mode and any frequently used settings (including focal length) that you’d like to save to Custom Mode. Press the Menu button, press Up once, select “Save Settings”, choose OK. The settings will be saved to C mode even if you change settings in the original mode where you made the initial changes. The S100 only has one Custom mode.

Check the focus point in an image

When in Playback mode, simply press DISP. a couple of times until the focus point screen appears. The white frame shows where focus was set. You can switch frames and change the level of magnification. Check page 146 in the manual about what the gray and orange frames indicate and for other information about this useful feature.

Shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG

To shoot RAW files, or RAW+JPEG, you must select the option via the FUNC/SET menu. When shooting RAW or RAW+JPEG, the time it takes for the files to be written to the memory card can be longer than shooting JPEG only. Certain functions will be unavailable (grayed out in the menu) when selecting either of these file settings.

Macro mode does not work when Tracking AutoFocus is enabled.

i-Contrast (Dynamic Range Correction)

Dynamic Range Correction sounds tempting when you read about it in the manual, but use with caution. i-Contrast can cause noise in images. If you select 200% or 400%, ISO automatically increases (it doubles going from 200% to 400%). Auto i-Contrast uses a low ISO, keeping noise to a minimum. As the manual points out, “under some conditions, the image may appear coarse or may not be corrected properly” when using i-Contrast.

S100 “Sweet Spot”

According to many, the best image sharpness comes when using an aperture setting of F4.

Powered Image Stabilization

Use when shooting video. Enable when shooting at the maximum zoom length of the camera. Canon recommends turning Power IS off while walking or during long panning shots.

High ISO NR and Digital Zoom are greyed out in the menus

  • High ISO NR is not available when your camera is set to RAW or RAW+JPEG.
  • The Digital Zoom is fixed to OFF in aspect ratios other than 4:3, and if RAW or RAW+JPEG are selected.

Tweaking Auto White Balance

Select AWB and turn the front control dial to adjust the level of color correction. Press the MENU button and turn the front or rear control dial for more refined adjustments.

Green Tint from Mercury Lamps

Enable HG Lamp Corr. in the main menu to remove the green tint caused by mercury lamps often present in night scenes. This feature is available in Full Auto Mode.

Shortcut to Auto Exposure Bracketing mode

When the Exposure Compensation display appears on the LCD, hit DISP to enter Auto Exposure Bracketing mode.

Useful links

How to shoot video with Canon HD digicams – written by a pro; easy to understand

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32 Responses

  1. Gail Bjork says:

    Bacin, you can save your favorite settings, including Macro Mode in TV or AV mode, to Custom (C) Mode. You can find some information about Setting up Custom mode on this page.

  2. Bacin says:

    Hi Gail,
    How to make the default setting in TV or AV as always in macro mode? Even when I off and on the camera again it still at macro mode by default. Thank you.

  3. Jonas says:

    Half press shutter to focus and at the same time click on Exposure Compensation on the wheel. Then you got to choose from long or short shutter time contra small or large AE. Use the wheel to change both values. And if you only want to change Shutter use camera lens wheel. Great option!!! Best regards Jonas

  4. Gail Bjork says:

    Luciano, take a look at my s100 pbase gallery to get some idea of what you can expect for getting blurred images using the s100.

    On a few images, did some tweaking in photoshop. The first three images in this gallery should give you and idea what you can expect without editing.

    You’ll need to use the widest aperture to get the best depth-of-field. It will never be like when using a DSLR, however. Here are some dof tips that I highly recommend you read.

  5. Luciano says:

    Greetigs all,

    I arrived at this site by accident. I am trying to take pictures with my Canon S100 with blurred background. I have followed a number of suggestions to no avail. Is there anyone here who has been successful at pictures with blurred background? If so, could you please e-mail me at dcanada.camargo@gmail.com? I would love to receive your tips with you have been successful with it.


  6. Gail Bjork says:

    Ben, recording time automatically stops when the movie file size reaches 4 GB. Check out page 133 in the S100 manual to learn how the time varies based on the video size setting (and memory card capacity, of course). If you shoot at full resolution, you may have no choice but to join files together in video editing software. Here are some tips on recording video with a digital camera.

  7. ben says:

    Hi there
    Great article thank you. I was wondering if I could remove the time limit for videos, it seems to stop after 15mins… I am due to film a display tonight, and saw your website and hopefully will be able to record and let it be.

    Thank youben