Support me when shopping at Amazon by clicking through to them here! The prices are the same, but they share some profit, and that's what pays for my work! Thanks, Gordon
Canon PowerShot S100 Gordon Laing, November 2011

Canon PowerShot S100 Handheld Night Scene

Support me by
shopping below

  Canon S100 results
1 Canon S100 Resolution
2 Canon S100 RAW vs JPEG
3 Canon S100 Noise vs S95
4 Canon S100 Noise vs V1 vs G3
5 Canon S100 Noise Reduction
6 Canon S100 Handheld Night Scene
7 Canon S100 Sample images

The Canon PowerShot S100, like many cameras these days, offers a composite shooting mode which captures a quick burst of images before combining them into one to reduce noise. Canon calls this Handheld Night Scene and you can find it in the Scene presets.

Like other models, the sensitivity and exposure are fully automatic, so to make a comparison with a single shot exposure here, I first took the scene in the Handheld Night Scene mode, before matching the settings in Program.

In this first example, the S100's Handheld Night Scene mode automatically selected 1600 ISO. It's immediately clear from the crops below that the single-frame version in Program at the same sensitivity exhibits much greater visible noise than the composite Handheld Night Scene version. Meanwhile, the degree of detail is roughly similar.

So Handheld Night Scene mode is acting like ideal noise reduction, greatly reducing the amount of visible noise without smearing-out fine details. A very successful result here for the S100. Scroll down for another comparison, or check out a selection of single-exposure shots in my Canon S100 sample images gallery. Alternatively skip to the chase and head over to my verdict!

Canon PowerShot S100: Handheld Night Scene at 1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO

Canon PowerShot S100: Program at 1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO

Canon PowerShot S100: Handheld Night Scene versus Program mode (at 3200 ISO)


For this second example, the PowerShot S100 selected 3200 ISO in Handheld Night Scene, making it easy to make a comparison in Program mode.

As above, the degree of fine detail on both samples is roughly similar, but the Program version shows far more visible noise textures. In contrast the version taken with Handheld Night Scene is much smoother and cleaner, with virtually no visible noise speckles. Again it's as if noise reduction has been applied, but without the compromise of smearing-out fine details.

So in conclusion, Handheld Night Scene can prove to be a valuable ally when shooting under dim conditions at high ISOs. It really lives-up to its description too, as while this second example was shot from a tripod, the first really was handheld.

Now head on over to my Canon S100 sample images for more real-life examples, or skip to the chase and check out my verdict!


Canon PowerShot S100: Handheld Night Scene at 3200 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO

Canon PowerShot S100: Program at 3200 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO
1600 ISO

Canon S100 results : Quality / RAW vs JPEG / Noise vs S95
/ Noise vs V1 / Noise Reduction / Handheld Night Scene

If you found this review useful, please support me by shopping below!
All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

/ How we test / Best Cameras / Advertising / Camera reviews / Supporting Camera Labs