Canon Powershot S5 IS First Thoughts Review

by Reads (266)
  • Pros

    • Good image and color quality
    • Good shutter/focus performance
    • Image stabilization
    • Great focal length lens

  • Cons

    • Continuous shooting mode somewhat slow and difficult to track subjects
    • Disappointing (but pretty typical) ISO performance

The Canon Powershot S5 IS replaces the S3 IS in the Canon line, and boasts a full mix of features: an 8 megapixel sensor and 12X optical zoom lens; optical image stabilization and an ISO range up to 1600; a Digic III processor which Canon says improves image quality and camera functionality, particularly with the Face Detection and Red-Eye Correction technologies; full manual controls in addition to the typical auto and special scene shooting modes, plus a hot shoe, viewfinder, and 2.5 inch LCD monitor that can be rotated and folded to accommodate a wide range of shooting angles.

[Update: We’ve posted the final review of this camera here: Canon Powershot S5 IS Review]

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I’ve had my hands on an S5 IS for about 18 hours now, and after some indoor flash shots around the house last night, the camera accompanied me on an early morning trip to the beach where I was scheduled to shoot a surfer for some promotional material. That 12X zoom provides a 36 to 432mm focal length (35mm equivalent) and lands the S5 IS in the “super” or “ultra” zoom category of point and shoot cameras. If you’ve ever wondered why anyone might need such a range, perhaps the two beach photos will serve to illustrate: both taken from the same spot, one at fully wide angle and the other zoomed in to the 432mm focal range. The big zoom on the S5 IS allows you to maximize those 8 megapixels by composing shots over a wide range of magnification that can reduce or eliminate the need to crop shots to obtain the look you want.

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Wide angle
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12x optical zoom
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The S5 IS has, at first blush, great color and image quality; it powers on quickly, acquires focus in good lighting conditions fairly quickly and shutter lag once focus is acquired is quite good.  Built-in flash performance (range and color) appear good, and the camera’s body design makes one-handed shooting a comfortable and secure-feeling exercise. We’ll have an in-depth review on the S5 IS soon, but if my half day with the camera is any indication, those of you who opt for an S5 IS won’t be sorry.

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canon powershot s5 is sample image
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