Canon has today announced the successor to the S1 IS, the all-new 12x optical zoom five megapixel PowerShot S2 IS. This camera is clearly aimed to compete with the other compact big-zoom club which is currently made up of the Panasonic DMC-FZ5, Konica Minolta Z5 and Sony DSC-H1. Just like the S1 IS the S2 IS utilizes a small USM (ultrasonic motor) to drive its zoom (multi-speed and quiet for shooting movies). Changes compared to the S1 include a body redesign, five megapixel CCD, a bigger zoom lens, DIGIC II, faster continuous shooting, night display function, stereo audio recording and a larger LCD monitor.

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Press Release:

PowerShot S2 IS: Canon’s new monster zoom compact

Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 22 April, 2005. Canon, a leader in photographic and imaging technology, today releases the 12x optical zoom, 5.0 Megapixel PowerShot S2 IS. A convincing blend of versatility with power, this worthy successor to the PowerShot S1 IS features optical Image Stabilizer technology, outstanding optics and 30 fps digital video camera quality extended video recording of up to 60 minutes* with stereo sound.

Powered by the same DIGIC II processor found in Canon’s pro-series D-SLR cameras, the PowerShot S2 IS features super-responsive 2.4 fps shooting, start up times and auto focus speeds almost twice as quick as that of its predecessor, 18 shooting modes and shutter speeds to 1/3,200 of a second. The processor even makes it possible to capture a maximum resolution digital still whilst shooting video. As well as giving camera performance a real boost, DIGIC II also improves colour rendition and white balance accuracy, as well as speeding up playback review and scrolling. A USB 2.0 Hi-speed interface is provided for super quick image and video transfers.

“This is perhaps our most versatile digital still compact ever,” commented Mogens Jensen, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. “With both digital camera and digital video camera functionality rivalling many dedicated single function devices, the PowerShot S2 IS represents a convergence of Canon’s core imaging technologies in the areas of lens, image processing, digital still camera and digital video camera development.”

Optics

The most powerful optical zoom (36 – 432mm f/2.7-f.3.5) ever to equip a Canon compact camera features Canon’s renowned optical Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, significantly suppressing blur when taking stills and minimising image shake when shooting video footage. An Ultra-low Dispersion (UD) lens element curbs chromatic aberrations – particularly at longer focal lengths – for extremely faithful colour reproduction and sharp definition. IS can be set to off, continuous (always on), shoot only (operates with shutter release) and panning mode (only up/down movement corrected - suitable for applications such as motor-sports). Providing the equivalent of 2-3 stops, IS allows photographers to shoot with longer than normal exposures without increasing image blur, great for low light shooting at events where use of flash is inappropriate or not desirable – such as concerts and weddings.

As well as driving super-fast, responsive zooming, the lens’ ultra-sonic motor (USM) also delivers exceptionally quiet operation so as to not interfere with stereo sound recording on movies or where wildlife subjects might otherwise be startled. A Super Macro mode performance of 0cm and optional 500D (58mm) close up lens gives the opportunity for interesting and experimental macro photography.

Covering most shooting requirements, optional wide and tele converter lenses extend the zoom range to an impressive 24x – from wide 27mm to super-tele 648mm (35mm equivalent). Without conversion lenses, the S2 IS has a 48x combined digital and optical zoom for both stills and movies.

Functionality and performance

Addition of the DIGIC II processor increases AF speed by approximately 45% and improves start up times by over 50%. With a feature that outshines many digital SLR cameras, the PowerShot S2 IS will shoot continually and uninterrupted at 2.4 fps until the memory card becomes full, providing users with a new realm of action sport sequence opportunity. 17 still shooting modes include full manual mode, 6 pre-set Special Scene modes for quickly optimising settings in tricky lighting conditions, and Stitch Assist for multi-image panoramas.

To commence shooting video immediately supporting VGA fine (640 x 480) mode at either 30 or 15 fps, the PowerShot S2 IS retains the dedicated movie-shooting button. This eliminates the need to enter menu navigation, helping make sure users never miss those once-in-a-lifetime shooting opportunities.

Manual focus for stills and movies is available with the use of the omni-selector up/down buttons. High quality stereo sound recording at selectable sampling rates is available, either as part of movie recording, as a stand alone sound recording, or for annotation of stills. A selectable Wind filter improves sound quality of outdoor recordings made in blustery conditions. The camera’s mono sound playback is extendable to stereo when connected to a suitable device with the supplied stereo video cable. Also added is the popular in-camera slow-motion replay, introduced in a selection of recently launched dedicated Canon digital still cameras.

With its own spot on the mode dial, the ‘My Colors’ function allows 9 different colour effects to be applied in real time whilst shooting both stills and movies.

Simultaneous movies and stills

A new Photo-in-Movie feature lets users capture a maximum resolution still image whilst shooting a movie by simply pressing the shutter release. Movie recording is temporarily interrupted whilst the still image is captured, continuing thereafter until the user chooses to stop. The video footage and still image are saved separately and the fragmented sequence can be stitched back together with a special edit menu option in the supplied ZoomBrowser EX 5.2 / ImageBrowser 5.1 software.

Other features

Taking on board feedback from PowerShot S1 IS users, Canon has increased the size of the vari-angle LCD from 1.5” to 1.8”. A Night Display function assists with framing in low light. Electronic viewfinder (EVF) brightness is adjustable to one of 2 levels.

The integrated flash now has manual pop-up control. Along with the conversion lenses, other optional accessories include Canon’s High Power Flash HF-DC1, a lens hood and lens adapter set to reduce flare and a Soft Case DCC-90. The camera is supplied with 4 AA Alkaline batteries and a 16MB SD card as standard.

Prints without computers

With extensive PictBridge support, the PowerShot S2 IS offers ID photo and movie print when connected to a SELPHY Compact Photo Printer such as the Compact Photo Printer SELPHY CP600. Using KP-108IP media with SELPHY CP Compact Photo Printers gives 6 x 4” (10 x 15cm) prints as low as 30 euro cents. A new Print/Share button provides one-touch printing and easy uploads to Windows or Mac systems.

Software and online sharing

Image and video library management and editing software includes ZoomBrowser EX 5.2 (for PC), ImageBrowser 5.1 (for Mac) and ArcSoft PhotoStudio, PhotoStitch for creating panoramas from multiple images, and the easy to use PhotoRecord printing application. The camera supports PTP for driverless file transfers to Windows XP or Mac OS X. Drivers include TWAIN (Windows 98/2000) and WIA (Windows Me).

Purchase of the PowerShot S2 IS entitles customers to membership to the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY, Canon’s online portal that offers users 100MB of online ‘personal gallery’ space for sharing stills and video with family and friends.

Canon PowerShot S2 IS specifications

Sensor • 5.0 million effective pixels *
• 1/2.5" Type CCD *
Image processor DIGIC II * with iSAPS
Image sizes • 2592 x 1944 *
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
Movie clips • 640 x 480, 30/15 fps *
• 320 x 240, 30/15 fps *
• Up to 1 GB or 60 mins *
• With stereo audio *
Image formats • JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
• Super Fine, Fine, Normal
Lens • 36 - 432 mm equiv. *
• 12x optical zoom *
• Image Stabilized (lens shift type)
• F2.7 - F3.5 *
• 11 elements in 9 groups, 1 aspherical element, 1 UD element *
• USM (ultrasonic motor) zoom, multi-speed
• Bayonet fitting for optional add-on lenses / hood
Digital zoom Yes, smooth up to 4.0x *
Focusing • TTL
• 1 point AF (any position available) *
• Manual FlexiZone AF/AE area selection
• Single / Continuous AF
• Manual focus
• Focus bracketing
• 0 cm minimum focus range (macro) *
AF Assist lamp Yes *
Shooting mode • Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Aperture priority AE
• Manual
• Custom
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Night Scene
• My Colors *
• Special scene mode *
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
Special scene modes * • Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Indoor
• Night snapshot
Metering • Evaluative
• Center-weighted average
• Spot (center or linked to AF)
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Shutter speed • 15 - 1/3200 sec
• Shutter speed limits at some combinations of aperture / zoom
• Automatic noise reduction for exposures of 1.3 sec or slower
Manual exposure • Any combination of shutter speed and aperture above
• No Bulb mode
AE Lock Yes
Exposure compen. • -2 EV to +2 EV
• 1/3EV steps
Exposure bracketing • 3 images
• +/- 0.3, 0.7, 1.0, 1.3, 1.7, 2.0 EV
White Balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Flash
• Custom
WB fine tune No
Color space sRGB
Photo Effects • Vivid
• Neutral
• Low Sharpening
• Sepia
• Black & White
• Custom (contrast, saturation, sharpness)
• My Colors *
Continuous • High speed: 2.4 fps, until card is full *
• Normal speed: 1.5 fps, until card is full *
Timelapse • Interval: 1 - 60 mins
• Shots: up to 100
Self-timer • 2 or 10 sec delay
• Custom *
Remote control Unknown
Flash • Built-in, pop-up (electronic)
• Auto, Manual on/off
• Red-eye reduction: on/off
• Slow sync: on/off
• Range (Auto ISO): W 0.7 - 4.2 m, T 0.7 - 4.0 m *
• Compensation: +/- 2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
External flash No (slave only)
Tripod mount Yes, metal
Video out Yes, selectable NTSC / PAL
Viewfinder • Electronic Viewfinder (0.33" type LCD)
• 115,000 pixels *
• 100% coverage
• Dioptre adjustment (-5.5 to 1.5 dpt)
LCD • 1.8" P-Si TFT, 115,000 pixels *
• 100% coverage
• Tilt, twist and swivel ('Vari-angle')
Histogram display • Record review
• Playback
Direct print • Canon Selphy Compact Photo Printers and PIXMA Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Movie Print supported by SELPHY CP printers only)
• PictBridge compatible printers
Other features • Sound recorder (stereo, up to 2 hours per recording) *
• Selectable audio quality (11 Khz, 22 Khz, 44 Khz, wind filter) *
• Histogram
• Orientation sensor
• Playback zoom 2x - 10x
Languages * English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish
Storage • Secure Digital (SD) card *
• 16 MB card supplied
Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed *
• A/V out
• DC-IN
Power • 4 x AA batteries (NiMH recommended)
• Optional Canon NB-2AH batteries
• Optional Canon CA-PS700 AC adapter
Weight (no batt) 405 g (14.3 oz) *
Dimensions 113 x 78 x 76 mm (4.5 x 3.1 x 3.0 in) *

* Changes or updates compared to the PowerShot S1 IS (click here for review)

Additional images

IS module USM zoom module