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Canon PowerShot S45 Review

November 2002 | By Phil Askey

Review based on a production PowerShot S45, firmware v1.00

A year after I reviewed the PowerShot S40 I'm here reviewing a camera which to all intents and purposes looks identical to that camera. The PowerShot S45 has the same case, lens, CCD sensor, LCD, control layout etc. as the S40. However what has changed significantly are the internals of the camera. This is immediately noticeable upon first using the camera with its modified menu layout and new FUNC button for quick control of photographic settings such as exposure compensation, white balance, ISO sensitivity, drive mode etc.

Other less noticeable changes include the use of Canon's new DiGiC processor technology which promises better image quality, improved auto focus and auto exposure, better automatic white balance, lower noise, faster image processing and extended camera features. Another new addition is an orientation sensor which allows the camera to automatically orientate the image correctly (portrait / landscape) at playback.

Summary of new features / improvements available on the S45

  • DiGiC processor - CCD control, AE/AF/AWB, signal processing, JPEG compression, memory card control, LCD monitor display).
  • Orientation sensor - tags images as portrait or landscape depending on the orientation of the camera at the time the shot was taken).
  • Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space (iSAPS) - Camera uses variables such as focus distance, exposure brightness and cross references these against a table of known scene types, uses this information to optimize image processing.
  • Custom exposure mode - A new mode dial position for quick recall of pre-programmed settings saved from any exposure mode (P, TV, Av, or M).
  • Focus bracketing - Enables the camera to take three shots in quick succession at positions before, at and after the current focus point. Only available with flash disabled.
  • Two manual white balance presets - You can now store manual white balance in either Custom1 or Custom2 white balance presets.
  • Manual flash output - Manually select flash output of 1/3, 2/3 or FULL. Available in Manual exposure, Aperture Priority (option) and Shutter Priority (option).
  • Flash sync selection - Select between 1st-curtain and 2nd-curtain sync.
  • 9 point AiAF / Flexible AF point selection - In AiAF mode the camera utilizes a grid of nine AF areas. When manually selecting an AF area you can now select from any one of about 300 positions around the image frame.
  • Modified Photo Effects - Off, Vivid, Neutral, Low Sharpening, Sepia, B&W, Custom. Photo effects have also been moved to the FUNC button and are available in all exposure modes.
  • FUNC button control - All major settings can be changed from the improved FUNC mode.
  • Improved control - Expanded range of settings allow you to enable or disable: Manual Focus zoom, AF assist beam, Auto Rotate, File No. Reset. And also change: Distance Units, USB mode
  • Intervalometer - A time lapse shooting feature, intervals of 1 - 60 mins, 2 - 100 shots
  • Movie clip length - Movie clips can now be recorded non-stop for up to 3 minutes
  • EXIF 2.2 - JPEG file header now includes full EXIF 2.2 information (ExifPrint standard)

Review Notes

Because of the S45's similarity to the S40 much of the first half of this review is based on the S40 review. Other changes include the addition of a vignette test and the removal of our 'wide wall' flash test.

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

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This review is Copyright 2002 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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