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Compared to... Canon PowerShot S3 IS

Below you will find a studio comparison between the Canon S5 IS and its predecessor, the PowerShot S3 IS, at ISO 800 (the highest setting on the S3 IS).

Studio scene comparison (@ ISO 800)

  • Canon PowerShot S5 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 800, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.67 EV compensation
  • Canon PowerShot S3 IS: Aperture Priority mode, ISO 800, Default Image Parameters,
    Manual white balance, +0.67 EV compensation
  • Lighting: Daylight simulation, >98% CRI
Canon PowerShot S5 IS
Canon PowerShot S3 IS
ISO 800, 1/403 sec, F5.0
ISO 800, 1/500 sec, F5.0
3,728 KB JPEG
3,483 KB JPEG

At ISO 800 - not a setting I'd recommend using on any camera with a sensor this small - the S5 IS shows little (if any) resolution advantage, and actually looks a bit soft in comparison to its predecessor. The S5's DIGIC III processor features a new noise reduction system that does a lot better job of removing the most unsightly color (chroma) noise whilst retaining some semblance of detail, but the more we see from cameras using this particular sensor, the more we're convinced it's not suitable for use at higher ISO settings.

It's also worth mentioning that the higher ISO settings on the S5 IS are marginally less sensitive than they were on the S3 IS - this is something we've seen with most recent Canon Powershots. The indicated 'ISO' value now appears to be a lot closer to our measured value (PowerShots always used to understate their true ISO).

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