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Canon PowerShot S1 IS Review

August 2004 | By Simon Joinson


Review based on a production Canon PowerShot S1 IS

Announced in February 2004, the PowerShot S1 IS is the long overdue successor to Canon's last 10x Zoom Image Stabilized compact, the (the PowerShot Pro90 IS). It is not only much smaller and lighter, but a lot less expensive - (hardly surprising given the three year gap). Despite the aggressive pricing (the S1 IS is available online for as little as $315) this is a highly specified camera with a feature set that doesn't fall that far short of 'prosumer' models such as the G5 or even the Pro 1. The SLR-like styling and plethora of controls both on-body and in the extensive menu system lets you know this is more than a point and shooter with a big lens. Here's just a few of the key selling points to whet your appetite:

  • 10x optical zoom (approximately 32x combined)
  • Optical Image Stabilizer
  • Ultrasonic Motor
  • Extra-long Movie Mode with enhanced VGA resolution and sound
  • Canon DIGIC processor with iSAPS
  • PictBridge and Canon Direct Print compatible – no PC required
  • 13 shooting modes

Key specifications

Street price • US: $340
• UK: £330
Body Material Plastic
Sensor • 1/2.7" CCD, 3.34 million total pixels
• 3.2 million effective pixels
Image sizes • 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480
Movie clips • 640 x 480, Fine, 30 fps
• 640 x 480, 15 fps
• 320 x 240, 15 fps
• Length limited only by storage (maximum single movie file 1GB)
• With audio
Lens

• 38-380 mm equiv. (10x optical zoom)
• F2.8 - F3.1
Image Stabilized, USM, multi-speed zoom

Focus • TTL
• Center Area AF
• FlexiZone AF/AE area selection
• Single / Continuous AF
• Manual focus
• Focus bracketing
• 10 cm minimum focus range (macro)
Shooting mode • Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Aperture priority AE
• Manual
• Custom
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Night Scene
• Fast Shutter
• Slow Shutter
• Stitch Assist
• Movie
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 50 - 400
White Balance • Auto
• 6 presets
• Manual
Image parameters • Contrast (3 levels)
• Sharpness (3 levels)
• Saturation (3 levels)
• Photo effects (Vivid, neutral, sepia, black & white)
Continuous 1.7 fps, up to 24 frames
Flash • Built-in, pop-up (electronic)
• Auto, Manual on/off, Red-eye reduction: on/off, Slow sync: on/off
• Range (ISO 100): W 1.0 - 4.2 m (3.3 - 13.8 ft), T 1.0 - 3.8 m (3.3 - 12.5 ft)
• Compensation: +/- 2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
Storage • Compact Flash Type I or Type II
• FAT32 supported (cards >2 GB)
• 32 MB CF card supplied
Viewfinder • Electronic Viewfinder
• 114,000 pixels
• 100% coverage
• Dioptre adjustment (-5.5 to 1.5 dpt)
LCD monitor • 1.5" TFT, 114,000 pixels
• 100% coverage
• Tilt, twist and swivel ('Vari-angle')
Connectivity • USB 1.1
• A/V out
• DC-IN
Power • 4 x AA batteries (NiMH recommended)
• (Optional AC adapter)
Other features

• Orientation sensor
• Wireless remote (optional)
• Interval shooting
• Histogram in playback
• Sound memo
• Direct print (Canon & PictBridge)
• 2/10 second self-timer

Weight (no batt) 370 g (13 oz)
Dimensions 111 x 78 x 66 mm (4.4 x 3.1 x 2.6 in)

* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (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.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2004 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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