Pre-PMA 2003, 14:00 GMT: Canon has today announced the new PowerShot S50, the new head of their 'S' product range with a five megapixel sensor and three times optical zoom lens. This camera is based on the S45 with which it shares its lens, body and controls. The S50 also gets many of the features enabled by the DiGiC processor, these include nine point AiAF, flexizone focus selection, three minute movie clips and automatic image rotation thanks to the orientation sensor. List price: $699 / €799. (Black body in North America, Silver in the rest of the world).

Click here for Jeff Keller's review of the S50 on

Press Release (Canon Europe):

Canon launches new top of the range PowerShot S50 - the compact digital camera with 5 Megapixel CCD

Canon PowerShot S50
North America model: Black, Rest of the world: Silver

Amstelveen, February 2003 - Canon, a leader in photographic and imaging technology, introduces a high specification 5 Megapixel camera to head the "S" range of PowerShot models - the new PowerShot S50. Fitted with a 3x f/2.8-4.9 optical zoom, covering focal lengths of 35-105mm, it offers a wide range of photographic controls, presented in an easy to access format, that will satisfy seasoned photographers and advanced users.

Leading the PowerShot range, the new PowerShot S50 features many of the same facilities as the popular PowerShot S45, such as the 9-point AiAF (Artificial intelligence Auto Focus) system, the flexizone focus selector and Canon's unique DIGIC (DIGital Imaging Core) processor.

"The PowerShot S50 is well equipped to head-up the S series of cameras," says Hiroshi Komatsuzaki, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. "The level of control it offers the user is quite exceptional for any camera, let alone a pocket-sized model like this, and the quality of image it produces enables users to comfortably print right up to A3."

Maximum image quality

Canon's powerful DIGIC processor is used in this camera to provide a huge capacity for complex assessment of the scene to be captured. The PowerShot S50 uses information from the zoom position, scene brightness and other systems to determine what sort of subject is being photographed in order to optimise AF speed, exposure accuracy and white balance performance.

For maximum image quality, the PowerShot S50 provides RAW file capture as well as various JPEG settings. It is also possible to save an image in the RAW format even when it was shot in a JPEG mode, should the user choose to do so when viewing the image in Record mode. Further user control comes in the form of three metering modes, ISO settings from ISO 50-400 and a shutter speed range of 15-1/1500sec. The camera allows 2 custom white balance settings, in addition to the 6 pre-set programs, for perfect colours every time.

The camera's built-in flash is both powerful and flexible, offering a range of features including second curtain synchronisation, manual output control, plus a maximum range of 4m at ISO 100.

13 shooting modes

Combining automatic functions and manual selections the PowerShot S50 features 13 shooting modes, including subject-based modes and semi-auto modes such as aperture priority. A fast sequence mode allows a maximum frame rate of 2 frames per second, maintained for up to 8 images, while Photo Effect modes give users access to sharpening, contrast and colour saturation controls.

Movie mode and printing

A movie mode permits movie clips of up to a full 3 minutes each, complete with sound and the option to cut and edit them on the camera's own screen. The camera can also attach voice memos or sound files of up to 60 seconds to each image.

As with all the latest Canon digital cameras the PowerShot S50 supports Canon's Direct Print system, for printing with the camera linked straight to a Bubble Jet Direct Printer or Card Photo type printer. In-camera controls allow users to select the number of prints to be made, image cropping and print size. In addition users will gain access to the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY online service where users may share and store their images and the 'My Camera' function allows sound and image files may be downloaded to the camera.

Accessories and software

The PowerShot S50 is compatible with CompactFlash memory cards type I and II, including the IBM Microdrive , and is compliant with FAT32 for the use of cards with a capacity of over 2GB. The camera is supplied with a 32MB CF card, rechargeable lithium ion battery pack (NB-2L), battery charger and connecting cables.

The software included is Canon's ZoomBrowser EX (Windows), Image Browser (Mac), PhotoRecord, PhotoStitch and RemoteCapture software. As the camera is PTP compatible no additional drivers are needed in Windows XP or MAC OS X environments.

The optional waterproof case (WP-DC300) allows users to even enjoy the PowerShot S50 underwater, up to a depth of 30m.

Canon PowerShot S50 specifications

List price • US: $699 (Black body)
• EU: €799 (Silver body)
• UK: £549 (Silver body)
Sensor • 1/1.8" CCD
• RGB Color Filter Array
• 5.2 million pixels total
Effective pixel count 5.0 million
Image sizes • 2592 x 1944
• 1600 x 1200
• 1024 x 768
• 640 x 480
Movie clips * • 320 x 240, 15 fps, up to 3 mins
• 160 x 120, 15 fps, up to 3 mins
File formats • Still: RAW, JPEG EXIF 2.2 (Super-Fine, Fine, Normal)
• Movie: AVI (Motion JPEG + Wave audio)
Lens • 3x optical zoom
• 35 - 105 mm equiv.
• F2.8 - F4.9
Digital zoom Up to 4.1x
Focus • 9-point AiAF
• 1-point AF (any position)
• AF lock
• Manual focus
• Focus bracketing
• AF assist beam (on/off)
Focus range • Normal: 50 cm - Infinity (1.6 ft - Infinity)
• Macro (Wide): 10 - 50 cm (3.9 - 19.7 in)
• Macro (Tele): 30 - 50 cm (11.8 - 19.7 in)
Metering • Evaluative
• Center weighted average
• Spot (center or Af point linked)
AE Lock Yes
AE Bracketing Yes
Exposure compen. +/-2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Shutter • 15 - 1/1500 sec
• 1.3 sec or slower only in Manual or Shutter Priority modes
• Auto noise reduction slower than 1.3 sec
White balance • Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom 1
• Custom 2
Viewfinder Optical
LCD monitor • 1.8" TFT LCD
• 118,000 pixels
Flash • Built-In
• Modes: Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Manual
• Slow Sync: On, Off (1st or 2nd curtain selectable)
• Red-Eye Reduction: On, Off
• Flash compensation: +/-2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
• Manual power selection: 3 levels
• Range (ISO 100, Wide): 0.55 - 4.0 m (1.8 - 13.1 ft)
• Range (ISO 100, Tele): 0.55 - 2.5 m (1.8 - 8.2 ft)
Shooting modes

• Auto
• Program AE
• Shutter priority AE
• Aperture priority AE
• Manual
• Custom
• Portrait
• Landscape
• Night Scene
• Fast Shutter
• Slow Shutter
• Stitch Asssist
• Movie (with sound)

Photo effects • Vivid
• Neutral
• Low Sharpening
• Sepia
• Black & White
• Custom (Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation control)
Drive modes • Single
• Continuous High: 2.0 fps, up to 8 frames
• Continuous Normal: 1.5 fps, up to 8 frames
• Interval shooting: 1 - 60 min intervals, up to 100 images
Direct printing • Canon Card Photo Printers
• Canon Bubble Jet Printers with direct print function
Other features • My Camera
• Orientation sensor
• iSAPS technology
• Movie editting
• Sound memo (up to 60 secs)
• Magnify Zoom (2 - 10x)
• Histogram display
• Slide show
• DPOF / Transfer Order
Self Timer Yes, 2 or 10 sec
Connectivity • USB 1.1 (inc PTP)
• A/V out
Storage • Compact Flash Type I or II
• Microdrive supported
• FAT 12/16 and FAT 32 support
• 32 MB CF card supplied
Power • Lithium-Ion NB-2L rechargeable battery (supplied & charger)
• Optional AC adapter
Dimensions 112 x 58 x 42 mm (4.4 x 2.3 x 1.7 in)
Weight (no batt) 260 g (9.2 oz)
External links Canon S50 information
Canon S50 sample images

* Three minute video clips require a high speed Compact Flash card

More pictures

PowerShot S50 in silver with lens cover closed PowerShot S50 included accessories