My S5 IS quick-review

Started Jul 4, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Tigadee Veteran Member • Posts: 8,662
My S5 IS quick-review

Anounced 07 May 2007: "Canon today announces the launch of the 12x optical zoom, 8.0 Megapixel PowerShot S5 IS. The new compact inherits optical Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, professional-grade optics and extensive movie functions while introducing a host of new features designed to increase the photographer’s success rate.

Powered by Canon’s DIGIC III image processor, Face Detection Technology improves focus, exposure and flash output for people shots while the new Red-Eye Correction feature effectively solves red-eye problems in captured photos. An increased sensitivity range of ISO 80-1600 complements the optical IS system for extended low light performance.

Other key advancements include a larger, higher resolution 2.5” vari-angle LCD, additional shooting modes and extended video recording. The compact design incorporates a new hot shoe that provides compatibility with selected Canon EX Speedlite external flashes, adding to an accessory list that includes Wide, Tele and Close-up converter lenses.

Features at a glance:
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12x optical zoom lens with Ultrasonic Motor (USM) and UD lens
Optical Image Stabilizer
8.0 Megapixel CCD

DIGIC III with advanced Noise Reduction technology and Face Detection for stills and movies
Red-Eye Correction in playback
2.5” high-resolution vari-angle LCD
Long-play VGA movies with stereo sound and Photo in Movie
22 shooting modes including full manual control and 0cm Super Macro
High ISO 1600 and Auto ISO Shift

Compatible with Wide/Tele/Close-up converter lenses and Canon EX Speedlite flashes
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PROS:
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  • Very fast & quiet focus even in very low-light

  • Fairly fast zoom

  • Very good battery life

  • Bright and big EVF (though still not high enough resolution)

  • Very nice big tilt LCD

  • TTL hotshoe

  • High-quality 640x480 video at 30 fps

  • AF assist lamp with very good range (green colour!)

  • Very easy to start using it for existing Canon users

  • Feels solid and well-made

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CONS:
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  • High noise above ISO 100

  • Strong Noise Reduction, even at ISO 80

  • Small size difficult to use in large hands (if only there was a battery grip! Will try to adapt an old film one...

  • IS not as good as DSLR IS or VR on lenses but about the same as those DSLRs with sensor-stabilisation

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CONCLUSION:

I find the S5 IS fun and easy to use, although it's small size makes it difficult to handle for my big hands. It's very fast and responsive in all areas, from AF to operation to zooming - the Digic III chip (same as the one in the 1D Mk III) lives up to its reputation. The image quality is quite typical for such a small-sensor high-megapixel camera, so it is noisy although Canon uses a strong Noise Reduction algorithm in the image processing which is visible even at ISO 80.

The camera feels solid and well-made, even though is is competitively priced for a Prosumer (the hotshoe elevates the S5 IS into a higher level than the S3 IS or FZ8). The EVF is very big and bright, even in low-light. Very useful and saves a lot of squinting. Colours are reproduced accurately, even in mixed or low-lighting, and metering is also very good. Start-up is 1 second and the switch from record to review to record again is near instantaneous.

A few interesting observations: When flash (internal or external) is used, the camera automatically defaults to ISO 80. Also, the face detection in Portrait mode really works very wekk and gets it right every time (this is FD before you shoot, not just after!). Battery life is surprisingly good. Almost 500 shots so far with a lot of reviews on the LCD, use of both LCD and EVF, continuous IS and AF and still the batteries (4 x normal alkaline AAs supplied with the camera) are going strong.

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