Conclusion - Pros

  • Very small, handles really well
  • Packed with features
  • Image stabilization works really well (and can be used in movie mode)
  • Very quiet
  • Fast and responsive
  • Stunning movie mode with high quality sound
  • Impressive continuous (burst) shooting
  • Good color, good exposure, generally accurate focus
  • 'Punchy' results straight out of the camera
  • Clean images at lower ISO settings
  • Impressively little distortion for such a large lens
  • Enjoyable and easy to use
  • Optional wide and tele adapters and underwater housing

Conclusion - Cons

  • Some focus errors - especially at the telephoto end of the zoom
  • Slow AF at longer focal lengths, can struggle in low light
  • No AF illuminator
  • Noisy above ISO200
  • No rechargeable batteries
  • Small screen, viewfinder difficult to see in very bright or very dark conditions
  • Images lack 'bite' - resolution is average at best
  • No RAW or TIFF mode
  • Limit to highest shutter speed usable at wide apertures

Overall conclusion

Despite one or two minor annoyances - specifically the focus performance at the long end of the zoom and the rather puny screen - the Canon S1 IS is a camera it is hard not to like. Sure, there are a few high end features missing (no live histogram, no flash hot shoe, no AiAF, no RAW mode), but this is no glorified point-and-shooter. The movie mode is superb, the image stabilization works a treat - and certainly does away with the need for a tripod for most daylight shooting - and the control layout is excellent. The results are somewhere in the middle of what we'd expect from a decent 3MP camera, but are surprisingly good for one with a full 10x optical zoom. Next to the Panasonic FZ10 it looks a little underpowered - and the S1 IS certainly can't match the FZ10 for image quality - but it's a lot better looking, a lot nicer to use and a lot smaller and lighter. This is a real 'swiss army knife' of a camera - compact, portable, yet capable - thanks to the 10x IS lens - of coping with virtually any shooting situation you might throw at it. Image quality is easily good enough for sharp 5x7 inch prints, but for big prints you'll probably want something with a little more resolution to offer. And if you shoot a lot of telephoto action, forget it - unless you're prepared to turn of the autofocus. All-in-all it's one of the better super zooms currently available, is very well priced, and very rewarding in use.


Want to make sure you don't miss out on any future reviews?
Sign up for our free weekly newsletter!

Enter the 'Canon Talk' Discussion Forum