Conclusion - Pros

  • Amazing image quality for the first 3.3 megapixel on the market
  • Images are sharp, well colour balanced and natural
  • Super-Fine JPEG mode makes for TIFF like images at half the size
  • Ability to take CF type II cards
  • Quality build and good looks (champagne!)
  • Size and weight
  • Automatic lens cover (no dangly strings or lost caps here)
  • Excellent menu system and "human interface" (ergonimics)
  • Good metering (if sometimes a little dark)
  • Good white balance (with easy-to-access override)
  • Excellent low-light and night ability (if limited to 2 seconds exposures)
  • Well thought-out features, useful "IMAGE" mode
  • Bright clear and detailed LCD with fast refresh rate
  • Stitch assist mode
  • ISO control
  • Memory buffer display (why can't all digicams tell you this?)
  • USB

Conclusion - Cons

  • Sometimes annoying lack of image review unless you hold your finger down on the shutter release (there is a work-around, put the camera in continuous mode)
  • No preview without holding your finger on the shutter release (should be an option)
  • The "coolness" (slight blue/magenta cast) of images may not suit all people
    Occasional blue image cast using the flash
  • Limited zoom (70 mm)
  • Very little else...

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Canon S20:

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 10
Features 8
Image quality 9
Lens / CCD combination 9
Ease of use 9
Value for money 10

Well, I loved the S10.. For me it was the first digital camera to have the quality of the best compact film cameras with great features, pocketability, image quality and a robust build. The S20 takes that to the next level with even better image quality, many white and colour balance improvements and the added resolution which places it above the current crop of 2.1 megapixel digicams.

UPDATED 14/April/2000: Due to civil unrest on the Canon Talk forums from owners of the S20 complaining that I didn't make enough of the blue cast on the S20 I've dropped the image quality rating down to 9 and made note of it in the Cons comments. This rating also closer reflects its new competition in the 3 megapixel market.

Above Average

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

Good News! You can now Pre-Order the Canon S20
online today and help support this site - US$899!!

Enter the 'Canon Talk' Discussion Forum