Canon PowerShot S2 IS Review
Almost as soon as it was announced in February 2004, the PowerShot S1 IS - Canon's long-awaited successor to the Pro 90 - made its way into dpreview's top 5 cameras (based on visitor clicks), a position it held for the best part of a year, despite stiff competition. There have been few compact cameras as eagerly awaited as the S1's successor, which finally arrived at the end of April 2005. In the 14 or so months between the S1 and the S2, the 'super zoom' market has grown immensely, with affordable 5MP image-stabilized models from Panasonic, Konica Minolta - and now Sony with its H1. This means the S2 IS has a lot more to prove than its predecessor, and has to stand its ground in a considerably more competitive marketplace.
The good news is that the S2 is no 'minor upgrade' - almost every aspect of the S1's specification and performance has been improved or refined, the body is entirely new and some of the most serious problems found on the original model have been addressed. But is it enough? Let's find out...starting off with the headline specifications;
- 12x optical zoom (36-432mm equiv.)
- 5.0 million effective pixels
- 1.8-inch tilt-and-swivel LCD monitor
- Color electronic viewfinder
- Optical Image Stabilizer (3 modes)
- Ultrasonic motor (USM)
- Extra-long movie mode with enhanced VGA resolution and stereo sound
- Canon DIGIC II processor with iSAPS
- PictBridge and Canon Direct Print compatible – no PC required
- Six new 'special scene' shooting modes
Side by Side
Here for comparison is the S2 IS alongside three of its closest competitors - (from left): Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5, Canon PowerShot S2 IS, Sony Cyber-shot H1, Kodak EasyShare DX740Z (the smallest, but also the only one without image stabilization). As you can see, the S2 IS is one of the largest cameras in its class - certainly a lot larger than the Panasonic FZ5 (and the Konica Minolta Z5, not shown).
Powershot S2 IS vs S1 IS; what's changed?
Unlike most 'upgrades', the S2 IS is not only better specified than its predecessor; it's larger (much deeper) and heavier too. Most of this is down to the slightly larger sensor, which leads to a slightly larger lens (which also has a wider zoom range). Overall styling is very similar, though some controls have been re-positioned, and there are an extra couple of buttons. Here's the most important differences;
- Wider and longer zoom (12x versus 10x)
- Higher resolution (5MP versus 3.2MP)
- DIGIC II processor gives faster operation and improved burst mode
- Different storage format (SD versus CompactFlash)
- Bigger LCD screen (1.8-inch versus 1.5-inch)
- Better macro mode (0cm versus 10cm)
Canon PowerShot S2 IS
Canon PowerShot S1 IS
|Sensor||1/2.5” CCD, 5.3 million pixels||1/2.7” CCD, 3.34 million pixels|
|Effective Resolution||5.0 million pixels||3.2 million pixels|
|Processor||DIGIC II with iSAPS technology||DIGIC with iSAPS technology|
|Maximum Image Size|| 2592 x 1944
||2048 x 1536|
|Lens||• 36-432mm equiv. (12x), F2.7-3.5|
• 1 aspherical element,
• 1 UD element
|• 38-380mm equiv.(10x), F2.7-3.5
• 1 aspherical element
|Storage||SD card||CompactFlash card|
|Image stabilization modes|
• Night Scene
• Fast Shutter
• Slow Shutter
• Stitch Assist
|Closest focusing distance||0cm||10cm|
|Shutter speeds||15 - 1/3200 sec *1||15 - 1/2000th sec *2|
|Continuous Shooting||2.4 fps, unlimited||1.7 fps, max 24 images|
|LCD screen||• 1.8-inch TFT (flip out and twist) |
• 115,000 pixels
|• 1.5-inch TFT (flip out and twist)
• 114,000 pixels
|Viewfinder|| • EVF (0.33" type), |
• approx. 115,000 pixels
|• EVF (0.33" type),
• approx. 114,000 pixels
|Flash range||70cm - 5.2m (wide, auto ISO)||1.0 - 4.2m (wide, auto ISO)|
|USB speed||USB 2.0 High Speed||USB 1.1|
|Weatherproof case option||No||Yes|
|Dimensions||113 x 78 x 75.5 mm||111.0 x 78.0 x 66.1mm|
|Weight (no batteries)||405g (14.3 oz)||370g (13 oz)|
|*1||Slow Shutter speeds of 1.3 sec. and more, available in Manual and Shutter Priority AE modes only.Certain combinations of shutter speed and aperture may not be available.|
|*2||Slow Shutter speeds of 1.3 sec. and more, available in Manual and Shutter Priority AE modes only.|
|Street price|| US: $499
|Sensor|| 1/2.5" CCD, 5.3 million total pixels
5.0 million effective pixels
|Image sizes|| 2592 x 1944
2048 x 1536
1600 x 1200
640 x 480
|Movie clips|| 640 x 480, 30/15 fps
320 x 240, 30/15 fps
Length limited only by storage (maximum single movie file 1GB)
36 - 432mm equiv. (10x optical zoom)
|Focus|| TTL autofocus
Center Area AF
AE area selection
Single / Continuous AF
10 cm minimum focus range (macro)
|Shooting mode|| Custom
ISO 50 - 400
|White Balance|| Auto
Contrast (3 levels)
|Continuous|| 1.5 fps (large/fine mode)
2.4 fps (high speed continuous shooting, large/fine mode)
|Flash|| Built-in, pop-up
Auto, Manual on/off, Red-eye reduction: on/off, slow synch, 1st and 2nd curtain sync flash
Range (ISO Auto): W 0.7 - 5.2 m (2.3 - 17.1 ft), T 0.7 - 4 m (2.3 - 13.1 ft)
• Macro: 0.3 - 0.7 m (1.0 - 2.3 ft)
Compensation: +/- 2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
Flash output: 3 stops
|Viewfinder|| Electronic Viewfinder
Dioptre adjustment (-5.5 to 1.5 dpt)
|LCD monitor|| 1.8" TFT, 115,000 pixels
Tilt, twist and swivel ('Vari-angle')
|Connectivity|| USB 2.0 High speed
|Power|| 4 x AA batteries (NiMH recommended)
(Optional AC adapter)
Evaluative, center-weighted average and spot
|Weight (no batt)||405 g (14.3 oz)|
|Dimensions||113 x 78 x 75..5 mm (4.4 x 3.1 x 3.0 in)|
* Supplied accessories may differ in each country or area
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