Canon PowerShot S2 IS Review
The PowerShot S2 IS will look very familiar to anyone who has used its predecessor - the design is very, very similar, though it is a little larger (mainly in its depth) and heavier. The slightly bulbous, organic design has echoes of the Canon A series, but in truth the S2 IS sits in a class of its own within Canon's range. As with the S1, the 'miniature SLR' design works well, no space has been wasted, and a lot of attention has been paid to handling and ergonomics. There have been very few major changes to the external control gear - a larger and more usable grip means the shutter release is in a more sensible position, a couple of buttons have been moved and the screen is a little larger, but overall this is a case of evolution rather than revolution.
In your hand
With the current fashion for simple, minimalist cameras that eschew buttons and switches in favor of menu-driven control it is a real treat to use a camera designed first and foremost for taking photographs, not as a matching accessory for your iPod. Its looks may be a bit 'love it or hate it', but the S2 IS feels, and in most cases operates, like a real camera. The handgrip is excellent - and much better than the S1 - and the most important controls (zoom, shutter, shooting mode) are all perfectly placed for one-handed operation (though with a 12x zoom lens you may want to put the other hand to use too!). Despite the plastic construction the S2 IS feels robust and well balanced and handles beautifully. At 505g fully loaded it is one of the heaviest cameras in its class (only the Panasonic FZ20 is heavier), but it does offer excellent stability without over-straining the neck strap.
|The S2 IS takes standard AA cells - NiMH are recommended and were used for this test. In an effort to keep the price keen Canon does not supply any rechargeable batteries, so you'll need to budget for those - plus a charger. Battery life is surprisingly good for an EVF camera (550 shots using the CIPA standard for NiMH, 130 with alkalines). Batteries last slightly longer using the EVF rather than the LCD screen.|
|The SD card slot is also located in the hand grip - this time on the side, under a solid hinged door.|
|The S2 IS features a small electronic viewfinder (EVF) - essentially a 0.33-inch LCD behind a magnifier. The EVF has the same resolution as the LCD screen (115, 000 pixels) - 1000 more than the S1, not that you can see a difference. In fact, the EVF is no better or worse than the S1's - side by side they seem identical to my eyes. It has a good refresh rate, but does exhibit some video lag and is not brilliant in very bright light, but it's certainly as usable as any in its class.|
The camera's 1.8- inch LCD is an improvement on the 1.5-inch unit used on the S1, in size terms, but that's about it. Side by side, if anything the S1's screen looks marginally sharper and brighter, but the difference is minimal. Then again, the refresh rate is fairly high and the the larger size means a little less squinting, and menus are easier to see.The screen swings out through 180 degrees and swivels through 270 degrees, offering plenty of shooting versatility. It also means you can also 'flip' the screen (so the LCD face is flush against the back of the camera), protecting the delicate screen when the S2 IS is in your bag.
The S2 suffers from the same problem as its predecessor with glare in bright shooting conditions - this can get so bad it is simply impossible to see anything on the screen at all. This is hardly unique on a digital camera, but given that the viewfinder is also difficult to use in low light, it's a pity.
|The shutter release is big, responsive and perfectly positioned at the front of the top of the new, larger chunky handgrip. The zoom rocker - in the form of a collar around the release - is also nice, and offers two zooming speeds. Move it a little and the zoom extends at a glacial speed, push it all the way and the speed picks up. A small touch, but a nice one. The zoom rocker also controls playback magnification (and activates thumbnails).|
|The pop-up flash on the S2 IS is a little more powerful than the unit used on the S1, and sits a little higher (meaning red-eye is even less of a problem). Unlike the S1, the S2's flash doesn't pop up automatically, you have to pull it open yourself if you want to use it. Once open you have the usual array of flash options. Canon also sells an add-on slave flash (the HF-DC1), with a guide number of 18 (ISO 100, meters), that approximately doubles the range of the built-in unit.|
|The key selling point of the S2 IS has to be the Canon 36-432mm equiv. F2.8-3.5 zoom lens. Its USM means focusing is very quiet indeed, and even the zooming mechanism is little more than a whisper. The small button below the lens unlocks the cosmetic front ring, which can be removed to allow the attachment of wide, tele and macro bayonet fit adaptor lenses.|
|The lens extends by around 30mm (1.1 inches) when powered up, after which most of the zooming is internal (the barrel doesn't extend any further).|
|The USB (2.0 high speed) and DC-in ports are located under a rather flimsy rubberised cover on the side of the handgrip (above the SD card slot cover). The AV port sits under a similar cover on the opposite side of the camera.|
|The main power switch swaps between record and playback modes. You can power the camera up directly into playback mode (in which case the lens doesn't extend), and you can quickly move from play to record with a half-press of the shutter release.|
|The main mode dial, with the new 'special scene mode' position.|
|Misty morining by Claudi Lourens|
from My Best Photo of the Week
|Jet and Full Moon by dibilio57|
from Aircraft lights
A popular Instagram user based in Singapore has been caught passing stock images off as his own work. Daryl Aiden Yow, who has worked with many recognizable brands, has apologized for his actions, and has deleted some images from his Instagram account while adding credits to others.
Instagram is the fourth Facebook-owned social media app to reach the coveted 1 billion users mark.
Chinese smartphone brand Oppo has employed a clever solution to the dreaded display 'notch' – a sliding mechanism that houses the device's front and rear-facing cameras.
The Kamlan 28mm F1.4 is an all-manual prime lens for APS-C (and Micro Four Thirds) mirrorless cameras. Following a successful Kickstarter campaign, it'll go on sale to the public for just $200 – see what it can do on Sony and Fujifilm bodies.
Instagram TV — IGTV for short — is a new app and service from Instagram that puts the focus on video content. You can now follow content creators and watch up to hour-long vertical videos inside the new dedicated IGTV app, as well as directly within Instagram.
Researchers at NVIDIA have used artificial intelligence to train a system that's capable of turning standard 30fps video into 240fps slow-mo video with minimal loss in quality.
Loupedeck has updated its popular Lightroom editing console with a new '+' version featuring improved build quality, more customization and support for some non-Adobe software.
Apple released a new batch of mobile photography tutorial videos this week, each briefly demonstrating how to perform various camera actions using the flagship iPhone X.
Adobe has announced development of Project Rush, a cross-device video editing application that consolidates the entire video creation workflow, from shooting to social media sharing, in a single application.
Adobe's quarterly financial report was just published, and the news is good. Q2 2018 saw a new quarterly revenue record of $2.20 billion, and 22% growth to $1.55 billion in its Digital Media segment.
Just months after launching its QuartzLine filters for DSLR and mirrorless lenses, PolarPro has launched a buyback program that will give you credit towards a PolarPro filter for trading in an old one - even if it isn't theirs.
Sigma has announced that five of its Sony E-Mount Art-series primes, announced earlier this year, are now shipping.
Adobe has announced a raft of updates across its suite of Creative Cloud apps, including Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic CC.
The FUJINON GF 45mm F2.8 R WR is a 36mm equivalent fast prime for Fujifilm's GFX 50S. We've been shooting with one for a few days, and we're impressed. Check out our sample gallery to judge for yourself.
Video editing software package Video Pro X has received what is described as its biggest update yet to mark ten years since Magix Video Pro was launched.
Back in 2010, Canon announced that it was developing the world's largest CMOS sensor, measuring about 40 times larger than full frame. The company has just updated its website with more details.
Samyang has launched its latest lens, the Samyang AF 85mm F1.4 EF. This telephoto prime is a direct competitor to Canon's $1,600 alternative—and considering it's expected to retail for half the price, it looks like quite the bargain.
Scanning film takes forever and photographing negatives is a pain. The Pixl-latr aims to provide a simple solution.
Google has published an 18-page study fully detailing its synthetic depth-of-field technology that makes its single-camera Portrait Mode possible. The in-depth paper shows a degree of openness and academic mindset unusual for the industry.
Rugged, waterproof compact cameras are tough enough to survive even the most action-packed vacation, but they're not the only choice for capturing those great memories. Photographer Josh Root takes us through the options.
Kodak has restarted production of one of its most famous film emulsions - Ektachrome. Popular Science editor Stan Horaczek recently go to take a look inside.
The Tamron 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD is an affordable F2.8 standard zoom for full frame Sony E-mount cameras. What's it like, what are the trade-offs, and what are the alternatives? Chris and Jordan take a closer look...
We've updated our Best Drones buying guide and there's a new winner. Find out which drone was our favorite and learn more about all current models in our updated guide.
A teardown of a Nikon D850 has provided proof that the camera's sensor is made by Sony Semiconductor. The chip's design and performance already strongly supported this, but the confirmation also gives a hint about how the industry works.
Leica Camera has announced a new compact camera that features a 24-360mm F3.3-6.4 zoom lens and a 20MP 1” MOS sensor. Essentially a re-badged Panasonic Lumix ZS/TZ200, the Leica C-Lux will save Raw and JPEG files, will offer 4K video and has a viewfinder with a 2.33 million-dot resolution.
Leica has launched a limited edition M10 with a contoured handgrip designed by luxury car manufacturer Zagato. And, to celebrate the opening of a new part of the company's Wetzlar factory, a pair of Leica-made watches are due this autumn.
The new Mijia gimbal provides 3-axis stabilization and can charge the battery of the attached device.
YouTuber George Tomlin explains the concept of sub-framing and details how you can use it to take not only make the composition more interesting, but also provide context for the scene you're shooting.
British photographer Drew Gardner tells us how his gigapixel image of the queen's birthday parade came together.