Canon PowerShot S2 IS Review
Timing & Performance
We praised the S1 IS for its excellent overall performance, but thanks to the new DIGIC II processor the S2 IS is considerably faster in virtually all areas, and offers significant improvements in key areas such as focus speed and shutter lag - despite the higher pixel count and larger file sizes. In use the S2 IS feels very responsive indeed, with the improvements in focus speed particularly welcome. It should be noted that the difference between the S1 and S2 focus speed isn't as great as our figures might indicate - they are an average, and the S1 IS suffers far more from hunting issues (where it struggles to fix focus). In a direct shootout with an easy subject, the S2 always beats the S1, but only by around 0.1 to 0.2 seconds: that's still quite an improvement, but it's more about focus accuracy than actual speed. It's also worth noting that in our shootout tests the S2 IS was consistently beaten - by a small margin - by the Sony H1, Panasonic FZ5 (using the high speed focus mode) and Konica Minolta Z5 - the three fastest focusing 'superzoom' compacts.
All times calculated as an average of three operations. Unless otherwise stated all timings were made on a 2592 x 1944 Super-Fine JPEG image (approx. 2,350 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 512 MB SanDisk Ultra II SD card. The green figures are those with a measurable, material improvement over the S1 IS, the red figures are those where performance is lower than the S1 IS.
Power: Off to Record
|Power: Off to Play||Image displayed||
|Power: Record to Off||Lens retracted and all activity ceased||
|Power: Play to Off||When buffer is empty||0.0|
|Record Review||Image displayed||
|Mode: Record to Play||
|Mode: Play to Record||Lens already extended||
|Mode: Play to Record||Lens not extended||
|Play: Magnify||To full magnification (10x)||0.9|
|Play: Image to Image||Time to display each saved image||
|Play: Thumbnail view||3 x 3 thumbnails||
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||36 to 432 mm (12 x) full speed||1.0|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||36 to 432 mm (12 x) low speed||5.5|
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Wide angle||
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)||Telephoto||
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||LCD live view||
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)||Electronic Viewfinder||
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)||LCD live view, wide angle||
|Off to Shot Taken||LCD live view||
|Shot to Shot||Flash off||1.6|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (red-eye reduction off) *2||1.6|
|Shot to Shot||Flash on (red-eye reduction on) *2||1.8|
|*1||This is an average figure for 'normal' photography, though there are occasions where the S2 IS struggles to fix focus at the long end of the zoom with low-contrast subjects, when the time can extend to as much as 1.5 seconds|
|*2||In this test the subject distance is only 2 feet (0.6 m) - the recycle time will increase at greater subject distances, and if the batteries are running low.|
Lag Timing Definitions
|Half-press Lag (0->S1)
Many digital camera users prime the AF and AE systems on their camera by half-pressing the shutter release. This is the amount of time between a half-press of the shutter release and the camera indicating an auto focus & auto exposure lock on the LCD monitor / viewfinder (ready to shoot).
|Half to Full-press Lag (S1->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (assuming you have already primed the camera with a half-press) to the image being taken.
(Take shot, AF/AE primed)
|Full-press Lag (0->S2)
The amount of time it takes from a full depression of the shutter release button (without performing a half-press of the shutter release beforehand) to the image being taken. This is more representative of the use of the camera in a spur of the moment 'point and shoot' situation.
(Take shot, AF/AE not primed)
The tables below show the results of our continuous shooting test, indicating the actual frame rate along with maximum number of frames and how long you would have to wait after taking the maximum number of frames before you could take another shot. Media used for these tests was a 512 MB SanDisk Ultra II SD card. Shutter speed was kept above 1/200 sec during these tests.
Continuous drive mode
The S2 IS has two continuous shooting modes (standard and high speed), both of which allow you to shoot pretty much indefinitely (we gave up waiting after about 70 shots) with a fast card. The standard continuous mode shows the normal live preview between frames, but the high speed mode only shows a very brief review image after each shot (no live preview).
Frames in a burst *1
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Super-Fine||Continuous||1.54 fps||50+||n/a|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Fine||Continuous||1.42 fps||50+||n/a|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Normal||Continuous||1.54 fps||50+||n/a|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Super-Fine||Continuous||1.54 fps||50+||n/a|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Super-Fine||Continuous-High||2.32 fps||50+||n/a|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Fine||Continuous-High||2.08 fps||50+||n/a|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Normal||Continuous-High||2.33 fps||50+||n/a|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Super-Fine||Continuous-High||2.33 fps||50+||n/a|
|*1||In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release).|
|*2||With the shutter release held down. With a fast card it is impossible to fill the buffer|
We were pretty impressed with the continuous shooting capabilities of the PowerShot S1 IS, and the S2 IS offers significantly better performance; up to 2.3 frames per second with no limit on the amount of shots you can take, showing just how much faster the DIGIC II processor is than its predecessor. It's still not as fast as some of its competitors - the Panasonic FZ5, for example - but the buffering is superb (and the standard continuous mode retains the live preview, which is actually quite a rarity, and makes keeping up with moving subjects much easier).
File Write / Display and Sizes
Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the storage card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when activity indicator went out. This means the timings also include the camera's processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a 512 MB SanDisk Ultra II SD card.
Time to store
File size *1
Images on a *2
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Super-Fine||~0.8||~0.3||2,350 KB||195|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Fine||~0.6||~0.3||1,395 KB||347|
|2592 x 1944 JPEG Normal||~0.5||~0.3||620 KB||687|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Super-Fine||~0.6||~0.3||1,440 KB||302|
|2048 x 1536 JPEG Fine||~0.5||~0.3||870 KB||542|
|*1||All file sizes are an average of three files. As is the case with JPEG it's difficult to predict the size of an image because it will vary a fair amount depending on the content of the image (detail and noise).|
With write times averaging around 0.8 seconds for a Super Fine JPEG the S2 IS is certainly fast - around 3.0 MB/sec, thanks again to the DIGIC II processor.
Jun 21, 2005
Apr 22, 2005
Jun 16, 2008
Jun 16, 2008
It's been twenty years since Jeff Keller founded the Digital Camera Resource Page, one of the first websites dedicated to digital photography. Jeff, who has been at DPReview for nearly five years, looks back at the rise and fall of consumer digital cameras and his website.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At #2 we have another staff favorite – the Sony Alpha a9.
Rotolight has released the Anova Pro 2 circular LED for stills and video, boasting a 70% increase in brightness and what the company describes as "unrivaled battery performance."
Designer Vinicius Araújo has imagined what he believes the perfect Adobe software keyboard might look like. From customizable touch pads, to a scroll wheel, to a little display that shows the tool in use, his design is pretty compelling.
Peak Design has teamed up with Leica to release a limited-edition backpack made special for fans of the Red Dot.
A portrait of an android woman has beaten over 5,700 pictures of humans to take third place in this year’s prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. The judges were not told the subject was an 'android' until after the winning images were chosen.
Hauling around C-Stands just got a whole lot less annoying thanks to these new Matthews shoulder and roller bags, which can hold two or three C-stand (respectively) plus accessories.
Neal Preston has shot timeless photos of everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Whitney Houston, to Michael Jackson. In this interview, he offers insights into his craft to up-and-comer Elijah Dominique.
Future prosumer Canon DSLRs might feature light-up buttons, if this newly published patent is any indication of the camera company's plans.
Sony's a7R Mark III shoots 42.4MP files at 10fps and incorporates a robust video feature set, large battery, refined ergonomics and more. It certainly looks impressive, but what is it like to use, and how does it stack up against the rest of the market? Find out in our full review.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017 – the Fujifilm X100F takes the bronze and the #3 spot.
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.