(Place your mouse over the image to open the lens cover)
Review based on a production PowerShot S40, firmware v1.00

The PowerShot S30 and S40 mark a revival by Canon of the higher end 'S' series of digital cameras. Clearly since the S10 and S20 Canon have explored the ultra-compact 'pocket' type digital camera, the S30 and S40 are a little larger but more feature rich. These two new cameras (virtually identical apart from their output resolution S30 - 3mp, S40 - 4mp) now sit between the PowerShot 'G' series (G1, G2) and the IXUS / ELPH (S100 / S110 / S300) digital cameras.

PowerShot 'S' series history

Here's a little history of the 'S' series (note that the S100, S110 and S300 ultra compact's fall into a different category within Canon).:

Date PowerShot Model Body Lens cover Resolution Zoom
Aug/1999 S10 Compact Built-in 2 megapixel 2x optical
Jan/2000 S20 Compact Built-in 3 megapixel 2x optical
Oct/2001 S30 Compact Sliding 3 megapixel 3x optical
Oct/2001 S40 Compact Sliding 4 megapixel 3x optical

The S30 and S40 are also noteworthy because they are the first Canon digital cameras with a sliding front lens cover which doubles as a power switch, this fairly common design feature on other manufacturers cameras has finally made its way to Canon digital cameras. This new cover appears to work well and help to protect the lens.

PowerShot S40 vs. PowerShot G2

Here's a quick breakdown of the primary differences between the PowerShot S40 and G2. Better features or specifications are highlighted in green.

Canon PowerShot S40

Canon PowerShot G2
Street price US$ 799 US$ 899
Body material All metal (apart from compart. door) Metal front, plastic back
Lens 35 - 105 mm, F2.8 - F4.9 34 - 102 mm, F2.0 - F2.5
Lens type Extending Extending
Lens cover Sliding (doubles as power switch) Loose 'push-on'
Add-on lenses No Yes, with optional adapter
Normal focus range 0.8 m (2.7 ft) - Infinity 0.7 (2.3 ft) - Infinity
Macro focus range W: 0.1 - 0.8 m (3.9 in - 2.7 ft)
T: 0.3 - 0.8 m (12 in - 2.7 ft)
W: 0.06 - 0.7 m (2.4 in - 2.3 ft)
Auto Focus modes Single AF Single AF, Continuous AF
Shutter speed 15 - 1/1,500 sec 15 - 1/1,000 sec
AE Lock Combination of half-press and meter button Dedicated button
LCD Fixed 1.8" Flip-out and twist 1.8"
LCD anti-reflective No Yes
Power switch Sliding lens cover Mode dial
Play mode Shooting priority play mode Switch between rec, off, play
Scene exposure modes Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Fast shutter, Slow shutter, Color Effect, Stitch Assist Pan-focus, Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene, Color Effect, Stitch Assist
Flash range (ISO 100) W: 0.35 - 4.8 m (1.1 - 15.7 ft)
T: 0.35 - 3.5 m (1.1 - 11.5 ft)
W: 0.7 - 4.5 m (2.3 - 14.8 ft)
T: 0.7 - 3.6 m (2.3 - 11.8 ft)
External flash No Yes, hot-shoe
Programmable startup picture and sounds Yes No
Voice annotations Yes No
Remote control None InfraRed supplied
Supplied storage 16 MB Compact Flash card 32 MB Compact Flash card
Battery 7.4 V 570 mAh Lithium-Ion 7.4 V 1100 mAh Lithium-Ion
Battery charger Supplied, charge battery Supplied, charge battery and double as AC adapter
Dimensions 112 x 58 x 42 mm
(4.4 x 2.3 x 1.7 in)
121 x 77 x 64 mm
(4.8 x 3.0 x 2.5 in)
Weight (inc. batt) 323 g (11.4 oz) 510 g (18.0 oz)