Canon PowerShot S50 Review
Timings & File Sizes
The S50 feels moderately quick, certainly shutter release lag and shot to shot times were relatively good. Power up is probably the slowest single function thanks to the speed of the extending lens. Auto focus performance was notably better at wide angle than at telephoto where the camera can feel a little sluggish. Write times and continuous shooting was respectable.
Timing Notes: 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. 1,800 KB per image). The media used for these tests was a 256 MB SanDisk Ultra CF card.
|Power: Off to Record||Lens extension||4.1|
|Power: Off to Play *1||Image displayed||2.4|
|Power: Record to Off||Lens extended||2.2|
|Power: Play to Off||Lens already retracted||0.5|
|Mode: Record to Play *2||Image displayed||2.4|
|Mode: Play to Record||1.8|
|Play: Magnify||To 10x magnification||1.0|
|Play: Thumbnail view||3x3 index, 9 images||1.2|
|Zoom from Wide to Tele||Full zoom from 35 mm to 105 mm (3 x)||2.0|
|Auto Focus LAG||Wide angle||0.8 - 1.0|
|Auto Focus LAG||Telephoto||1.0 - 1.4|
|Auto Focus LAG||Wide angle, AiAF On (Auto exposure mode)||1.0 - 1.3|
|Auto Focus LAG||Telephoto, AiAF On (Auto exposure mode)||1.5 - 1.8|
|Shutter Release LAG||Using Viewfinder||<0.1|
|Shutter Release LAG||Using LCD Monitor||0.1|
|Total LAG||Wide angle||1.0|
|Off to Shot Taken||Wide angle||4.5|
|Shot to Shot||Wide angle||2.0|
|*1||You need to 'hold' the PLAY lever in its right most position for at least 1.0 second for the camera to recognize that as a change of power state (on or off), this is to avoid accidental knocks of the lever. The timings shown for this measurement are excludiing this 1.0 second.|
|*2||The S50 appears to buffer an image once displayed in play mode. This means that if you return to play mode for a second time the display time is just half a second, compared to two seconds for the first display of a new image.|
Auto Focus LAG is (roughly) the amount of time it takes the camera to autofocus (a half-press and hold of the shutter release button), this timing is normally the most variable as its affected by the subject matter, current focus position, still or moving subject etc. This timing is an average.
Shutter Release LAG is the amount of time it takes to take the shot from the moment you fully depress the shutter release button, measured both as a time including auto focus and a time assuming you have already pre-focused by holding a half-press of the shutter release.
The table below shows 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. The media used for these tests was a 256 MB SanDisk Ultra CF card.
|Image Type||Frames per sec.
|Max no. of frames *2||
|2592 x 1944 RAW||0.65 fps||2||7.7 sec|
|2592 x 1944 Super-Fine JPEG||1.36 fps||5||1.2 sec|
|2592 x 1944 Fine JPEG||1.36 fps||9||1.2 sec|
|1600 x 1200 Fine JPEG||1.32 fps||25||1.1 sec|
|1024 x 768 Fine JPEG||1.38 fps||70||1.0 sec|
Continuous High mode
|Image Type||Frames per sec.
|Max no. of frames *2||
|2592 x 1944 RAW||0.75 fps||2||5.4 sec|
|2592 x 1944 Super-Fine JPEG||1.92 fps||6||1.4 sec|
|2592 x 1944 Fine JPEG||1.93 fps||10||1.8 sec|
|1600 x 1200 Fine JPEG||1.83 fps||24||1.1 sec|
|1024 x 768 Fine JPEG||2.10 fps||65||0.9 sec|
|*1||Delay after first frame is always longer than shooting speed for subsequent frames, this drags the average fps down.|
|*2||In a single "burst" (finger held down on shutter release)|
|*3||You can take a frame as soon as there is space in the cameras internal buffer (writing continues "in the background").|
A respectable performance which is virtually identical to the PowerShot G5. The S50 had the same odd 'issue' which plagues many PowerShot digital camera and that is that the first shot in a burst always takes slightly longer than subsequent frames, this drags down the overall frame rate.
File Write / Display and Sizes
Timings shown below are the time taken for the camera to process and "flush" the image out to the CF card, the timer was started as soon as the shutter release was pressed and stopped when activity indicator LED beside the viewfinder stopped blinking. This means the timings also include the cameras processing time and as such are more representative of the actual time to "complete the task". The media used for these tests was a 256 MB SanDisk Ultra CF card.
on a *2
256 MB CF
|2592 x 1944 RAW||7.1||0.9||4,500 KB||51|
|2592 x 1944 Super-Fine JPEG||3.6||1.8||1,800 KB||99|
|2592 x 1944 Fine JPEG||2.9||1.3||1,000 KB||177|
|1600 x 1200 Fine JPEG||2.2||0.8||530 KB||440|
|1024 x 768 Fine JPEG||2.0||0.6||250 KB||762|
|*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 (especially the amount of detail captured). For example, take a photograph of a fairly empty wall and you'll get a small JPEG, take a photograph of a bush with a lot of detail and you'll get a larger image. File sizes here are closer to the later, the larger size of file you should expect.|
Above average for this level of digital camera, write times equate to approximately 500 KB/sec (including processing time). Probably the most annoying thing about the camera is how long it takes to display images in play mode, almost two seconds for full resolution Super-Fine JPEG's.
Low Light Auto Focus
This test is designed to measure the minimum amount of light under which the camera can still focus. The focus target is our lens distortion test chart (shown here on the right), camera is positioned exactly 2 m (6.6 ft) away.
Light levels are gradually dropped until the camera can no longer focus. This is carried out at both wide angle and telephoto zoom positions (as more light reaches the focusing systems with a larger aperture).
This test target is the optimum type of subject for most "contrast detect" AF systems (as it has a vertical line at its center), you should consider the results below the best you could expect to achieve.
|Lens position||Aperture||Lowest light focus|
|Wide angle (35 mm equiv.)||F2.8||Complete darkness|
|Telephoto (105 mm equiv.)||F4.9||1.8 EV (8.7 Lux, 0.81 foot-candle)|
Light intensity (Lux) = 2.5 x 2^EV (@ ISO 100), 10.76391 Lux = 1 foot-candle (fc)
At wide angle the S50's AF assist lamp was sufficient to give the AF system a contrast target, at telephoto the system needed some additional lighting (although quite dim in reality).
We ran the camera through our new battery life test. This test is designed to be fair and comparative to each camera and battery type:
- Take 4 shots without flash
- Wait 2 minutes (50% of the time powering the camera off)
- Take 1 shot with flash
- Wait 1 minute
Batteries are fully discharged and recharged before the test and all cameras were reset to their factory default settings. Here are the results:
Prosumer / SLR-Like
|Battery||Power||Battery life||Number of shots|
|Minolta DiMAGE 7||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||1 hr 14 mins||125|
|Minolta DiMAGE 5||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||1 hr 56 mins||195|
|Nikon Coolpix 5700||EN-EL1||4.8 Wh||2 hr 08 mins||215|
|Canon PowerShot S40||NB-2L||3.9 Wh||2 hr 13 mins||225|
|Minolta DiMAGE S304||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||2 hr 18 mins||235|
|Canon PowerShot S45||NB-2L||3.9 Wh||2 hr 28 mins||240|
|Nikon Coolpix 4500||EN-EL1||4.8 Wh||2 hr 27 mins||250|
|Fujifilm FinePix 6900Z||NP-80||4.1 Wh||2 hr 29 mins||250|
|Nikon Coolpix 990||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||2 hr 30 mins||255|
|Nikon Coolpix 995||EN-EL1||4.8 Wh||2 hr 30 mins||255|
|Nikon Coolpix 5000||EN-EL1||4.8 Wh||2 hr 32 mins||260|
|Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||2 hr 33 mins||260|
|Canon PowerShot Pro1||BP-511A||10.2 Wh||2 hr 36 mins||265|
|Canon PowerShot S50||NB-2L||3.9 Wh||2 hr 39 mins||270|
|Minolta DiMAGE S404||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||2 hr 39 mins||270|
|Sony DSC-V1||NP-FC11||2.8 Wh||2 hr 39 mins||270|
|Olympus C-7000 Zoom||LI-12B||4.5 Wh||2 hr 44 mins||280|
|Nikon Coolpix 8700||EN-EL1||5.0 Wh||2 hr 45 mins||280|
|Minolta DiMAGE 7i||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||2 hr 46 mins||270|
|Olympus E-20||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||2 hr 48 mins||285|
|Canon PowerShot G1||BP-511||8.1 Wh||3 hr 00 mins||300|
|Nikon Coolpix 5400||EN-EL1||4.8 Wh||3 hr 06 mins||315|
|HP Photosmart 850||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||3 hr 12 mins||325|
|Sony DSC-S75||NP-FM50||8.6 Wh||3 hr 15 mins||330|
|Nikon Coolpix 8800||EN-EL7||8.1 Wh||3 hr 27 mins||350|
|Fujifilm FinePix S602Z||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||3 hr 29 mins||350|
|Canon PowerShot G2||BP-511||8.1 Wh||3 hr 32 mins||355|
|Casio QV-4000||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||3 hr 38 mins||365|
|Olympus C-5050 Zoom||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||3 hr 48 mins||380|
|Casio EXILIM EX-P700||NP-40||4.5 Wh||3 hr 48 mins||385|
|Sony DSC-S85||NP-FM50||8.6 Wh||3 hr 50 mins||400|
|Sony DSC-F717||NP-FM50||8.6 Wh||4 hr 02 mins||405|
|Pentax Optio 750Z||D-LI7||6.6 Wh||4 hr 03 mins||415|
|Sony DSC-V3||NP-FR1||4.4 Wh||4 hr 05 mins||415|
|Nikon Coolpix 8400||EN-EL7||8.1 Wh||4 hr 09 mins||420|
|Sony DSC-F707||NP-FM50||8.6 Wh||4 hr 20 mins||440|
|Fujifilm S7000 Zoom||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||4 hr 23 mins||445|
|Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2||NP-400||11.1 Wh||4 hr 26 mins||450|
|Canon PowerShot G3||BP-511||8.1 Wh||4 hr 32 mins||455|
|Canon PowerShot G5||BP-511||8.1 Wh||4 hr 33 mins||460|
|Pentax Optio 550||D-LI7||6.6 Wh||4 hr 36 mins||465|
|Minolta DiMAGE A1||NP-400||11.1 Wh||5 hr 02 mins||515|
|Leica Digilux 2||BP-DC1-E||10.1 Wh||5 hr 05 mins||515|
|Sony DSC-F828||NP-FM50||8.6 Wh||5 hr 28 mins||540|
|Fujifilm FinePix S5000||4 x AA NiMH 1600 mAh (GP)||7.7 Wh||5 hr 31 mins||555|
|Canon PowerShot G6||BP-511A||10.3 Wh||5 hr 38 mins||570|
|Olympus C-8080 WZ||BLM-1||10.8 Wh||5 hr 52 mins||595|
|Other test notes:|
| LCD monitor is left on during
the battery test
The camera is powered off half of the time and left on half of the time (switch every 10 iterations)
There are now higher capacity AA NiMH batteries available, however in the interests of fair
comparison we will continue to use our 1600 mAh test set
The PowerShot S50 performed well on its 3.9 Wh battery lasting just over two and a half hours, approximately ten minutes longer than the S45.
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