Canon Powershot S5is Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Excellent resolution, good detail at lower ISOs (though output a little soft)
- Good color, good exposure, generally accurate focus gives a high 'hit rate' even in auto mode
- Huge photographic versatility with 36-432mm lens and super macro mode
- Image stabilization works well (and can be used in movie mode)
- Some welcome improvements over the S3 IS; better viewfinder, better screen, flash hot shoe
- Packed with features
- Very quiet
- Solid construction and good handling
- Fast and responsive
- Superb movie quality with high quality stereo sound
- Impressively little distortion for such a large lens
- Enjoyable and easy to use
- Superb screen, bright and clear with full tilt & swing articulation
- Optional wide and tele adapters
- PC controlled shooting (via USB)
- Customizable shortcut button, ISO button
- Superb battery life with NiMH cells
- Flash hot shoe
- Good macro
Conclusion - Cons
- Noise and noise reduction effects visible at anything over ISO 100
- ISO 800 and 1600 very noisy and of limited use
- Wider wideangle would be nice
- SD card slot now in battery compartment - battery cover awkward to open and close
- Barely any image quality improvement over predecessor
- Movie button in awkward position
- Some features removed (such as intervalometer) or downgraded (continuous shooting speed)
- Electronic viewfinder may be improved, but it's still not fantastic
- Occasional focus hunting at the telephoto end of the zoom in low light
- No rechargeable batteries supplied in the box
- Some highlight clipping due to over exposure of contrasty scenes
- Chromatic aberration and purple fringing
- No RAW mode
Although it represents a more significant upgrade than the S3 IS was over the S2 IS, the S5 IS doesn't really see Canon breaking much new ground. Of course that isn't such a terrible thing; this has been a hugely successful series of cameras - for most part deservedly so.
That said, whilst much of this round of tinkering brings welcome improvements (the flash shoe and screen/viewfinder upgrades most significantly), the new sensor adds little to the image quality at anything much over ISO 80, and none at all at higher ISO settings (which, incidentally, are also marginally less sensitive). You also have to wonder how much longer Canon can resist the urge to go for an even wider zoom range, given that most of its competitors now offer a more useful wideangle in a 15x or 18x optic.
But let's get one thing straight; the S5 IS is a great camera, one we really enjoyed using, and one that produces decent output shot after shot thanks to a responsive focus system, accurate exposure, vibrant (but natural) color and a decent image stabilization system. Although the results don't bear close 'pixel level' scrutiny, for the typical user wanting to produce prints at standard sizes (say up to 5x7 inches) there's very little to complain about, and the more you use it the more you learn how to tailor the settings to get the best output. It also offers class-leading movie quality, if that's important to you.
Over the last few months we've spent a lot of time with the latest generation of super zoom cameras from all the major manufacturers, and the S5 IS comes closer than most to getting the right balance of features and image quality. Where the Sony H7 and H9 suffer from frustrating controls and over-aggressive noise reduction, the Canon has a friendly, intuitive interface and (relatively) light-handed noise reduction at lower ISO settings. And where the Olympus SP-550UZ misses too many shots due to focus problems, in all but the most challenging situations the S5 IS offers accurate, responsive focus. The only camera I'd consider next to the S5 IS is the Panasonic FZ8 (which also happens to be a lot cheaper) - though Panasonic's excessive noise reduction at ISO 400+ means you may have to shoot RAW to get acceptable results.
Ultimately there is no clear winner in this sector of the market, and all the models demand a certain level of compromise. As the manufacturers squeeze ever more pixels onto such tiny sensors it becomes increasingly difficult to recommend using any of these cameras at anything over the lowest ISO for anything 'serious' - unless you're happy with small prints or simply want to view the results scaled-down on-screen. The S5 IS offers what is to us a more appealing balance of noise vs noise reduction, but the DIGIC III process can't work miracles and the output at higher ISO settings leaves a lot to be desired.
So then, Canon took an already great camera and gave it a better screen, better viewfinder and a flash hot shoe, and made it a bit prettier to boot. They then put inside it a sensor that is noisier than its predecessor, meaning that - for the most part - the resolution increase simply isn't reflected in the output, thanks to the need for stronger noise reduction. It's certainly a better camera in most respects, but the improvements are about 'features' not 'picture quality', and we'd hoped for a little more from Canon this time around.
To conclude, the PowerShot S5 IS is probably, just, the pick of the super zoom bunch at this moment in time, because it offers reliable output, responsive performance and an impressive feature set in an attractive, easy to use package that makes photography fun; not because it offers better IQ.
It is crying out for a better sensor, wider lens and for Canon to move the SD card slot back out from the battery compartment, but I'd still rather take it out shooting than the Sony, Olympus or Fuji alternatives. The output (with fringing and noise issues) simply isn't good enough to earn the S5 IS an unqualified 'Highly Recommended' rating, but it's an easy 'Recommended'.
|Detail||Rating (out of 10)|
|Ergonomics & handling||8.5|
Jul 27, 2007
May 7, 2007
Jul 26, 2010
Jul 23, 2010
|Patrick Finds Inner Peace by ecastellon|
from Your best photo of the week!
|Forks by Kukla|
from Arranged everyday objects
Starting October 1st, Getty Images will no longer accept images in which the models have been Photoshopped to "look thinner or larger." The change was made due to a French law that requires disclosure of such images.
The 3D printed panoramic film camera known formerly as the "Cycloptic Mustard Monster" is officially available as a DIY kit through Kickstarter.
Snapchat is using its augmented reality tech to replace the sky in your photos. The so-called 'sky filters' can swap out a boring sky for a colorful sunset, rainbows, a starry night, and more.
A court ruling our of Newton, Massachusetts has set an important legal precedent for drone pilots: federal drone laws will now trump local drone regulations in situations where the two are in conflict.
Photographer Mathieu Stern has put together another interesting vintage lens shootout. One model, three lenses, three locations.
From landscapes to motocross and white water kayaking to a wedding, exactly what can't the D850 do?
Calumet UK and Wex Photographic, two of the biggest photography retailers in the United Kingdom, are going to officially merge tomorrow.
macOS High Sierra came out today, but if you use a Wacom tablet you need to wait a few weeks before you upgrade. According to Wacom, they won't have a compatible driver ready for you until "late October."
Do you think a $3,000 Canon 80D video rig can compete with an $80,000+ Arri Alexa setup? Well it can't, but check out this video anyway to see how the rigs compare.
Seven simple rules to make sure you get the most out of your next photography outing.
Vitec, the company that owns popular accessory maker Manfrotto, has just acquired JOBY and Lowepro for a cool $10.3 million in cash. The acquisition adds JOBY and Lowepro to Vitec's already sizable collection of camera gear brands.
A master drone pilot has captured one of the most incredible (and highly illegal) drone videos we've ever seen by flying around, inside, onto, and under a moving train.
Intel just debuted their 8th generation desktop CPUs, and the lineup packs a performance boost for 'content creators' that photo and video editors might be intrigued by.
Canon is developing a 'Free Viewpoint Video System' that will turn real life sports games and events into immersive 3D interactive experiences. It's video game-like camera control IRL.
A veteran photojournalist, Rick Wilking secured a spot in the path of totality for the August solar eclipse. While things didn't quite pan out as predicted, an unexpected subject in the sky and a quick reaction made for a once-in-a-lifetime shot.
The new iZugar 3.25mm F2.5 super fisheye lens offers an insane 220-degree angle of view. That means it can basically see behind itself... good luck keeping your feet out of the shot.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll remember that time you took a picture of the frozen pizza baking directions.
A Craigslist poster has discovered the worst possible way to photograph a car: taking pictures of pictures displayed on a cracked and scratched up smartphone screen.
With the iPhone X coming out soon, the title probably won't last, but the iPhone 8 Plus is officially the best smartphone camera DxOMark has ever tested, and the iPhone 8 is second.
Kodak's new Facebook Messenger chatbot is trying to bring back the 'Kodak Moment' by digging up your old social media photos and trying to sell you prints and custom coffee mugs.
Affinity Photo for iPad was touted as "the first full blown, truly professional photo editing tool to make its way onto the Apple tablet." This update makes it that much more convenient.
Yashica has released a new teaser video, and this one claims they'll be releasing an "unprecedented camera" in October on Kickstarter. Ready... set... speculate!
Storage solutions company Synology has just released its very first 6-bay NAS tower. Combined with the DX1215 expansion units, it can hold and control up to thirty drives.
We're always expanding our collection of product overview content, and we've just added videos for the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, the EOS Rebel SL2 and EOS M6.
The venerable Canon PowerShot G1 was announced seventeen years ago this week, marking the start of a line of enthusiast-focused compacts that's still alive and kicking.
Super macro photographer Can Tuncer captured these incredible close-ups of a single peacock feather using a special setup and three different microscope lenses.
After successfully crowdfunding the Biotar 75mm F1.5, Oprema Jena is at it again. This time they're bringing back the Biotar 58mm F2: the world's only lens with a 17-blade aperture.
Adobe's move to a subscription model is treating it very well indeed. The company has posted record revenue for the second quarter in a row, hauling in a mind-boggling $1.84 billion.
More details have emerged about the potential sale of Blackstone's 45% stake in iconic camera brand Leica.
Popular mobile editing app Snapseed just got a major update that includes a new interface and 11 new presets for both Android and iOS, as well as adding the Perspective tool to the iOS version.