White Balance

The S60 features no less than seven preset white balance settings including the new Flash and Underwater presets (the latter designed to be used in conjunction with the WP-DC40 waterproof case when shooting underwater). The S60 also has manual white balance which is created by aiming the camera at a white (or gray) subject and pressing the SET button, the camera measures only the center area of the frame. Automatic white balance appeared to work well outdoors and in fluorescent lighting but as per previous Canon digital cameras less well in incandescent light where it produced a strong orange color cast.

Outdoor - Auto WB
Red -0.2%, Blue 0.7%
Fluorescent - Auto WB
Red -0.7%, Blue -0.7%
Incandescent - Auto WB
Red 9.7%, Blue -15.2%

Flash Performance

The S60's ultra-slim flash unit has a specified range of 4.2 m at wide angle and 2.0 m at telephoto. In use we found it to meter fairly well (perhaps slightly under exposed) with good color response and no color cast (good white balance).

Skin tone - no color cast, slightly under exposed Color chart - good exposure, no color cast

Macro Focus

The S60 produced its best macro frame coverage at full wide angle, however of course this led to fairly obvious barrel distortion as well as corner softness. At telephoto coverage is less good (99 mm across the frame) however distortion is non-existant and corner softness is low. Compared to the S50 this is actually an improvement, telephoto now produces the same approximate coverage as wide angle.

Wide macro - 73 x 54 mm coverage
35 px/mm (898 px/in)
Distortion: High
Corner softness: Average
Equiv. focal length: 28 mm
Telephoto macro - 99 x 74 mm coverage
26 px/mm (664 px/in)
Distortion: None
Corner softness: Low
Equiv. focal length: 28 mm

Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

Considering its size and that it starts at 28 mm equiv. wide angle the S60's lens performs very well, it does exhibit some distortion at wide angle but in actual fact it's less than most compacts deliver at 35 mm equiv. The lens exhibits no measurable pincushion distortion at telephoto.

Barrel distortion - 0.9% at Wide angle
Equiv. focal length: 28 mm
Pincushion distortion - 0.0% at Telephoto
Equiv. focal length: 100 mm

Specific image quality issues

Overall image quality was very good, with excellent resolution and sharpness. The new wide angle zoom lens also proved to be sharp across the entire frame. The only issue which we noted was 'purple fringing'.

Purple fringing

A contrasty scene shot at wide angle and/or a large aperture (small F number) can introduce noticeable purple fringing along the edge of white areas of the image (especially nearer to the corners). This is unfortunate but not that surprising for a very compact lens system which achieves a 28 mm wide angle (it is however not an improvement over the S50 which also had fringing).

35 mm equiv., F3.5 28 mm equiv., F3.5