Conclusion - Pros

  • Good resolution (one of the best five megapixel)
  • Good metering, nice tonal balance (more shadow detail), vivid color
  • Mature image processing, few artifacts, low moire, good detail
  • Wide angle zoom (28 - 100 mm equiv.)
  • Control over camera's internal processing algorithms (saturation, tone, sharpness)
  • Clean images at ISO 50, higher noise from there upwards
  • Solid build quality, nice metallic finish
  • Improved ergonimics, separate zoom and 4-way controller
  • Shooting priority play mode
  • Excellent range of manual controls for a compact camera
  • RAW file format
  • Ability to turn JPEG shot into RAW during record review
  • Orientation sensor, although JPEGs are tagged not rotated
  • Advanced features such as intervalometer, sync curtain, spot AE point
  • Custom shooting mode (user saved settings)
  • AF assist lamp

Conclusion - Cons

  • Some purple fringing visible at wide angle or maximum apertures
  • Lens slow at telephoto (F5.3)
  • Auto focus speed and shutter release lag no better than S50
  • Some under-exposure with flash, although can be compensated
  • No anti-reflective coating on LCD monitor
  • Poor automatic white balance in incandescent light
  • Slow image browsing in play mode
  • Average macro performance (improved over S50 but still average)
  • Nine-point AiAF not available in P, Tv, Av or M exposure modes

Overall conclusion

What we have here ladies and gentlemen is a compact G5, it may be missing the flip-out and twist LCD monitor but it does have a 3.6x wide angle zoom lens (albiet slower than the G5's impressive F2.0 - F3.0). I'm also glad to see that Canon realized the ergonomic mistake of the combined zoom / multi-controller implementation and have now separated the two on the S60.

As five megapixel compact digital cameras go the S60 is certainly one of the best, it may not be quite as thin or pocketable as some of the ultra-slim competition but what it does do better than a lot of the rest is take pictures, and that is the often compromised essential requirement of a digital 'camera'. Canon's mature image processing and a good lens combine to produce sharp images with lots of detail, a nice tonal balance and vivid 'pleasing' colors. With a 28 mm wide angle it's also a perfect camera to take on holiday or tour, group shots and architecture will no longer require you to keep walking backwards.

I was a little disappointed that auto focus still felt a little sluggish, especially compared to some of the latest digital cameras coming out of the likes of Sony. Purple fringing was also an unwelcome consequence of the S60's ambitious compact yet wide angle lens system, it's something you will have to consider.

Something we shouldn't ignore is that the S60's resolution proved to be 'as good as' the new six megapixel compacts recently announced, perhaps this is why Canon chose the S60 name (hinting that they're not losing anything by not jumping on the six megapixel bandwagon).

Highly Recommended

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