Thursday, June 14, 2007

Canon PowerShot S5 IS’s pros and cons

CANON PowerShot S5 IS' big prosI don’t really care which label my camera has: Sony, Nikon, Panasonic or Canon. Most modern electronic devices have great quality which is based on the same China components. Therefore the fact that Canon PowerShoot S5's appearance generated considerable publicexcitement surprises me a lot. What of it if so? If Canon gave birth to a new SLR-like digital camera, do all of us take off our pants and run around? In search of any groovy Canon S5 feature, which makes me so happy that I start running with naked ass, I call at some photo stores or go surfing in specialized sites in the Net. Unfortunately there were not many happy Canon S5 owners in the Net and only one shop where I could hold on and test this device pressing, twisting it and shooting with it and get a little information about it. But I can make a compilation of PowerShot S5 IS pros and cons. To tell the truth all my research reassures me that I was right in my previous post, saying: 'Don't look for any brain in the ass. There is shit!' But I am afraid that any Canon's addict can beat me and even my past experiment (look at: 'How to shoot with 10 great Sony Alpha lenses and not to be beaten by salesmen') can't save me. But I can't keep mum: Canon PowerShot S5IS is an ordinary SLR-like with nothing notable. Canon can't work wonders, sorry.
Looking for large CMOS sensorThe good:
- 8 megapixel 1/2.5 inch sensor (up from S3's 6 MP)
- Canon's famous optical image-stabilization technology
- Handy 2.5 inch signature flip-and-twist LCD display
- Very good speed for SLR-like camera: it wakes up in 1.3 sec; shutter lag of 0.5 and 0.8 sec in bright light; it can shoot consecutive single images 1.6 seconds apart, growing to a reasonable 2.1 seconds with flash enabled; continuous shooting is abt. 1.5 fps; it can run for abt. 18 shots before it starts to slow
- 12x ultra-zoom (It is more than enough for SLR-like but now we have 18x zoom; for more details look through Compare Fujifilm S8000, Olympus SP550, Panasonic FZ18 - nothing to S9100) or Olympus SP-560 vs SP-550; 18x SLR-like with E410’ processor and 826mm Tele converter, 36 - 432mm f/2.7-3.5 lens with Ultra-Sonic Motor (USM) delivers rapid, responsive zooming with virtually silent operation, reducing the risk of sound interference on movies and or when shooting wildlife subjects
- Face detection technology; you can select a face in a scene and jump back to it with a couple of button presses, or you can let the camera seek out up to three faces in the scene and automatically select the most prominent one. It lets you see the runners-up, but you can't make your own pick in the latter mode.
- High ISO 1600 and Auto ISO Shift that lets you jack up the setting with a button press when the camera tells you the shutter speed is too slow
- Extensive movie functions; in addition to Face Detection in movies, the PowerShot S5 IS retains a dedicated movie button so that users can instantly record without having to switch from stills shooting mode; Long Play mode significantly extends recording time for VGA quality movies while maintaining a smooth 30fps frame rate; stereo sound recording for audio files and movies is now adjustable to 64 levels and includes a wind noise filter; Photo-in-Movie feature enables the capture of full resolution stills during movie recording
- Optional Wide and Tele converter lenses extend the focal length from wide 27mm to super Tele 648mm (35mm film equivalent). A Super Macro mode with 0cm shooting distance and optional Close-Up lens 500D (58mm) allow for detailed macro photography. Safety Zoom allows users to extend the camera's zoom range without interpolation affecting image quality - images can be captured at up to 24x zoom with enough resolution for lab-quality postcard (10 x 15cm) prints. Photographers can also enable the Digital Tele-Converter3 feature for added
telephoto reach (1.6x or 2.0x) on every shot, without the reduction in aperture typically caused by optical Tele-converters.
- against to plastics S3 has solid and comfortable body
The bad:
- Lens aberrations and vignetting; (chromatic aberrations is the shift in color that you might get at the edges of areas in the image due to the shape of the glass not equally dispersing the multiple frequencies of light or quite simply, 'purple fringing' as you may have seen around the edges; zoom lenses, especially the lower end ones, can sometimes suffer from vignetting. The barrel or sides of the lens become visible, resulting in dark corners in the image)
- Some processing artifacts; there are some clear purple fringing and JPEG artifacts even on the Canon website's photos; (artifacts refer to a range of undesirable changes to a digital imag caused by the sensor, optics, and internal image processing algorithms of the camera)
- lacks raw file support
- Redesigned lens cap still pops off too easily; if you power on, the lens cap just drops off, like the S1/2/3. There is no "catch" which will prevent the lens cover from dropping off and it works just likethe previous cap using friction to stay on.
- photos generally look over processed and a bit smeary
- need 1/1.8 sensor like Canon's A640 and G7, the combination 8M and
1/2.5" sensor is just too much
- This camera can disappoint in Canon S3 users because S5 does not have big improvement over S3; for example S5 movie mod: 640x480 30fps 2006KB/s, 640x480 30fps LP 1046KB/s; S3 specs: 640x480 30fps 1980KB/s ,640x480 15fps 990KB/s
Conclusion: I really can't understand so considerable photographer's attention to Canon PowerShot S5. This camera has the same as S3 12x 36 - 432mm ultra-zoom lens which lose to Sony DSC-H9 wide angle 15x zoom lens (look through '7 best SLR-like's specification table; Sony DSC-H5 as a cheap and clever choice'). It has the same as Canon S3 or Sony H9, H7 and H5 small 1/2.5 inch sensor which can't save from image noise even 8 megapixel resolution. Yes, it has a great body. I was quite pleased when holding it in my hands. But I had more enjoyment when hugging my wife (she has a great body too) and she can give me something but it will be not a great photo. May be we were waiting for the new $500's SLR-like Canon for too long. And as a result a lot of cool features based in a small sensor and well-known but old-fashion zoom lens can disappoint even in spite of a really great SLR's body. But a couple of sensor-lenses are the main things in every digital camera. Unfortunately when we have a good sensor-lens in SLR-like cam it looks like a huge 'Better means to get back at neighbors!' Sony DSC-R1 (look at my 'The summary table of the best SLR-like camera specifications') and costs like NikonD80. Though there are other old SLR-like models such as Nikon 8700/8800 which has 2/3 inch 8 megapixel sensors, great lenses and small cozy bodies. But they are models of 2004. Shall we go back to old models or probably face to SLR? To my regret, for many photographers my preferable SLR's advantage as swapping lenses is a trouble for various reasons. There are reasons such as landscape shooting in dry, dusty desert Arizona. Secondly any sporting events do not allow cameras with removable lenses into the stadium without a press pass. But I think that wide angle 28mm f1,4 lens for landscape shooting and 300mm f2,8 Tele for sports shoots are more than enough in order to forget about swapping lenses and take excellent photos. But it's only my opinion because I love my SLR too much. And for those who will get interested in SLR I recomend: 'Canon PowerShot S5 vs EOS350D, Sony H9 vs A100; SLR-like cam never comes to SLR'.
There is some important news at SLR-like cameras tendencies which concerned with large CMOS sensors for new Canon, Sony etc. ultra-zoom cameras in my next posts. But I hope that any new SLR-like cameras will be smaller than well-known Sony DSC-R1.
So far all my claims about SLR-like cameras such as well-known Canon PowerShot S5 IS were based on the small size of a sensor and, as a result, on a big image noise and low sensitivity. But recently I have learned from Reuters that Canon inc. is ready to invest $451 million for building a new CMOS production factory in Japan. The news about the future generation of low-cost Canon digital cameras makes me happy. It’s a progressive method to attack the modern digital market. For more look through Canon PowerShot with CMOS sensor: SLR-like vs. SLR or instead?
I was gratified by Canon’s success SLR-like and HD cams only for a day because now I know that Sony corp. will invest in CMOS sensors 5 billion Yen more than Canon. Beyond dispute, Canon’s SLR and compacts cameras and HD camcorders are well-known, but Sony’s sensors are used in many digital cameras, such as Nikon D200, D80, D40, Pentax SLRs etc. Therefore, appearance of new CMOS sensors by Sony can contribute more to the modern digital market. And maybe we can get new Sony’s SLR-like cameras such as DSC-H7, H9 etc. with large CMOS sensors as well as new great Nikon’s (or other mfrs.’) Coolpix. For more look at Canon vs. Sony: 5 billion more for better ultra-zoom with CMOS sensor.
I collect info about all digital cameras. Tell me what you need and we will find the one together. Feel at ease at Comments directory.


Nuk said...

In previous Canon's models (S2, S3) the LCD is too small.With the CanonS5' 2.5" rotating display this has changed. The LCD is now usable and it significantly improves the whole experience of this camera.The movie feature is great. The interface to start a movie is great. Other functions are easy to get to quickly.In short, Canon S5 is great.

fototramp said...

The LCD is not the main thing for digital camera. Look at Olympus SLRs E410 and E510. It has a great LCD with Live View, great lenses set and a great sensor noise.

Julia said...

I’ve got the Canon S5 IS (from my friend) for a few weeks. What can I say…? It’s not a SLR still it’s not a Compact. Canon S5 is a useful camera and it’s much handier for woman than your favorite Sony Alpha. As for image noise, I’m not impressed… especially by shooting with low light, but S5 is not a pro cam.

Anonymous said...

One thing that I really like about the S5 -- and which is making me upgrade from my S3 -- is the addition of a hot shoe.

I currently have a 550EX flash (since I also have a 20D). The built in flash has the usual problems with built in flashes -- it's weak, too close to the lens, etc. It probably also won't work with the wide converter. However, with a 550EX this camera suddenly becomes useful for indoor work if I don't have my 20D with me. Even at ISO 80, it gives me maybe 30-50' of reach, which is a big improvement over the 10' or so I'd get with the built in flash.

Of course, using my 20D with a 50 f/1.8 or 85 f/1.8 or 28 f/2.8 means available light shooting hand held, which I really like to do, since I can set the 20D to ISO 800 and get very usable shots. But for people who already have an E-TTL flash, the S5 looks like a big upgrade from the S3.

And yes, I'd like a bigger sensor even though it would make for a heavier camera, but nothing's perfect...

fototramp said...

Yes, I agree. The Canon S5’ hot shoe in your case is useful. However, isn’t it a shame that you must pay four hundred only for this advantage? Isn’t it a pity that my first SLR-like camera -- the Nikon 8700 (from 2004) with 2/3 " sensor, flip-out and twist LCD and hot-shoe has better image quality than most of modern SLR-likes (excl. huge Sony DSC-R1). As for image stabilizer, it was an advantage of the Nikon 8800 from the same 2004 year. Now we have an 18x zoom, face detection and other groovy features instead of good sensor. As a result, it is better to use Canon PowerShot A620 as a second camera and to spend money to new lens for our favorite SLR.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking the main differences between the Canon IS S3 and IS S5 are 6mp against 8mp.

jkjack said...

i have a particular situation that i hope you can give me advice on. i am currently using a S3 with the 1.5 teleconverter and taking photos of herons in korea. despite the camera's limitations, i have a collection that a publisher is interested in using for calendars 2009 and also a book with suitable quotes from korean lit. i am not a professional but sent a link to my online photo album and he liked the photos. as i know the photos are lacking in quality, i had intended to upgrade to a dslr (nikon d80 say) and a decent lends (28-200 or 55-300 say). however, i recently learned that the lens on the powershot is providing 732+mm (and it possible to use a 2.2 teleconverter which would be 976). now as i understand it, for this particular situation, the advantage of a dslr would be better photo quality when cropping the heron shots (which is necessary in most cases as they are far away) but would working with the smaller tele lens cancel out that advantage. also it seems that the S3 takes decent photos but suffers from noise at higher iso. i rarely use higher than 80, however, so does it make sense to purchase a new dslr for this particular project and if so, what is the advantage. it seems that the loss in lens power lessens the increase in photo quality i would gain. also, have read that the newer S5 is not that much better although here also the complaints seem to focus on the higher iso shots. any suggestions. thanks.

fototramp said...

To Jkjack
My claim to Canon S5 based on using the same as your S3 small 1/2.5” sensor with extra 2MP, the same Optical image stabilizer and the same 35mm film equivalent: 36-432mm lens. As a result, we have big sensor noise. Unfortunately, most of modern SLR-like cameras have the same small sensors, except the Sony R1, Fujifilm S9600 and Panasonic FZ50. However, these cameras are huge and expensive. Therefore, if you are looking for good quality images (I think that is important for calendars), it is better to buy an SLR. From personal experience, I know that if you begin to think about an SLR, you will buy it necessarily. As for the Nikon D80, this is a great SLR camera. What is more, you will get a great Tele lenses choice, such as 70-300mm, 500mm or even 800mm. Some of lenses cost big money, but there are many used lenses with good prices in the market now. In addition, you will get a speedy camera without lag time, with a little sensor noise and with a great choice of swapping lenses.
As for me, I am very interested in your Korean heron’s shoots and in your personal experience with the Canon S3. Can you give me your opinion about shooting with SLR-like camera and some pictures to illustrate it? I can make an article with your images and links to your pages.
Regards, Alex

jkjack said...

thanks for the speedy response, alex. seems email response failed for some reason so i'll reply here.

buying used lenses may be an option here in korea. i'll check that. after sending the question i did more research and found that a bigma is popular with bird photographers. it sounded like a little much weight and size-wise for my purposes, though. i'll look in to the lenses you suggested.

as for my experiences with the s3, i have been using it about a year and a half and started photographing the birds (little egrets and grey herons) last may. as you will see from the albums in the link i am including, the photo quality is definitely inferior to dslr (i guess the mood the photos express was what appealed to the fellow who contacted me to make the book). after looking at some bird shots with the dslr and the bigma i went back expecting to be disappointed with my photos, but i found that, while the image quality was inferior, i still found them to have their own appeal. so, perhaps there is more to a photo than image quality (not to suggest that i wouldn't prefer mood AND photo quality). also, i spent considerable time with little adjustments to the photos of various types (did not use photoshop however but thumbsplus which has some simple basic touch-up choices). perhaps when i have time i'll see what i might be able to come up with using a more powerful image-enhancement program (any suggestions?). is there not a school of "expressionistic photography" where users of lower-end cameras might be able to find refuge despite the limitations of their hardware.

i'll enclose the link to the albums page below.

btw, after looking at the photos i'd appreciate any suggestions that you might have. as i said before i am not a professional (or even a very experienced amateur) but i enjoy the frequent trips around the countryside and the game i play with these creatures (don't know that they do, though, guess it's the wary against the wily). also, there is not a lot of respect for the environment in this country and i hope that, if the photos do indeed make it into some calendars and a book next year, they might do some good in changing that (students here tell me when they see my photos that they can't believe it's korea and it may not be for long).

as for the s3, like i say i like its size and handiness (i shoot entirely in manual mode and seldom use iso higher than 80 - if it's late in the evening, i'll hope for a nice blurred effect on the wings) and all i ever need to concern myself with, other than getting close enough to the birds to get a chance at a decent shot, is the occasional need to twist off the teleconverter when i have managed to creep close enough that i'll likely have trouble keeping the bird in view when it takes flight. also, the twist lcd viewfinder has enabled me to shoot up quite close by using the camera periscope-like from behind whatever. the biggest drawback i've experienced with the s3 (other than the image quality that's the nature of the beast) is the electronic viewfinder which is ok for framing the shot but as these birds remain motionless for a long time and are quite beautiful, it is disappointing not to be able to do a little through-the-lens birdwatching while waiting for them to change their pose.

thanks again for the advice.


ps: let me know if you do the article...
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