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Canon Powershot S5 IS
The S3 IS superzoom may have long been discontinued by Canon, but it's still a pretty hot seller in the local market here. Now with Canon skipping the sequence and releasing the S5 IS, the question arises – is it good enough to take over the market captured by its predecessor?
Out of the box, the camera looked like it means business. Though it's adequately small for a superzoom (117 x 80 x 78 mm), it does get pretty heavy at 550 g thanks to the four AA batteries it takes. Packed to the teeth with buttons and toggles, the S5 IS is definitely designed to offer you everything you want in a matter of a couple of button presses. The good thing here is that the controls are easy to use, and most options can be easily accessed in a single-handed operation.
As intimidating as the layout may look to a novice user, the camera remains absolutely simple to operate, while providing you options to go as hands-on as you wish. The tilt-and-swivel LCD display is as flexible as it gets for taking pictures in really tricky perspectives. Thankfully the display gave me little trouble when I was shooting in bright sunlight.
The 12x optical zoom is accompanied by optical image stabilization to reduce those little jitters you get even when you feel your hands are rock steady. It shoots at a maximum of 8 megapixels (3264 x 2448 pixels) and features Canon's DIGIC III Image processor, which is known for its noise reduction.
The biggest upgrade in the S5 IS is its video shooting capability. Though the camera still shoots video in VGA resolution (640x480), it does so with a whole lot of options. The first being the ability to zoom in and out when shooting video. This may not be a new feature in digicams, but it sure is a welcome one. The second feature brings the S5 IS a bit closer to its camcorder brethren by allowing you to freeze-frame for a snapshot while shooting video. It's not a must-have feature, but it's fun.
The two tiny circular meshes right above the lens indicate the two microphones that record sound in stereo. Canon has gone a step further and added a feature called 'Ultrasonic' to prevent the sound of the lens moving in and out from interfering with the sound captured by the camera. Anything for good sound, I say!
What I liked the most about the S5 IS was its speed. The camera took just about a second to start up and the same time to power off.
That said, I personally am not very impressed with the image quality produced by the S5 IS. To begin with, the sharpness levels were pretty low even in shots taken in bright sunlight. Even though the DIGIC III image processor used in the S5 IS specializes in noise reduction, it's not very apparent in the results. Due to the noise levels, even the overall black levels of the images gets affected, because of which the pictures look slightly washed out.
The washed-out look I just mentioned also affects the colors in a big way, so subjects that should appear bright and vivid tend to appear bland unless you shoot them under perfectly bright light.
To get the best out of the camera, I suggest you rely mainly on the manual controls where you can manipulate things to get the results you want. It's definitely a better option than using the scene modes, which is also evident by the picture shot below in the camera's night scene mode.
The S5 IS is an excellent camera on paper, but its weak image sensor is a major downer. Considering the plethora of features and options available, advanced users will get excellent results from the camera's manual mode. If, on the other hand, you're thinking of buying it for its scene modes, think again. Considering its street price of Rs 21,995, you have better options available in superzooms – and at lower prices.
|Dimensions||117 x 80 x 78 mm|
4 x AA
|LCD Type||2.5", 207,000 pixels|
|Effective Pixels||8.0 Megapixel|
|ISO Sensitivity||Auto, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600|
|Shutter Speed||15-1/3200 sec|
|Aperture||F2.7 - F3.5/8|
|Scene Modes||Yes |
6 positions & manual preset
|Flash||Auto, Fill-in, Red-Eye reduction, Slow Sync, Off|
|Self Timer||2 - 10 secs|
|Video Resolution||640 x 480 @ 30fps|
|Street Price||Rs 21,995|