Boris Mann

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Canon S5 IS - the Canon Powershot S series is still my favorite

James and I originally set out on Saturday to both buy a Canon S5 IS at Future Shop, but they were out and gave us rain checks. Here's a link to Flickr's page about the S5 IS -- there are some amazing photos there.

More product shots

I've been a long time fan of the S series. I bought the S1 IS three years ago, and have been raving about it ever since: big zoom, great movie mode, really good optics, regular rechargeable AA batteries. I've taken most of the 7000 pictures on my Flickr account with the S1 IS. But, I recently dropped the camera and it's been acting up.

Sunset Basil

Luckily, Canon has continued to evolve the series. I've continued to recommend the series, and pretty much everyone I know that has bought one has been happy with it. About the *only* downside is its size: it's too big to be a pocket cam. But, I've always been happy with this trade off -- increasingly, my cellphone has been taking the role of pocket cam, and if I am going somewhere where I want really great pictures, I'll take the camera along.

Eating at Banana Leaf with Dad

So I ended up going to London Drugs this evening and bought the Canon S5 IS ... it's on for $499 there, but they'll price match Future Shop at $479. I went to the store on West Broadway -- Harry C was behind the counter and super knowledgeable. A 4GB SD card for $69 completed the purchase (and I just remembered that I forgot to get a UV filter -- recommended even just as a way to keep your main lens from scratching). First photo at right. Not super exciting, I know, but 8MP rather than the 3.2MP that I've been used to, and *excellent* low light performance.

In short, I still love the Canon PowerShot S series, and continue to recommend it to anyone that doesn't want a pocket cam.

You should buy this camera if you want:

  • a really big zoom (technically the ultrazoom category) -- the S5 is 12x optical
  • great macro modes -- the S5 actually has a 0cm "super macro" -- yes, you can actually put the lens directly on the thing you want to take a picture of (check out these macro shots of lemons on Flickr that were taken with the S5)
  • regular AA batteries -- esp. important when travelling
  • excellent movie quality, including sound -- 640x480 at 30fps, with stereo audio recording; oh yeah, and it actually has built in audio levels and even a wind filter
  • a rotating LCD screen -- from self portraits to crowd shots, I've been addicted
  • a viewfinder -- I actually take most of my pics through the viewfinder, which also saves batteries; the viewfinder just gives me more of a, well, professional feel, I guess
  • consistently good pictures -- there's not much fiddling to be done here, although you do have access to a lot of programmability

You should not buy this camera if you want:

  • something that fits in your pocket -- this is way smaller than an SLR, but it's not jean pocket sized
  • RAW support -- well, this really is high end camera stuff
  • an SLR -- while this is perfect for me, who just isn't going to add high end photography and lenses etc. etc. to stuff that I do, this is not a Digital SLR; it just happens to be a very good "prosumer" digital camera