Jim Doty - Photo Blog

Photography: Photos, News, and Tips
Monday, June 27, 2005
A Great Digital Point and Shoot: Canon S2 IS

Canon Powershot S2 IS
Canon Powershot S2 IS

Although a lot of digital point-and-shoot cameras have come out since I bought a Canon Powershot G3 several years ago, none of the newer models have tempted me to upgrade - at least not until now.

The Canon G5 didn't quite seem up to standards. The Canon G6 is a great camera but it didn't provide me with anything important enough for me to upgrade (but I would highly recommend it to anyone getting their first, full-featured, digital point-and-shoot camera). The crop of 8 megapixel, do-it-all cameras don't quite do what they need to do and it will take another generation or two before they live up to their potential.

The new Canon Powershot S2 IS may have changed all of that. It really is something else. It has a 5 megapixel sensor - not earth shaking but still nice. It has a 12x zoom range, 36-432mm in focal length 35mm film terms. That is really something to shout about, especially for folks in the stands trying to photograph their child way out on the ball field. Add on converters can give you wider or longer focal lenths if 36-432mm isn't enough. Better yet, the lens is Image Stabilized (IS) which is a huge help for getting sharper images, especially at longer focal lengths.

What really impresses me is the superb movie mode (AVI) with stereo sound (wma). I downloaded a clip that plays back FULL SCREEN on my computer monitor and it looks and sounds great. (Try that with the movie mode of most point and shoots and the full screen movie will look grossly pixelated.) A 1 GB card will holds 6 minutes worth of movie clips taken at the highest quality setting. Now I wish all the quick movie clips I have taken of my grandchildren were taken with this camera. This isn't a movie camera, it is a still camera, but the movie mode is about as good as you can now get in a still camera.

If you want a great digital point and shoot camera with a really long lens for sports, and a terrific movie mode for an occasional movie clip, this camera should be on your short list.

DP Review doesn't give out many HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ratings (their highest) but they did give one to the Canon S2 IS. You can read the full review here and download a movie clip on this page (click on the "Sample movie" thumbnail about 1/3 of the way down the page).


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