Canon PowerShot S5 IS Review

Canon PowerShot S5 IS Review


With the PowerShot S5 IS, the DiGIC III processor is now part of Canon’s super-zoom camera series. The powerful signal processor, which is also used in the professional flagship EOS-1D Mark III, opens up face recognition to the PowerShot and Digital-Ixus models. The PowerShot S5 IS is now able to detect the faces of people in front of the camera (up to nine people) and adjust exposure and focus accordingly. The small chip also brings electronic red-eye detection and retouching, more effective signal amplification (for light sensitivity level equivalents of up to ISO 1,600) and an increase in memory limit in video mode from 1 to 4 gigabytes.

For many Canon fans, however, the DiGIC III processor will not be the most important new feature of the PowerShot S5 IS. While the previous models S1, S2 and S3 IS did not have an external flash connection, the S5 IS is now equipped with one and thus allows the mounting of the Speedlite flashes from Canon’s (D)SLR program and the use of their functions (according to the German press release even including wireless eTTL flash control). This brings the S5 IS a little closer to the blessed PowerShot Pro1; a so-called prosumer camera, whose successor has been, and in some cases still is, awaited by quite a few demanding photographers. Because the S5 IS does not quite come close to the Pro1. Its 1/2.5″ sensor is considerably smaller than the 2/3″ CCD of the Pro1 with the same resolution (approximately 8 megapixels), its lens (36-432mm/F2.7-3.5 corresponding to KB) does not protrude far enough into the wide-angle range to meet expert demands despite the considerably stronger zoom and built-in image stabilizer, and unfortunately, the S5 IS does not have a raw image data mode (RAW/CR2) either.

Officially, the S5 IS is the successor to the S3 IS – and that’s how it should stay. Apparently she has no greater ambitions. Compared to the S3 IS, the new features are numerous. In addition to the DiGIC III processor and the new functions associated with it, the 8.3 megapixel CCD (8 MP effective) and the hot shoe, there is also a – still rotatable and tiltable – larger LC screen with a screen diagonal of 6.3 cm (2.5″ TFT LCD with 207.000 pixels), a new function called Auto ISO Shift (pressing the Print/Share button instantly switches to a shake-proof high sensitivity level), an additional scene program (for photos in or (Safety Zoom, Digital Tele-Converter), Continuous Shooting AF, Safety FE, Long Play Mode for video recording and Safety MF, a new function for automatic fine tuning of the focus during manual focusing.

Otherwise, the S5 IS retains virtually all the features of the S3 IS, including stereo sound recording, ultrasonic motor (USM) zoom drive, the spectacular 0 cm close-up limit in super macro mode, the availability of optical accessories (lens/filter adapter, wide-angle converter, teleconverter, close-up lens, etc.), the live histogram, the numerous filter effects (color change, individual color, etc.), the freely programmable self-timer (custom timer) – and much more.


Canon PowerShot S5 IS Datasheet


Sensor CCD sensor 1/2.5″ 5.8 x 4.3 mm (crop factor 6.0
)8.3 megapixels (physical), 8.0 megapixels (effective)
Pixelpitch 1.8 µm
Photo resolution
3.264 x 2.448 pixels (4:3)
2.592 x 1.944 pixels (4:3)
2.048 x 1.536 pixels (4:3)
1.600 x 1.200 pixels (4:3)
640 x 480 pixels (4:3)
Image formats JPG
Color depth 24 bits (8 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.2), DCF standard
Video resolution
640 x 480 (4:3) 30 p
320 x 240 (4:3) 15 p
Maximum recording time 60 min
Video format
AVI (codec n.a.)
Audio format (video) WAV


Focal length 36 to 432 mm (35mm equivalent
)12x zoomDigital zoom
Aperture F2.7 (wide angle
)F3.5 (telephoto)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Area AF, Manual, AF Assist Light
Filter thread 58 mm

Viewfinder and monitor

Monitor 2.5″ TFT LCD monitor with 207,000 pixels
Video finder Video viewfinder available, dioptre compensation (-5.5 to 1.5 dpt)


Exposure metering Center-weighted integral metering, matrix/multi-field metering, spot metering, AF-AE coupling
Exposure times 1/3,200 to 15 s (automatic)
Exposure control Programmed automatic, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Manual
Exposure Compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Photosensitivity ISO 80 to ISO 1,600 (manual)
Remote access non-existent
Scene modes Fireworks, indoor, landscape, foliage, night scene, night automatic, portrait, sports/action, beach/snow, underwater, full auto, 0 additional scene modes
Picture effects “My colors” function with a total of 9 settings
White balance Automatic, Clouds, Sun, Flash, Fluorescent lamp with 2 presets, Incandescent light, Manual
Continuous shooting 1.5 frames/s at highest resolution
Self-timer Self-timer with 2 s interval, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Recording functions Live histogram


Flash built-in flash (flip up
)Flash shoe: Canon, standard center contact
Flash range 0.5 to 5.2 m at wide angle0
.9 to 4.0 m at tele-telephoto
speed12 (ISO 100)
Flash code
Guide number 12 (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, fill-flash, flash on, flash off, slow sync, flash on second shutter curtain, red-eye reduction


Image stabilizer Lens shift (optical)
Multi media card
Power supply unit Power supply connection
Power supply 4 x AA (standard battery
)4 x AA (standard battery)
Playback functions Red eye retouching, playback histogram, image index
Voice memo Voice memo (WAV format)
Face recognition Face recognition
Image parameters Color saturation, noise reduction
Grille can be faded in during recording yes
Special functions Orientation sensor
Connections Data interfaces: USBUSB type
: USB 2.0 High SpeedVideo output
: yes (HDMI output Micro (Type D))
Supported direct printing methods Canon Direct Print, PictBridge
Tripod thread 1/4″
Special features and miscellaneous DIGIC III Signal ProcessoriSAPS Intelligent
Scene Analysis Technology Face Recognition Assisted
Focusing and ExposureFlexible Zone
AF/AE Autofocus/Exposure Metering via 345 individually selectable fields of viewAF mode
switchable (single frame focus, Focus tracking)
High-ISO auto mode for automatic selection of high-sensitivity level-equivalent noise reduction
for long exposures of over 1.3 secondsNight display functionPlayback zoom(2 to 10x)
Other digital zoom modes (safety zoom


Digital Tele-Converter)
Automatic image alignmentMy-Camera mode
for personalizable welcome screens and camera soundCustomized
settingDictaphone functionID-PhotoPrint function

for direct printing of portraits / passport photos with 28 different image size templatesMovie Print function
for direct printing of single images from a video sequenceSimplified
image transfer to computer or printer thanks to Share/Transfer-


uttonEnergy saving switchAutomatic

bracketingPTP/MTP image transfer protocoltwo stage
adjustment of camera internal focus (normal/low)

stage adjustment of color saturation (neutral/saturated)
Custom timer with adjustable lead time from 0 to 30 s and adjustable number of releases from 1 to 10 Optical image
stabilizerUSM ultrasonic drive
for motorized focal length adjustment

Size and weight

Weight 530 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 117 x 80 x 78 mm


standard accessory Canon STV-250N Audio / Video CablePIXO
C4 Charger for Special BatteriesStandard BatteriesRemovable Memory CardImage Editing SoftwareArcSoft Photo StudioPanorama Software
ZoomBrowser EX for MacintoshSoftware
Image Browser for MacintoshTwain
Driver (98/2000)
Remote Control Software Remote CaptureWIA Device Driver
for Windows ME
additional accessories Canon CBK4-300 Charger for Standard BatteriesCanon
DCC-90 Camera CaseNB3-AH
(NiMH) Battery Lens Adapter/Sun Shield Set
.5x Tele-Converter TC-DC58B0
.75x Wide Angle Converter WC-DC58A Close-up Lens
Speedlite System Flash Units
USB 2.0 High Speed

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