At first glance, the PowerShot
S1 IS ($499) may look like just another ultra
zoom camera, but it's more than that. First, it's
Canon's first ultra zoom camera since the Pro90 IS.
Along those lines, it's also their first camera (since
the Pro90) with a stabilized lens. This feature alone
makes it one of only a handful of cameras with image
stabilization (the others are from Minolta and Panasonic).
That's nice and all, but what really
makes the S1 unique is that it blurs the lines between
a digital still camera and a digital video camcorder.
You can record video at 640 x 480 and 30 frames/second,
with sound -- but just a few minutes worth. At lower
resolutions, you can record up to one hour. The top
resolution of 640 x 480 is a little lower than it would
be on a MiniDV camcorder (720 x 480), but it's still
darn good for a digital camera. The S1 even has the
same standby/record button (for recording video) as
a camcorder would have.
Is the S1 a good ultra zoom camera?
Can it really take video that will make you put the
camcorder back on the shelf? Find out in our review!
What's in the Box?
The PowerShot S1 has a good bundle.
Inside the box, you'll find:
- The 3.2 effective Megapixel Canon
PowerShot S1 IS camera
- 32MB CompactFlash card
- Four AA alkaline batteries
- Neck strap
- Lens cap w/strap
- USB cable
- A/V cable
- CD-ROM featuring Canon Digital
Camera Solutions, ArcSoft Camera Suite, and drivers
- 209 page camera manual + software
manual (both printed)
The S1 comes with a 32MB high speed
CompactFlash card -- a good starting point. On most
consumer cameras, a fast CF card like this doesn't
really make a difference. But if you're planning on
recording 640 x 480 video, a high speed card is a necessity.
The S1 can take both Type I and fatter Type II CF cards,
including the Microdrive. To record a full hour of
640 x 480, 30 frame/sec video, you'll need a card at
least 1GB in size.
Something you'll need to buy right
away are rechargeable batteries, as Canon includes
four AA alkalines that will quickly find their way
into the recycling bin (not the trash, if possible).
I'd recommend picking up two sets of NiMH rechargeables,
2000 mAh or greater, and a fast charger. With NiMHs
in the camera, Canon estimates that you can take a
very respectable 550 photos (with the LCD), or spend
7.5 hours in playback mode.
The S1 includes a lens cap and retaining
strap to protect your 10X zoom lens. As you can see,
this is a fairly compact camera (for an ultra zoom).
Now, let's talk accessories. For those
who like conversion lenses, Canon has two. First is
the WC-DC52A wide-angle adapter ($199), which brings
the wide end of the S1 down to 26.6 mm. For those who
want even more, the TC-DC52B tele adapter ($149) boosts
the zoom up to 608 mm. To use either of these lenses,
you'll first need to buy the LAH-DC10 lens adapter
/ lens hood set ($39), which also lets you attach 52
Another cool option is the WP-DC20
waterproof case ($240), which lets you take your S1
up to 40 m (130 feet) underwater. For wireless operation,
you can purchase the WL-DC100 remote control ($30),
which allows you to take pictures, control the zoom,
and playback photos. Other accessories included a NiMH
battery/charger kit (a whopping $58), an AC adapter
($85), and a soft case.
(Mac OS X)
Canon is now up to version 16 of their
excellent Digital Camera Solutions software. Included
in this package are ZoomBrowser (for Windows) or ImageBrowser
(for Mac), PhotoStitch (for making panoramic photos),
plus TWAIN and WIA drivers for Windows. Zoom/ImageBrowser
can be used for downloading images from your camera,
basic editing of your photos, and photo printing.
Also built-in to the "Browser" software
is RemoteCapture, which you can use to control your
camera over the USB connection. Images are saved directly
to your computer.
For some reason, the bundled ArcSoft
Camera Suite is different than the one that came with
the PowerShot S410 and S500 -- which were introduced
at the same time as the S1. Windows users can use PhotoStudio
5.5 and VideoImpression 2, while Mac users get the
old PhotoStudio 4.3 (the S410/500 came with PhotoImpression
5) and VideoImpression 1.6.
While Canon's manuals are still better
than average, they seem a little more complex than
they used to be. Either that or I'm getting dumber.
Look and Feel
The PowerShot S1 has a compact body
(for an ultra zoom), made of metal and high grade plastic.
There's a nice grip for your right hand, though you
may have trouble finding a good spot for your left.
The important controls are within easy reach.
Let's take a look at the dimensions
and weight of the S1 and its competitors:
(W x H x D, excluding protrusions)
|Canon PowerShot S1 IS
||4.4 x 3.1 x 2.6
||35.5 cu. in.
|Fuji FinePix S5000
||4.4 x 3.2 x 3.1 in.
||43.6 cu in.
|Kodak EasyShare DX6490
||3.9 x 3.2 x 3.2 in.
||39.9 cu in.
|HP Photosmart 945
||4.8 x 3.4 x 3.4 in.
||55.5 cu in.
|Minolta DiMAGE Z1/Z2
||4.3 x 3.1 x 3.2 in.
||42.7 cu in.
|Olympus C-750 Ultra Zoom
||4.2 x 2.6 x 2.7 in.
||29.5 cu in.
|Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10
||5.5 x 3.4 x 4.2 in.
||78.5 cu in.
||4.3 x 2.7 x 2.6 in.
||30.2 cu in.
As you can see, the S1 is one of the
smaller/lighter models out there. The only other camera
on that list with image stabilization is the Panasonic
FZ10, which is a quite a bit larger.
Let's start our tour of this camera
One of the most appealing features
of the S1 is its F2.8-3.1, 10X optical zoom with image
stabilization. The focal range of the lens is 5.8 -
58 mm, which is equivalent to 38 - 380 mm. The lens
also has an ultrasonic motor (USM), which keeps the
noise way down during zooming -- important when you're
using it as a camcorder.
Why do you want an image stabilizer?
I can name two situations in which it becomes very
useful. First is in indoors (or in low light in general),
where the camera wants to use a slow shutter speed
like 1/30 second. While some people are steady enough
to hold the camera without shaking it at that shutter
speed, most of us move too much, which results in a
blurry picture. The stabilizer on the S1 will compensate
for that motion, allowing you to take a sharp picture
at 1/30 sec -- and probably at slower speeds, too.
Another time it comes in handy is when the lens is
at the full telephoto position, where the slightest
movement can blur your photos. All things considered,
this is a very useful feature on a digital camera --
especially one with a big lens like this.
movie below was updated on 3/3/04
How well does the IS system work?
I've created a movie that shows the difference image
stabilization makes. I took two movies, simply by zooming
the camera to the telephoto end and trying to stay
fixed on my subject. I did this once with IS, and the
other time without it. Click
here to view the comparison (1.2MB).
When you want to attach a conversion
lenses, just press that button to the lower-left of
the lens, and remove the ring around the lens. You
then just attach and twist the conversion lens adapter
until it locks in place.
Straight about the lens is the S1's
pop-up flash. This flash has a working range of 1.0
- 4.2 m at wide-angle, and 1.0 - 3.8 m at telephoto.
You cannot attach an external flash to the PowerShot
S1 (unlike some of the competition). Also found on
the flash is a redeye reduction lamp.
To the left of the flash is the self-timer
lamp, which is also lit up during filming (that would
also make it a tally lamp).
The S1 isn't just unique for its stabilized
lens and VGA video mode. It's also the only Canon camera
in recent memory to lack an AF-assist lamp! (The Pro1
doesn't have one either, but it has a hybrid AF system
instead). AF-assist lamps help the camera focus in
dim lighting situations -- and I was very surprised
to see that there wasn't one on the S1.
The S1 has a 1.5" LCD display
which can flip-out and rotate, just like the A80, G3/G5,
and Pro1. You can see three of the available positions
in the photos above and below. The screen seemed a
little small to me, especially compared to the monster
LCDs on some of the other ultra zooms, but I don't
see how they could've fit a larger one on the S1.
The screen itself has 114k pixels,
which makes for a sharp image. The refresh rate on
the screen is excellent, as is the brightness (which
can be adjusted in two steps in the setup menu).
Here's the back of the S1 with the
LCD in a more traditional position. Since I've mentioned
the LCD already, let's move on to the electronic viewfinder.
The EVF (as I'll call it) is like a small LCD screen
that you look at as if it were an optical viewfinder.
It has the same resolution as the main LCD -- 114k
pixels -- and there's a diopter correction knob, which
focuses the image on the EVF (useful if your vision
isn't so hot).
These are nice because you can see
the same thing as the camera sees, plus all the menus
normally found on the LCD. The downsides are increased
battery consumption, and resolution that doesn't compare
to a real optical viewfinder. In bright and dim light,
viewing he EVF can be difficult. Unlike some other
cameras, the S1 doesn't brighten the image on the screen
in dim light, making it very hard to see what you're
To the right of the EVF is the movie
button -- what I'd call the standby/record button on
a camcorder. This is solely used for recording movies.
Press it once to start, and press it again when you're
finished. I'll have much more on movies later in this
To the right of the LCD are four buttons.
Top to bottom, these buttons are for:
|Record Mode Function
||Playback Mode Function
Exposure compensation (-2EV to +2EV,
White balance (Auto, daylight, cloudy,
tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent
H, flash, custom)
ISO speed (Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400)
Photo effect (Off, vivid, neutral,
low sharpening, sepia, black & white,
Bracketing (AE, focus)
Flash adjust (-2EV to +2EV, 1/3EV
Flash strength (1 - 3) - only shown
in manual mode
Resolution / quality (see chart
later in review)
|Metering (Evaluative, center-weighted,
||Voice memo - add a 60 second sound clip
to an image
|Shortcut button - you can set these to
change virtually any option
||Jump - quickly move forward or backward
in playback mode
|Display - switches between
EVF and LCD; also toggles info shown on LCD
I wanted to touch on some of those
items in the function menu. First I wanted to mention
that the S1, like all Canon cameras, has a manual white
balance setting. By shooting a white or gray card,
you can get perfect color in any lighting.
The photo effect feature lets you
quickly change the color of your image, or turn down
the sharpness. For more control choose the custom effect
option, which lets you adjust the contrast, sharpness,
and saturation in three steps.
The shortcut button can do (almost)
whatever you like. By default, it changes the image
resolution, but you can also use it for adjusting image
quality, ISO, frame rate (for movies), photo effect,
AE/AF lock, white balance, and display off.
Back to the tour, now. Below the LCD,
under a plastic cover, is where you'll find the S1's
I/O ports. These include DC-in (for optional AC adapter),
USB, and A/V out.
Over on the far right of the camera
is the four-way controller, as as well as the set and
menu buttons. The four way controller is used for menu
navigation and changing manual settings. In addition
to its menu navigation duties, the set button also
lets you adjust the focus point, using Canon's FlexiZone
system. This lets you move the focus point virtually
anywhere in the frame, save for a margin around the
Up on top of the PowerShot S1, you'll
find more buttons and dials. On the far left are two
buttons. The top one adjusts the flash (auto w/redeye
reduction, auto, flash on w/redeye reduction, flash
on, flash off), while the bottom one is the drive button
(single shot, continuous shooting, self-timer/remote
I suppose this is as good a place
as any to talk about the S1's continuous shooting abilities.
The S1 shoots as fast as 1.7 frames/second, and I was
able to take about 7 shots in a row before the frame
rate slowed down. One thing to note about continuous
shooting on cameras with electronic viewfinders is
that tracking a moving subject can be difficult. Each
time the picture is taken, the LCD/EVF freezes for
a moment. In many cases, the subject has already moved
out of the frame, and you've lost them. If you had
an optical viewfinder, you could continue to follow
the subject -- but all of these ultra zoom cameras
The next item over is the S1's microphone,
which is placed about as far away from the lens as
possible. That's good, since the camera lets you use
the zoom during movie recording.
Continuing to the right, the next
thing to talk about is the S1's mode dial. It has the
||More on this later
||For help making panoramic
||For blurring action
||For freezing action
||For night shots
most settings locked up
||Camera chooses shutter
speed and aperture. All menu options are
|Shutter Priority (Tv)
||You choose the shutter
speed and the camera picks the proper aperture.
You can choose from a number of speeds ranging
from 15 sec - 1/2000 sec. The 1/2000 shutter
speed is only available above F5.6 at wide-angle
and F6.3 at telephoto.
|Aperture Priority (Av)
||You pick the aperture,
the camera picks the appropriate shutter
speed. The choices range from F2.8 - F8 and
will vary, depending on the current focal
||You pick the aperture
and shutter speed. See above for values.
||Your favorite camera
settings, easily accessible
As you can see, you can store a sets
of custom settings right on the mode dial. Once you've
found the settings you like, just go to the menu and
To the right of the mode dial is the
power switch, which is also used to move between record
and playback mode.
Above that is the zoom controller,
with the shutter release button inside it. The lens
moves from wide-angle to telephoto faster than any
ultra zoom camera I've tested, taking just 0.9 seconds.
If you use less pressure on the controller, you can
make much more precise movements of the lens. The USM
lens motor means that the lens moves very quietly.
On this side of the S1, you'll find
a few buttons, as well as the speaker.
The top button (MF) turns on manual
focus. By holding this button down, and using the up/down
buttons on the four-way controller, you can set the
focus to whatever you desire. A guide showing the current
focus distance is shown on the LCD/EVF, and the center
of the frame is enlarged (not shown in above picture),
so you can make sure that the focus is accurate. You
can also use the S1's autofocus system in MF mode,
by pressing the "set" button.
The other button turns the image stabilizer
on and off.
On this side of the S1 is the CompactFlash
slot, which is kept behind a plastic door. This is
a Type II slot, which allows you to use thicker cards,
such as the Microdrive, in addition to regular CF cards.
The included 32MB "high speed" memory
card is also shown.
Finally, here is the bottom of the
camera. You can see the metal tripod mount as well
as the battery compartment. The tripod mount is neither
centered, nor inline with the lens. The battery compartment
takes four AA batteries.
Using the Canon PowerShot
It takes the PowerShot S1 about four
seconds to extend the lens and "warm up" before
you can start taking pictures.
No live histogram
on the S1
Once you're up and running, you'll
find autofocus speeds to be about average. Press the
shutter release button halfway, and the camera usually
locks focus in a bit under one second. At the telephoto
end, or if the AF system needs to "hunt",
expect a slightly longer wait. I was not impressed
with the S1's low light focusing abilities -- the lack
of an AF-assist lamp definitely hurts.
Shutter lag was not a major problem,
even at near-tripod speeds (1/30 sec). The only time
I noticed it was on long exposures (1 sec).
Shot-to-shot speed is very good on
the S1. You will wait for just 1.5 seconds before you
can take another shot, assuming that you've turned
off the post-shot review feature.
You can delete a picture as it's
been saved to the memory card by pressing the func/delete
Now, here's a look at the image size
and quality choices available on the S1:
||Approx. file size
||# Images on 32MB card
(2048 x 1536)
(1600 x 1200)
(1024 x 768)
(640 x 480)
Images are named IMG_xxxx.JPG, where
x = 0001 - 9999. The file numbering is maintained even
if you replace and/or format memory cards.
Now, onto the menus!
The PowerShot S1 has the same menu
system as the other PowerShot models. The items found
- Flash sync (1st, 2nd-curtain)
- Slow synchro (on/off)
- Redeye reduction (on/off)
- Flash pop-up (on/off) - whether
the flash automatically pops up
- Self-timer (2, 10 sec)
- Wireless delay (0, 2, 10 sec) -
delay before picture is taken when optional remote
control is used
- Spot AE point (Center, AF point)
- what part of the frame is used to judge exposure
while in spot metering mode
- MF-Point zoom (on/off) - turns
on focus point enlargement feature in manual focus
- AF mode (Continuous, single) -
whether camera is always focusing, or only when the
shutter release is pressed halfway
- Tally lamp (on/off) - whether the
self-timer lamp is lit during movie recording
- Digital zoom (on/off) - using this
will reduce photo quality
- Review (Off, 2-10 sec)
- Reverse display (on/off) - whether
the camera flips the image on the LCD when the screen
is rotated toward the subject
- Intervalometer - see below
- Set shortcut button (Resolution,
image quality, ISO speed, frame rate, photo effect,
AF lock, AE lock, white balance, display off) - define
what option is changed when you press the shortcut
button on the back of the camera
- Save settings (to the "C" position
on the mode wheel)
The only thing that really needs explanation
is the Intervalometer feature. This tool will let you
use the S1 for time lapse photography. You select the
interval between shots (1-60 minutes) and the total
number of shots to be taken (2-100). Use of the optional
AC adapter is strongly recommended.
There is also a setup menu on the
S1, so let's take a look at that. Here's what you'll
find in that menu:
- Mute (on/off) - turn off those
annoying beep sounds!
- Startup volume (Off, 1-5)
- Operation volume (Off, 1-5)
- Self-timer volume (Off, 1-5)
- Shutter volume (Off, 1-5)
- Playback volume (Off, 1-5)
- LCD brightness (Normal, bright)
- Power saving
- Auto power down (on/off)
- Display off (10, 20, 30 sec,
- Card format
- File number reset (on/off) - maintain
- Auto rotate (on/off) - camera will
automatically rotate portrait photos on the LCD
- Language (English, Deutsch, Français,
Nederlands, Dansk, Suomi, Italiano, Norsk, Svenska,
Español, Chinese, Japanese)
- Video system (NTSC, PAL)
The "My Camera'" menu allows
you to customize the startup screen, beeps, and phony
shutter sounds that your camera makes. If these bother
you, you can also turn them off.
Well enough about menus, let's do
photo tests now.
The PowerShot S1 is somewhat unique,
in that it doesn't have a macro mode that you can turn
on and off. Even so, you can still take closeup shots,
with a minimum distance to the subject of 10 cm at
wide-angle, and 93 cm at telephoto.
The S1 was able to produce a beautiful
photo of our usual macro test subject, seen above.
The image is sharp, and colors are accurate -- all-in-all,
a very nice shot.
The night shot is detailed and well-exposed,
but it's plagued by purple fringing (chromatic aberrations).
An easy way to get rid of that problem is to close
down the aperture a bit (by using a higher F-number).
You can see the same photo at F5.0 by clicking
here -- much better!
How does the S1 perform at higher
ISO sensitivities? Have a look:
As you can probably tell, things start
to get pretty noisy above ISO 200.
For an ultra zoom camera, the S1 doesn't
have a lot of barrel distortion at the wide end of
things. While this shot shows some vignetting (dark
corners), I did not see this in any of my real world
With a pop-up flash, I wasn't expecting
to see much redeye on the S1. Unfortunately, I guessed
wrong. Do remember that your mileage may vary -- it's
different for everyone. You can remove redeye pretty
well in software.
Overall, the PowerShot S1's photo
quality was good. Images were usually well-exposed,
colors were accurate, and subjects were sharp. Noise
levels seemed a little higher than what I was used
to seeing on a Canon camera, which ate away at some
detail, but it wasn't a dealbreaker in my opinion.
One thing that is more of a problem is purple fringing,
which is common on ultra zoom cameras like this. You'll
find it in most of the pictures in the gallery.
You probably won't notice it if you make small prints
of your photos, but for larger prints and computer
viewing, you'll see it. Something you can try on the
camera to reduce this phenomenon is to close the aperture
down (as shown in the night shot section), but don't
expect miracles. If you're skilled with Photoshop,
you can get rid of it that way too. Purple fringing
is -- unfortunately -- something you have to live with
on big zoom cameras like this.
I've got a huge gallery of photos
that I took with the PowerShot S1. Please, have a look
at them, and decide if the quality meets your expectations.
You are encouraged to print them, as well.
section has been updated since the review was
As I mentioned at the start of the
review, the S1 is designed to be both a digital still
camera as well as a DV camcorder. Canon's PowerShot
S1 features page makes some big claims about the
S1's movie recording abilities. While the S1 lives
up to most of those claims, it falls short in one pretty
important area. Quoting from that page:
The PowerShot S1 IS has a greatly
enhanced Movie Mode that lets you shoot up to sixty
minutes* of DV-Quality VGA video with superior sound
quality. Plus, you can zoom in the Movie Mode — and
even edit your movies — right on the camera's
* Depends upon CF card size, speed
and movie mode.
Here's what's true in that sentence:
- You can record VGA quality video
- The sound quality is better than
on your average digicam; it's 22 khz, 16 bit, instead
of 11 khz, 8 bit
- You can use the zoom in movie mode
- You can edit your movies on the
camera; if you consider trimming frames off the beginning
or end of the movie "editing", then I guess
So what's wrong with that sentence?
It's the "up to sixty minutes of DV-quality VGA
video" that's misleading (I guess that's why there's
an asterisk there). Unless you consider 320 x 240 at
15 frames/seconds "DV quality", there's no
coming close to the "up to sixty minutes" claim.
In fact, at what I'd call "DV quality" (640
x 480 at 30 frames/sec), you can only record a little
over eight minutes per clip!
That's because the S1 cannot store
movies larger than 1GB in size (or one hour in length)
-- regardless of how large your memory card is. This
isn't an issue if you're just recording a few minutes
of video. But if you wanted to record your child's
performance in a play, you couldn't do so without starting
a new clip every 8-9 minutes. And that assumes that
you've got a monster (read: 8GB) memory card to work
This chart should put things into
||Total recording time
(min:sec, per clip)
|640 x 480 Fine
|640 x 480
|320 x 240
I must emphasize that those recording
times are approximate. I was able to record a little
over 9 minutes of the highest quality video using a
1GB CompactFlash card. The S1 just doesn't compare
to a MiniDV camcorder which can store one hour of continuous
720 x 480 video @ 30 frames/sec on a single tape.
Now don't get me wrong, the S1's movie
mode is still the best one I've seen on a digital camera.
I'm just trying to make sure people understand that
it's not a camcorder replacement. Both the video and
sound quality is excellent. You can use the zoom during
filming, though the microphone may pick up some of
the motor noise. You need to make sure that you keep
your fingers away from the microphone, as well. The
image stabilizer can be used in movie mode, where it
is just as useful as it is for taking still photos.
Another important note: you may need
a "fast" CompactFlash card in order to record
video at the highest quality setting. Movies are saved
in AVI format.
Here's a sample movie for you, recorded
at the 640 x 480 Fine setting. This clip is not for
modem users, it's huge!
to play movie (22.7MB, 640 x 480 Fine, 30 fps, AVI
Can't view it? Download QuickTime.
The S1 has the same, excellent playback
mode as seen on other Canon cameras. Everything is
The S1 has all the basic playback
features that you'd expect. That includes slide shows,
DPOF print marking, image protection, thumbnail mode,
and zoom and scroll. Playback mode is also the place
to print photos, when connected to a compatible Canon
or PictBridge-enabled photo printer.
The zoom and scroll feature (my term)
lets you blow up the picture up to 10X, and then scroll
around in the zoomed-in area. It's nice and fast!
By pressing the metering/sound recording
button on the back of the camera, you can add voice
clips of up to 60 seconds per photo. Another nice feature
is the ability to rotate photos. You can also mark
photos for transfer to your e-mail program, assuming
that you use Canon's software.
If you've recorded a movie, an editing
function lets you trim unwanted frames from the beginning
or end of it.
By default, the S1 doesn't give you
much info about your photos. But press the display
button and you'll get plenty of details, as well as
The camera moves through photos quickly
in playback mode, with a one second delay between each.
How Does it Compare?
While it's not the perfect ultra zoom
camera, the Canon PowerShot S1 IS comes close. Even
with a few flaws, it's still one of the best ultra
zoom cameras, along with the Olympus C-740/750 (both
replaced by the C-765/770), Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ10,
and the Kodak EasyShare DX6490. Along with the Panasonic,
the PowerShot S1 is the only camera in the bunch with
an image stabilizer function, which counteracts the
blurring effect of "camera shake". The S1
also features full manual controls, a swiveling (but
small) LCD display, support for conversion lenses,
and a compact body. Photo quality is good, though noisy
for a Canon camera. Purple fringing, which plagues
ultra zoom cameras, is above average on the S1.
And did I mention its movie mode?
Without a doubt, the S1's movie mode is the finest
you'll find on a digital camera. You can record high
quality movies at 640 x 480, 30 frames/second, with
sound -- and they look great. Should you be replacing
your DV camcorder? Probably not. While the S1's movie
mode is excellent, you can only record about nine minutes
worth of video at the highest quality setting, compared
to an hour on a MiniDV camcorder. You can stuff the
biggest CompactFlash card on earth into the S1, and
you'll still have the limit of 1GB (file size) or 1
hour, whichever comes first. For short clips, it's
great -- but I don't think the camcorder is dead just
Beside the two image quality issues
above, the only other real complaints I have with the
PowerShot S1 have to do with low light shooting. For
one, the S1 lacks an AF-assist lamp -- something almost
every other Canon camera has -- which made low light
focusing frustrating. Secondly, the electronic viewfinder
was too dark to see in dim lighting. Some cameras boost
the signal on the EVF in low light, but the S1 isn't
one of them. And finally, some rechargeable batteries
in the box and a live histogram in record mode would've
been a nice touch.
All things considered, the PowerShot
S1 is a great -- but not quite perfect -- ultra zoom
What I liked:
- Good photo quality (though see
- 10X zoom lens with image stabilization,
- Excellent movie mode (but don't
throw away your camcorder)
- Full manual controls
- Robust performance
- Flip-out, swiveling LCD display
- Supports conversion lenses, underwater
- Compact body (for an ultra zoom)
- Can save favorite settings to spot
on mode dial
- Supports Type II CompactFlash cards,
What I didn't care for:
- Poor low light focusing; no AF-assist
- Electronic viewfinder difficult
to see in dim light
- Images slightly noisy; above average
purple fringing as well
- Movies limited to 1GB in size,
which arrives quickly at highest quality setting
- Some redeye
- No live histogram in record mode
Other ultra zoom cameras to consider
include the Fuji
FinePix S5000, HP
Photosmart 945, Kodak
EasyShare DX6490, Kyocera
Finecam M410R, Minolta DiMAGE Z1 and Z2,
Olympus C-740 and C-750 Ultra
Zooms (which are about to be replaced by the C-765 and C-770), Panasonic
Lumix DMC-FZ10, and the Toshiba
As always, I recommend a trip down
to your local reseller to try out the PowerShot S1
and its competitors before you buy!
Want to see some pictures? Check out
the photo gallery!
Want another opinion?
Read more reviews at Steve's
Digicams and Digital
Feedback & Discussion
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review, please send them to Jeff.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me
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