Canon PowerShot S5 IS
- 12x zoom, Sharp pictures, Great colour response, Lots of features
- Chromatic aberration issues, Slow burst mode
Another strong ultra-zoom digital camera from Canon, the PowerShot S5 IS is no longer the dominating choice in this market as its predecessor was, but it still offers a good overall package if you can look past some minor flaws.
Price$ 699.00 (AUD)
We've seen an influx of new ultra zoom digital cameras hitting our offices recently. Their big zoom lenses combine with robust feature sets and solid designs to create attractive devices for more experienced photographers. Our favourite in the previous generation of ultra-zoom models was Canon's PowerShot S3 IS and now they have come to market with a successor, the PowerShot S5 IS, which we were eagerly anticipating. The S5 IS is another strong unit, although not as impressive as its predecessor. The pictures suffer from noticeable haloing problems, which are more of an issue in light of increased competition in this category from companies like Olympus and Sony.
We ran our standard array of Imatest results in this unit, as well as taking some more subjective test shots to check for any problems. In our sharpness test, the S5 IS performed quite well, scoring 1536. This is slightly behind some other unit's we've looked at recently, but well within expectations and our shots offered smooth edges and good resolution. In some places, we found the edges a little too sharp, but depending on how you like your pictures, this may not be a noticeable problem.
What was an issue however, was the unit's extremely prominent chromatic aberration. It received a score of 0.202% in this area, which is quite poor compared to competing models. The result of this was evident in our pictures in the form of strong haloing in areas of high contrast and a lack of detail towards the corners of our shots. High chromatic aberration is typically forgivable on a compact camera, as it is unlikely that sizeable enlargements of the pictures will be made, however the target market of ultra-zooms are typically much more experienced and will likely feel the impact a lot more.
Fortunately, Canon has once again replicated the excellent colour reproduction of previous units on the S5 IS, which achieved a colour score of 6.13. Any result below 7 is brilliant and Canon typically don't disappoint in this area. Most of the primary colours were well represented, although they were a touch pale in some situations.
In our noise test, the S5 IS' performance was on par with it predecessor, with the device achieving a score of 0.86%. This is a little higher than normal, but any score below about 1.0% indicates noise that won't degrade the quality of your shot. When zoomed in fully the pictures had a slightly grainy look that did impact upon detail a little, but it won't be an issue at any normal print size. The noise scaled as we anticipated, and we'd say everything up to about ISO 400 is usable. This time around Canon has upped the sensitivities on offer, with ISO 1600 being the new maximum (the PowerShot S3 IS only had ISO 800), but we wouldn't recommend using it.
Aside from the increased sensitivities, the feature set is pretty similar to the PowerShot S3 IS. White balance can be tweaked using the presets or custom mode and shutter, aperture and program priority mode are on hand, as well as full manual mode. There are the usual combination of focus and metering modes as well as 12 scene modes and a bracketing option. One thing that was a disappointment on the previous model was the burst mode, and unfortunately that issue is still prevalent here; the S5 IS only operating at just over two frames per second. In a market where many cameras can snap off three frames per second or better, this really isn't up to standard.
The unit's 12x optical zoom is impressive, although the latest ultra-zooms we've had through the office have sported 15x and even 18x in one case. That said, unless you're regularly using a tripod and taking extremely long range shots, the difference should be negligible. As usual, Canon has packed in their optical image stabilisation; a virtual necessity with any large zoom cameras, it helps eliminate blurring from hand shake which is much more pronounced the closer you zoom in.
We ran our speed tests on the S5 IS as well, and it performed nicely. It took about 1.7 seconds from power up until first shot, which is fairly fast for an ultra-zoom (the large lens has to extend, which typically takes a little while). Meanwhile, there was a gap of about 1.5 seconds between shots in single shot mode. The shutter speed of about .07 seconds rounds out a nice, speedy package.
Canon has once again done an excellent job in design. It isn't as impressively constructed as Olympus' SP-550UZ as the shell is mostly plastic, but its very solid and has a nice weight to it that helps it sit comfortably in the hand. The controls are in a standard function wheel and directional pad formation and will be familiar to anyone who has used a digital camera in the past. As with its predecessor, the S5 IS sports a rotating screen that can be flipped outwards and angled up and down to take pictures at awkward angles. This is a nifty feature, although many people won't make much use of it.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Lexar® Portable SSD
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Acer Swift 7
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Boom: SanDisk just dropped the world's largest SD card
- Camera app makers tap into RAW power with iOS, and look forward to dual lenses
- Google Camera 3.2 lets you snap pictures while recording video
- CES 2016: Top 10 trends
- Sony α7S II aimed film-makers and low light photographers
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- TPTechnical Business Analyst - DigitalQLD
- TPSenior Network EngineerWA
- CCDigital Communications ManagerNSW
- CCCommercial Contract AdministratorNSW
- FTSupport and Operations Team LeadNSW
- CCBPM Technical AnalystVIC
- CCMDM Consultant/DesignerVIC
- CCSOE EngineerACT
- CCUnix AdministratorNSW
- FTFull Stack Web Developer .NET or JAVANSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - ApplicationsNSW
- FTTechnical Consultant MS Dynamics AXWA
- TPOracle Consultant - CC&BQLD
- FT.Net DeveloperVIC
- CCSolution Architect - Financial applicationsVIC
- CCPega DeveloperNSW
- FTProject ManagerNSW
- CCCA ITCM / ITCA EngineerNSW
- FTSnr SOC Security Coordinator - Perm - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCInfrastructure Test AnalystACT
- TPSCCM SpecialistVIC
- FTHR Payroll ConsultantQLD
- FTLinux Systems EngineerQLD
- CCGun Java Developer wanted...VIC
- TPSolution Architect - Transport DomainVIC