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226 of 229 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transformed a skeptic!
I have been a dedicated film camera user for several years and a skeptic of digital photography. Until now.

I chose the Canon S50 after about two months of research into contemporary cameras. I relied upon a digital photography portal called "Digital Photography Review" to compare different models, and then used Amazon to compare prices. If you are making the...
Published on October 18, 2003 by Rishikesh Bhalerao

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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's a nice camera, but...
I've been mixed on how to review the Canon S50. I bought it after much thought vs the Canon G5 or the newer Olympus cameras, and overall I'm relatively pleased, but I did have my share of problems with it. First of all, the reviews stating that the mechanical door is somewhat flimsy are absolutely correct. It's nice not to have to worry about accidentally turning on the...
Published on March 20, 2004 by CuppaTea


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226 of 229 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Transformed a skeptic!, October 18, 2003
By 
Rishikesh Bhalerao (Boston, MA, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon PowerShot S50 5MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I have been a dedicated film camera user for several years and a skeptic of digital photography. Until now.

I chose the Canon S50 after about two months of research into contemporary cameras. I relied upon a digital photography portal called "Digital Photography Review" to compare different models, and then used Amazon to compare prices. If you are making the move to digital, it is wise to factor in the price of image editing software (I use --and highly recommend--Adobe Photoshop Elements), an upgraded memory card, and an additional battery. The S50 does not come with a case, so add that to the list as well.

There has been some fair criticism leveled at digital camera manufacturers for their emphasis on mega pixels. I cannot argue with this; however, having 5-mega pixels over 4 (at a slight price premium) does give you the flexibility to later crop images to your liking, yet, retain good resolution. One of the common complaints against the S50 (over the slightly less expensive 4-mega pixel S45) is the issue of purple fringing at wide angles. My own experience has been that, even at the widest angle, color distortions are virtually non-existent in this camera. The image quality is excellent and skin tones are very good even when using a flash. The flash is a tiny band at the top right (when you face the lens) but, despite its small size, it is very effective for indoor pictures. The camera is quite small for all it can do. The number of manual controls is astounding; I have a feeling this camera offers much more creative freedom than my previous one, a film SLR from the mid-eighties, which came with three detachable lenses, a separate flash unit, and a large carrying case that, when filled with all equipment, weighed about 8 pounds!

Digital cameras generally have one drawback--shutter delay, and this is one area that the S50 does not perform well. I have seen shutter delay to vary between almost no delay to little more than a full second. Of course, I have not used other digital cameras, so I cannot tell how this compares. Another weakness is the flimsy lens cover: you have to be careful when closing the cover. I also managed to scratch the LCD screen within a few days of receiving the camera, although this does not affect the images in any way. A protective case would have helped (why doesn't Canon include one!). The included compact flash memory card has a capacity of only 32MB. I would recommend buying a much larger card (such as a 512MB card) that can store a very large number of images (several thousand at lower resolutions). With a large card, the battery inevitably runs out out before the card is full. Buy a spare!

Overall, I enthusiastically recommend the S50, especially if you are making the move away from film cameras. The S50 has irreversibly drawn me away from film cameras, even though I did not think that was possible just a year ago. Perhaps it will also transform your perspective.
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233 of 243 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best value for the money, May 31, 2003
By 
scott "scott" (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon PowerShot S50 5MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
This is my third digital camera, my previous was a 3.2MP Casio QV3000EX. While Casio is not a well known name in the US for cameras, it's still hard to find a digital camera today that matches the QV3000EX feature/price point. The S50 does this and more!
The Good:
1. Made in Japan (not China as some other Japanese cameras ie Minolta).
2. Metal case, and it feels like it is well made (heavy). Buttons give a solid feel.
3. Turns on quick - 4 seconds.
4. Small size. This will easily fit into your shirt pocket. The S50 has the features of a G3 and the compactness of the S400. The best of both worlds. No other 5MP camera comes close to this size, with the exception of the Minolta F300.
5. Extreme manual control: 10 aperature settings (most digital camaras have 2), 45 shutter settings! You will not find a camera with more control at this price.
6. Lens can zoom in macro mode. Others such as Minolta S414 cannot.
7. Fast Canon lens - great pictures in low light and little to no blooming (purple fringe). In my opinion, Canon makes the best digital camera lens. The Casio QV3000EX has a Canon lens, and it takes great pictures. The lens makes or breaks a camera, don't compromise here.
8. Will NOT turn on when in your pocket. It's just plain annoying that manufacturers continue to make knobs that turn at the slightest touch. The dial on the S50 gives a solid and metal sounding click.
9. Battery charger is small an unobtrusive. Fits into the smallest of camera bags.
The Bad:
1. You pay a price for Canon. But you get what you pay for. You can get a cheaper digital camera, but you will not get one that has perhaps the best lens, great auto focus, and exreme manual control, and - in the end great pictures. Take a look at the sample pictures at Canon's site. Compare them to similar cameras. You will wonder why you thought of buying another brand. Also consider the S400 for a more limited point and shoot, or the G3 for professional/traditional SLR look and feel.
2. Uses a proprietary battery. To be honest, I'd rather use AA Ni-MH batteries. But with the Canon system, you probably get bettery power management since they can monitor the battery state better than if it is generic rechargables. In the end it's probably a wash. Buy a second battery.
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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darth Camera - Canon Keeps Raising the Bar, April 4, 2003
By 
Woo Song (Irvine, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Canon PowerShot S50 5MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
INTRO:
I've had this camera now for 2 weeks and absolutely love it. I already have a Sony F707, and was looking for a camera to take around that still had the 5 mp output, but a smaller form factor. When it came down to it, it was either this camera or the Olympus C50Z and I'm glad I decided on the S50. You just can't beat the Canon for features and design. Plus, the C50Z supposidly doesn't have a mic for video.
PROS:
From what the reviews have said, this is just a scaled down version of the Canon G3, but with 5 mp output vs. 4 with the G3.
It's got a very solid construction and I love the brushed metallic look of the body. It's not quite pocket sized - I tried lugging it around in my pocket for a day...a little bulky for that, but i'd say it's a great compromise for those that want more features than what the digital Elph series offers.
Speaking of which, it's got a great bundle of features. Images are bright and very real to life. From what I can tell, it's very similar in general shooting modes as my Sony. I leave the camera glued to Program AE, as I seem to get the best quality and still have the ability to adjust the different modes on the camera. The continuous shooting mode is excellent and the intervalometer (time lapse photo shooting) is definitely a nice new feature. Further the stich assist and video modes with sound make it a better buy over the C50Z.
Also, the camera is very fast - from taking it out of the bag to turning it on, it's a little less than 4 seconds and it's ready to shoot.
Further, the camera uses non-memory lithium ion - I have yet to drain the battery fully from a days worth of shooting. I almost never turn off the view finder and the battery's held up like a champ. It also uses standard compact flash, which I picked up at Amazon (256mb Viking) [at a good price]after rebates. Just can't beat that...
COULD IMPROVE ON:
The only thing with the construction that got me a little concered was the slide door for the lens. If you moved it a certain way, it can move up and down. Still, the overall construction is very solid.
The macro is pretty average. It says in the guide that you can get as close as 5 cm or thereabouts, but the closest I could get in focus was about 3 inches. I guess it's the size of the optics.
Also, why only the black? I really like the brushed stainless look of the S45, but you can't get that flavor with the S50. From what I've heard, it's only available in Europe. I guess it's a marketing thing, but still... Don't get me wrong, I like the black, but it'd be nice to have the choice and black tends to show dust quite easily.
And while I like that it uses standard compact flash, I've noticed it's a little slower in tranfers and reading than Sony Memory stick.
Anyway, these are negligible issues and overall, Canon has really outdone themselves again.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biggest bang for your buck, January 2, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Canon PowerShot S50 5MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
Here is the skinny; I would classify myself as an intermediate/pro photographer as an owner of 3 digital cameras and 5 SLRs. I have come to the conclusion after about 9 months with the S50 that it will give you the greatest bang for your buck. Whether you need it for its manual (semi-pro) functions or as just a point and shoot, this is just the camera. It is small and portable, yet very powerful and filled with functions that the average user will never need. It is very durable and has excellent optics, as you will eventually see from your first set of prints. This camera has been out for a while now and you will be able to purchase it at a very reasonable price. You simply cannot buy a comparable camera that even comes close.
Read on for more detail.
The LCD screen is very bright and easy to see, even in direct sunlight. In my experience with other digital cameras, I would recommend that you apply a screen protector. I have had them replaced on my other cameras due to scratches. They do not make them for cameras, however you can cut one out of any after market PDA screen protector. It does an excellent job protecting your screen from scratches and fingerprints. A must have when you start taking this camera wherever you go; and you will after you fall in love with it as most S50 users have.
This camera takes great photo-quality pictures. The reason that I got this camera is because of the 5MP resolution. You will not need that resolution for your average 4x6 or 5x7 print; however it's nice to be able to take a picture at the highest resolution and know that you have flexibility in editing and cropping or even getting a photo-quality 8x10 or 11x14 if you ever need it. Besides, we all have 100+ Gb drives with CD burners, so whenever you want you could burn your photos on a CD/DVD for storage. However, this high resolution comes with a price. It is a necessity that you purchase a high capacity CF card. This all depends on how many photos you take per session. A 512MB card will take a little over 200 photos and ranges from $70-$100.
There are those who think that you need a camera with a 4X optical zoom as opposed to the S50s 3X. The 3X vs. 4X zoom is just another selling point. DO NOT PASS THIS CAMERA UP BECAUSE OF THIS! In my professional opinion, that makes little difference to the final product, the print. Keep in mind that the more zoom you use, the more light and stability you need in holding the camera. In other words, you will likely need a tripod to take a decent picture, not to mention better lighting. Bottom line is that the 3X is ample for a camera in this class.
My last recommendation is for an after market high-capacity battery. I purchased an 800mAh Lithium-ion for about $35 and it is a vast improvement over the factory supplied one. I used to lug them both with me, but I stopped doing that since I have never had the other one discharge on me before the day is over.
One feature that this camera needs is hour/minute indicator of how much battery time is left. The only indicator is a two-minute warning that the battery is almost empty. So if Canon is listening, please put this in the next firmware update. My other gripe with this camera is the lens cover/door. It is flimsy and does not always close as smoothly as it is supposed to.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Winner in Image Quality Versus Size, May 11, 2003
By 
Roy Chan (Long Beach, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Canon PowerShot S50 5MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
Pros: Compact size, 5 megapixel resolution, ease of use, lots of creative photography options, Solid all metal compact body, Quality Canon lens, quality, enlargeable images, sturdy, macro capability.
Cons: No provision for add-on lenses or filters, Expensive, 5MP is probably overkill for most users, Underwater housing does not allow full control, not as sharp as most 4 MP cameras, 4-way Navigation Button & Proprietary Battery, Some photos had red eye, doesn't come with carrying case.
Summary: This compact Canon digital camera really impressed me in the week I've had mine so far. I've been looking and playing with the Sony DSC-P9 for some time but took a chance with the S50 sight unseen, with a few recommendations, and my expectations have been well exceded. Excellent image quality and easy to learn interface with ample effect, memory, and capture options are not compromised by the camera's size (slightly chunkier than the Sony, but still slips into a pocket easily). Crisp and bright image replay on the rear color LCD monitor. Easy downloads to PC with USB and unimposing Canon software, and fairly quick battery recharge too. This is a really great compact digital camera for those looking for great images in different conditions without a bulky, intrusive large body reflex. The movie capture is better than on previous Canon models, though still slightly choppy at 12 frames per second (not that making movies is your first choice in features for selecting pocket cameras). Nonetheless, after looking around I believe this is the best deal for quality/function/money versus size in the compact digital camera market.A+
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware the sliding door of doom, December 15, 2003
This review is from: Canon PowerShot S50 5MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
The Canon PowerShot S50 is a terrific small digital camera. It packs in an amazing array of features, starting with the generous maximum 5 megapixel image size (you can make them smaller to conserve space on the CompactFlash card). Several modes are available to you such as Sports (high shutter-speed and high resolution shots), Portrait, Night, etc. You can put it in complete Idiot Mode (okay, Automatic mode) and let it select your shutter speed and aperture, or you can pick one or the other and let the camera pick the missing one, or you can go full into Manual mode and pick both. There's even a Movie mode, complete with sound!
This small camera fits in a purse easily (okay, not a small purse), and doesn't get in the way if you're shouldering it in a case (not included). That means the optical zoom is limited to 3x. And unfortuately, the S50, like all the PowerShot S family, starts out at 11mm, which is a very wide-angle value. Even at 3X you will only come in to 55mm, often not as close as you'd expect. There is a digital zoom, but so what? Crop your picture in software later rather than play with that silly feature. But getting back to the range, I found it insufficient for shooting
across a large (but crowded) room. If you work closer in this won't be a problem.
I agree the sliding door that covers the lens (and turns on the camera) seems flimsy. That's because it can cause problems. My 3YO niece got ahold of mine and ripped the door off. I was able to reattach it but now it's like a loose tooth, just waiting to fall off again. Even under warranty, my choice was to send it back to Canon for 12 weeks or live with it. I couldn't live without the camera, so I kept it, loose sliding door and all. I've just learned not to lend it to people who can't baby it; a good push and that door is off the camera again.
Then I bought a Canon Digital Rebel, which is an even better camera, but not the same type as the S50 at all. The latter can fit into a generous shirt pocket; the Digital Rebel is a big ol' digital SLR (single-lens reflex camera, a through-the-lens viewfinder, typically with interchangeable lenses).
One of the S50's limitations is a slow shutter response. I can't tell you how many shots I've missed using it; I frame it lovingly, I see the perfect moment, I shoot... but no score. The people have moved on, the sun has set, the universe suffers heat-death, and finally the shutter clicks. If you want a fast shutter then you must have a digital SLR, as almost all the compact-style digital cameras such as this one have the delayed shutter issue. Another note of annoyance on the PowerShot S family: they come with a wrist strap but no shoulder strap. I don't know what use a wrist strip is for a camera; if I'm not using it then I want my hands free. I bought a generic shoulder strap but it wasn't a great fit. At least Canon should offer one as an extra-cost accessory.
I still give this camera 4 stars for putting so many features in such a small package. The pictures are reasonably good, and at this size you can crop plenty out and still print good 4x6 inch images. The PowerShot S50 comes with software, but you'll probably want to buy your own image editing package. The one provided is fairly limited. Useful software includes PhotoStitch, which allows you to make your own panaramic style images from a series of linked shots. The included CompactFlash card is also too small for typical use, so plan on buying a bigger card.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Speed vs Feature (Form Factor) Tradeoff, May 22, 2003
By 
wcc2 (Washington DC) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Canon PowerShot S50 5MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
This is my fourth digital camera. After owning two intro models (Olympus D490 and D460) I went in the pursuit of speed. Speed being defined on four dimensions: (1) bootup/startup time, (2) delay between depressing shutter button and digital capture, (3) lag between consecutive shots, (4) lens apeture (for low light conditions). Before the Powershot S50 I was (and still am) using an Olympus C3040, which is the main comparitor for this review. In this price range last year the C3040 was one of the fastest cameras out there due to a 32Mb RAM buffer built into the camera and its F1.8 lens.
My sense is that the Powershot S50 and all of its competitors have excellent features - many modes, manual overrides, etc. For the most part, just reading the specs is enough for getting a sense of these features.
What is purely experiential - what requires owning and experiencing - is how fast the camera is (on the above four dimensions). The S50 is pretty fast. Bootup about 3 seconds. Delay between pressing shutter button and capture about 1 second. Lag between consecutive shoots about 1 second (I took consecutive shoots using the same fixed composition, flash off, new batteries, repeatedly pressing shutter button very quickly). These speeds are all slightly slower than the C3040. Boot is almost the same, shutter delay almost identical, and S50 was a touch slower between consecutive shoots (after the 6th or 7th shot the S50 was lagging behind). Apeture the Canon has a slower lens (F2.8 vs F1.8). Overall the S50 is a fast camera.
Obviously in the S50's favor is form factor (which is one reason why the lens is smaller, leading to a less fast lens (higher F-stop). It is a much smaller package than the C3040, which means that I'll be carrying it around more often.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT!, April 13, 2003
By 
Brian Keeley (Trappe, PA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Canon PowerShot S50 5MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
Tried (and by that i mean bought, used, and returned) quite a few cameras before finally deciding on this one. Has the best mix of features and performance of all the ones i tried (Canon G3, Nikon 4300, Nikon 4500, Canon S45). Would definitely recommend this camera, it has great AF (especially with the AF light) and takes amazing photos. Colors a brilliant, and everything is sharp and beautiful. Buy this camera, and also a second battery!
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Canon does it again., February 8, 2004
This review is from: Canon PowerShot S50 5MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I think I've found the perfect digital camera. Check out the positives and negatives with the PowerShot S50.
Positives: (where do I begin?)
* Made of solid, sturdy metal. Feels like a real camera not a cheap plastic toy like other digital cameras.
* Has features galore!!! Has standard features plus some pretty nice extras such as:
-customizable flash-can change the strength of the flash, helping to prevent washed out pictures which is common with most digital cameras when you use the flash.
-flips landscapes pictures that would normally appear sideways. the camera lets you flip these pictures rightside up so you won't have to do it on your computer.
-can take panoramic pictures.
-the camera is customizable! What does this mean? This camera lets you customize the startup screen. You have an option between clear blue water, evening skyline or a sitting bird. You can change the startup sound, your options include a default theme, science fiction and animal sounds(dog barking or bird chirping). These sounds are designed to presumably match the startup screens but they can be mix and matched. The shutter also has various sounds you can choose from. All these sounds can, of course, be turned off.
-this list goes on and on. Check this camera out to see everything.
* Superb true true-to-life daytime and night pictures.
* Pictures come out crisp and sharp with or without the flash, in brightly lit or darky lit areas.
* What you see is what you get. What you see on the LCD screen is usually how the pictures will appear on your computer monitor or when you print them out. The LCD, when you press lightly on the shutter button, will show you actually how the picture will appear once viewed on screen or on paper. So if your LCD has a bright contrast and you are in a dark room, when you press the shutter button lightly, the LCD will adjust itself to the actual lighting of the room. There will be no deception and you won't have to wonder why the pictures look lighter on the LCD than on the computer screen or in print.
* Can record mini movies with sound.
* Uses compact flash card.
* Unbeatable price.
There is much, much more that I can add on to this list but you will have get this camera and see for yourself.
Negatives:
* Joystick navigator takes some getting used to. Very hard to maneuver through the menus resulting in accidently going to the wrong options.
* There is no power button. You have to shut the lens' lid to turn off the camera. This makes me nervous. I'm always scared that this will somehow damage the lens.
* The macro setting isn't the best. Sometimes the macro pictures can appear blurry.
* Uses the very expensive NB-2L rechargable battery as opposed to inexpensive, more common rechargables such as NiMHs or other types. Plus NB-2Ls can only be used with PowerShot S30, S40, S50 cameras and Elura 40mc camcorders.
Get the Canon PowerShot S50 if you want superior quality in a small package.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfied, March 4, 2004
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Canon PowerShot S50 5MP Digital Camera w/ 3x Optical Zoom (Electronics)
I'm new to digital photography. This camera was fairly intuitive to master. The accompanying software is excellent and makes downloads to the computer painless.
It takes stunningly good photos, and that's the important thing. The video quality, however, is yucko. Don't buy the camera thinking that you'll take great short clips as part of the package. You won't.
Why didn't I give it 5 stars?
1) It is slow on the draw when you snap a pic. Just a little too long for it to capture the scene so that you can move on to another pic.
2) The sliding door on the front is, so far, sturdy but it sure feels wobbly and breakable. I don't care for it.
3) The all-in-one function button in the back is sensitive to the slightest pressure in the wrong direction, especially if you make a selection and then press straight down (the dreaded middle position). Ugh, what an awful idea.
4) Forget the memory card that comes with the camera. Canon, just put the higher-capacity card in the camera. We all know that disk space costs practically nothing, and the card you give us is pathetic (it seems all camera manufacturers do this, and I wish they would just stop the cutesy games on this matter).
Bottom line to potential buyers: If I had to do it over again, I'd get the same camera. Others here have mentioned all the good points, and I agree with them.
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