Customer Review

162 of 164 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great camera!, July 8, 2007
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This review is from: Canon PowerShot Pro Series S5 IS 8.0MP Digital Camera with 12x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (OLD MODEL) (Electronics)
I'm very happy with the S5 I bought to replace an S3 -- except, as noted elesewhere, I hate that the SD card is now in the battery compartment. The hot shoe (external flash socket) is a HUGE help, since the builtin flash on these cameras is pretty wimpy. The camera takes unbelievably good pictures and has excellent first shot and shot-to-shot times (it helps if you use the Energizer e2 Lithium Batteries). Although the S5 weighs about 4 oz more than the S3 (About 20 oz vs 16 oz inclding batteries), its construction "feels more rugged."

BTW, I don't know that you need to wait for larger cards for bigger movies, etc. I use an 8gb SDHC card now. Be careful, though, which SDHC cards you get. Even with Sandisk's attempt to standardize the speeds, I found that an A-Data "class 6" SDHC card was about 25-35% of the speed of my Transcend class 6 card. Also, remember that you need an SDHC card reader (I got mine from meritline for $5).
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 9, 2007 9:56:21 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 28, 2008 5:48:07 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2007 4:28:25 AM PDT
If you plan on using the movie mode in this camera I would get bigger and faster cards. Either 2 "class 6" 4 gig cards or the "class 6" transend 8 gig card mentioned in the review.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2007 8:49:45 PM PDT
Scott G says:
I suggest getting a 4gb SDHC card (actually, I think 4gb SD card *might* also work) and a 2gb card for "just in case" -- nothing like being on a trip and having your only SD card suddenly die (it's happened to me). Make sure you get a fast card, though....

Posted on Nov 10, 2007 9:24:40 AM PST
BetsyR says:
I'd love to know the difference between the S5 and the S3. I have the S3 and am not happy with the shutter lag on taking pictures of animals - except, of course, in "burst mode". Any suggestions about how to find a comparison of the two?

Posted on Jan 16, 2008 6:38:08 PM PST
Sanjay Anand says:
I am also considering upgrading my s3 to the s5 but mainly for this new "face detection" technology. I find that all too often, when I am taking pics of my kids, the end result is a focus on an object behind the subjects. What is your opinion on the performance of this new technology?

In reply to an earlier post on May 23, 2008 12:01:54 PM PDT
R. Lewis says:
The face detection is almost scary in how smart it is. I've had it recognize things like photos, statues, etc. as faces before. it's also surprisingly fast.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 28, 2008 7:23:32 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 28, 2008 7:25:05 PM PDT
Hi Sanjay, (or anyone else, in case anyone is still reading this thread),

You say you end up focusing on objects behind the subject. Are you focusing the green box on the subject, depressing halfway to lock focus and then reframing the shot? If not, this is the "proper" way to use one of these fully automatic cameras. The rest of this post assumes you are already doing this and still having the problem. Face detection is not necessary.

The face detection algorithm produces an f/stop based on two things: the face nearest the camera, and the face farthest from the camera. The f/stop combined with the focal length should produce a depth of field that is at a minimum the distance between the near and far faces. In other words, Depth of Field is the distance between the nearest in-focus object and the farthest in-focus object, which can be obtained by detecting the nearest and furthest faces. Any extra faces that are detected are extraneous. I personally trust human judgment far more than a face-detection algorithm.

So What Does All This Mean?
Assuming you are using the proper focus/reframe technique: If the camera is still blurring out some parts of the photo, what this means is that the lens is not stopped down far enough to get everything you want in focus.

1) Focus on the subject and depress the shutter half-way.
2) While keeping the shutter depressed half-way, reframe the subject to your liking.
3) Watch the F-stop. Usually on digital cameras, the depth of field is so large that face detection is pointless. All the faces will come out sharp.
4) If the F-stop suggested by the camera's automatic mode is too narrow (i.e. F/2.7) and you have faces that are significantly in front or behind other faces, move the command dial to "Av" (Aperture Priority).
5) Stop down the lens by moving the directional pad to the right to see the f/stop go from f/2.7 to f/3.2 to f/3.5, etc. Because the lens is gyroscopically stabilized on the Canon S3 IS, you can sacrifice shutter speed without blurring images, thus you can stop down much further than what might be feasible on other cameras. I usually stop down to f/4.0 or f/5.6 if possible. Above f/5.6, the picture will begin to lose definition due to sensor diffraction. Do not stop down the lens too much beyond the point where the meter produces a shutter speed longer than 1/focal length or you will see visible blurring due to hand shake. The further the distance in front or behind face (greater DOF), the more you need to stop down. At roughly F/11, the entire frame will be in sharp focus, but every camera is different, you just have to play around to see what works.

I hope this helps someone!! Play around with the aperture and once you become comfortable understanding what kind of DOF you get at each aperture, you will learn that there is no reason to upgrade to a newer camera just to get face detection. I appreciate all corrections/followups/clarifications.
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