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Canon Powershot S2 IS 5MP Digital Camera with 12x Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (OLD MODEL)
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- 5.0-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality 13 x 17-inch prints
- 12x optical zoom; 1.8-inch vari-angle LCD display
- Records VGA film at 30 frames per second with stereo sound; includes wind filter and adjustable levels for sound
- MovieSnap feature allows you to capture a 5.0 MP still image while recording a movie; also features digital zoom and manual focus options for movies
- Powered by four AA-size batteries; stores images on SD memory cards
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|Auto Focus Technology|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||2.4 fps|
|Display Resolution Maximum||115,000|
|Display Size||1.8 inches|
|Effective Still Resolution||5 MP|
|Expanded ISO Maximum||400|
|Expanded ISO Minimum||50|
|External Memory Included||Yes|
|Flash Memory Type||SD/MMC card|
|Flash Type||Built-in Flash|
|Focus Description||TTL, FlexiZone|
|Focus Type||Autofocus & Manual|
|ISO Range||Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400|
|Image Aspect Ratio||4:3|
|Item Dimensions||3.07 x 2.99 x 4.45 inches|
|Item Weight||1.11 pounds|
|Macro Focus Range||10 cm|
|Maximum Aperture Range||F2.7 - F3.5|
|Maximum Focal Length||432 mm|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/3200 of a second|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||2,592|
|Minimum Focal Length||36 mm|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||15 seconds|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||5 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Photo Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Removable Memory||Secure Digital card|
|Shipping Weight||3.15 pounds|
|Supported Battery Types||AA (4) batteries (NiMH recommended)|
|Video Capture Resolution||640 x 480, 15/30 fps with stereo audio, unlimited|
|Water Resistance Level||Not Water Resistant|
From the Manufacturer
Now there's no need to interrupt your movie when you see a great shot. With the S2 IS's new MovieSnap feature, you can simply press the shutter to capture a full 5.0-megapixel still image at any time while recording a movie.
True motion pictures with high-end options
Wait until you see the difference that 30-frames-per-second VGA continuous movie recording makes in your films. You'll hear the difference, too: the S2 IS is equipped to record in stereo, with a high sampling rate, adjustable microphone level setting, and wind filter option for excellent sound quality. The camera even allows digital zooming and manual focus during movie recording.
Advanced imaging technology improves every photo
DIGIC II Image Processor
Canon's DIGIC II Image Processor is designed to improve processing speed and image quality, so the DIGIC II processor provides markedly faster camera startup, autofocus, and playback plus it assures that every image is more colorfully vibrant.
iSAPS Technology is an entirely original scene-recognition technology developed for digital cameras by Canon. Using an internal database of thousands of different photos, iSAPS works with the fast DIGIC II Image Processor to improve focus speed and accuracy, as well as exposure and white balance.
Fastest performance standard
PowerShot S2 IS supports the USB 2.0 Hi-Speed standard, so you'll enjoy the highest possible data transfer speeds when using a USB 2.0 compatible computer. The camera's performance level is high enough to take full advantage of super-high-speed SD memory cards as well.
Bright and sharp, the camera's power-saving LCD monitor measures a full 1.8 inches with a stunning 115,000 pixel resolution. With it, you can view your scene before and after you shoot it with extraordinary clarity. And when you're shooting at dusk or at night, Night Display function lets you see the display clearly. It brightens the object by reducing the frame rate on the LCD screen.
A substantial lineup of available accessories
PowerShot S2 IS lets you add value and take your photography even further with optional accessories. Wide-angle converter and teleconverter lenses prepare you for capturing any shot perfectly, while a high-power flash doubles your flash range for pro-level illumination.
The complete print solutions
|Canon Direct Printers|
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For desktop large-format printing, try one of the direct photo printers, which allow you to print directly in one of two ways: plug the compatible PowerShot camera into the direct photo printer using the supplied cable, or simply insert a memory card with supplied adapter. You can also connect the printer to your computer for more options. Print high resolution borderless images in post card size or 8.5-by-11-inch size within minutes.
What's in the Box
PowerShot S2 IS body, neck strap NS-DC3, AA-size Alkaline batteries (x4), stereo video cable STV-250N, interface cable IFC-400PCU, SD memory card SDC-16MB, digital camera solution CD-ROM, and lens cap.
Read about our customers' top-rated cameras on our review page: Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Top Customer Reviews
Some brands of digicams sport German or other Euro lenses. Some will no doubt argue, but after 35 years of being an active photographer, and a tech type of person, I feel that nobody makes high end lenses better than Canon makes them, and nobody makes more lenses that qualify as high end than Canon either.
The lens mounted on the S2 IS is the best of it's class. Even compared to quality SLR zoom lenses, it is a premium product. The camera is not a pocket cam, and does not pretend to replace one. Then again, it can do what no pocket cam can ever dream of, and can compete heads up with most digital SLR's in the hands of most people who buy a digital SLR. Truth is, most people who spend the bucks on a digital SLR would get far more from the purchase of an S2 IS.
The 5mp sensor produces 8x10 prints that rival 35mm quality. The VGA movie mode is simply awesome, and the DIGIC II chip is the same one that powers top of the line SLR's, which means outstanding speed from startup to shutdown. The selection of modes on this camera is incredible, yet it is easy to make a quick shot that looks great no matter what the situation. The continuous shot speed of 2.4 FPS is plenty when you consider that it isn't a burst mode. If you have a 1 gig memory card plugged in, it will shoot at the top speed until the card is full (around 600 pics at max resolution). The intervalometer function is a real treat, as you can shoot time lapse pics with a press of a button, and you have full control of how often the shutter trips, and for how long.
A 1 gig memory card will give you just over eight minutes of VGA movie time with high quality stereo sound. For most functions that don't call for a DV tape camera, 8 minutes of high quality TV screen sized full motion video is a long time. Consider that an old "super eight" film camera was only good for 3 minutes per reel, had no stereo sound, and wasn't as smooth as the S2's 30 FPS speed. Then there is the IS function. Between reviews and first hand experience, nobody makes an image stabilizing system as good as Canon makes it. It works in spectacular fashion for both still pics, and movies.
OK, other reviwers will compare specs, and show that the S2 IS is the top dog in the most useful class of cameras to hit the market in a long time. I just want to make sure that people thinking about buying a digital SLR look at the S2 first. I bought the S2, the lens hood, and lens adaptor, a closeup lens for use at max telephoto, a wide angle lens, a telephoto extender lens, a set of Hoyo UV and Polorizing filters, and a fine quality camera bag for under $1,000. My next purchase will be a slave flash to extend the flash range of the camera. The model offered by Canon is pretty cheap, and there are others to consider.
The bottom line is that the S2 is larger than a pocket cam, but much smaller and lighter than an SLR, and can beat the average SLR package to near death right out of the box for most shooting situations. Equip the S2 with a handful of accessories, and the casual SLR owner will have to spend thousands of Dollars on lenses, accessories, and a reasonable video camera just to keep up.
The S2 is a major compromise if you make a living taking pictures, and choose to spend thousands in order to make sure that you can handle every situation that pops up, but the S2 and a full compliment of accesories will fit in a medium small camera bag, weigh very little, and capture 95% of your shots just as well for under a grand. And it does awesome image stabilized still pics and movies.
I suspect that more than half of the people who buy digital SLR's would have been far better off with an S2, and would be enjoying new features well into the first Months of ownership. If you have the itch to step up, and you are torn between an SLR and a S2, buy the S2. You will be thrilled with what the UPS guy delivers. Buy the SLR in two or three more years. They might break out of the mold, and be ready for prime time in the consumer market by then.
Last note. I took my first pic with the S2 set to auto, flash on, at 12x zoom. I was sitting on my couch 18 feet away from my kitchen in dim evening light, with one incandescent light burning near my couch. I focused on a box of Cheerios sitting on top of my refrigerator (unlike many earlier digicams, the S2 locked on in a flash), and snapped the pic. The box was in a 3/4 view, so I could see the side panel, and the front face. Reviewing the pic on the camera, I was able to clearly read even the finest print on the side panel of that box. Take a look at the print on the side of a standard sized box of Cheerios next time you are in the market, and imagine snapping a handheld shot from 18 feet away, and reading every word in sharp detail on the camera display afterwards. Canon knows how to make a proper lens. And yes, Canon does Linux. I have been Windoze free for several years now, but free open source apps work fine with this camera, and I heard a rumor (I will try it soon on my Xandros box) that the Canon Win apps run under Crossover Office for Linux. Meanwhile, the camera app included in SuSE 9.3 communicates with the S2 as a PTP device with no problems.
Update - 7.10.05.
I have now used the camera for a little longer time, and had the chance to compare it more closely to it's Panasonic and Sony competitors. The S2 holds up like a champ. It has (by far) the best movie functionality among the three, and allows full and quiet use of the zoom capability of the camera while shooting movie clips. The stereo sound has amazing quality, and the built in wind screen function for the microphones work like a charm. The image stabilizer also does a fine job of eliminating vertical jitter when shooting a movie, yet does not interfere with zooming and panning at all. The zoom rate in movie mode makes for smooth operation, without a hint of lens motor noise spoiling the finished movie. Auto focus, and auto exposure during movie shooting are nothing less than spectacular. The S2 is simply the best TV quality movie taking still camera on the market. Period.
Memory cards.. I now have two SanDisk Extreme III 1 gig SD cards. They are flawless, and can shoot almost 600 full size pictures at a clip in 2.4 fps high speed continuous mode without a glitch. A good set of rechargeable batteries are able to keep up as well. None of the othe other cameras in this class can match it. I read from one reviewer that the Lexar 32x cards, and the SanDisk Extreme II cards work just as well. If so, it can save you about $20 per card. The more cards you have, the more movie time you can record.
On the primary still image side, I have concluded that it is a tight battle between the top brands, but Canon still retains it's title as the manufacturer of the overall best premium lenses. That's not a slap directed at the other two, as they all represent incredible optical quality. One area where the S2 is a clear winner is in function controls. Once you get used to the button layout, it is possible to execute very quick shooting decisions by pressing the right button, rather than roaming through nested menus. The other area is the Image Stabilizer. The Canon Image Stabilizer beats the offering from the other two hands down in both functionality, and user control. It is so good, you can take a handheld pic at 1/60 to 1/30 of a second at max zoom (nearly 500 mm compared to a 35 mm SLR), and clearly read the license plate of a subject vehicle located several hundred yards away from the camera.
Try that with a handeld SLR that does not have an image stabilized lens that alone costs more than the entire S2 package... The above issues are among the most important in the real world, and Canon delivers. Speed of startup, focusing, continuous shooting, and shutdown are close between the top three cameras, and Canon is not the fastest in all areas, but it has the best balance across the board. The final result will not only impress those who view your work, it will also impress you. Again, the ultimate margin from one to the next is small, but Canon offers the most complete package.
To sum up the update, the S2 has a very fast learning curve, outstanding accessory lenses, and overall best in class quality. I bounced mine off the asphalt from about three feet today with no ill effects. I wouldn't suggest you try it, but it survived just fine. The only scratch was to the ring of the Hoya UV filter I had attached to the lens (Thank God). If you are looking for the top camera in the new top consumer camera class, the S2 is it. Buy it and be real happy about how you spent your money.
[Follow-up to the review below, after over 18 months of use]: Still delighted with this gem. Used a 1GB SandDisk Ultra II SD card for about a year, and when prices dropped I bought a 2GB off brand card to enable taking more videos too, before running out of space prior to downloading. Not too many complaints: it's battery-thirsty as noted below. Solved that with two sets of rechargables and a cheap recharger for about $20 total. When shooting video it has an annoying flashing light at the front that can distract the subject, so you have to cover it with a finger while holding it. But, the pictures and detail are amazing, the zoom/macro/supermacro features are top notch and invaluable. It still blows away many newer cameras with more pixels per image, but poorer/smaller optics and reliance on digital zoom to make up for gathering more light via the lens and zooming in BEFORE digital "zoom" cropping. Was on vacation last week and used someone else's new digital competitor to take their picture, and it was good, but not as good. The newer camera didn't fit well in my hands, took a picture that didn't color match well with true colors photographed, and had a klutzy-microbutton-interface. Thought I paid a LOT for the Canon when it first came out, but was happy with all the features. Now, almost two years later I'm even happier I made the purchase. It still blows away the competition!]
==============[original review follows]============================
I'm not a deeply experienced digital camera buff. But, I'm fairly tech literate, have a very critical eye for color, detail, and composition for photos and painting, and I did my homework on this purchase. Tried out Kodak, Nikon, and Konica cameras with similar MP and zoom specs and features, and the Canon Powershot S1. Didn't even KNOW the store had this Canon S2 model in yet, and stumbled across it. The better quality in its clarity, color and sharpness images was IMMEDIATELY apparent. So, too, was the ease with which I could quickly navigate the settings (as a complete novice) and find what would get me a dynamite shot. I've had it less than 24 hours and have tested out its Macro, Super Macro, optical zoom, optical + digital zoom, autofocus, and a few other settings. With Macro and Super Macro I'm already getting professional quality images with detail, exact color, and clarity that would blow you away. Other settings are good, but my skill in applying them is lacking so the compositions are not stellar.
Other competing cameras did not come close to matching the color reproduction of the Canon, nor did they match the image clarity, ease of handling, set up of menus... Most were not a patch on this camera. In fact, with the exception of the Nikon and Konica Minolta Z5, the Canon Powershot S1 beat most of the 5 MP cameras for color and clarity, too. So, if money is an issue you might consider whether you would be happy with 8"x10" as a maximum enlargement and go with the 3.2 MP Canon instead. But, if you want 5MP detail, high-speed 48x zoom with image stabilization, color and clarity that will blow you away, plus features and form organized to make it a breeze to use...get the Powershot S2.
It's expensive, but WORTH EVERY PENNY. While you've got your pocketbook open, plan on getting over to Wally World and buying a good 1hr recharger and two sets of 4 NIMH batteries for this puppy, plus at least one 1GB high-speed SD card (San Disk Ultra II or Lexar 32x). You should be able to cram in about 800 full-size, full detail 1.2 MB photos on a single SD card that way. If you can get a better deal on 512 MB SD cards and wonder if you should get several of those instead of one whopping big 1GB card, go for it. Swapping the card out is a breeze. If you plan on needing more, memory is getting cheaper every day. But be sure to get the high speed stuff to save on batteries and keep the options open for fast continuous shooting.
I am running a Gateway tablet PC with Windows XP and haven't even installed the Canon photo shop type software for image manipulation. But, with XP it's plug-and-play to download images. I hooked up the USB cable and in a snap my test photos were downloaded to a folder under MyPictures. No muss, no fuss, no setup, not learning new software...a breeze.
Bought this camera to satisfy my desire to get telephoto shots and macro close ups for artsy photog hobbying, selling stuff online, bird- and animal-watching. Also got it to satisfy my wife's need for a portrait camera that would allow fast shooting without a lot of composition set-up, yet have enough megapixel detail to allow it to be cropped later and still blow up if need be. This bad boy has it all, and then some. I am delighted with it and haven't even begun to tap its potential.