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  DSLR Tips

Canon PowerShot S5 IS Gordon Laing, February 2008

Canon PowerShot S5 IS gallery

The following images were taken with the Canon PowerShot S5 IS. The Canon PowerShot S5 IS was set to Large Superfine JPEG mode, Auto White Balance, Evaluative Metering and with My Colours set to Off. The Image Stabilisation was enabled for all these handheld shots.

The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS2 as JPEGs with the default Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS2 and saved with the default High quality preset.

The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Landscape: 3.38MB, Program mode, 1/500, f4, ISO 80, 6-72mm at 6mm (equivalent to 36mm)

  Our first shot as always was taken at the lowest sensitivity under bright light, so represents perfect conditions.

There's certainly plenty of detail in the shots and only the slightest fringing given the high contrast subject matter.

Pixel peepers will however notice the finest smattering of noise here - nothing to be overly concerned about, but it's certainly not a perfectly clean result.

Landscape: 5.21MB, Program mode, 1/400, f4, ISO 100, 6-72mm at 6mm (equivalent to 36mm)

    Our second shot was again taken under bright conditions with the lens zoomed-out, and this time with the sensitivity increased slightly to 100 ISO.

The crops again reveal lots of fine detail, but there's noticeable red fringing on high contrast subjects near the edge of the frame.

This effect plagues many of the S5 IS images, but you'd only notice on big prints or enlargements.

Landscape: 2.70MB, Program mode, 1/1250, f4, ISO 100, 6-72mm at 72mm (equivalent to 432mm)

  The PowerShot S5 IS has a powerful 12x zoom and the following three images were taken at the maximum focal length - and equivalent of 432mm.

This has allowed us to get close to the action here, although even at 100 ISO there's slight noise in flat colour or shadow areas.

There's also some evidence of the red fringing.

Landscape: 4.32MB, Program mode, 1/1600, f5.6, ISO 200, 6-72mm at 72mm (equivalent to 432mm)

    In this second shot at the maximum focal length we've increased the sensitivity to 200 ISO and there's a noticeable increase in noise as a result.

There's also a reduction in contrast, but perhaps the biggest concern is the red fringing, again apparent in high contrast areas towards the edges.

Once again though, these wouldn't be an issue on smaller prints.

Wildlife: 1.94MB, Program mode, 1/1600, f5.6, ISO 200, 6-72mm at 72mm (equivalent to 432mm)

  The 432mm equivalent focal length is ideal for getting close to wildlife.

This is an uncropped shot taken with the S5 IS fully zoomed-in at a sensitivity of 200 ISO.

The crops reveal fine details, but also visible textures from noise. Unlike many super-zooms, Canon has chosen to take a mild approach to noise reduction.

As such there's little smearing at higher sensitivities, but there are visible speckles.


Portrait: 3.52MB, Program mode, 1/500, f8, ISO 200, 6-72mm at 15mm (equivalent to 90mm)

  This portrait shot was taken with the lens zoomed-into around the 3x mark at a sensitivity of 200 ISO. We manually opened the flash to reduce harsh shadows.

The S5 IS has done a good job of balancing the ambient and flash light.

Pixel peepers will again notice visible noise in areas of flat colour.

Macro: 4.95MB, Program mode , 1/1600, f8, ISO 400, 6-72mm at 6mm (equivalent to 36mm)

  The PowerShot S5 IS has a very impressive super-macro mode which can focus as close as zero cm - that's right, with the subject literally pressed against the lens.

Getting that close can be tricky without casting shadows, but this shot was taken as close as the components allowed at a sensitivity of 400 ISO.

There's an increase in noise, but this subject matter is quite forgiving.


Macro: 4.27MB, Program mode, 1/1000, f8, ISO 400, 6-72mm at 6mm (equivalent to 36mm)

    This macro shot was taken within a few cm of the flowers at a low angle made much easier by the flip-out screen.

A steady breeze was wobbling the flowers so we used a sensitivity of 400 ISO to allow a fast shutter speed and avoid motion blur.

Here the increased noise levels are more obvious than in the previous example, but there's still a decent amount of detail.

Indoor: 4.35MB, Program mode, 1/60, f2.7, ISO 400, 6-72mm at 6mm (equivalent to 36mm)

  Our first indoor shot was taken with the lens zoomed-out at a sensitivity of 400 ISO.

Often this location results in underexposed images, but the S5 IS did a good job of metering the shot.

Pixel peepers will notice quite visible noise artefacts at 100%.

Again these won't be a big issue on smaller prints, but those who like viewing on-screen at 100% should stick to lower sensitivities.

Indoor: 2.94MB, Program mode, 1/15, f2.7, ISO 800, 6-72mm at 6mm (equivalent to 36mm)

  Our second indoor shot was taken with the sensitivity increased to 800 ISO, and again the S5 IS has avoided underexposing.

As you'd expect, there's an increase in noise, but unlike many cameras which attempt to smear out any evidence of noise speckles, Canon has left them here.

As such, there's still quite a lot of detail in the image and you have the choice of applying noise reduction later if desired.

Indoor: 4.92MB, Program mode, 1/60, f3.2, ISO 1600, 6-72mm at 6mm (equivalent to 36mm)

  Our third and final high ISO indoor shot was taken at the S5 IS's maximum sensitivity of 1600 ISO.

Here the noise levels have increased to a point where they're visible even in the reduced-size image, so unsurprisingly the 100% crops leave much to be desired. 1600 ISO is really only for very small prints or emergency use.

it is interesting though to see Canon's hands-off approach to noise reduction when rivals would smear it out at any cost.


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