Furthermore, to maintain the same focal range with the lens across different sensors, Canon has had to keep each sensor size to 1/2.5-inch; unfortunately, the weaknesses of the lens/sensor combo either becomes more evident as resolutions climb, or we're just tired of seeing the same old problems. For the S5 IS, that means asymmetrical vertical distortion on the left side accompanied by ever-present aberration in the form of cyan and magenta fringing--not just at high-contrast edges, where we expect it, but at medium-contrast boundaries as well.
Image noise seems about average for its class. As a rule, you really don't want to rise above ISO 200; at that point, color noise becomes measurably and visibly apparent. You could probably get away with ISO 400 for certain types of scenes, but beyond that, you lose tonal range and detail.
I'm also split down the middle on image quality. Color looks great; it pops but manages to stay shy of oversaturated. White balance is excellent under a variety of conditions. But even at its sharpest, the S5 IS' photos generally look overprocessed and a bit smeary. Some of that fades to obscurity when you print, but if you're planning to crop your photos, it will become quite noticeable.
Canon's VGA 30fps motion-JPEG movie capture continues to be among the best we've seen--the tradeoff is a file size of about 2MB per second--though like most, it performs best when there's only some centralized motion. A lot of motion around the scene results in increased motion and compression artifacts.
With competitors like the
Shooting speed (in seconds) (Shorter bars indicate better performance)