The Good Tons of manual and automatic features; well-laid-out controls; solid body; nice LCD display.
The Bad Lens aberrations and vignetting; some processing artifacts; lacks raw file support; redesigned lens cap still pops off too easily.
The Bottom Line Though it remains a good megazoom, thanks to continued image and lens artifacts, the Canon PowerShot S5 IS is slowly losing ground to competitors.
Canon PowerShot S5 IS
There was a lot to like about the Canon PowerShot S3 IS, and much of it remains in this year's PowerShot S5 IS, including Canon's veteran optical image-stabilization technology, excellent metering and focusing systems, the signature flip-and-twist LCD display, and a hefty set of manual and semimanual controls. The S5 IS bumps up to 8 megapixels from the S3's 6-megapixel sensor, increases the LCD size from 2 to 2.5 inches, and adds trendy bonus features like face-detection autofocus/autoexposure, maximum sensitivity of ISO 1600, and an ISO-shift mode that lets you jack up the setting with a button press when the camera tells you the shutter speed is too slow. We can thank the upgrade to a Digic III processor for many of the new capabilities.
I liked my description of the S3 IS so much I'll use it again for the S5 IS: its aesthetic seems to be a cross between those of a classic Volkswagen Beetle and a Busy Box. But somehow, it still works. It's gained a few ounces over the year, up to a not-so-svelte 1 pound, 3.4 ounces. The larger LCD has also caused some middle-age spread, widening the camera to 4.6 inches. However, it remains comfortable to hold, reasonably fluid to operate--once you know where everything is--and feels as solid as the aforementioned classic car.
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