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Setiprime Dec 29, 2005 5:15 PM

First off , I should mention that I have been shooting for 40+ years in various pro and semi-professional capacities. I currently shoot outdoor horse events during the season here in Michigan using a Canon 20D and several L lenses. I decided I wanted a nice little camera to pack around on a daily basis just for the fun of it. A 30lb. backpack gets a little cumbersome for casual use photography.

I read as many opinions and PROBLEM threads as I could find,on this and other forums. I read several reviews, both paid and more importantly those from users. Next, I went out and did several hands on trials, to get the feel and "pretend" to use the controls. It is amazing how ignorant some sales clerks are as they try to sound like authorities on a given unit. Anyhow; I bought the S2 from Circuit City with a $50 rebate.

I also bought a 1Gb. SanDisk UltraII flash card. Canon gives you a set of cheap alkaline batteries to get you started, so I bought 8 NIMH batts and a 1 hour charger.

The size and quality of the lens was a prime reason for my choosing this camera. Learned a long time ago that good glass is critical. In use it is impressive. Having owned 3 or 4 Fixed lens (Point and shoot) I fully expected startup time to be irritatingly slow, 1st nice surprise - a tad over a second to start (including the lens extending).
The next nice surprise was - no appreciable shutter lag ! It is just plain not there.
As I work my way into the various functions and menus I find that Canon has indeed given us the first SERIOUS fixed lens digital.
the IS is very effective (within reason) and got me otherwise marginal shots. Zoom speed is fast when using the control.Fully extended brace the unit or a tripod for sure. IS isn't perfect and shouldn't be expected to compensate for camera movement in all situations.
Burst rate is very nice set on Hi-speed.
Read a lot of complaints regarding "soft" images. Coming from the DSLR world, I just do not see it - I do a little USM and that is all it seems to need.
Color is very good with perhaps a bit more blue/green than I like - but again I'm still learning the camera and WB can be easily compensated for.

All in all I think Canon has a darned good unit in the S2 IS. Give me some time and i'll post stuff on my gallery site at

Stay tuned. Jon F.

overworkedbean Dec 29, 2005 8:30 PM

What a straightforward post. It's good to read your impressions. I'll look forward to your photos.

roxydog Dec 30, 2005 7:15 AM

Good summary Jon - i have to agree on all points you mentioned. I, to, am mystified by the soft image - focus phenonoma and no one can seem to explain what it actually is and as you say a bit ofUSM does the trick.

You seem to know what you are talking about - so could you explain it easily.And also if shooting full zoom(454mm) is it right that you need a shutter speed of 450 for a steady shot (or less because of the IS) as a rule??

Looking foward to your pics as well Cheers Dom

Setiprime Dec 30, 2005 4:45 PM

Roxydog - On the DSLR forums, one of the first things new owners gripe/complain/grump about is the "images-are-not-sharp". This goes back to all the "snapshots" you got from the labs. Your prints were supplied oversaturated and oversharpened giving them that "Crisp" look. A lifetime of that and your brain says MY images are not the same. In truth, do to many technical factors, a small degree of post processing is required to strike a compromise for most images.

Regarding the camera movement when you are 'zoomed' in. the S2 is fairly light and if you are holding it away from your body (using the LCD as a viewfinder) and zoomed in, just breathing is going to move the camera about. My 20D with a 70/200 lens attached weighs about 6Lbs, and it is close in to my body. the weight and position alone make for a steady position.

Use the viwfinder - control your breathing - lean against something or brace yourself - use the fastest shutter speed you can, and things should improve. Wind steady or gusty is the shooters worst enemy - try it on a blustery day.

roxydog Dec 30, 2005 5:03 PM

Thanks for the reply Jon

I don't use theviewfinder as much as i should -usually when it's too bright for the screen - and you're right, steadyness is improved .Thanks for advice.

Cheers Dom

JockScott Dec 31, 2005 1:57 PM

I bought a Canon S1 IS recently as my first venture into digital. Reading this thread makes me think that I made a good choice.

As for using the viewfinder instead of the screen, I have a hard time using the screen. (Film cameras don't have screens .. :roll:)

Thanks, JS

Setiprime Dec 31, 2005 4:40 PM

Just added a new thread - S2 2nd impressions with link to photo samples.

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