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Old Jul 27, 2005, 12:25 AM   #11
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I forgot to mention software. I think it's a shame that the most prolific camera design and production groups in the world have made digital technology the focus of their future, yet mainly support Windows operating systems, support MAC in a reluctant manner, and ignore Linux altogether. There is no excuse for that, in my opinion. If Canon can design and build the DIGICII in house, they can port their supplied apps to MAC and Linux without losing any sleep.

As a Win free Linux user, I'm probably in the minority on this issue, but I'm happy to point out that the S2 is recognized by current Linux camera apps, and that there is no problem downloading pics to a Linux PC. It still would be nice if Canon put forth the effort to make sure that all software features were available to MAC and Linux customers though. Time will tell.

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Old Jul 29, 2005, 1:05 AM   #12
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Gothamgal wrote:
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I bought a Canon Powershot S2 IS today after several days of reading reviews and user feedback on the net. I love it. Here's some background on why I picked the camera, and how the first evening of shooting has gone.

Background: I've been using cameras for more than 30 years.
Great review Gothamgal. I"m on the fence btwn the S2 and an FZ5. The main advantage of the FZ5 (at least that I see), is the quicker focusing.



Have you found the S2 to be a slow focuser? Enough to be an issue anyway?



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Old Jul 29, 2005, 4:04 AM   #13
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The S2 is my first camera with a zoom lens, so I cant realy compare as to how fast it focusses. A friend of mine says it focusses pretty fast in comparison to his Fuji A205 (I should hope so!!)

Low light focussing was very dissapointing to me, until I read that even sony with their holographic fosussing only rates it effective up until 4.5m. In daylight the S2 seems to focus pretty fast for me. Although not fast enough to capture birds in flight as I found out a while back. Those buggers are FAST!!

It all depends on what your needs are. I decided I would rather have the extra features of the S2 than the split second faster focus of the FZ5. For a little more than the S2 you should be able to get a FZ20. Then it becomes a little more interesting. The FZ20 being much closer to SLR type camera than the S2.
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Old Jul 30, 2005, 7:04 PM   #14
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I agree. The S2 is not the fastest focusing prosumer camera on the market, but it is one of the fastest. The difference in speed is slight, and is not a burden by any stretch. The S2 is a very fast focusing, fast shooting camera, and is suitable for action photography. When you add the other features of the S2 to the mix, it becomes tough to beat.

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Old Aug 7, 2005, 11:53 PM   #15
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I couldn't see hardly any difference in the images produced by the FZ5 or FZ20. They both use the exact same sensor, just a slightly nicer lens on the FZ20 according to dpreview.com.
The Sony H1 lens is poor quality.
I like the S2 IS, but it's too heavy. This is partially because it uses 4 AAs instead of a small Lion battery. Some people like it when cameras use AAs because they can always drop by a store and switch to alkalines if need be. I've moved beyond that. You don't buy cell phones or laptops that use NiMH so why use 90's technology NiMH batteries in your camera? I love the smaller, lighter Lion batteries. If you think you'll be shooting more than 300 images, bring an extra battery. An extra one for the FZ5/FZ20 is only about $35-$40 (not a whole lot more than the price of a good charger and 8 AA NiMH batteries).
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Old Aug 8, 2005, 6:04 AM   #16
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Battery:

With the S2 I get about a 1000 pics with mostly EVF use, continuous IS, continuous focusing, and very little flash usage (about 50 of the images, I guess). Its with new 2500mAh's. Granted, thats more than my 512 card can handle.

When will you take more than 600 pics without being able to reacharge? When hiking in the mountains for 5 days, thats when. Also, when reviewing images, and immediately deleteng the worse ones, you can easily take more than a 1000 pics on such a trip with a 512MB card.

FZ20 vs FZ5 :

I cant see a real difference between the cameras either, but the guys in the pana forum might be able to tell you the difference. From what I heard, the FZ20 is an exceptional photographers camera for its class.

Currently I cant think of a single camera I would rather have than my S2. Sure, a $5000 DSLR is a lot better, but not with my limited skills. Pocket cams are smaller and lighter, but lacks the quality and great zoom lens. The S2 is great, easy to use and has lots of nice features for a gadget freak like me.

The FZ30 might change that however. A camera I'd rather HAVE, not BUY. (Im just a poor boy, heh heh)
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Old Aug 15, 2005, 12:09 PM   #17
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Gothamgal wrote:
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I bought a Canon Powershot S2 IS today after several days of reading reviews and user feedback on the net. I love it. Here's some background on why I picked the camera, and how the first evening of shooting has gone.

Background: I've been using cameras for more than 30 years. I've had an Olympus OM-1, a Nikon FM-3HP, a Pentax point & shoot, and an early Canon digital camera (Powershot A50, which has a little more than 1 megapixel resolution). I was looking for a dSLR and had decided to go for the Nikon D70s … but I just couldn't justify the price, especially with the speed at which new cameras are being released. I decided to settle for a smaller and cheaper camera, figuring it would be infinitely better than my 4+ year old A50, and that I would be much more likely to carry it around. I was seriously thinking about the Casio EX-Z750, which has gotten some rave reviews. Then I checked the forums and found a lot of owners have been having lens problems, so I nixed that. Once I discovered I could get both a nice megapixel still camera AND a pseudo-video camera, I narrowed it down to the Canon Powershot S2 IS, the Sony Cybershot DSC-H1 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ5. The Sony and Canon got the best reviews and the Panasonic video capture seemed a little out of date. Sony has better images posted online, but I loved the video options with the Canon and didn't think it seemed that different. So that's how I wound up buying the Canon today.

Right out of the box it was a breeze to use; of course, it doesn't hurt that my other digital is a Canon so some of the buttons/menu options are similar. Still, it is a very intuitive camera to use. I'm both a manual reader and a just-pick-it-up-and-use-it sort of person, and both worked well. The camera comes with a 1-inch thick packet of manuals (although half are in Spanish), so it's pretty thoroughly documented, and you don't read PDF files. However, you can download the manuals from the net if you're so inclined.

Just a few thoughts:

I am an average size woman with relatively large hands. The camera feels quite comfy, maybe a tad small, but still easy to use. The grip is nicely textured.

I've seen some folks talking about the flash and worrying that it isn't automatic. I actually am quite pleased with that. If I want it, I put it up (it flips quite easily). If I don't, I leave it down. This means I don't have to make menu choices or hit other buttons to determine whether or not it works, and it makes it easier not to accidentally use the flash in a museum. My older digital camera required me to hit a button to use the flash, so I don't see this as being a whole lot different. However, I have the added benefit of being able to choose automatic and redeye in the menus and have those choices stick no matter how many times I put the flash up or put it back down. For those who need more help, the camera gives you a warning when it thinks a flash is needed, but it's up to you to decide what to do. I like that a lot.

The swivel LCD is awesome. It's the first one I've had and it made taking a self-portrait fabulously easy. It's bright enough, although outdoors tonight I used the viewfinder instead. You can use one or the other. If you have the LCD turned on or popped out, it's what works. Once you close it, the viewfinder works. I'm not sure you can manually switch between the two.

You can actually preview photos without really having to switch out of shooting mode. You can go from shooting to preview while keeping the lens out and then go right back to shooting with just a quick flick of a switch and no down time. Or you can go into preview mode completely and have the lens shut. It's nice to have the choice. Even the menu screens show up in the viewfinder if you have the LCD closed, although they seem much too close for me to comfortably read. I'd much rather deal with menus on the LCD.

There are two different menu buttons (one is labeled function) and it's a little hard to determine which is the appropriate one to use. I figure after 2 days I'll have this down, but am not sure why Canon didn't just put everything on the menu. The function button is mostly for changing shooting settings (such as ISO) rather than camera features (such as date and time).

You can fine-tune the audio levels. Since it's nice to hear audio play back when watching recorded videos, but it stinks to have audio beeping every time you turn the camera on or take a photo, you can actually manage the audio quite nicely. Just turn the audio on, then go to the volume settings and turn down all the annoying noises, while keeping playback up to full volume (or whatever level you prefer). Very nice.

The camera only comes in silver, but the adapter/lens hood only comes in black. And the latter doesn't come with a lens cap even though it increases the diameter of the lens up to 58mm. I bought the adapter/hood, a UV filter and a separate "real" lens cap. I haven't tried them yet. The pop-up lens cap that comes with the camera is fine. In fact, I think Canon designed it the way they did because if you accidentally turn on the camera (the switch goes left to take photos, right to preview photos and I'm still not used to it), the lens extends and this cap just pops off, keeping the lens from being restricted or harmed in any way. It works just fine.

According to Canon there is currently no underwater housing for this camera. There is one for the S1 IS, so I suspect one is in the works. The Canon C/S rep said to keep an eye on the French and UK Canon websites because items are released in Europe first.

Software: This was the most frustrating part. I've got a Powerbook G4 running Mac OS X Tiger and this isn't yet supported by Canon. The software installation took 7+ minutes and didn't give me the size of the files being installed (it's an old installer, not the OSX friendlier ones). Then the software and manuals diverged, and I actually couldn't get it to work. The described preferences don't exist, and the software won't recognize the camera. Not that this really matters, because iPhoto immediately recognized the camera and asked if I wanted to download the photos. All I think I'm missing by using iPhoto is the extra text data on camera settings used for each shot. Which, of course, I would prefer to have. Canon is working on an update for Tiger, so if you want to use their software, you'll have to wait a bit.

I took the camera outdoors at 11PM to shoot the Manhattan skyline. I used the P (Program Auto Exposure) setting, but manually changed the ISO. I took a few photos, all at different ISO speeds, and all relatively handheld (I leaned on a fence). I must say I am stunned. The photo I'm posting was taken at ISO 200 at f/3.2 with an exposure time of 1 second. I used the Medium 1 (2048 x 1536) SuperFine setting with IS turned on. The original is 9MB, so I've resized for posting. The sky looks darker and crisper in the ISO 100 photo I took, but I wanted you to see how nice the ISO 200 shot looks. The Brooklyn Bridge is at the far right strung in blue lights. South Street Seaport is to the left of the bridge, near the water, edged in white lights. Just to the left are the tall ships (one outlined with 4 bluish lights), which you can actually see if you look at the shot at 100%. It would have been difficult for me to see those ships in the darkness across the East River. This is my first night with the camera and this was more or less a quick snapshot. Imagine what this camera can produce with a little more experience and effort!
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 3:06 PM   #18
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Well, I've had my S2 IS for just under 3 weeks now, and I'm really enjoying it (took about 540 photos on a recent 2-day kayak trip). I'm pretty familiar already with most of the more advanced shooting options it allows, and I'm quite impressed with not only the image quality but the relative user-friendliness of the camera.

But, I've started having a bit of a problem. When I open the LCD screen and flip it around, then click it back into place on the back of the camera so that it faces outwards, the LCD viewfinder turns off and the image is shown only on the viewfinder. This should only happen when the LCD is closed, not open as is the case now. It worked fine when new, and just started this recently. It appears to do this in all shooting modes as well as playback.

I've contacted Canon and I can get it fixed locally under warranty, but the local depot is backlogged and I'll be out of a camera for about 3 weeks so for now I'm going to live with it, and get it fixed when the wait time goes down a bit.

Has anyone else had any similar problems with the S2? I'm very careful with it, and I'm hoping it's just an uncommon glitch.
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 3:11 PM   #19
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I know you have probably tried this, but when you turn the LCD around to face you, and place it facing you, and the picture goes away, have you tried pressing the DISP button to see what happens?

That button will allow you to toggle between LCD and EVF when the LCD is open and being used. If the LCD is turned around and closed, the EVF only is active.

Laura in TX
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Old Aug 18, 2005, 3:42 PM   #20
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Yup, tried that - it just cycles between display modes within the viewfinder. Sounds like more of a hardware issue - bad connection to the LCD or something like that would be my guess.
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