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Old Mar 6, 2006, 1:53 AM   #1
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OK, I finally received my new S2 last Friday. First thing Saturday early morning, I'm outside taking pictures of leaves and flowers covered in morning dew as well as some decorative ornaments. I took 40+ shots, downloaded the pictures to my computer and...this is it. Half dozen good shot out of more than 40. So, here is my take on the S2 as I compare it with my H1 (pictures posted were not post processed):

Pros:

- NO FOG EFFECT but to be fair, I mustsay that Iset the camera to VIVID, which produced nicely saturated and sharpimages. In normal mode the images were a bit soft but still very good.

- Camera offers exposure lock, which is certainly a "must have" feature for me.

- Shortcut button. This is a nice touch. As I mentioned above, I like to have the ability to lock the exposure andI can set this button to AE lock, which make life very easy.

- Gorgeous, accuratecolors.This was the primary reason for buying the S2. It certainly produces warm, natural colors (the H1 colors are much cooler).

- Camera is relatively small for a 12X.

- Camera offers a wide range of settings and scene modes (not that I care too much about them).


Cons:

- AF sucks big time, specially in macro mode. This was the main reason I lostthe great majority of the 40+pictures I took. For the S2 hard corefans out there, if any one tells me thatthe AF on the S2 is good, I sayyou should definitelycheck other cameras for comparison purpose (the H1 being one of them). I had plenty of light (8:30 am on asunny day) and still the camera struggled. Unless the contrast is very very strong, you can't get a green rectangle indicating that the image is on focus. My A610does a better job focusing.

-Histogram not available in REC mode. Many professional photographers claim that the use of histogram toguidethe EV adjustment is a waste of time. Maybe so if you have a DSLR but I find itto be an awesome feature. The H1 has it and I use it every single time and I must say that since I beganadjusting the EV based on the information displayed by the histogram, I hardly loose a picturedue to under or over exposure. The S2enables the histogram in play mode only, meaning after the fact. So, if the picture does not look good, you'd have to adjust the exposure and shoot again hoping it will be right the second time. If not,...

- 1.8" LCDisway too small considering the amount of information it displays.

- Flash does not pop up automatically. I wonder why Canon made this choice. If you set the camera flashto either AUTOor FORCED ON,the camera shouldmake the flash pop up automatically (orwhen needed in the case of AUTO).

- Lens cap is badly designed. The H1 has a muchcleverer system. The cap clips on and when you turn the camera on, it tells you to remove the cap before extending the lens.This way, the lens never fall out no matter how you carry your camera.

- Although the overall size of the S2 is smaller than the H1, it's a much heavier camera once you insert 4 AA batteries.

- The S2 is fast but slower than the H1, specially if you take focusing into consideration.

Conclusion:

As you noticed, I did not get into the movie capabilities of the S2 and the reason is because it is not important to me. For movies I have a digital camcorder. Sure it is nice to be able to capture motion but for 30 second shots I don't need state of the art technology.

All in all, I like the colors produced by the S2 but the H1 performs much better in almost every respect. It's AF is much, muchfaster and a lot moreaccurate, it has a much larger LCD, it offers histogram in REC mode, it has better flash,more attention was paidto details (lens cap, auto flash pop up), etc. The two things I wish the H1 had were exposure lock and warmer colors (PS takes care of that). But, one can't have everything, I guess.

In conclusion, I wish I could be more enthusiastic about the S2 but the verypoor AF played a big role on my decision to return it in favor of my H1.

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Old Mar 6, 2006, 1:55 AM   #2
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 1:56 AM   #3
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 1:58 AM   #4
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 2:01 AM   #5
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 4:21 AM   #6
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Thanks for reporting back with details and examples.

In terms of autofocus. I presume you mean it's definitly worse outside of macro mode as well. I hadn't noticed many focusing problems in good light - but I am in the habit of pre-focussing, so maybe I not seeing the problems you're encountering. Having switched from an A80, I can't say I noticed any greater difficulty, except for long zooms in bad light - where a strong vertical seems to help.

Normal macro is hard to use as I mentioned in this thread:
http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/v...462712#p462712
To quote that post:
The normal macro mode is a bit fiddly, focus distance is 10cm - 50cm, only about a fifth of the zoom range is available. What makes it fiddly is that the minimum focus distance rises as you zoom - goes out to somthing over 30cm (approx). I haven't played with it enough to pass judgement.

Super macro is great - the camera goes full wide and can focus on anything from 0cm to 10cm. Great for getting tiny details.
I would agree that in my experience, normal macro doesn't seem that usefull - the way minimum focus varies with zoom makes it very hard to use. Did you find super-macro lacking as well, because although I wasn't thinking about macro when I bought the camera, the super-macro and closeup zooms have become my favourite features because they seem dead easy to get results with.

Sounds like a good solution to the lens cap problem. That would also prevent any damage if the camera is accidentally activated while it is in its case. The lens cap did originally bother me, but because I wanted to use filters and add on lenses, by my second week with the camera I had lensmate permanently attached and had switched to a clip on lens cap.

The S1 IS had auto flash popup, but for some reason it was dropped in the S2 IS. I actually like having the flash disabled physically because I know its not going to fire unless I decide I want it too - but I can see that some people are getting bad results because they're not flipping it up when advised by the camera to do so.

The main thing that bugs me about the S2 IS is the noise in the shadows and lack of usable high ISO's - but the S2 isn't the worst superzoom for noise and, at the moment, only DSLR's seem to perform acceptably in these respects.

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Old Mar 6, 2006, 5:22 AM   #7
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Ahh i see you went for the canon. nice choice. i too had similar thoughts when considering this cam. i did have a similar issue withthe auto focus but wen i was playing with it the cam seemed to find the spot eventuly but slowly and yes he h1 is a very speedy can. I to also prefered the feel of the h1 and personally i felt it had a better control layout

Anyways i do like your shots, very nice. keep em coming

oh yea and yea it is very strange how you cant view a real time histo wen composing an image. personally i couldnt live without it wen composing in manual mode



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Old Mar 6, 2006, 10:06 AM   #8
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Thanks mchnz and ken for your comments.

Let me clarify the focusing issue I raised. As long as there is a very good contrast spot (and my experience shooting the 40 pictures told me that the contrast is much, much more important than the lighting in this case), the AF works good (almost as fast as the H1 but not quite). However, what I thought were good contrast spots (edge of leaves, shade/sun), the S2 did not and hunted forfocus. The camera would eventually beep but the center rectangle would remain yellow indicating that focusing was not accomplished.I still don't quite get why Canon used two macroranges, one for normal and one forsuper macro. I'd like to understand the technicalities of it because as far as I'm concerned, it would be much better (and easier) ifI could simply set the camera to macro modeand shoot from 0 - whatever (actually, I find this zero focus range a marketing move by Canonmore than anything. In real world, I don't think I will ever get down to 0because I'd have no light. Light would have to come from behind and I really can't picture what kind of subject I'd be photographing with such a setting. Has anyone taken any great shots at zero distance? I'd love to see them! Anyway, the inability to focus a subject can be pretty frustrating. I missed several shots of insects and birds because the camera could not focus quickly enough. Not to mention that the whole focusing process drains the batteries big time.

I also did nottouch the"noise" issue because I think this is still an area for improvement on most non-DSLR cameras. Ithink that having the ability to change the ISO on the fly isawesomewhen compared to film where you would have to choose an ISO and be stuck with it untilfinishingthefilm. I normallyset my cameras to the lowest ISO, raising it only if absolutely necessary and even so, I'd go step by step.

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Old Mar 6, 2006, 2:33 PM   #9
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Out of all of this it's reassuring to know that Steve's S2 IS review conclusion and the other reviews are in line with what you're reporting - there aren't any unknown mysterious problems.

From the reviews, it's difficult to tell how macro works on the H2. It's reported to focus down to 2cm at full wide - which is in practise nearly the same as the S2 IS (I almost never focus closer than about 1.5cm - I only go to zero to check the lens or capture 35mm slides). I take it with the H1 you can alter the zoom while in macro? If you can, does that alter the minimum focus distance?

I think within the Canon range, super-macro is an attempt to make really-close macro easy - no zoom and no minimum focus issues - basic rule is use the flip-display to get really close, center the subject, and things should work out OK. My feeling is that normal-macro is the marketing gimmic - it does't seem necessary - just back off a bit and use the x12 - maybe Canon felt they had to cover the full range and have a solution in situations where people can't back-off.
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Old Mar 6, 2006, 4:20 PM   #10
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I think most long zoom fixed lens cameras have limitations when using the long range of the zoom in macro mode, and I can understand that. Basically, if you are very close to the subject, why you zoom in as well as use the macro mode? My point with the two macro modes on S2 is that Canon could perfectly have developed a single macro mode system instead of me having to hold that macro button longer to get into SM. But, what really aggravated me was the S2'sinability to focus on low contrast close upsubjects. The H1 allows me to zoom in while in macro mode but, as the S2, not to the full extent of the zoom. However, the H1's ability to QUICKLY macro-focus on anything under most lighting conditionis very impressive.
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