Review of the Canon PowerShot S1 Digital Camera

Canon PowerShot S1 IS is a compact digital camera featuring 10x optical zoom lens, 3.2 Megapixel resolution, 1.5 LCD screen, built-in flash, Canon’s exclusive Optical Image Stabilizer, and movie capability.

The Image Stabilizer (IS) is a very nice feature for a hand-held camera. With most cameras you have to make sure your hand is steady when you’re taking a shot, or the picture will turn out blurry. If you’re like me, trying not to shake the camera often produces the opposite result: the hand gets too tense and gives a jerk just when you don’t want it. The Image Stabilizer takes care of that for you. According to Canon, the feature will “keep everything steady automatically.”

Optics being one of Canon’s well known strengths, the optical system of this camera is impressive. It features a 10x retractable lens with the large aperture of f2.8-f3.1. The 1.5 inch LCD screen is a bit small, compared to most other cameras, but it is clear and color-correct, with two levels of brightness. The screen flips out from the back of the camera, camcorder-style, and turns and tilts. The “Display” button switches between the display and EVF – Electronic View Finder (you cannot use both at the same time).

Control buttons for flash, zoom, exposure and other features are located on top and on the back of the camera. A dial on top selects camera modes, “Auto” being the easiest and allowing you to simply point-and-shoot without having to worry about all the settings. Other modes (Portrait, Landscape, Night Scene) give you more manual control over the settings. The buttons and menus might take some time getting familiar with, but when you know them they are easy to use.

The camera’s pop-up flash can be set into the auto mode, letting the camera decide whether you need it for a particular shot. You can also have the flash “On” and use it every time, or you can turn it off completely. The flash works in several different modes, like First Curtain mode, for example, that flashes at the beginning of the shutter opening vs. Second Curtain mode that flashes at the end. The power of the flash can be adjusted.

PowerShot S1 IS can record videos as well as take pictures. You can make up to an hour long video with it, with sound. Photos and short videos are stored in JPEG format, on Compact Flash Type I or II memory card. The USB port is provided so that you can connect the camera to a computer and download pictures. The A/V outlet lets you connect it to the TV. The A/V allows you to choose between PAL and NTSC.

The 3.2 Megapixel resolution (2048 x 1536 pixels) provides excellent picture quality. A 6 x 4 photo will have resolution over 300 dpi, which is more than enough for a good, clear photo. Larger pictures can be printed as well, up to 11 x 14.

The camera is powered by 4 AA batteries (included). Also included in the package are a lens cap, neck strap, 32 Mb compact flash card, a CD with Canon photo software, and a manual.

The camera is plastic but sturdy, silvery in color. It measures 4.4″ x 3.1″ x 2.6″ and weighs 131.1 oz.

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