Canon Powershot S50 Review

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Canon Powershot S50

Features & Controls

The all-glass Canon 7.1-21.3mm 3x zoom (35-105mm 35mm equivalent) boasts a maximum aperture of f/2.8-4.9, and is constructed with 8 elements in 7 groups.

Focus range is 80cm (32.7 in.) to infinity in normal mode. Macro autofocus range is 6cm (0.2 ft.) (wide-angle) / 20cm (0.7 ft.) (telephoto) to 70cm (2.3 ft.).

Canon Powershot S50

Auto focus is accomplished via a 9-point TTL system with user-selectable AF points visible on the LCD monitor. The S50 also features an AF assist illuminator for accurate focusing in dim to dark environments.

When powered down or in sleep mode the lens is retracted back into the camera body. The camera is powered on when you slide the front cover open.

Canon Powershot S50

The Manual focus option is enabled by pressing and holding the "MF" button while using the Up or Down on the 4-way switch. The manual focus range is 6cm (0.2 ft.) (wide-angle) / 20cm (0.7 ft.) (telephoto) to infinity. While manually focusing, the subject area covered by the active focusing point is digitally enlarged on the LCD to aid in critical focusing.

Canon Powershot S50

To save battery power or when outdoors in the bright light, switch off the LCD and frame your shots with the eyelevel optical viewfinder. There is no diopter adjustment. The LEDs on the side indicate recording, autofocus and flash status. The eyelevel finder shows approximately 87% of the captured image.

Canon Powershot S50

The builtin speedlight has 5 modes: Auto, Redeye reduction, Slow-sync (1st and 2nd curtain), Fill and Off. The flash coverage with ISO set to AUTO is 1.1 ft. - 15.7 ft.(W), 1.15 ft. - 9.8 ft.(T).

Canon Powershot S50

The zoom lens control is along the edge in front of the shutter button. In Playback the zoom control is used to enlarge the image for critical examination. The Mode Dial has positions for:

  • Custom - Save settings from any P, Tv, Av or M exposure mode for rapid recall. Also saves zoom position and focus distance if MF is used.

  • Manual - you set both the shutter speed and aperture. Exposure value is displayed when shutter is half-pressed.

  • Av (Aperture priority) - the camera automatically selects a shutter speed to match the aperture you set. Aperture settings available are:
    Wide F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0
    Telephoto F4.9, F5.6, F7.1, F8.0

  • Tv (Shutter priority) - camera automatically selects an aperture setting to match the shutter speed you set. Available shutter speeds are: 1/1500, 1/1250, 1/1000, 1/800, 1/640, 1/500, 1/400, 1/320, 1/250, 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80, 1/60, 1/50, 1/40, 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/15, 1/13, 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/5, 1/4, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8, 1, 1.3, 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3.2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15 seconds. Noise reduction is enabled for shutter speeds of 1.3 seconds or longer.

  • Program AE - camera automatically set the shutter speed and aperture settings like AUTO but the user can change many options like white balance, exposure compensation, saturation, sharpness and more. You can "shift" the selected shutter/aperture combination, enter this mode by half-pressing shutter release and then press the AE lock button - now change by pressing the Right or Left button.

  • AUTO - camera sets almost everything automatically, this is "point and shoot" mode. You can set flash mode, macro focus and image size.

The pre-programmed "Image Zone" modes include:

  • Portrait - Sets a large aperture value to have a minimum depth of field so your subject is sharp but the background gets blurred.

  • Landscape - Sets the focus to infinity and uses a small aperture

  • Night Scene - Uses slow shutter speed (tripod recommended) to capture night backgrounds and synchronizes the flash to illuminate foreground subjects

  • Fast Shutter - When you need to capture fast moving subjects

  • Slow Shutter - when you need to blur motion such as river rapids (tripod recommended)

  • Stitch Assist - The user will be aided by the LCD when creating multi-image panorama pictures. Five types of assistance are available:
    1. Horizontal - left to right
    2. Horizontal - right to left
    3. Vertical - top to bottom
    4. Vertical - bottom to top
    5. Clockwise starting at top left.

  • Movie - capture full motion video and sound clips up to 3 minutes in length at a rate of 15fps. Movie size is 320x240 or 160x120 pixels.

Canon Powershot S50

Along the left side of the 1.8-inch LCD is the combination Exposure Compensation / White Balance / Flash Compensation and AE Bracketing button, push it to cycle through the modes and change them onscreen. The "MF" toggles the manual focus mode when held (in Play mode this is the single image Delete button.) The bottom button cycles through the AE metering modes (in Play mode this is the Sound Annotations button.)

The Menu button calls up the onscreen menu system, The DISPLAY button controls the color LCD and the amount of data that is overlayed on it.

Canon Powershot S50

Across the top is the Flash mode button (thumbnail index button in Play mode), Macro focus mode button (the Jump button in Play mode)...

Canon Powershot S50

The slide switch puts the camera into Play mode, the indicator light is green for Play mode and orange for Record. The 4-way controller lets you navigate menu screens, when pushed in the center it is the SET button. When in Record mode the SET button is used to manually select the active Focus Point.

Canon Powershot S50

Located on top of the camera are the builtin microphone and speaker.

Canon Powershot S50

The I/O ports are on the side:

The A/V OUT handles both the audio and video (NTSC or PAL, selectable).

The lower connector is the USB v1.1 data port.

Canon Powershot S50

On the bottom in the battery compartment is the Compact Flash Type II card slot. The S50 is supplied with a 32MB CF card and can use any Type I or II solid state flash memory card or one of the IBM Microdrives. The card is ejected far enough to be easily removed, even Microdrives.

Number of pictures storable on different size CF cards:

Menu Selection File Size
32MB 64MB 128MB 256MB 1GB
Large / SuperFine 2,503 2,592 x 1,944 11 24 49 99 409
Large / Fine 1,395 2,592 x 1,944 21 43 88 177 728
Large / Normal 695 2,592 x 1,944 67 136 274 548 1,426
Medium 1/ SuperFine 1,002 1,600 x 1,200 30 61 122 246 993
Medium 1/ Fine 558 1,600 x 1,200 54 109 219 440 1,726
Medium 1/ Normal 278 1,600 x 1,200 108 217 435 868 3,280
Medium 2/ SuperFine 570 1,024 x 768 53 107 215 431 1,726
Medium 2/ Fine 320 1,024 x 768 94 189 379 762 2,982
Medium 2/ Normal 170 1,024 x 768 174 349 700 1,390 4,687
Small / SuperFine 249 640 x 480 120 241 482 962 3,645
Small / Fine 150 640 x 480 196 394 789 1,563 5,468
Small / Normal 84 640 x 480 337 676 1,355 2,720 8,202
RAW 4,725 2,592 x 1,944 5 12 25 51 219

Canon Powershot S50

The S50 is powered by a Canon NB-2L 7.4V 570mAh lithium rechargeable battery pack. A fully charged battery is good for approximately 170 images when using the LCD or up to 380 images when you use only the optical viewfinder. Or a playback time of approximately 300 minutes.

Canon Powershot S50

The NB-2L pack is charged out of the camera in the included CB-2LT Compact Charger (100-240VAC). Charging time is approx 80 minutes or less. It plugs straight into an AC outlet, no cords required.

Canon Powershot S50

The optional WP-DC300 waterproof case allows the S50 to go to almost any sporting activity, from boating to snow skiing to scuba diving (100 feet max depth.)

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