Powershot S3 And Powershot S5 Two Generations Of Ulta Zoom Cameras By Canon


Powershot S3 And Powershot S5 Two Generations Of Ulta Zoom Cameras By
Canon

Powershot S3 and​ Powershot S5 – Two Generations of​ Ulta-Zoom Cameras by Canon
S3 and​ S5 - TWO GENERATIONS of​ ULTA-ZOOM CAMERAS BY CANON
In common practice, the​ comparative test aims at​ distinguishing the​ advantages of​ one producer over another within one and​ the​ same price category and​ functional group .​
That is​ why models by different producers representing the​ same section of​ the​ market are taken for​ observation .​
Canon cameras are usually compared with their group-mates from Panasonic, Sony or​ Nikon .​
But we at​ DigiCamFriends.com ( www.DigiCamFriends.com ) have agreed to​ take another way and​ get to​ know what obvious innovations may be found in​ the​ Canon PowerShot S5 is​ (hereafter, Canon S5) in​ comparison with the​ Canon PowerShot S3 is​ (hereafter, Canon S3) that used to​ be extremely popular.
Let's imagine we know nothing about new features developed by Canon for​ the​ new model S5 that appeared after the​ Canon S3…
PHYSICAL VIEW
Canon models of​ S - series, being different from another Canon PowerShot subclass (that is​ models of​ A-series), are characterized as​ amateurish but with some skills of​ professional .​
This is​ for​ report or​ art-report shooting, but not for​ the​ motionless photos, something like a​ tree and​ me type .​
From this point of​ view both models have a​ very handy design.
In fact physical view of​ the​ camera has not been changed, except first- the​ enlarging of​ the​ movable screen from 2 to​ 2.5 inches and​ second- the​ replacement of​ one of​ the​ control buttons .​
And while the​ latter novelty hardly seems to​ be pleasant, the​ first one fits quite natural- it's become more convenient to​ take photos with a​ larger screen.
Pic.1: Canon PowerShot S3 is​ and​ PowerShot S5 IS; front.
Pic.2: Canon PowerShot S3 is​ and​ PowerShot S5 IS; rear.
Pic.3: Canon PowerShot S3 is​ and​ PowerShot S5 IS; movable screens.
OPTICS
The cameras have the​ same lens construction type with identical settings (the market interpretation of​ the​ term construction - the​ quantity of​ the​ optical elements and​ it's groups) .​
Unfortunately, there was no information found on the​ manufacturer's Web-site mentioning that these lenses are identical; so I​ won't insist on theoretical view point, but make a​ display with some photo examples .​
Example 1 : Shots with max .​
depth of​ field (the aperture priority mode, the​ shutter is​ closed down; Flash is​ on; ISO80 sensitivity; the​ white balance - Flash) .​
The distance between the​ objects is​ about 15-25 cm .​
Auto focus on the​ handle of​ the​ cup .​
On the​ left is​ a​ shot taken by the​ Canon S3, on the​ right, by the​ Canon S5.
Example 2 : Shots with min .​
depth of​ field (the aperture priority mode, the​ shutter is​ absolutely open; Flash is​ on; ISO80 sensitivity; the​ white balance - Flash) .​
The distance between the​ objects- about 15-25 cm .​
Auto focus on the​ handle of​ the​ cup .​
On the​ left is​ a​ shot taken by the​ Canon S3, on the​ right, by the​ Canon S5.
These cameras are recognized among the​ majority of​ digital cameras for​ equally good color reproduction and​ quick focusing on the​ objects, even if​ they are trying to​ escape from your camera .​
Example 3: Focus on objects moving to​ and​ fro with 12x optical zoom in .​
On the​ left, a​ shot taken by the​ Canon S3, on the​ right, by the​ Canon S5.
It doesn't make much sense if​ we start making a​ display of​ numerous examples of​ similarities between these cameras .​
We'll stop making trivial comparisons of​ their features and​ proceed to​ noting peculiar and​ individual characteristics discovered during the​ experiments.
THE IMPERFECTNESS of​ the​ LENS
Practical optics has very little in​ common with the​ geometrical sums in​ the​ physics lessons that students solve while learning about cameras as​ a​ kind of​ equipment .​
But however accurate the​ calculations may be, even the​ most carefully developed ( and​ rather expensive) model of​ the​ lens is​ not completely perfect .​
For example, there can be chromatic aberrations, when the​ objects on the​ image are colorfully haloed .​
Test results show that both cameras have the​ same level of​ chromatic aberrations .​
Surprisingly, in​ spite of​ the​ progress of​ the​ competitors, Canon hasn't manage to​ overcome this problem when developing the​ Canon S3 into the​ Canon S5, even after the​ evolution within internal toolkit .​
On the​ whole, in​ my point of​ view, the​ number of​ drawbacks of​ cameras for​ ultra-zoom class is​ high .​
Example 4 : chromatic aberrations are the​ colourful halos around the​ bridge footing .​
This example also displays the​ difference of​ the​ sharpness of​ the​ objects in​ the​ photo taken by different cameras, but we'll discuss it​ later .​
At the​ top is​ the​ whole shot with the​ testing area highlighted .​
On the​ left is​ a​ shot taken by the​ Canon S3, on the​ right, by the​ Canon S5 .​
For both cameras we set semi-auto Landscape mode with completely closed aperture, 12x optical zoom in.
SHOOTING CLOSE-UPS - MACRO MODES
Macro-shooting is​ not an​ easy task for​ a​ camera, designed as​ the​ the mater of​ landscape photography .​
The technical characteristics for​ shooting bugs and​ spiders are just opposite of​ those for​ shooting sun-sets and​ mountain landscape .​
There are numerous items that can be evaluated to​ identify the​ macro capacity of​ the​ camera .​
In particular, there is​ a​ famous test based upon not simply measuring the​ distance from the​ lens surface necessary for​ focusing, but making a​ photo of​ a​ small object wthin the​ whole shot .​
The smaller the​ object, the​ higher degree of​ macro capacity of​ your camera has.
We agreed to​ experiment upon the​ monetary unit of​ our country - coins of​ different values.
For both the​ Canon S3 and​ the​ Canon S5, macro-shooting is​ available in​ two different modes: macro and​ super-macro .​
We had expected to​ get the​ similar results, but it​ turned out that, with the​ Canon S5, the​ borderline between these modes suffers influence of​ its predecessor .​
While macro mode of​ the​ Canon S3 enables you to​ take a​ photo of​ 5 coins, that enlargement is​ not enough for​ the​ Canon S5 for​ it's limit is​ 6 coins (shooting of​ 5 coins requires super-macro mode).
Example 5: On the​ left, a​ shot taken by the​ Canon S3; on the​ right, by the​ Canon S5.
After experimenting at​ length with super-macro mode we managed to​ take the​ image of​ a​ single coin .​
By the​ way, the​ coin is​ 15.5 mm in​ diameter .​
Unfortunately, this test can't be characterized as​ complete .​
It might be possible to​ take photos of​ much smaller objects on the​ whole screen provided there is​ extra lighting ( the​ cover around the​ lens prevented the​ addition of​ more light…in fact the​ lens was resting on the​ object; we had to​ build up a​ flash reflector, manually-set ISO200 sensitivity, and​ at​ last lighten the​ image with an​ image editor program.
Example 6: Super-macro mode .​
On the​ left, a​ shot taken by the​ Canon S3, on the​ right, by the​ Canon S5 .​
The lack of​ light forced us to​ set the​ sensitivity to​ a​ high ISO level, and​ the​ bright halo around the​ coin is​ nothing but a​ flash, spread all over the​ tightly-stretched piece of​ white paper.
SENSOR and​ ISO SPEED
Both cameras have sensors of​ 1/2.5' size, the​ number of​ effective pixels (pixel value) is​ 6 - 8 megapixels .​
Nowadays 8 megapixels for​ that type of​ sensor seem to​ be the​ limit (A greater number is​ quite possible, though it​ might be not economically feasible).
An important characteristic of​ digital camera, referring to​ its sensor, is​ ISO speed .​
The manufacturer gives the​ ISO speed scale from 80 to​ 800 for​ the​ Canon S3 and​ up to​ 1600 for​ the​ Canon S5 .​
Let's experiment to​ evaluate data in​ low light condition.
Example 7: ISO80 speed .​
At the​ top is​ the​ whole shot with the​ testing area highlighted .​
On the​ left is​ a​ shot taken by the​ Canon S3, on the​ right, by the​ the Canon S5 (shutter speed priority mode, external light; for​ better observation the​ highlighted areas are enlarged in​ an​ image editor).
Example 8: ISO100 speed .​
At the​ top is​ the​ whole shot with the​ testing area highlighted .​
On the​ left is​ a​ shot taken by the​ Canon S3, on the​ right - by the​ Canon S5 (shutter speed priority mode, external light; for​ better observation the​ highlighted areas are enlarged in​ an​ image editor).
Example 9: ISO200 speed .​
On the​ left is​ a​ shot taken by the​ Canon S3, on the​ right, by the​ Canon S5 (shutter speed priority mode, external light; for​ better observation the​ highlighted areas are enlarged in​ an​ image editor).
From the​ examples above we may see that an​ ISO speed within 80- 200 scale makes good results for​ both cameras, although the​ results with the​ higher ISO speeds are not so clear .​
Example 10: ISO400 speed .​
Same cameras and​ same conditions as​ above.
Example 11: ISO800 speed .​
Same cameras and​ same conditions as​ above.
While shooting with ISO400 sensitivity gives equally good results, the​ setting of​ ISO800 sensitivity enables the​ new internal algorithm of​ noise reduction in​ the​ Canon S5 to​ come into play (Heaven knows how it​ happens - either via auto or​ programmed mode) .​
As for​ ISO1600 sensitivity, it​ is​ absolutely useless; even the​ above mentioned noise reduction mechanism doesn't cope with the​ noises .​
Though the​ manufacturer doesn't hold this option back from customers.
Example 12: ISO1600 speed of​ the​ Canon S5 .​
The same image patch, as​ in​ the​ previous examples (the shutter speed priority mode, external light; for​ better observation the​ marked out areas are enlarged in​ image editor).
By the​ way, during the​ experiments with ISO speed, another peculiar feature of​ both cameras had been noticed .​
They manage to​ operate the​ white balance mode equally good, except when the​ white balance mode should be set manually at​ high ISO speed (800 and​ 1600) .​
The noises of​ the​ sensor seem to​ appear in​ the​ program accepted averaged color, that is​ white.
It is​ not a​ great obstacle to​ overcome for​ usually the​ candlelight is​ used at​ such a​ high ISO speed (the dim light of​ a​ table-lamp and​ dingy street-lamps, for​ example) and​ you may choose the​ appropriate manual setting .​
Still, it​ is​ strange why such an​ imperfect algorithm inherited from its predecessor didn't go through any changes.
FOCUSING ON the​ DISTANT OBJECTS
It has already been mentioned (discussing chromatic aberrations) that we get different results when focusing on distant object by Canon S3 and​ Canon S5 .​
To check the​ fact we shot a​ series of​ landscape images with 12x optical zoom in .​
The semi-auto landscape mode was set to​ provide completely closed aperture along with the​ other auto-set characteristics (in other words to​ realize the​ greatest possible depth of​ field) .​
To meet the​ non-stop character of​ the​ experiment, the​ test shots were taken at​ once without choosing the​ object to​ focus on but as​ soon as​ the​ camera informs that its ready to​ shoot (as soon as​ it​ has focused on) .​
In addition, to​ avoid different views of​ nature by the​ cameras, we set Spot focus mode .​
Let me show you the​ effect referring to​ the​ series of​ shots of​ a​ TV tower.
Example 13: Focusing on distant objects with 12x optical zoom in​ ( Landscape mode, Spot focus mode) .​
At the​ top is​ the​ shot of​ the​ landscape without enlargement; in​ the​ middle- the​ same landscape with 12x optical zoom in​ (with highlighted testing area) .​
At the​ bottom to​ the​ left is​ the​ image by the​ Canon S3, at​ the​ bottom to​ the​ right, the​ image by the​ Canon S5 (both shots have been enlarged in​ an​ image editor).
The results show the​ pre-eminence of​ the​ Canon S5 working in​ auto focus mode .​
Probably, the​ Canon S3 might have shown not as​ bad results, if​ it​ were used in​ manual focus mode, but then it​ would break the​ conditions of​ the​ experiment.
TOOLKIT
Sharpness is​ available for​ both cameras, being called Rezkost in​ Russian texts .​
It attracted most attention among the​ other settings, because in​ a​ way it​ may be regarded as​ the​ equivalent of​ the​ internal noise reduction option (it doesn't reduce the​ noise but highlight the​ edges, that make impression of​ a​ high-quality shot) .​
To test that no changes had been made within the​ algorithm, we took a​ number of​ shots with 400ISO speed (the noises are already conspicuous, but they do not prevail).
Example 14: Internal algorithm of​ increasing Sharpness for​ the​ Canon S3 and​ the​ Canon S5 .​
At the​ top the​ photo with highlighted testing area .​
In the​ middle, a​ shot to​ the​ left, taken by the​ Canon S3 without increasing sharpness, a​ shot to​ the​ right, taken by the​ Canon S3 at​ a​ high level of​ Sharpness .​
In the​ row below the​ same operations with the​ Canon S5.
Based upon the​ examples above, we may say that this algorithm as​ well didn't go through great changes: such a​ delicate way of​ increasing sharpness with a​ few artifacts left .​
It seems as​ though the​ manufacturer had not intended to​ update toolkit for​ a​ new model.
THE ALGORITHMS of​ COMPRESSION
It's a​ pity, but neither of​ the​ cameras deals with RAW files (despite the​ Canon S5 sporting a​ new feature which is​ characteristic of​ a​ professional camera; that is, the​ flash hot shoe for​ external flash); all the​ image files are saved in​ JPEG format with various degree of​ resolution and​ compression (both are manually set) .​
To compare the​ internal algorithms of​ compression we shot 2 series of​ photos in​ Landscape mode (to provide the​ best depth of​ field on the​ small far details) .​
The center of​ the​ shot had been taken for​ the​ testing area to​ eliminate possibly the​ influence of​ the​ imperfect optics; all the​ changes were made in​ BMP format in​ order to​ make JPEG artifacts more conspicuous, and​ at​ the​ same time, not to​ add any extra while preparing shots for​ publishing; all the​ image patches were enlarged in​ the​ end.
Example 15: the​ comparison of​ the​ internal algorithms of​ compression for​ the​ Canon S3 and​ the​ Canon S5 .​
At the​ top- the​ photo with highlighted testing area .​
The shots with the​ increasing degrees of​ compression follow below .​
On the​ left are the​ shots taken by the​ Canon S3, on the​ right, by the​ Canon S5.
The above examples display that the​ Canon S5 inherits from its predecessor the​ Canon S3 the​ visual effect of​ compression even for​ the​ high-quality images .​
I​ would recommend either increasing the​ super-quality of​ JPEGs (by any possible way) or​ contribute RAW-format (TIFF/ BMP- any of​ the​ formats that compresses without faults); the​ cameras really suffer from the​ lack of​ one!
FEATURES
Among the​ pleasant innovations for​ Canon S5, such have been noticed (though not checked):
*extensive work with the​ same set of​ batteries (170 shots in​ stead of​ 110 - according to​ the​ results of​ the​ standard test by the​ manufacturer);
*a hot shoe and​ sync-contact for​ external flash.
SUMMING UP
AFTER PRACTICAL WORK WITH BOTH CAMERAS, WE AT DIGICAMFRIENDS.COM ( www.DigiCamFriends.com ) MAY CONCLUDE THAT SOME CHANGES INDEED HAVE BEEN MADE for​ the​ NEW MODEL .​
THIS CAN BE OBSERVED IN SUCH OPERATIONS as​ FOCUS ON DISTANT OBJECTS WITH HIGH OPTICAL ZOOM or​ WITH HIGH ISO SPEED .​
THESE NEW FEATURES HELPED TO CORRECT UTTER DRAWBACKS FOUND IN the​ CANON S3, IN COMPARISON WITH the​ SUCCESS of​ the​ SIMILAR PAIRS of​ CAMERAS BY OTHER MANUFACTURES .​
THE QUESTION is​ WOULD YOU AGREE TO PAY for​ THESE INNOVATIONS?






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