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Canon PowerShot S5 IS Operation

Despite its sophisticated feature set, the Canon PowerShot S5 IS is relatively easy to use. Photographers familiar with this camera's predecessor, the S3 IS, will feel right at home since only minimal changes have been made to the newer model's controls. The S5 IS's external controls may appear overwhelming to those who are stepping up from a point-and-shoot camera but referencing the manual will help overcome any insecurities. Logical control layout and an easy-to navigate menu system will benefit both beginner and experienced photographers. Most camera functions are controlled externally, and a few of the external control buttons serve multiple functions. When you do need to enter the LCD menu system, navigation is straightforward. The Canon PowerShot S5 IS's external controls cut down on the amount of time spent searching menu screens, and I particularly like the "Function" menu, which became standard on Canon digicam models as of the 2003 model year. Combined with the instruction manual, the Canon S5 IS's user interface shouldn't take more than an hour to get comfortable with.

Record Mode LCD Display: In Record mode, the PowerShot S5 IS's LCD reports various exposure settings, including camera modes, the resolution and quality settings, number of available images, a live histogram, etc. Half-pressing the Shutter button reports the aperture and shutter speed settings, in all modes except Manual. Pressing the Display button cycles through the available display modes, which are quite simple: no information, full information, or both of these in EVF mode. You can further customize what kind of information and guides appear on the display in the Custom Display submenu in Settings.

Playback Mode LCD Display: In Playback mode, the LCD reports the image series number, resolution and quality setting, file name, and the date and time of image capture. Pressing the Canon S5 IS Display button once pulls up an enhanced information display, with a histogram for checking the exposure and general exposure details. A third press cancels the information overlay entirely. Unlike its behavior in Record mode, the Display button will not let you view images through the electronic optical viewfinder, although you can force the electronic viewfinder to be used by rotating the LCD monitor so that it is closed pointing towards the camera body. In Playback mode, pressing the zoom control in the wide-angle direction switches to a nine-up thumbnail display of previously captured images. Pressing it in the wide-angle direction a second time produces a "jump bar" at the bottom of the screen, which shows where the current group of nine thumbnails is relative to the total collection of images on the memory card, and that lets you jump through them nine images at a time. Toggling the zoom lever in the telephoto direction takes you back out of the thumbnail displays, and if continued beyond the point at which you see the full-sized image, zooms in on the image up to 10x, letting you check focusing and very fine details.


Canon PowerShot S5 IS Modes and Menus

Auto: In the Auto mode, the camera chooses all exposure settings automatically for point-and-shoot simplicity. Users can select image size and quality settings, Auto, or High ISO, as well as Macro options.

Program: In the Program mode, the Canon S5 IS automatically selects the appropriate Aperture and Shutter Speed; all other settings can be changed manually.

Shutter Speed Priority: You select the Shutter Speed and the camera automatically selects the corresponding Aperture.

Aperture Priority: When set to Aperture Priority, you select the Aperture and the camera automatically sets the complementary Shutter Speed for the selected f/stop.

Manual: In Manual Exposure mode, you select the Shutter Speed and the Aperture. Exposure Compensation is disabled in this mode.

Movie: This sets the camera to the movie mode to capture video clips.

Custom: This option enables settings that you specify in the Menu system.

Stitch Assist: Provides visual guidelines on the LCD to help align and shoot multiple individual images that can later be stitched together into a panorama.

Scene Mode: Provides access to the Scene Mode menu and the following Scene modes: Night Scene, Indoor, Foliage, Snow, Beach, Fireworks, Aquarium, Color Accent (one color is retained while the rest of the image is recorded in black and white), Color Swap (a single color can be replaced by another color).

Sports: Enables the camera's Continuous Shooting with Autofocus mode to capture action shots.

Night Snapshot: Sets a slow Shutter Speed and enables the Flash so that the flash illuminates the subjects closest to the camera while the background is well-exposed.

Landscape: Uses a small Aperture setting to gain better depth-of-field so that the image appears in focus from near to far.

Portrait: Uses a large Aperture setting for narrower depth-of-field so that the main subject is in focus while the background is blurred.


Function Menu: In Record mode, the Function button provides direct access to the most-often changed settings:


Shooting Menus: The Canon PowerShot S5 IS has a three-tabbed menu system in Record mode: Record Menu, Setup Menu, and My Camera Menu:

Record Menu:  Accessed by pressing the Menu button in Record mode. The submenus available in the Record menu (depending on selected shooting mode) are:


Setup Menu:


My Camera Menu:


Playback Menu:. To access this menu, switch the camera to Playback and press the Menu button. The tabbed Menu provides access to Play and Print menus, in addition to the same Setup and My Camera menus available in the Record Menu.

Play Menu:


Print Menu: