Canon Powershot S70By: Dave Etchells
With the same wide angle lens as its predecessor, the S70 boosts resolution with its 7.1 megapixel sensor, but holds the line on image noise.
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Page 3:DesignReview First Posted: 9/30/2004
Similar in shape and style to a high-quality point-and-shoot 35mm film camera, the PowerShot S70 measures 4.49 x 2.22 x 1.53 inches (114 x 56.5 x 38.8 millimeters) and weighs approximately 10.1 ounces (286 grams) with the battery and storage card installed. It has a sturdy, dark grey polycarbonate inner body, covered by strong brushed and anodized aluminum body panels. The overall result is a very solid-feeling camera that exudes an air of quality and refinement. The sliding clamshell cover adds an attractive accent to a very sleek, streamlined design. While the S70 is a bit too long and heavy for the typical shirt pocket, it should fit easily into a large coat pocket or purse, and the quarter-inch wrist strap makes toting it around very convenient. Its streamlined shape means it won't easily snag on anything no matter where you put it.
The front of the camera includes a telescoping 3.6x zoom lens, optical viewfinder window, and a bright light emitter that serves multiple purposes, including autofocus assist, red-eye reduction, and the self-timer countdown. All of these items are covered by the sliding lens cover when it's closed. The built-in flash is positioned in the upper right corner of the front panel (as viewed from the front), and the lens cover doubles as finger grip when opened, its slight ridge providing a grip for your fingers. Beneath the flash are the Microphone and Remote sensor.
On the right side of the camera (as viewed from the back) is a heavy duty metal eyelet for attaching the nylon wrist strap. A small indentation at the very bottom of the camera on this side marks a sliding hatch that provides access for the AC power adapter cable.
The opposite side of the camera has a soft rubber terminal cover that opens to reveal the A/V Out and Digital jacks; the bottom pulls out further so the cover can swing out of the way to make connections easier.
The S70's top panel features a Mode dial on the right, with 13 Shooting positions divided into three basic categories: Auto Exposure, Image Zone, and Creative Zone. The Shutter button is located to the right of the Mode dial. On the left side of the top panel is a speaker that plays back sound recorded by the mic on the front.
The majority of the exposure controls are located on the camera's back panel, along with the optical viewfinder and LCD monitor. The optical viewfinder features two LED lamps that report camera status. To the left of the viewfinder are the Macro / Jump and Flash / Index buttons. To the far right is the new zoom rocker, placed where the navigator used to be on the S50; I think this placement is an improvement. A whole new control cluster appears to the right of the LCD, at the center of which is the new 5-way navigator (Omni Selector in Canon-speak). The Set button is placed in the middle of the four way nav selector. Upper left of this is the Playback button that can be used to review captured images at any time, whether the camera is powered off with its lens cover closed, or when it's turned on in one of the 13 Shooting modes. Right of that is the new Print/Share button appearing on all new PowerShot cameras. It glows blue when the camera is connected and ready to print to a PictBridge printer or transfer images to a computer. The Display and Menu buttons are below these.
Other camera controls on the back panel include the FUNC, Manual Focus / Delete, and Light Metering / Audio buttons located on the left of the LCD monitor. The FUNC control calls up a menu display with Exposure Compensation, White Balance, Drive, ISO, Effect, Bracket, Flash Exposure Compensation, and Image Resolution and Quality settings. The Light Metering / Audio button lets you choose between Evaluative Light Metering, Center-Weighted Averaging, and Spot (AE) Point metering modes. Pressing the Light Metering/ Audio button in replay mode lets you record up to 60 seconds of sound with individual images.
The S70's bottom panel is reasonably flat, with a sliding door to access the combined CompactFlash and battery compartment, and a threaded metal tripod mount on its left. The tripod mount is positioned way off-center, making it easier to make quick battery changes while working with a small tripod, something I'm probably more sensitive to than most users, given the amount of on-tripod shooting I do. Canon's AC adapter uses a "dummy battery" design, with the cord exiting from a small opening on the camera's right hand side, providing a convenient way to get power to the camera while on a tripod.
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Top 3 photos this month win:
1 Canon PIXMA PRO-100
2 Canon PIXMA MG6320
3 Canon PIXMA MG5420