Canon S5 IS Review

 
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Canon PowerShot S5 IS Performance


Timing and Performance

About average, in some cases slower than average, speed for a consumer camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

1.3 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy.

Shutdown

1.4 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

1.5 seconds
(buffer clearing after LSF JPEG shot)

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

Mode switching

Play to Record,
first shot

2.6 seconds

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to play

1.4 seconds

Time to display a large/superfine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

0.9 second

Time to display a large/superfine file already on the memory card.

Shutter response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.40 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.39 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Prefocused

0.074 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Continuous AF
0.40 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.19 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused"
Cycle time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large SuperFine JPEG
1.60 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots. Increases to 2.64 seconds above ISO 400.

Single Shot mode
640x480 Normal JPEG

1.58 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots. Increases to 2.55 seconds above ISO 400.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large SuperFine JPEG

0.66 second (1.52 frames per second);
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first. Slows to 1.91 seconds or 0.52 frames-per-second over ISO 400.

Continuous mode
Continuous-AF
Large SuperFine JPEG

1.33 seconds (0.75 frames per second);
1.5 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode
640x480 Normal JPEG

0.67 second (1.50 frames per second);
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first. Slows to 1.73 seconds or 0.58 frames-per-second over ISO 400.

Continuous mode
Continuous-AF
640x480 Normal JPEG

1.13 seconds (0.89 frames per second);
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Flash recycling

8.5 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

2,419 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Kingston Ultimate 133x SD memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode.

The Canon PowerShot S5 IS' performance ranges from average to slightly slower than average, depending on what you're trying to do. It starts up reasonably fast, but mode-switching is a little sluggish. Shutter response is good at both wide angle and telephoto, at about 0.4 second, and "prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in speedy lag time of only 0.074 second. Shot-to-shot cycle times are about average, at about 1.60 seconds for large/superfine JPEGs, but the camera appears to capture shots continuously in single-shot mode without having to stop and clear the buffer. Continuous mode could use a boost, at only 1.52 frames-per-second for large/superfine JPEGs (which slows to 0.75 frames-per-second if you want the camera to autofocus between shots), though the camera appears to be limited only by card capacity in this mode. The flash takes 8.5 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is also on the slower side. Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are speedy enough that you shouldn't feel the need for a card reader. Bottom line, the S5 IS is responsive enough to handle most family photo opportunities, though its continuous mode isn't quite fast enough to handle fast-paced action.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Average battery life for AA alkalines, though much better runtimes with NiMH rechargeables.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
AA alkaline batteries,
(CIPA standard)
170
AA NiMH rechargeable batteries,
(CIPA standard)
450

The Canon PowerShot S5 IS uses four AA-type batteries for power, and ships with a set of ordinary alkalines. Because battery life is vastly improved with NiMH rechargeable batteries, we strongly recommend you pick up a couple of sets of good-quality NiMH rechargeable batteries and a good-quality charger, as they'll save you many times their cost over the life of the camera.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Canon PowerShot S5 IS accepts SD/MMC memory cards, and comes with a 32MB starter card.

Image Capacity with
32MB Memory Card
SuperFine Fine Normal
3,264 x 2,448
Images
8
14
29
File Size
3.6 MB
2.2 MB
1.0 MB
2,592 x 1,944
Images
11
21
41
File Size
2.6 MB
1.5 MB
762 KB
2,048 x 1,536
Images
18
33
65
File Size
1.7 MB
966 KB
491 KB
1,600 x 1,200
Images
29
52
99
File Size
1.0 MB
610 KB
322 KB
640 x 480
Images
111
171
269
File Size
288 KB
186 KB
119 KB

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/SDHC memory card at least a 1GB card, preferably a 4GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings and video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

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