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Canon Powershot S70

By: 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 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 9/30/2004

7.1-Megapixel CCD delivers 3,072 x 2,304 pixel images
4x optical zoom lens covers 28-100mm equivalent range
Nice mix of high-end features, easy usability
Beautiful, rugged, compact design


NOTE: The Canon PowerShot S70 is virtually identical in form and function to the PowerShot S60. If you've already read the S60's review, you can skip most of this review of the Canon S70, and just skip over to the Test Results section.


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The Canon PowerShot S70 is a minor update of this year's previous wide angle powerhouse, the S60. At the top of Canon's "mid-sized compact" line, the sleek S70 leverages its wide-angle zoom lens (reaching down to 28mm equivalent focal length at its widest zoom setting) by adding a 7.1 megapixel imager to an already superbly crafted camera. Hidden within the PowerShot S70's trim case is a new level of optical sophistication, thanks to Canon's advanced molding process that permits aspheric lens elements to be (reliably) crafted from high-index optical glass for the first time. The result is a zoom lens that's capable of very wide angle operation, in a very compact form factor, yet with lower levels of distortion than was formerly possible.

In addition to the new lens technology it uses, the 7.1-megapixel PowerShot S70 also includes a new set of updates to both the user interface and controls. The Canon S70 is an advanced point-and-shoot style digital camera that incorporates many features from the high-end Canon PowerShot G6 model, but in a more compact, portable format. With the exception of the rotating LCD monitor and external hot shoe, the PowerShot S70 has almost all of the advanced features of the G6, including an impressive range of automatic and manual exposure controls, JPEG and RAW file formats, and in-camera adjustment of image contrast, sharpness, and color saturation, as well as a user-controlled AF point that can be moved around the screen in the manual exposure modes. Just shy of the range of the G6's 4x lens, the S70's 3.6x optical zoom lens reaches a 35mm-equivalent focal length of 28mm at its widest. In addition to these features, relative to last year's very popular S45 and S50, the S70 also offers an updated user interface (a slight redesign), and the new Print/Share button that is appearing on all new PowerShot cameras, designed to make the PictBridge direct-to-inkjet printer connection that much easier. With an estimated selling price at introduction of $599, the PowerShot S70 comes in at $100 more than the S60, but does offer a few more pixels for that price. It is sure to be a popular choice among business users, prosumer photographers, realtors, advanced amateurs, and even beginning photographers who want a high-quality digital camera that delivers large, sharp, colorful photos.


High Points

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    7.1-megapixel CCD delivering up to 3,072 x 2,304-pixel resolution images.
  • 1.8-inch, color LCD monitor.
  • 3.6x optical zoom lens, 5.8-20.7mm (equivalent to a 28-100mm lens on a 35mm camera) with auto and manual focus, adjustable focus area, 9-point AiAF in Auto and Image Zone modes, and focus bracketing.
  • Up to 4.1x digital telephoto.
  • Full automatic, program AE, shutter priority, aperture priority, and manual exposure modes, as well as five preset exposure modes and a Custom mode.
  • Manually adjustable aperture settings from f/2.8 to f/8.0, depending on zoom setting (f/5.3 at max optical zoom).
  • Manually adjustable shutter speed settings from 1/2000 to 15 seconds. (Aperture of f/4 or smaller aperture is required to achieve 1/2000 sec.)
  • ISO sensitivity equivalents: Auto, 50, 100, 200, and 400.
  • Three metering modes: Evaluative, center-weighted average, and spot metering.
  • White balance setting with nine modes, including underwater mode, and a manual setting.
  • Built-in flash with five operating modes and flash exposure compensation (power adjustment in Manual mode).
  • JPEG and RAW still image file formats, movies saved as AVI / Motion JPEG and WAVE formats.
  • Images saved to CompactFlash Type I or II memory cards, 32MB card included.
  • Movie mode with sound.
  • Interval shooting mode, plus two Continuous Shooting modes.
  • Stitch-Assist mode for creating panoramic pictures.
  • Record up to 60 seconds of sound with individual images.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.
  • USB cable for high-speed connection to a computer.
  • Canon Digital Camera utility applications, plus ArcSoft application software bundle. (ArcSoft PhotoStudio and VideoImpression, for both Mac and Windows)
  • Powered by Canon NB-2LH rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack, with optional AC adapter. (Increased power capacity over the pack that shipped with the S-45 and S-50.)

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