The Canon Powershot S2 IS is a digital camera that offers a heap. To qualify the camera as a digital camera with a large optical range would diminish it, and is not a proper description for the S2 IS. With its many possibilities, the Canon Powershot S2 IS still offers comprehensibility. High resolution, large optical range, optical stabilisation and a high quality video mode are ingredients that almost let you think of the camera as a 'family camera'. And indeed, the Canon S2 IS has a lot to offer to everybody. Those who like to stick to the green spot on the command dial will enter the digital world without a problem, the auto flash functions perfectly. Do remember to fold out the internal flash in order for it to work automatically. It would have been easier to have the flash flip up automatically; nevertheless a red blinking led in the viewfinder or on the monitor will warn you if there isn't sufficient light to get a good picture.
Canon Powershot S2 IS - Still images and Movie recording
The Canon S2 IS offers a wealth of possibilities. Of course this applies firstly to the high resolution photos that can be made with different settings. The automatic setting or one of the pre-programmed scene modes will work excellently and satisfy the beginning photographer. But the S2 has a lot more to offer. Aperture and shutter speed priority with besides that, manual settings that are a challenge for the amateur or advanced photographer. Nothing is more fun than personally check the depth of field or to freeze the movement in a picture or on the contrary capture the speed. Besides the enhanced possibilities for still images, the camera also features a movie recording function. The Powershot S2 IS camera has a special movie function, concerning the sound. The camera namely has two microphones on board and therefore is able to record in stereo. And indeed, the sound recordings offer a stereo effect, clearly audible when the camera is connected to a stereo television through the delivered A/V cable. And as if that isn't enough, the sound can also be adjusted by setting the strength of the level on the microphone or adjusting the wind filter and sampling frequency (44, 100, 22050 or 110250 kHz.)
Powershot S2 IS - Multi media
Besides stereo recording a video clip it is also possible to zoom in during recording. Usually this is not possible, particularly not in combination with recording sound because the sound of the engine will be heard when playing back the captured video. Canon found a solution for this, by letting the zoom drive less directly, fewer revolutions, less sound. And indeed, when playing the video clip, hardly any sound is heard from the zoom, only now and again, when the surroundings are very quiet. Focus is carried out nicely fast and is very quiet too. A new option of Canon is the possibility to make photos while recording a video clip. Pushing the red/silver button on the back of the camera, when in recording mode, a video clip recording is activated. At the same time the release button can be used for shooting images. The fact that the movie is being recorded in a resolution of 640x480 and the photo is taken in a full resolution of 5 Megapixels, is incredibly unique.
Canon S2 IS - Ergonomics
The buttons are logically decided and are easily operable. They also lie within reach of the thumb of your right hand or the forefinger. Activating the camera is carried out smoothly, certainly for a camera with a large optical range like the S2 IS. The camera's response to the release button is really fast, manual focus has an average speed, auto focus is efficient and speedy. It's also possible to focus on one point, to lock the focus and then press the release button completely down. This way of focussing works the fastest, in less than 1/10th of a second. The command dial has a logical division and offers direct access to the main programmes and settings. The dial is actually divided into three zones: Auto, Image Zone and Creative Zone. The green mode (Auto) offers a fully automatic operation while settings like P, Tv, Av, M and C (Creative Zone) offer freedom to achieve a more creative approach of taking images. The shutter range varies from 15 seconds to 1/3200 second and aperture ranges from f2.7 - f8.0. The pre-programmed scenes (Image Zone) offer a simple way of putting emphasis on a certain kind of photo or subject, without having to manually adjust the camera. Furthermore the Powershot S2 IS is also equipped with a multi-functional controller that lets you navigate through the menu of the camera and select various settings.
Canon Powershot S2 - Optional accessories
Even with the large optical range of the zoom lens, combined with the optical stabilisation, it is still possible to equip the camera with a lens adapter. This adapter enables you to use a number of lenses in order to multiply the focal length of the camera. Pressing the button underneath the lens enables you to remove the ring that sits around the front lens. The Canon LA-DC58E lens adapter can now be attached to the camera, after which the Canon WC-DC58A, Canon TC-DC58B and the Canon close-up lens 500D (58cm) can be used. These optional lenses multiply the focal length or offer an enlarged macro range. It's necessary to inform the menu that a converter is used and the programme Stitch is not available anymore (however selectable) to stitch images together. To enlarge the camera's flash range, an external flash can be used. The Canon S2 IS is not equipped with a hot-shoe to connect an external flash, but an optional flash like the Canon HF-DC1 can be connected to the bottom of the camera by means of a tripod. The flash will automatically flash when the camera does. A power adapter (Canon CA-PS700) is optionally available, however in my opinion it isn't very useful unless the camera is used frequently for example for taking images using a tripod. If you use high capacity NiMH batteries they will certainly provide you with many hours of energy.