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Canon PowerShot S2 IS

alaTest has collected and analyzed 2563 reviews from magazines and websites. People really like the image quality and portability. The performance and usability also get good comments, whereas the reliability and sensor get mixed comments. Some have doubts about the connectivity and contrast.

value for money, usability, performance, portability, image quality

features, viewfinder, contrast, connectivity

We analyzed user and expert ratings, product age and more factors. Compared to other Digital Compact Cameras the Canon PowerShot S2 IS is awarded an overall alaScore™ of 85/100 = Very good quality.

See all Canon Digital Compact Cameras

Review analysis

(Based on 2563 reviews)

Expert Reviews  

User Reviews  

Showing 625 review(s)

Expert Reviews User Reviews
Showing 1 - 10 of 625 Show Reviews: in English | in other languages (295)

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot S2IS Test Report


This is Canon's only model with an optical image stabilizer--rare on a still camera--but its battery life rates at the bottom

Optical image stabilization

Very low battery life

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Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot S2 IS Digital Camera Review


The Canon PowerShot S2 picks up where the PowerShot S1 IS left off. The S1 brought Canon into the ultra zoom race for compact cameras, demonstrating that Canon was capable of transferring both their DV technology and advanced lens construction into consum

Func. Menu simplifies navigation, Stereo Audio recording, Manual Audio levels, Rotating LCD, Selectable stabilization modes, Great lens, Dual record buttons, Flash compensation included

Terrible quality on Electronic Color Viewfinder, Dual menu structure could be confusing to beginners, High levels of noise present at ISO 200 and 400, Shutter release sound is recorded by mics during video capture (defeats point of dual release), Only...

The Canon PowerShot S2 picks up where the PowerShot S1 IS left off, though not perhaps in the ways some might expect: it improved upon the S1's strengths while still falling short in all the same areas.


Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot S2 IS


Another day, another mega zoom digicam with a 12x optical zoom and built-in optical image stabilization. This one is far from plain vanilla, however, since the PowerShot S2 IS is the replacement for the popular, year-old S1 IS. Since this is the...

Terrific 12x zoom lens/ image stabilization; movie mode w/ stereo sound

Confusing control nomenclature ; manually-operated flash ; smallish LCD screen ; steep learning curve

This class of camera is one of the great deals for 2005.


Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot S2 IS


Excellent feature set; one-touch high-quality movie mode; decent performance and image quality.

Average burst-shooting performance; some image artifacts.

An excellent feature set and improved performance make the Canon PowerShot S2 IS megazoom camera even more attractive than its predecessor.

Editor's Choice!

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot S2 IS


Great picture quality. Wide variety of scene modes. Good image stabilization. 12X optical zoom.

Very slow recycle time. Small LCD. Poor electronic viewfinder.

The PowerShot S2 IS boasts good picture quality, but the small LCD and poor electronic viewfinder make it problematic for use in bright light.

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot S2 IS


Almost as soon as it was announced in February 2004, the PowerShot S1 IS - Canon's long-awaited successor to the Pro 90 - made its way into dpreview's top 5 cameras (based on visitor clicks), a position it held for the best part of a year, despite...

Good resolution ; New 12x zoom offers excellent 36-432mm range ; Packed with features ; Image stabilization works really well (and can be used in movie mode) ; Very quiet ; Fast and responsive (faster focus than S1 IS) ; Stunning movie mode with high...

Occasional focus errors - especially at the telephoto end of the zoom in low light ; Fairly noisy above ISO200 ; No rechargeable batteries supplied in the box ; Viewfinder and screen can be difficult to see in very bright conditions ; Images slightly...

In an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace Canon had to make the successor to the S1 IS something more than a mere upgrade, and no one can deny they did just that, bringing improvements to virtually every aspect of the camera's performance....

Expert review by:

Canon Powershot S2 IS


The PowerShot S2 IS also records high quality movies with stereo sound in VGA resolution at 30 frames per second (fps). Individual movie clips can last as long as 60 minutes or produce file sizes up to 1GB on SD media cards. What's more, powerful...

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot S2 IS


The Canon PowerShot S2 IS is a quality digital still camera with a powerful 12x optical zoom lens. Add the sharp photos it takes and it makes the PowerShot S2 IS an automatic choice to add to your photo gadget bag.

12 times optical zoomHigh performance VGA movie mode with stereo soundFits nicely in your handImage stabilized

Packed with features, the PowerShot S2 IS is fully loaded with a 12x ...

Expert review by:

Digital Cameras - Canon PowerShot S2IS Digital Camera Review, Information, Specifications


The long-zoom digital camera market is getting pretty crowded these days, so it takes a lot for a product to really stand out. Despite the stiff competition though, the Canon PowerShot S2 IS is indeed a standout product. Building upon the already very...

Very long (12x) zoom ratio, Image-stabilized lens, usable for both stills and movies, Nice color, bright without being overbearing, Natural skin tones, Good shutter response, particularly when "prefocused", Very good shot to shot speed, Very good...

Slightly high contrast, Slightly coarse rendering of fine details (soft sensor image/stronger in-camera sharpening), High image noise at ISO 400, Higher than average chromatic aberration, at all focal lengths, Focus is difficult to determine from the...

The Canon PowerShot S2 IS is the sequel to an extremely popular long zoom camera, the 3.2 megapixel S1 IS. The 5.0 megapixel Canon S2 IS and its predecessor follow in the footsteps of a well-received model from four years past, the 2.6-megapixel...

Expert review by:

Canon PowerShot S2 IS


The S2 keeps all of the S1's trademark features including optical image stabilization, a rotating LCD, an excellent movie mode, full manual controls, and support for conversion lenses

Very good photo quality (though see issues below) ; 12X zoom lens with optical image stabilization ; Blazing performance (except for focusing speeds, which are just average) ; Full manual controls ; Awesome movie mode: VGA resolution (30 fps), stereo...

Images a little too sharp; a few were a tad overexposed ; Movie mode file size limit arrives quickly ; Some redeye ; No live histogram in record mode (still!) ; Plastic tripod mount (hey I'm only complaining because it used to be metal) ; RAW support,...

All-in-all I really like the PowerShot S2 and it gets my highest recommendation. I think the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20 is more of a "photographers" camera with its sturdier construction, manual focus ring, and hot shoe, with the S2 being more of an...

Product Specifications

With a wide to super telephoto 12x optical zoom lens and both exceptional digital camera and video functionality, the PowerShot S2 IS gives you the freedom to capture every scene, any way you want. With Optical Image Stabilizer (IS), Ultrasonic Motor (USM) and a UD lens element, the PowerShot S2 IS's 12x optical zoom is no ordinary lens. Optical IS works to counteract camera shake - even at full zoom and in low light conditions - for ultra sharp photos and movies. USM provides super responsive, smooth and near silent zoom, while the UD element reduces chromatic aberrations for razor sharp images with superb color accuracy. A super macro mode allows for precise focusing no matter how close you get to your subject. Combine the powerful lens with capacity to shoot up to 60 minutes of VGA quality movies with full stereo sound. A dedicated movie button gets you shooting immediately in either 15 or 30 fps to ensure you never miss those once in a lifetime moments. The Photo In Movie feature allows full resolution digital stills to be taken whilst shooting a movie. The DIGIC II processor delivers incredible 2.4 fps continuous shooting, super fast auto focus and rapid start up, plus superb color rendering and white balance accuracy for natural skin tones and rich, vibrant colors. For the ultimate in creative control over digital stills and movies, the PowerShot S2 IS provides 18 shooting modes. These include 6 Special Scene modes for great results in tricky lighting conditions, and My Colors for special effect color swapping and manipulation. Direct manual control is available over a multitude of settings, such as focus, IS mode, shutter speed and aperture, and audio sampling rate. A 1.8" vari-angle LCD maximizes shooting and playback pleasure, with Night Display for improved visibility in low light. Extend your zoom range to a staggering 27mm - 648mm with optional wide- and tele- converter lenses. Other optional accessories available include a close-up lens and High-Power Flash. For your post-shooting creativity, a variety of editing software is included and you can also print direct without a PC to any PictBridge or Canon Direct Print compatible photo printer.

Audio Input

Microphone Operation Mode:Stereo


Battery Form Factor:Standard form factor
Supported Battery Form Factor:AA

Camera Flash

Red Eye Reduction: Yes
Type:Pop-up flash

Digital Camera

Supported Flash Memory:SD Memory Card

Dimensions & Weight


Display (Projector)

Diagonal Size:1.8in
Diagonal Size (metric):4.6cm
Display Form Factor:Rotating
Technology:TFT active matrix
Type:LCD display

Exposure Parameters

Shooting Programs:Beach / Fireworks / Foliage / Indoor / Landscape / Night scene / Night snapshot / Portrait mode / Snow / Stitch assist

Flash Memory

Form Factor:SD Memory Card
Storage Capacity:16MB


Model:S2 IS
Packaged Quantity:1
Product Line:Canon PowerShot

Lens System

Lens Aperture:F/2.7-3.5
Max Focal Length:72mm
Min Focal Length:6mm
Optical Zoom:12
Type:Zoom lens

Optical Sensor

Optical Sensor Size:1/2.5"
Optical Sensor Size (metric):10.2 mm ( 1/2.5 ) / 10.2 mm ( 1/2.5" )
Optical Sensor Type:CCD
Sensor Resolution:5Megapixel

Optical System

Built-in Optical Image Stabilizer: Yes
Image Stabilizer:Optical

Storage Floppy Drive

Type: None

Video Input

Digital Video Format:AVI
Digital Zoom:4
ISO (Max):400
Light Sensitivity:ISO 100 / ISO 200 / ISO 400 / ISO 50 / ISO auto
Shooting Modes:Frame movie mode
Special Effects:Black & White / Contrast compensation / Custom Effect / Low Sharpening / Neutral / Saturation / Sepia / Vivid
Still Image Format:JPEG
Type:Digital camera


Viewfinder Color Support:Color
Viewfinder Type:Electronic