The Canon PowerShot S5 IS is a 12x, 8-megapixel digital camera with image stabilization and the ability to shoot movies. The Canon PowerShot S5 IS no longer rules the roost in reviews -- the 18x, 10-megapixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ28 (Discontinued) is the consensus choice as the top ultra-zoom digital camera. Unlike the Panasonic, the Canon PowerShot S5 IS does not support the RAW format, but it does have a hot shoe. Most reviewers say it's fast enough for their needs (it starts up in 0.9 seconds). Another advantage is that it uses four AA batteries instead of proprietary batteries. However, professional and user reviews say the lens cap pops off inadvertently and that the memory-card slot is badly placed.
CNET offers the most accessible coverage for a general readership, though more detail is available from specialty websites such as Imaging-Resource.com, DCResource.com and DPReview.com. ConsumerReports.org used to rate the S5 but does not include it in its most recent rankings chart. We found more than 400 user reviews at Amazon.com. Most are very complimentary, but there are some design complaints, as noted above.
The Canon PowerShot S5 IS ranks second on this top-nine ultra-zooms chart (all get the same 3.5 out of five stars). CNET's Lori Grunin says the S5 IS is still among the best but "is slowly losing ground to competitors" because of image glitches. Also, it lacks RAW support.
Review: Best Megazoom Digital Cameras, Lori Grunin, May 22, 2009
These thorough reviews are lacking in one area -- too many Dave's Picks mean it's hard to tell which is best. The bottom line is that the Canon PowerShot S5 IS is simple enough for a beginner but has enough manual options to satisfy an advanced amateur.
Review: Canon PowerShot S5 IS Overview, Theano Nikitas, Oct. 30, 2007
Reviews here are thorough and unbiased. Jeff Keller is almost a fanatic about updating his reviews to reflect the current market, but this one is uncharacteristically dated. It does call the Canon PowerShot S5 IS one of his favorites.
Review: DCRP Review: Canon PowerShot S5 IS, Jeff Keller, April 10, 2009
Reviews editor Simon Joinson has written numerous books about photography. Although Joinson calls the S5 a "great" camera, he says the sensor, image quality and inconvenient memory-card slot deprive it of a Highly Recommended designation.
Review: Canon PowerShot S5IS Review, Simon Joinson, July 27, 2007
Reviews are long and professional, but although each camera gets numerical scores (the S5 IS gets nine out of 10 for functionality and photographic quality), there's no easy way to see which cameras rate highest. The inconvenient placement of the memory-card slot gets panned.
Review: Canon Powershot S5 IS, Editors of Megapixel.net, July 2007
The overwhelming majority of the more than 400 user reviews rate the Canon PowerShot 5S IS highly. Complaints about image quality are the norm for digital ultra-zooms, but some also say that the lens cap comes off too easily and that it's poor design to have the SD card reader with the battery hatch.
Review: Canon PowerShot Pro Series S5 IS, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2009