Canon PowerShot S5 IS

Last update: Review by PCWorld (12 June’08)

The Canon PowerShot S5 IS (announced 7 May’07) is a 8 million effective pixels point-and-shoot digital camera features DIGIC III processor, 12x Optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 36-432mm), Image Stabilization, a flash hot shoe, and a 2.5″ LCD screen. (Full Specs)

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Overall Rating: ★★★★☆ | Latest Price Info

Canon PowerShot S5 IS Price Comparison

Canon PowerShot S5 IS Reviews

PCAWorld reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“The 12X zoom is quick and quiet, and the autofocus was snappy except at maximum zoom; sometimes it had to search for the proper subject when I zoomed way in. Picture quality was a mixed bag: Otherwise good images sometimes suffered from a noticeable degree of noise at anything above midrange ISO.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

CameraLabs reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“Throw in that annoying lens cap and there’s just a few too many downsides for a Highly Recommended award. But on the flip-side there’s certainly enough that’s great about the S5 IS for it to comfortably earn our Recommended rating.”

Rating: ★★★★☆

PCAdvisor reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“Noise is more of an issue with Canon PowerShot S5 IS shots, however, creeping into shots upwards of ISO400 and images at maximum ISO1600 appearing as if you’re viewing them through frosted glass. The Canon PowerShot S5 IS produces shots were colours are well saturated and skin tones are warm and flattering.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

ImagingResource reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“Image noise issues and the appearance of chromatic aberration mar the otherwise pleasing image quality and although the S5 IS benefits in many ways from the latest DIGIC III processor from Canon, its performance could be taken up a notch. The Canon PowerShot S5 IS, however, has so much to offer in terms of features and design that these attributes may be enough to compensate for the camera’s shortcomings. The S5 IS is one of the many megazoom cameras I’ve tested, the S5 IS is one of my favorites.”
Rating: N/A reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“Like any superzoom, the S5 IS boasts an impressive focal range within compact dimensions — the theory being that it won’t matter that you can’t swap lenses, this will be all you’ll ever need. For those who don’t need the bells and whistles of a dSLR, the video mode with stereo sound, plus vari-angle LCD, are a real boon”
Rating: ★★★★☆

ePhotozine reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“Purple distortion is starting to show on ISO200 which may be down to the smaller sensor, but this also allows such great macro shots….If you are a small business or a semi-pro looking for a back-up camera, never mind the enthusiast for whom this is a great choice, then you wouldn’t go wrong by taking a look at this one.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

TrustedReviews reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“The Canon PowerShot S5 IS is unquestionably the most versatile digital camera on the market, with a powerful high quality zoom lens, superb image stabilisation, class-leading performance and what may be the best AF system on the market. It has a huge range of features, including a video mode with full zoom lens and stereo audio. It is slightly let down by the small sensor and its inherent noise problems, but it is still an outstanding camera by any standard.”
Rating: ★★★★½

PhotographyBlog reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
For anyone used to handling a budget DSLR, the Canon PowerShot S5 IS is reasonably easy to use, sharing familiarities in its control layout. Anyone upgrading from a point-and-shoot compact will be faced with an initial learning curve…”
Rating: ★★★★☆

Cameras.UK reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“I was able to take a single photo in 0.25 seconds and five in 8.22 seconds. These are fairly standard times, although the single shot is slightly faster than standard. With the flash turned on times increased to 0.48 seconds and 13.14 seconds. Again these are roughly as standard. ”
Rating: ★★★★☆

DigitalCameraInfo reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“It takes excellent video with stereo audio, and its 12x optical zoom and image stabilization are functional. If only the pictures were as good. The burst mode lags at 1.5 fps, the autofocus isn’t as quick as its DSLR-like body suggests, and noise renders some images nearly unusable.”
Rating: N/A

Canon PowerShot S5 IS Video Review by TigerDirect;

LuminousLandscape reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“ should not expect to obtain reasonable-sized prints or do a lot of cropping with anything above ISO 200 – and maybe even that’s a little optimistic. I leave the camera set at ISO 80 so I don’t have to think about it. This is where the 3-stop image stabilization saves the day.”
Rating: N/A

GoodGearGuide reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“It performed nicely. It took about 1.7 seconds from power up until first shot, which is fairly fast for an ultra-zoom.. Another strong ultra-zoom digital camera from Canon, the PowerShot S5 IS is no longer the dominating choice in this market as its predecessor was, but it still offers a good overall package if you can look past some minor flaws.”
Rating: ★★★½☆

PopPhoto reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“This is a great-looking EVF that is solidly built, fun to use, and has unique stereo recording for video capture. Dedicated buttons for image quality adjustments are a great touch, as is the articulated LCD screen. Optical Image stabilization allows for sharp shots even when the lighting isn’t perfect, and overall the ergonomics and design of this camera are top-shelf. Unfortunately, image quality at ISO 400 and up isn’t up to snuff, and it is a shame that such a well-designed camera from a major player suffers where it matters most.”
Rating: N/A

Megapixel reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“The Canon PowerShot S5 IS is a camera designed for advanced amateurs, and some time is required to tame it and obtain the highest image quality. Nevertheless, it would appear that the 8-megapixel resolution seems to be at the limit of what the lens can support, and with wide angle shots it is not unusual for images to require some post capture sharpening. Similarly, noise is a factor and the S5 IS produces its highest image quality if sensitivity is kept to a maximum of 200 ISO.”
Rating: ★★★★½

Steve’sDigicams reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“The S5’s image quality results were pleasing, both indoors and out. The majority of our outdoors sample images were sharp thanks to the accurate AF system and high-quality Canon lens, and exposure and color saturation are also very nice…With appealing features like 8-megapixels of resolution, 12x zoom lens with optical IS, 2.5-inch vari-angle LCD, excellent image quality, and blazing fast performance, the S5 IS will be a tuff model to beat in the super-zoom category. ”
Rating: N/A

CNET Asia reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“The S5 IS delivers very good speed for its class. It wakes up and shoots in 1.3 seconds, with a shutter lag of 0.5 and 0.8 second in bright and dim light, respectively. It can shoot consecutive single images 1.6 seconds apart, growing to a reasonable 2.1 seconds with flash enabled. Continuous shooting is fixed at about 1.5 frames per second (fps), regardless of image size, and can run for about 18 shots before it starts to slow.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

DigitalCameraReview reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“This is a capable and versatile camera, with good shutter and focus performance, great image and color quality and a lens that can range from modest wide angle to long telephoto…The smaller physical size of the sensor guarantees that noise performance won’t match a DSLR once ISO values start to rise, and the 0.9 fps continuous shooting speed is a bit of a disappointment for a camera that does so many other things so well. But these are truly minor annoyances given the overall excellence of the S5 IS.”
Rating: N/A

DCRP reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“While not perfect, the Canon PowerShot S5 IS is still one of the best ultra zooms on the market. It offers a nice blend of photo quality, performance, and features that appeal to both beginners and enthusiasts. I can recommend the S5 to just about anyone interested in an ultra zoom camera. If you’re a PowerShot S3 owner wondering if you should upgrade, I would only say “yes” if you need the hot shoe and longer movie recording times. Otherwise, stick with what you have!”
Rating: N/A

PhotoReview.AU reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“Pictures taken with the test camera were generally well exposed with good colours and slightly elevated contrast and saturation. We noticed some colour shifts in blues and purples, which were confirmed by Imatest evaluation. Imatest also showed the sensor/lens combination produced resolutions that were slightly below expectations.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

DPInterface reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“Photos shot at ISO 80 and ISO 100 look nearly the same with low noise. At ISO 200, there is a tad increase in noise and it gets noticeable only at ISO 400. At ISO 800, there’s even more noise and you may have to start using software to clean photos up and leave this for small printing/viewing only. ISO 1600 gets really noisy so I think you should avoid going up here if you want less grainy photos….If a capable all-in-one (good still image mode and impressive movie mode) camera is what you need, the S5 IS is absolutely it.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

CNET reviews the Canon PowerShot S5 IS and writes;
“Color looks great; it pops but manages to stay shy of oversaturated. White balance is excellent under a variety of conditions. But even at its sharpest, the S5 IS’ photos generally look overprocessed and a bit smeary. Some of that fades to obscurity when you print, but if you’re planning to crop your photos, it will become quite noticeable… The bottom line: Though it remains a good megazoom, thanks to continued image and lens artifacts, the Canon PowerShot S5 IS is slowly losing ground to competitors.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

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Canon PowerShot S5 IS Samples

Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ CameraLabs
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ ImagingResource
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ TrustedReviews
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ ePhotozine
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ PhotographyBlog
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ Cameras.UK
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ DigitalCameraInfo
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ Megapixel
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ Megapixel
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ Steve’sDigicams
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ DigitalCameraReview
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ DCRP
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ DPInterface
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ CNET
Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Photos @ DCRP

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Canon PowerShot S5 IS User Manuals (PDF)

Click to view or right click and select Save Target As.. (Firefox) or Save link as.. (IE) to download

– Download Canon PowerShot S5 IS User Guide Basic (PDF, 2.55 MB)
– Download Canon PowerShot S5 IS User Guide Advanced (PDF, 5.90 MB)
– Download Canon PowerShot S5 IS System Map (PDF, 508 KB)


Canon S5 IS Audio Test

Canon PowerShot S5 IS Sample Video

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Canon PowerShot S5 IS Press Release

The Netherlands, 07 May, 2007 Canon today announces the launch of the 12x optical zoom, 8.0 Megapixel PowerShot S5 IS. The new compact inherits optical Image Stabilizer (IS) technology, professional-grade optics and extensive movie functions while introducing a host of new features designed to increase the photographer’s success rate.

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35 Responses to “Canon PowerShot S5 IS”

  1. Sajith says:

    I bought the canon S5 Is last week. I cannot activate Super Macro shooting option in it as described in manual supplied with it by pressing the macro button for more than 1 second special scene mode. If any body knows, please let me know how i can activate super macro.

  2. Eric says:

    Just bought a S5 IS too and I wasn’t able to activate “super-macro” too.
    As read in the “basic” manual (page 19 ?), this setting is not available in all shooting modes.
    Take a look in the “advanced” guide : at the end (page 199 ?), there is a table in which you will find which shootings mode accept this settings.

    Hope my english won’t be too bad … 😉

  3. Matt says:

    I have bought my camera in Hong Kong and I the digital display is not in english. How do I change the language settings?
    Canon PowerShot S5 IS Digital Camera

  4. Sajith says:

    Thank you Eric! I am now taking the super macro in the ‘P’ mode.
    Great pics.

  5. swordie says:

    S5 is much better than the S3… especially the new navigation buttons, easy to press. The screen is brighther and larger too. The response is very fast… i can point and shoot… the proecessing is fast (focusing) and it will comes out perfectly… framed nicely… even in fast moving car.

  6. Wilson says:

    Have you tried to download the english manual and follow the steps to change the display language?

  7. ERDAL ANIK says:

    I have bought my camera in Hong Kong and I the digital display is not in Turkish. How do I Turkish menu?
    Canon PowerShot S5 IS Digital Camera

  8. Ray says:

    I had the same problem before and I took my camera to the Canon Service Centre in my area. They helped me to change my Chinese menu to English.. You might want to try the same..Good luck!

  9. Bill Reeds says:

    Hi Sajith, hope this helps. The Super Macro only works in certain modes, (check your manual for full list), so Auto mode & C mode don’t allow it but P, Tv, Av, & M do. Good luck.

  10. Amey says:

    Once you press the macro button once, you will see the message on screen or eyepiece saying “hold on for super macro”. Immediately, hold the macro button for more than second, the message saying “Super macro mode” will appear on your screen. “Super Macro” mode works only with few of the shooting option. Check manual for the same.


  11. Roger says:

    I bought a Powershot S5 IS in August. I’ve had no problems with it and have been enjoying all its features. Yesterday, I was looking at some pictures on the camera with the zoom when I noticed a little white dot on the right side of the screen centered vertically. I went back to the first pictures I took when I first bought it to see if it was on those pictures. There is a white dot on that one also. On the computer, when you zoom in at 50% you can barely pick it out. At 100%, it can be seen fairly good. I haven’t printed any pictures from the S5 IS yet. Has anybody else noticed this? Should it be a concern if I want to print my pictures? I would appreciate any information anyone can provide me.

  12. Emily says:

    I just recently purchased the Canon Powershot s5 and am very pleased. I, however, know very little about photography and would like to focus on an object that someone is holding 2 feet in front of their face, while making their face blurry in the background. Is there any way to do this?


  13. Roger says:

    With the S5 IS, there are two ways.

    1) Aim the center frame (a white rectangle in the middle of the viewfinder or LCD) at the object. Press and hold the shutter button halfway. You should hear a beep when you do press it. The center frame will turn green when it has focused on the object. Still holding the shutter button, recompose the picture (in this case, so that you see the object and the person’s face) that way that you want it. Then press the shutter button down completely.

    2) When you press and hold the shutter button halfway and the center frame turns yellow, then the camera is having a bit of trouble focusing on the object. Another way to focus is to press the MF (Manual Focus) on the left side of the barrel (just above the macro button). Press and hold the MF button and a bar will show up on the right side of the viewfinder or LCD (whichever one you are using) along with “MF” on the bottom left. Using the direction pad (up and down) on the back of the camera to focus on the object. When you push the direction pad, a enlarged view of the object (in this case) will be shown. When you have the oject in focus, let go of the MF button. The camera will stay in focus at that distance until the MF button is pushed again. Recompose your shot (as mentioned in the first method) and press the shutter button to take your picture.

    You can find most of these directions in the Manual, but it is a good idea to play with the buttons on your camera. It helps you get use to the controls and you probably won’t have to look at them as much. Especially if you mainly use the viewfinder to compose your pictures.

    Hope this helps. Good luck and good picture taking.

  14. Sally says:

    I’m having difficulty with the face recognition mode. How do I get it to work in the settings menu? It seems i’ve changed flexi zone from “off” to “on” and now when I take a picture, even when I change to ‘face detect’, the camera reverts back to ‘center’. HELP!

  15. You can also discuss about the Canon PowerShot S5 IS in our online forum

  16. greg says:

    i had an s3 also and i like the s5 better,however i wish they left the memory card slot as it was in the s3,also the battery door seemed to work more comfortably in the s3.
    the s5 has the memory card under the battery door and the s3 had a slot of its own for the memory card on the opposite side of the body.the battery door on the s3 seemed sturdier and was easier to open with the thumb and slide.

  17. Abhishek Thakur says:

    One thing I’ve noticed in this otherwise excellent camera is the presence of noise in the restaurant type of lights.
    I shoot using the indoor mode which sets ISO speed at 320 and uses a shutter speed of about 1/60 when using flash. In normal tungsten and fluoroscent lights, the pictures come ok but when sitting in a restuarant or pizza, pictures come out pretty grainy.
    Does anyone know why is this happening?

  18. George says:

    Hello guys!

    I have a following question:
    Although, I have to admit the Powershot S5 IS is a very multifunctional camera and very good for amateurish use, I wonder if it possible to achieve the same picture quality as with more expensive DSLR cameras? In particular in portrait shots?
    For me the biggest appeal of pictures taken with expensive cameras and lenses is the way they de-focus all objects incl. faces except the one you focus on. Powershot S5 IS somehow attemps to keep focus on all the objects (faces) even if they are at different distance from the shooter. Can someone tell me if de-focusing or more narrow focus can be achieved with manual settings, or it’s impossible per se with non-professional non-SLR cameras?
    Perhaps, this effect can be achieved by post-shooting corrections on PC?

    Thank for your comments in advance.

  19. Abhishek Thakur says:

    I am not yet that much hands on with my S5 yet but from what I’ve read about photography, I believe you will need to use manual focus. Press and hold the MF button and scroll up and down to determine the focus.
    Another way is to use the aperture. If the aperture is large (lets say F5.0, which means F/5.0 if I’m not mistaken) the shutter opening is small and a large area of the photographs gets in focus. That is why in landscape mode a large aperture is used. On the other hand, if the aperture is small, like F2.7 then only a limited area in the photograph remains in focus. You can experiment around these lines and try to get the result you want. I’ll also undertake these experiments the next time I get the opportunity!

  20. haxxy says:

    The links for the user guide and system map are not working. Where can I get these manuals?

  21. Links have been updated. Thanks for the heads-up.

  22. Thankful Shutterbug says:

    Yes, I too found that the supermacro only works in the P mode on the dial. You saved me a lot of frustration.

  23. Barrie Smith says:


    Just become owner of a Canon S5 IS. Having been used to simple point and shoot cameras I find the array of buttons and modes most confusing.

    Is there an “Idiots guide to the Canon S5 IS”? I have the two user guides but find them hard to follow.

    Specifically, after taking a few excellent pictures I pushed some buttons and now a hand appears on the LCD screen, the pictures do not seem to be sharp and I can’t get back to basic settings. I tried “reset settings to default values” but a message appears on screen saying busy and nothing else seems to have changed.

    Any suggestion or help very welcome.


  24. Lisa says:

    I’d like to second Barrie’s question. Having been the owner of a Powershot A80 which took amazing pictures without me having to do much, I am very disappointed in the the S5. I’ve read the manual twice and I’ve played with all the settings. I’m now scouring the internet for help. I cannot get this camera to take non blurry inside shots, any natural light shots (no flash), and all my macro shots come out horrible. I am very frustrated! I need this camera to work as I have an online business that I photograph for. Please help! Thanks!

  25. Ace says:


    have you tried adjusting the ISO setting? but take note, higher ISOs may give you more chances of getting noise on your capture. for great macro shots, you need to have proper lighting. try shotting near a window to get more light.

  26. stefan says:

    where can i find turkish user guide?

  27. StellaB says:

    I also get the “Busy” message when I try to hit the Reset All (to default settings) tool. Extremely annoying. My cousin played with the settings and now I can’t take a good shot with this camera, and apparently there’s no way to fix this. The “busy” issue seems to come up a lot in user boards, but so far I’ve seen no solutions. It seems to be a defect in the camera’s software.

  28. StellaB says:

    I also get the “Busy” message on the screen when I try to use the Reset All (to Default) tool. Extremely annoying. Seems like a softward flaw in the camera. (I have a Canon SD880.) Did anyone ever find a solution to this?

  29. Tim says:

    Hello Eric,
    Thanks for your help on the Super-Macro setting. I had problems getting it to work also. They need to do a better job on their manual!
    Again Thanks!!

  30. Bev says:

    I have the s5is and sometimes when I take a picture with the flash it takes a while to actually take the picture.I have to hold the button down for a few seconds before it finally takes it and by then the shot has been missed!Anyone know what I can do to fix this?it is really annoying!

  31. lal says:

    i am able to record but not able to take a picture.i m able to see the hands icons on the screen when i try to take a picture

  32. abhi says:

    How to upload the pics to a PC or Laptop? When I connect it by USB or insert the memory card … In PC it shows “no pics” . Last time I did when I used Ubuntu Operating System. Please help me solve the problem.

  33. klon says:

    I’m having difficulty with the face recognition mode. How do I get it to work in the settings menu? when I take a picture, even when I change to ‘face detect’, the camera reverts back to ‘center’. HELP!

  34. sunil says:

    I also get the “Busy” message on the screen when I try to use the Reset All (to Default) tool. Extremely annoying. Seems like a softward flaw in the camera. (I have a Canon SD880.) Did anyone ever find a solution to this?

  35. Ramesh Hans says:

    can i use 8 gb or higher micro sd card in Canon PowerShot S5 IS Digital Camera. please help me?

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