My Most Popular Prosumer Camera: Canon S2 IS

Canon PowerShot S2 IS
The Canon PowerShot S2 IS is the current favorite choice among those who ask me for camera advice.

As you can imagine, I get lots of inquires this time of year concerning the best camera to buy. For those who are looking for an all-in-one prosumer model, the Canon PowerShot S2 IS has been the model most often selected among the options I present. Why do people like this camera? The 12X optical zoom combined with image stabilizer is appealing in a package that is light to carry around. 5 megapixels is enough resolution for most folks, especially considering that they won't have to do much cropping thanks to the optical zoom range. And the street price of $450 is within reach of most camera-buying budgets.

I do think the S2 is a terrific camera. That's why it's on my short list of consumer recommendations. But the news here is how popular it's been with people who actually plunk down their hard earned dollars.

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One of the things that scares me about buying a prosumer camera is their reputation for noise at ISOs higher than 200. Is this camera any different than the Panasonic or the Samsung in that regard? I can live without the extra megapixels but I like to shoot in low light without the flash. Image stabilization is real helpful but I'd love a clean picture at the end of the day. Also, do you know if this model shoots RAW? Thanks!

While I don't own one of these, yet, I think you're going to find this to be a problem with just about anything short of a DSLR. Have you seen's review of this cam? They've got great, GREAT reviews of equipment. What a great website.

Here's the link for the Powershot S2 IS:


Excellent suggestion – Thank you! I was all over that web site this weekend. Lots of good information.

The reviews there ultimately reinforced my ambivalence about the noise issues in most Prosumer cameras. I love taking pictures in natural light and I have no problems lugging a tripod around with me. I might as well have a nice clean picture for my trouble. So, I'll continue to save my money for a Nikon or a Canon DSLR and good prime lens to get started.

But I'm still amazed at how far the consumer electronics companies like Sony, Panasonic and even Samsung continue to push this segment.

I have owned my S2IS for a few months - I really enjoy having so many functions available without having to go into menus, however ISO 200 & 400 are very noisy. I don't believe it shoots RAW images. I think it's a great camera to learn a lot about photography on, but I wish I had saved my money to buy a DSLR - mind you, it's size and great image quality in good light make it very useful.

Also it has a super macro mode which will focus to 0 centimetres - great if your subject is nearly touching the lens :)

I don't use the image stabilizer at all, and do a lot of shooting in low light with no flash or flash set to low power.

Anyone know if there's a hack out there to increase the time you can hold the shutter open? 15 seconds is the max and is a little short for time exposures.

It doesn't shoot in the raw but there is little compression in the superfine mode, I can't see any jpeg artifacts at all in that mode. 200 and 400 ASA is noisey, but the image stabilization is good, I've gotten away with .8 and 1 second hand-held night shots. However, I agree with the other poster, 15 seconds is not a long enough exposure in low light situations, especially if you are trying to avoid noise by using a low ISO setting.

I have found that mine does shoot in the raw, after 3 years of ownership, and do it pretty regularly now adays.

Put it on manual and work it that way. It's in the book. :O)

I use all the settings in experimenting and find them all pretty interesting. I'm able to actually get correct colors of sunsets, etc. Haven't tried it on the flowers yet; just figured out a superfine macro, too. This camera has all kinds of surprises! I was able to get pictures of stars a few nights back on the manual setting with huge exposure. So, now am playing with over and underexposure. It's quite fun.

blessings, everyone!

Hrmm that was weird, my comment got eaten. Anyway I wanted to say that it's nice to know that someone else also mentioned this as I had trouble finding the same info elsewhere. This was the first place that told me the answer. Thanks.

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