I’ve been using my new camera for almost two weeks now so I figured it was time to weigh in with some thoughts on how it measures up.
Physically, the Canon S200 Elph is very, very compact and durable. It’s a real boon having a camera that can be slipped into a shirt pocket. That’s a big improvement over my previous camera.
There are even more compact cameras out there, though. I got an email from Mike Davidson telling me about the Pentax Optio S which he keeps in an Altoids tin!
The S200 Elph comes with a measly 8MB CompactFlash card so getting an extra card is pretty much mandatory. Even for someone like me who lugs their laptop with them everywhere they go, 8MB is just annoyingly little. I plumped for a generous 128MB.
For the first time, I have a camera that can also take movies. The quality is surprisingly good, at least in daylight. Sound reproduction is also pretty accurate. If I can figure out the bandwidth issues, maybe I’ll start posting little movie snippets here on the site.
But enough about the added extras. Lets get down to the nitty-gritty: picture quality.
I never had any complaints with the picture quality of my previous camera except that it was near useless in low-light conditions. The Canon S200 Elph is certainly an improvement in that area but I was initially disappointed by the pictures taken in normal daylight.
Whereas my old Fuji always seemed to reproduce colours boldly and brightly, the Canon had a tendency to produce slightly washed out images that seemed shifted to the yellow end of the spectrum.
Well, that was with the default settings anyway. By experimenting with the various settings (white balance, ISO, shutter speed), I was able to get some really good results.
From my experience, having the BW balance set to “cloudy” and the photo effect set to “vivid” enhancess the colours enormously.
I think as a “point and click” camera, it doesn’t really work. But if you invest some time into figuring out which settings affect what, then the camera immediately becomes a lot more powerful.
For example, check out some of the pictures taken during Macworld by a roving O’Reilly reporter with this camera (all the various camera settings are included with each picture).
The Canon S200 Elph kind of falls between stools. It’s definitely not a camera for the complete beginner - too many settings to fool around with. It’s also not a camera for the professional - the resolution and zoom are too limited for serious photography. It is, however, just about right for someone like me. It’s more than adequate for taking holiday snaps and with the right settings, it can come up with some high-quality stuff for commercial web work. And let’s not forget that compact size which is a big advantage when you want to capture candid shots at social gatherings.
I’m happy with it. But don’t just take my word for it. Read what other people have to say about the camera.
If you’d like to see the kind of results I’ve been getting with the Canon S200 Elph (which, by the way, is called the Canon Ixus in the UK), check out this gallery of pictures from Arizona. I’ll probably be adding more pictures as my holiday continues to unfold.