Canon PowerShot S500 Review
Date: Apr 1, 2004
Friday, March 19, 2004 - Here's what I receive
in the box:
- PowerShot S500 Digital Elph
- 32MB CompactFlash (CF) Memory Card
- Li-Ion Battery & Battery Charger
- Wrist Strap
- Interface Cables: A/V; USB
- English Instruction Manuals: User Guide; Software
Starter Guide; Quick Start Guide [very convenient];
- Software CDs: Digital Camera 12.0; ArcSoft
Camera Suite 2.0
This attractive package comes with everything
you need to get started, including a 32MB CompactFlash
memory card, Li-Ion battery and battery recharger.
The only thing you might want to buy to protect
this nice digital camera is a soft case.
The PowerShot S410 Digital Elph is similar to
the S500, except that the S410 has 4MP, records
movies at a smaller resolution (320x240), and
is about US$100 cheaper. They are both PictBridge-compatible,
i.e. you can print directly to any PictBridge-compatible
printer from the camera without going through
The Canon S500 uses a small Li-Ion battery. According
to the User Guide, it takes about 130 mins to
fully charge a depleted Li-Ion battery. You can
safely recharge the battery at any time and do
not have to wait for it to be depleted first.
A battery charger is included and it is of the
type that just plugs directly into the electrical
The battery lasts a long time, though it's always
a good idea to get a spare battery if you are
going to take lots of pictures -- or turn the
LCD off to dramatically conserve battery power
(190 images with LCD on vs. 440 images with LCD
A 32MB CompactFlash (CF) memory card is included.
At Superfine Large resolution, it will hold about
11 images. I recommend you purchase as large a
memory card as you can afford. For example, a
256MB CF card will allow you to record about 98
images. It's typically a one-time purchase, and
a large enough memory card means you might never
have to take it out of the camera.
With Windows XP, you don't need to install any
software to transfer images from camera to PC.
There are two CDs included: ArcSoft Camera Suite
1.3 (PhotoImpression 5, VideoImpression 2) and
Digital Camera Solution Disk 17.1 (ZoomBrowser
EX 4.6, PhotoRecord 2.0, PhotoStitch 3.1, Camera
Twain Driver 6.4, Camera WIA Driver 6.2)
The User Guide is well illustrated and written,
though the print is on the small side. A Quick
Start Guide is all you need to get started with
the basics of using the camera.
2 - 2 July 2004: Photoshop montage
The S500 is basically a point-and-shoot digital
camera and you'll be mostly taking pictures in
Auto Mode. Some of the settings available can
only be chosen when "Manual" Shooting
Mode is selected. Here is a chart
showing the functions that are available depending
on the Shooting Mode selected.
Don't be fooled by the "Manual" mode
-- it's more like Program AE where everything
is still auto but also allowing you to select
exposure compensation, a long shutter speed, white
balance, ISO, and photo effects. In other words,
the FUNC menu is fully enabled.
So, this means that you should probably always
use "Manual" mode since it is still
auto, and allows you more exposure latitude.
Here is how I set up the MENU and FUNC options:
Quick Shot = On
AiAF = Off
Cont. Shooting = H
Self-timer = 2
AF-assist Beam = On
Digital Zoom = Off
Review = 5 sec.
Long Shutter = On
Mute = On
LCD Brightness = mid [don't put too bright and
get fooled that your underexposed shot is OK]
Power Saving... Auto Power Down = On, Display
Off = 1 min
Auto Rotate = Off
April 4, 2004: Just found out the Time does not
automatically reset for Daylight Savings Time
Connect camera to PC and start ZoomBrowser EX
-- download themes or individual sounds and pics
[You go in this menu to select Exposure Compensation
and a long shutter speed]
Exp. Compensation = this is where you come to
change exp. compensation
Long Shutter = while pointing to Exp. Compensation,
you need to press SET to access this option
AWB = Auto
ISO = 50
Histogram is available on playback. In Playback
mode, press the DISP button a couple of times
until the histogram appears. Set this way, it
will display as soon as you finish taking the
picture for however long you set the Review time
to in the Rec. Menu. It is a good idea to learn
to read the histogram if it is available on your
digital camera. It is not difficult and we explain
it clearly in this tutorial.
You can rely on a histogram display to tell you
whether your shot is underexposed or overexposed
-- no matter how it looks on the LCD screen.
It is easy to get excellent results from the
Canon S500 in point-and-shoot mode. It looks fashionable,
is ultra compact and light (but not too light).
The movie mode at 640x480 is great but only allows
30 sec. of recording at a time. You can of course
fill up the whole memory card with as many 30
sec. clips as you want.
The Canon PowerShot S500 Digital Elph is an excellent
choice for an ultra compact digital camera. If
you are looking for a strictly point-and-shoot
digital camera, do not forget to try the S500
(or S410) out. It's a carry anywhere camera that
will consistently give you the kind of quality
images Canon optics are reknowned for.