Review: Canon PowerShot S200

Review: Canon PowerShot S200

Canon's PowerShot S120 was the Readers' Choice in this year's DL Awards for Best Prosumer Compact Camera.

Recently, Canon released its more budget-priced cousin, the PowerShot S200, which looks a lot like the S120 at first glance.

It has the same 24-120mm lens and 3-inch display size. But there are several differences.

The S120 has a faster continuous shooting speed of up to 12.1 frames per second (fps), a 12.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor, Digic 6 image processor and a high-resolution display of 922,000 dots.

Cheaper by $200, the S200 can manage only up to 4.5fps and features a 10.1-megapixel CCD image sensor, an image processor one generation older (Digic 5) and a display resolution of 461,000 dots, or half that of the S120.

The S200 does not capture RAW images or full high-definition (HD) videos. It shoots 720p HD videos. But it is 36g lighter and 2.7mm thinner than its award-winning cousin.

Its all-plastic build is too slick to offer a secure grip. The rear thumb rest does not feel as ergonomic and comfortable as the Fujifilm XQ1's.

But the S200's button layout is almost a clone of the XQ1's, with a control ring in front and a rear wheel dial. A Mode dial, although more recessed than the XQ1's, is on the extreme top right with the zoom lever and shutter release button beside it. Such button placements are very logical. It makes accessing them easy and intuitive.

In operation, the S200 holds up well against the competition. It starts up in about 1.6sec and shuts down in around 2.1sec. Shutter lag is around 0.6sec.

Autofocusing (AF) is accurate and instantaneous even in bright lighting conditions. If there is too much contrast in a scene, it may take slightly more than 1sec to lock onto a focus. In dim lighting, it may take up to 2sec, with AF assist light.

For a point-and-shoot camera, the S200 delivers nice sharp pictures with accurate colour reproduction under most lighting conditions. Image noise is non-existent until ISO 400. At ISO 800, the noise levels caused visible loss of details.

Battery life is a downer. The S200 runs flat after about 200 frames.

If you want to save $200 and do not shoot full HD videos or RAW images, the Canon PowerShot S200 is an easy-to-use camera that comes with an affordable price.

By Trevor Tan

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