Although the PowerShot S2 IS comes close to being a hybrid camera, we don’t classify it as one, because it doesn’t capture video clips in MPEG-4 format. Even so, it does offer fairly good stills along with decent video clips. We had problems, however, with certain features. For example, there is the rather poor combination of a small LCD (a paltry 1.8 inches, while we’re now living in a world of LCDs of 2.5 inches or-larger), which isn’t viewable at all in bright sunlight, and a bad electronic viewfinder which is grainy and hard to see. The poor LCD/EVF also presents problems when you need to use the menus. This does not bode well unless you’re okay with shooting blind.
It is good to see a 5-megapixel camera with 12X optical zoom (the longest zoom now for sale in a digital camera, until the Samsung 815 hits the market with 15X in September) and image stabilization. TheS2 IS’s predecessor, the 3.2MP Canon PowerShot S1 IS has 10X optical zoom. The zoom runs from 6.0 to 72.0 mm (a 35-mm equivalent of 36 to 432 mm) with a wide aperture setting from f/2.7 to f/3.5 over the zoom range. With such a long zoom, it would have been nice to see a bit more on the wide-angle side.