Canon PowerShot S500 Review

Canon PowerShot S500 Review

The IXY DIGITAL 500 builds on its predecessors’ outstanding design and performance characteristics – the long-selling IXY DIGITAL 400 and IXY DIGITAL 500 were introduced in March and May 2003, respectively – and introduces new features.

With the addition of a Print/Share button, the models improve the ease and enjoyment of Canon’s Direct Print functionality. Users may make photo prints straight from a compatible printer with a single click of the new Print/Share button, eliminating the need for a computer altogether.

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Canon PowerShot S500 5MP Digital Elph with 3x Optical Zoom

Last update was on: May 29, 2023 1:53 am

More: Best Memory Cards for Canon PowerShot S500

Essential Attributes

  • 5.0-megapixel CCD.
  • Optical viewfinder that displays the real image.
  • a color TFT LCD monitor with a 1.5-inch display.
  • Glass, 3x, 7.4-22.2mm lens, equal to a 35-105mm lens on a 35mm camera.
  • Maximum 4.1x digital zoom.
  • Automatic control of the exposure, with a Long Shutter option available for shooting at greater shutter speeds.
  • speeds ranging from 1/2000 to 15 seconds for the shutter.
  • The maximum aperture ranges from f/2.8 to f/4.9, depending on the location of the lens zoom.
  • Integrated flash with a total of five different modes.
  • Memory card storage of the CompactFlash Type I kind, with a 32 MB card provided.
  • Power is provided either by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack (the charger is included) or by an AC adapter, which may be purchased separately.

ArcSoft Camera Suite 1.3, software for Canon digital cameras, and USB drivers are all included, and they are compatible with both Windows and Mac operating systems.

Users can also swiftly and conveniently transfer photographs to a Windows-based computer using this functionality. Additionally, new print-related features include ID Photo Print, which makes it simple to print photo prints compatible with all of the significant identification-photo sizes in use worldwide, and Movie Print, which allows users to print sequences of video files captured on the memory card.

Special Features

  • Film mode with the sound on.
  • Two modes of continuous shooting are available: standard and high speed.
  • Panorama mode with stitching assistance.
  • Focusing modes include infinity and macro.
  • Settings for “My Camera” that may be customized.
  • Self-Timer options of two or ten seconds for delaying the release of the shutter.
  • There is a choice to record captions using Sound Memo.
  • There are three types of exposure metering: spot, center-weighted, and evaluative.
  • Adjustment of the white balance (color), with seven different settings and a Custom option available.
  • Adjusting the colors may be done using the Photo Effects menu.
  • Adjustable ISO setting.
  • compatible with the DPOF format (Digital Print Order Format).
  • A USB cable that may be used to connect to a computer (driver software included).
  • A video and audio cable that may be connected to a television set.

As the first camera in Canon’s ultra-compact IXY DIGITAL series to integrate a five-megapixel picture sensor, the Canon ixy digital 500 offers more image capture precision than any other camera the IXY DIGITAL series.

It was introduced in June 2004 as a limited-edition white-bodied version of the Canon IXY DIGITAL 500, initially released in March of that year. The front panel of the new model is coated with a newly designed high-gloss surface finish, which achieves a transparent whiteness and a smooth feel similar to that of porcelain. The IXY DIGITAL 500 White Limited will only be sold in Japan and offered in a limited quantity of 10,000 units.


The PowerShot S500 is virtually indistinguishable from its predecessors, the PowerShot S400 and S330, and it maintains the compact form factor that contributed to the success of the ELPH range. The camera’s small size makes it ideal for discretely stowing away in a pocket or handbag without the risk of causing any harm to the device. However, I strongly advise using a cover to protect the camera from scratches and accidental activation.

A retractable lens is a clever feature that keeps the camera front entirely flat when turned off, highlighting the pocket-friendly form of the camera. Additionally, an automatic lens cover ensures you do not need to worry about smearing or losing the lens cap.

The S500 has the exact dimensions as the S400, which are 3.4 inches by 2.2 inches by 1.1 inches (87 millimeters by 57 millimeters by 28 millimeters), and the same weight, a modest 6.5 ounces (185 grams) without the battery or media.

The front of the S500 has a distinctive ELPH design, with the viewfinder and flash located directly above the lens, which is somewhat off-center and angled toward the right. Next to the optical viewfinder is a light emitter that serves various purposes. These include helping with focusing, reducing the appearance of red eyes, and providing a countdown for the self-timer.

When the camera is turned on, the telescopic lens swiftly slides into position and then retracts entirely within the camera so that it may keep its flat profile. The only finger grip offered is a little notch that extends from the eyelet of the wrist strap; however, the wrist strap that is included should provide a more secure feeling overall.

You’ll find the Shutter button, the Zoom lever, and the Power button at the top of the camera. All three of them protrude somewhat from the surface. There is also a speaker for playback and a tiny microphone to capture sound to accompany the movies.

The connector for the wrist strap can be found on the right side of the camera (when viewed from the back), and the CompactFlash slot can be found on the same side. The space is protected by a plastic lid that locks into place. The actual location of the card slot’s release lever is on the camera’s rear panel.

The plugs for the USB and A/V outputs, shielded by a rubber cover, are located on the side of the camera that faces away from the viewfinder.

All of the remaining controls are located on the back panel of the camera, as well as the optical and LCD viewfinders.

When shooting with one hand, a slight thumb grip is provided by a little ridge that runs down the right side of the camera. In addition, the finger grip on the front of the camera is strengthened (for small to medium hands, those with larger hands may have a little difficulty negotiating the controls, which are a little close together).

The buttons for the LCD monitor’s Set, Menu, Display, and Function menus are arranged along the bottom edge of the screen, and just to the right of these buttons is a pad with four directional arrows. In addition, the door to the CompactFlash slot may be opened using the sliding switch on the right side, and the Mode switch allows access to the Record and Playback modes.

The dial for the Exposure Mode may be found just above the LCD panel. Two LED lamps located next to the viewfinder display the camera’s status. These lamps show when the focus has been adjusted, or the flash has been ultimately charged.

The battery compartment and the metal tripod mount are housed in the S500’s lovely, flat bottom panel, one of the S500’s defining characteristics. Because the weight of the camera, which is placed off-center on the tripod head, might cause the mount threads to become too stressed, I like it when the tripod mount is not positioned so far off to the side of the camera.

It’s possible that this won’t be an issue, given how compact the S500 is and how well the tripod socket is designed (kudos for that!). However, because the tripod socket is located so near the edge of the camera, there is a possibility that the camera will not rest level on some tripod heads.

(Once again, this is a relatively unimportant issue given that you can typically tilt the tripod to position the camera in any way you see fit.) A little rubber flap is located in the middle of the entrance to the battery compartment, and the cover for the battery compartment locks by sliding open and then outward.

This flap conceals a hole in the battery compartment lid that was made to provide access to the connection jack included within the “dummy battery” utilized in the AC adapter kit.

(The AC adapter method for the Canon PowerShot S500 digital camera, like that of many other Canon digital cameras, utilizes a fake battery that fits into the battery compartment and offers a connector for the cable of the AC power converter.)

Image Quality

The remarks that are offered here are a summary of only my most important results, as required by my usual testing policy. Check out the “pictures” page of the S500 Digital ELPH for a comprehensive analysis of each sample photograph.

Are you having trouble deciding which camera to buy? Your perception should serve as the final arbiter! Images from the S500 may be compared with those from other cameras that you might consider purchasing using our Comparometer(TM). The evidence can be seen in the photographs, so let your eyes judge which option most appeals to you.

I recommend allowing your own eyes to judge how well the camera worked, as is the case with all of the product testing that Imaging Resource does. Examine the photographs on the pictures page to get an idea of how the images captured by the S500 compared to those charged by other cameras you might be considering purchasing.


Under a wide range of lighting conditions, the color is very good to exceptional. The color reproduction of Canon’s Digital ELPH cameras has never failed to impress me, and the S500 is not an exception to that rule.

Throughout my testing, the camera did an excellent job with color, delivering rich and realistic colors regardless of the source of light. Both the Auto and Manual white balance settings gave nice color, but the Manual location was the one I used most of the time since I found it to be the most accurate.

The color of the subject’s skin was captured accurately, and the camera did an excellent job with the challenging blue flower arrangement in both the outdoor and interior shots. Even though the photo of the musicians threw the camera’s white balance system off somewhat, the Manual mode still delivered the best and most compelling images.

On the Davebox target, colors were vivid and precise; nevertheless, the additive primaries appeared somewhat oversaturated. Nonetheless, you did an outstanding job.


Accurate exposure; however, the contrast is a little too high when exposed to intense illumination. Nevertheless, the S500 did an excellent job of dealing with most of the test conditions I put it under, requiring about the same amount of exposure adjustment as usual for the high-key, brutally lit outdoor portrait.

The intense lighting in that photo resulted in very high contrast, although the highlights lost some of their detail: This is not unusual, but there is more lost information than I would want to see. However, the camera did an excellent job of separating the various tone differences of the Q60 target on the Davebox. It also did an excellent job of capturing the information in the shadows.

The camera required an average amount of positive exposure compensation to get sufficiently light indoor exposure, which was +1.0 EV for the indoor portrait mode without the flash.


High Resolution, with 1,200–1,250 lines of what the developers call “great detail.” The S500 did well on the resolution test chart designed for its five-megapixel class when put through its paces in the “laboratory.”

In horizontal and vertiResolutionions, it started displaying artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 800 lines per image height. This was true for both directions. I found “strong detail” to a line count of 1,200 to 1,250.

(In all honesty, it’s a bit difficult to say how high the resolution is on the S500 since, although there is what seems to be important information visible well beyond the 1,250 line point, there is also extremely heavy aliasing.)

My cautious tendency tells me to call it quits when the aliasing is as strong as the resolution detail, but some reviewers would be inclined to state that there are 1,400 lines of resolution here. However, some reviewers might be inclined to argue that there are 1,400 lines of explanation here. The target patterns’ ” extinction ” did not occur until around 1,650 lines had passed.

Image Noise

Even at ISO 50, it is noticeable a resolution majority of consumers will likely not find it disagreeable until ISO 400. Image noiseResolutionng more apparent than in prior generations of cameras due to increasing CCD resolutions leading to smaller pixel sizes.

Even at ISO 50, the photographs taken with the S500 have slight image noise, yet it is noticeable enough to be considered an issue. However, the images at ISO 50 and 100 will probably be satisfactory for the majority of users, while ISO 200 and 400 will provide results that are just somewhat unacceptable.


Excellent macro performance. The S500 performed exceptionally well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of only 2.18 x 1.63 inches (55 x 41 millimeters).

The resolution is excellent, and there is a lot of detail in the coins, the brooch, and the dollar bill. However, due to the close shooting range, the information on the cash and pin was less distinct. There is also some softness in each of the four corneResolutionframe, which is usual for macro images taken with a digital camera.

The flash on the S500 could be controlled rather effectively for the macro-region, but because of its location on the camera, a black shadow was cast in the lower right corner of the frame. (To get the best closeup macro images with the S500, use external illumination.)

Night Photographs

Outstanding performance even in meager light, with excellent color balance and very little noise. At each of the four ISO levels, the S500 performed an exceptional job, producing crisp, bright, and useable images down to the limit of my test, which was 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) in brightness.

The quality of the color remained consistent for the entirety of the show, even at the lowest possible light levels. Even though the S500 produces noise slightly higher than usual when shot in daylight, I found the noise levels here to be unexpectedly low in most instances. Even at ISO 400, the noise levels were lower than anticipated.

The Canon PowerShot S500 is equipped with a powerful autofocus assist illuminator that lets the camera maintain focus even when there is no available light. (At least on issues that are somewhat close by.)

Accuracy of the Viewfinder

The LCD provides excellent accuracy, although the optical viewfinder has a somewhat restricted field of vision. In addition, the optical viewfinder of the S500 was relatively small, exhibiting just around 77 percent of the final frame area while shooting at wide angles and approximately 78 percent at telephoto.

The LCD monitor was far more precise, with an accuracy of almost 99 percent at both wide-angle and telephoto settings. Because I prefer LCD monitors to have a precision that is as near to one hundred percent as is humanly feasible, the LCD monitor on the S500 is virtually flawless in this respect; on the other hand, its optical viewfinder could most definitely use some assistance.

Distortion of the Optical Field

The geometric distortion was around average, and there were some issues with coma and flare. At the wide-angle end of the lens, where I measured roughly 0.8 percent barrel distortion, the geometric distortion produced by the S500 was about average.

I noticed barely a half pixel of pincushion distortion at the telephoto end of the lens, which is a significant improvement over the wide-angle end. However, there are some issues with coma and flare in the corners of the frame caused by the lens of the S500. Additionally, a significant amount of softness is visible, particularly along the left side.

However, chromatic aberration does not appear to be very severe because only a moderate amount of color is visible on the margins of the target parts. This indicates that the color is not very intense. (On the resolution target, you can see this distortion as a soft-colored fringe surrounding the items located on the outside limits of the field of vision.)

However, this assertion is somewhat called into question by the results of the outdoor, far-field test that I conducted, during which I observed a significant amount of chromatic aberration and softness in the four corners of the frame.

Battery Capacity

Even though it has an excellent battery life for such a small device, it is nevertheless recommended that you get an additional battery. The battery life of the S500 is above average for a tiny model, with a worst-case run duration of around 92 minutes on a fully charged battery. This puts the S500 in the “good” category.

Additionally, although I did not test how long it took for the battery to go down with the LCD turned off, it appears to be at least several hours. Therefore, I recommend acquiring a second battery in addition to the camera, which you should continue to follow.

Canon PowerShot S500 (Digital IXUS 500 / IXY Digital 500) Specs

Body typeUltracompact
Max resolution2592 x 1944
Other resolutions2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 1240 x 768, 640 x 480
Image ratio w:h4:3
Effective pixels5 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors5 megapixels
Sensor size1/1.8″ (7.144 x 5.358 mm)
Sensor typeCCD
ISOAuto, 50, 100, 200, 400
Resolution presets5
Custom white balanceYes
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatNo
JPEG quality levelsSuper-Fine, Fine, Normal
Focal length (Equiv.)36–108 mm
Optical zoom
Maximum apertureF2.8–4.9
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Multi-area single Live View
Digital zoomYes (4.1 x)
Manual focusNo
Macro focus range5 cm (1.97″)
Number of focus points9
Screen size1.5″
Screen dots118,000
Touch screenNo
Live viewNo
Viewfinder typeOptical (tunnel)
Minimum shutter speed15 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/2000 sec
Aperture priorityNo
Shutter priorityNo
Built-in flashYes
Flash Range3.50 m
External flashNo
Flash modesAuto, On, Off, Manual (Red Eye On/Off)
Continuous drive2.2 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec)
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Resolutions640 x 480, 30 sec, 320 x 240, max 3 mins with audio
Storage typesCompact Flash (Type I)
Storage included32 MB CompactFlash
USBUSB 1.0 (1.5 Mbit/sec)
Remote controlNo
Environmentally sealedNo
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NB-1LH Battery & charger
Weight (inc. batteries)215 g (0.47 lb / 7.58 oz)
Dimensions87 x 57 x 28 mm (3.43 x 2.24 x 1.1″)
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingNo


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Canon PowerShot S500 5MP Digital Elph with 3x Optical Zoom

Last update was on: May 29, 2023 1:53 am

The ELPH series has never failed to surprise me with the quality and adaptability of its cameras, and the 5.0-megapixel S500 is no exception to this trend. In addition, the compact size of the camera makes it an ideal travel companion, and the variety of capabilities gives it an advantage over the many point-and-shoot-style digital cameras now available on the market.

Even while the actual exposure management is still automated, the shooting range of the camera may be expanded thanks to the ability to alter the ISO and the white balance and access longer shutter times. In addition, the high-resolution CCD creates images with excellent clarity and colors that are true to life.

There are two minor ergonomic issues with the S500, as well as with its predecessor, the S400, and with the S410, which is the S500’s lower-resolution sister. These issues are as follows: To begin, the mode dial moves between its positions a little bit too readily, which means it can change positions even when the user did not intend to do so.

The second issue is that removing the CF card is a bit of a hassle. Although none of these features is likely to prevent most customers from seriously considering purchasing this high-quality camera, I would be negligent if I failed to bring them to your attention. During my testing, I found that the lens of the S500 tended to be relatively soft in the corners and that the camera’s photographs had a little noticeable noise, even at its lowest ISO settings. Other aspects that contributed to more significant problems included the following:

I doubt that most consumers will find the S500’s image noise to be an issue at ISO settings of 200 and below, as I explained in my detailed image analysis; however, I feel compelled to mention it so that readers who are particularly sensitive to image noise can examine the sample pictures more closely, and form their own opinions.

When seen as a whole, however, the Canon PowerShot S500 Digital Camera pushes the resolution capabilities of the ELPH series to new heights. It upholds Canon’s reputation for producing high-quality digital cameras that are highly portable. Check out the S500’s near-twin, the four-thirds sensor version, if you want a camera with the same fantastic features as the S500 (including imaging performance that is significantly enhanced in several ways, in my opinion), but with slightly less resolution.

Canon PowerShot S500 Price

Canon PowerShot S500 FAQs

Is a Canon PowerShot S500 a professional camera?

The Canon PowerShot S500 is not a professional camera but a consumer-level model. Instead, it’s a simple point-and-shoot camera that’s perfect forResolutionotos in your spare time.

What is the price of the Canon PowerShot S500 camera?

Since the production of the Canon PowerShot S500 was terminated several years ago, the camera is no longer available for purchase brand new.

If you can locate it for purchase, it will most likely be a used or refurbished edition, and the price will range from low to high, contingent on the camera’s overall condition.

Is A Canon PowerShot S500 better than a DSLR?

A DSLR is not superior to a Canon PowerShot S500 in image quality. However, professional photographers will find that DSLR cameras, with their bigger picture sensors, interchangeable lenses, and other more sophisticated features, are more adapted to their needs.

Why is Canon PowerShot S500 so expensive?

Because it is an outdated model that has been out of production for a considerable time, it is doubtful that the Canon PowerShot S500 would be considered expensive by today’s standards.

It was initially launched at a price that was comparable to that of other portable digital cameras available at the same time.



Joseph is a talented photographer and videographer based in the USA, with a thriving career as a freelance creative. Over the past several years, he has had the privilege of working with renowned brands, capturing captivating images and videos. His portfolio encompasses a diverse range of subjects, specializing in fashion, portrait, and lifestyle content creation. From editorial shoots to engaging social media videos, Joseph's versatile skills ensure exceptional visual storytelling in every project. Beyond his professional endeavors, he nurtures a personal passion for travel and nature photography, channeling his deep appreciation for the environment into a commitment to sustainability and environmental causes.

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