I think Canon video and digital still cameras are terrific.  And I think Canon also makes wonderful color printers. I also own and use daily a Canon laser copier/fax that has worked perfectly for more than two years.

So, it should be no surprise that I have been testing and want to recommend to you a pair of Canon products for dads ‘n grads.

The Canon PowerShot S2 IS is their newest consumer digital camera that packs a powerful optical zoom lens.  Equipped with electronic image stabilization, it takes the shakiness out of what would normally be difficult to do with a 12x zoom lens unless on a tripod.  The five megapixel S2 IS uses Canon’s latest DIGIC II Imaging processor chip and superior Canon optics for sharp images with vibrant, vivid colors.


It uses Canon’s well-tested and refined menu system that I find easy and intuitive and a pleasure to use.  There are an array of easy, pre-set functions as well as lots of options to allow for creativity.

No, it’s not a tiny, pocketsize camera, especially with such an extreme zoom lens, but it is still quite compact, able to fit in kangaroo-type pockets or certainly in a rather small camera bag, such as those from Lowepro.

I also like that it uses standard AA size batteries.  This allows for great flexibility.  In a pinch, it can use Alkaline cells.  In everyday use, I recommend either rechargeable NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) batteries (such as the high capacity MAHA, Lenmar or others – THE BEST PLACE TO GET BATTERIES, CHARGERS, etc. is Thomas Distributing. Take their exceptional advice!)  But, I like that it is not locked in to some special battery type that is expensive and hard to find while away from home.  As a matter of fact, on a recent three-week trip abroad, I relied solely on Energizer Lithium batteries, which, in another recommended Canon camera, the A95, allowed me to take approximately 750 pictures on just ONE set of four of these batteries.  It would have been impossible with any other type.  Think of the convenience if this was you.  OK, enough digressing . . .

The exclusive Rental Photocopiers feature is also cool and useful. The S2 IS can take continuous 30 frames per second VGA quality (640 x 480) movies with stereo sound and zooming.  While shooting in movie mode, pressing the shutter will take a 5.0 megapixel still image and continue with the movie, so nothing is lost.

Let’s take a look at the zoom results, all taken from the same spot, you will see the awesome capability of this exceptional lens assembly.

All the way wide:

See that tree up on the edge of the hill in the center?

Now zoomed in . . .

Or this wide shot of the park across a street. Trust me, it’s a park, and note the blue building in the center

Now, zoomed in on that blue building

Now zoomed out again.  See that little sign on the fence in the center of the picture?

Now here’s that sign with the zoom all the way in

As you can see, this zoom is serious. Now, imagine watching the kids’ sports games, or on vacation or just in everyday life.  With such a zoom, you can get full resolution, that is, the full 5.0 megapixels in a picture, even one that is zoomed in all the way.  Other cameras would require digital zooming to get this close, and with near fatal loss of quality.  With the Canon PowerShot S2 IS, nothing is lost.

I like the pop-up flash that does a better job of reducing red eye than cameras with the flash closer to the lens.  But, with the long lens, it had to be a pop up to avoid lens shadow from occurring.

Add up the features and quality and it’s easy to see why I am such a fan of this camera.

If you’re looking for a step-up digital camera for dear old dad with the quality, ease-of-use and features like no other in its class or price range, this new Canon is tops, and it’s the camera I want.  I found it online for as little as $499 DELIVERED through www.pricegrabber.com.


Honorable mention goes to the other camera I briefly wrote about above, the one I took with me on my European trip – Canon’s A95, also a five megapixel camera, but with a more conventional 3x optical zoom.  Excellent pictures and easy to use!  The A95 also uses standard AA-size batteries, and it can also take Canon’s accessory lens adapters for extending the zoom 1.5 times and also, of greater importance, I think, it can accept their wide angle adapter.  The wide-angle adapter is the most useful accessory for the average consumer. It allows the shooter to capture everyone at the table conveniently, and to see the entire front of a famous building from close range.

Here are a couple of photos taken with the A95 in Rome at the Coliseum, with, and without the wide-angle adapter.


The A95 is easy and fun to use, smaller than the S2 IS and it does an excellent job.  It also costs as little as $249 (delivered price) through www.nextag.com.


As for printers, I’ll make this really simple.  I like and recommend the Canon PIXMA iP5000, which I found at www.nextag.com for an amazingly low delivered price of $156!  It’s a good-looking, fast printer that churns out beautiful photos and text documents.  With droplets as small as 1 picoliter, the iP5000 is all that most of us need.  It will even print on both sides of paper, all within the printer.  Check it out and buy it for dad or grad.  I have recommended it to several viewers and friends, and each has had rave reviews. I use it and like it just fine myself, too.  There, that was simple.  Oh, just a reminder – with ANY printer, be sure to log on to the manufacturer’s Website and get the latest printer drivers. What’s in the box may not be the current version!  And one more thing – NO printer today ships with the needed USB cable to connect it to the computer, so you’ll need one of these.  A generic model and not one with the fancy gold plated contacts is all that is needed.  It should be under $15 at your local electronics store, or search online.


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