"Best Super Zoom Available"4.5 starson by desertratchel
Pros: Performance. Plentiful and intuitive controls. Image quality
Cons: Battery door design takes some getting used to. Needs separate SD compartment
Summary: I'm appalled at the bashing this camera is taking across the net by expert reviewers and consumers alike. If I were a paranoid, I'd suspect that a conspiracy exists to drive down the price of this splendid piece of photographic wizardry.
Yes, there are minor issues inherent with sensor size and zoom lens range. If you're planning to make poster sized prints, by all means get a different camera. But if you are planning most of the time to make average sized prints (8 X 10, for instance) and do the majority of your image viewing on your computer, this one is perfect.
At the moment, there isn't a camera of this class that offers better range of controls, imaging or performance. I've shot with the camera in all of its modes, and I'm very, very pleased with the quality of the images. Performance is top-notch across the board. Controls are broad and very intuitive. You can pluck your new camera out of the box and begin snapping very good pictures and movies without a glance at the instruction manual--although you'll want to to make fullest advantage of the amazing things this tool has to offer.
I'm an advanced amateur photographer, and I'm a perfectionist. If I can be more than satisfied with the S5 IS--and I am!--it's beyond my comprehension that anyone else could be disappointed with their purchase. For me it impressively bridges the gap between my EOS 30D and the tiny compact point-and-shoot in my bag.
If you want flawless, noise-free images, you shouldn't even be considering a camera in this class. You will be satisfied with nothing less than a digital SLR. But if you're looking for point-and-shoot ease with plentiful controls and ample zoom range with image stabilization, look no further. The Powershot S5 IS is THE camera.