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Canon S70 underwater review

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Experience with Canon S70.


Been searching a few forums now looking for details on the Canon S70.

Thought I would do my own review.


I have approx 50 logged dives, most in warm waters using the S70 & the Canon housing (WP40 I think).

Topside I have been very happy with the camera. Manual control is very good and 28 mm wide angle is great.

However the performance underwater is not so good.

I shoot in raw using the underwater white balance mode. This makes for decent post dive processing.

Raw takes about 5 seconds writing to the card.

I have tried various shooting modes. Automatic, Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter priority.

Best results have been using natural light in the AP mode. Generally shutter speed 1/80, 1/100. Aperture 4.5 to 6.

Was in Egypt in Jan & viss was good resulting in some great natural light photos.

However the big problem has been focus. Focus is the major problem with this camera, especially in low light conditions. This is inline with all the other reviews.

Focus in macro mode using the full zoom is terrible. Using the zoom means the minimum focus distance is approx 1-2 foot. Even at the wide end of the lens in macro it is very hit & miss.

Compared to other P&S cameras from other divers on my trips the S70 focus performance is very poor IMHO. The Canon IXUS series seems to produce sharp focus for such a small camera.

I have recently bought the Inon UWL110. Just back from Thailand where the viss was approx 10 m. The wet lens was ok. Was hoping this lens would enable me to do up & under shots but this was only possible in flat pool like conditions.

Will need a few more trips with better viss to get better results. Major drawback is that the coverage of the internal flash is very small using the wide lens.

I now intend to get the Inon D2000 strobe and perhaps the UCL165 wet lens in a last ditch effort to get decent macro performance.

Hopefully the focus light on this strobe and the macro lens will improve the focus problems. If not I am ditching the S70 ;) and will look at the new A series.


Anyone heading to Thailand should to do Anemone reef & King cruiser wreck dives. These were the best dives I done in 5 days of diving including Phi Phi & the Similan Isl. Would recommend diving with Sea bees.

Does anyone know if the S70 fires a preflash on A,M modes.?


Overall would rate camera 6.5/10. :glare:


Would be interested to hear from any other S70 or S80 users.

The S80 appears to provide much better focus performance (but lacks RAW). Photos from the artist of the month on the Inon website using the S80+strobe+UCL were excellent.

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Kevster, nice report. I used to shoot a S70. Quick suggestion. Start shooting in full manual.


I also agree about the focus being somewhat poor. Macro with the lens zoomed out was useless as you mentioned, the min focus distance was too far that you were better off not zooming and getting close to the subject. Some of these frustrations were what led me to upgrading to a DSLR. But I've seen some stellar shots with the S70 and the newer S80. It's a real shame that Canon nerfed RAW on the S80!


I don't mean to discourage you too much about the S70. It's a nice camera. One of the few "compact" P&S's that offers RAW + FULL manual controls. And the delay between RAW shots is pretty reasonable. Definitely get the external strobe. You'll find the colors in your pics will really pop with one! Also get the 165 macro wet lens (but you're going to have to be patient with the S70 lens focus...).


One thing that does help the AF a bit is to get a small focus light.

Edited by pakman

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You'll find the S70 has mediocre macro even with the 165CU lens from Inon. I have that setup and you just couldn't get close enough. You can double stack 2 but the DOF goes to crap.

The D2000 has a nice focus lite that comes with a red color sticker which doesn't affect the marine as much so they'll stay still.

If you do decide to sell your S70, drop me a PM. Mine drowned due to a bad o-ring. I'm inclined to buy a used replacement if the price is right.

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