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The S5700 has much the same features and options as the S5600, so not surprisingly it has many of the same controls. There are external buttons for exposure compensation and drive mode (continuous, auto-bracketing or top-three burst), but one change is the disappearance of the handy AF mode and manual focus button, the function of which has now been relegated to a menu option. Other options such as self timer, flash mode, macro mode and LCD brightness are secondary D-pad functions, while the camera also sports the familiar F button, with a little three-choice menu for ISO setting, picture quality and colour mode. To be honest I think it would be better to put these last two back on the main menu, and just have an ISO option button. Surely it would be less complicated than having two separate menus? As it is, the menu isn’t exactly overcrowded, with only white balance, metering mode, focusing mode, sharpness adjustment, bracketing interval and flash output.
Fortunately the main mode dial offers a little more versatility, with the usual auto and program modes joined by aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual exposure. The range of control is better than average for a manual compact, with a maximum aperture of f/3.5 and a minimum of f/13.6, and shutter speeds of four seconds to 1/1000th. Also available on the mode dial are two natural light modes, one with automatic slow-sync flash, two user program modes, the anti shake mode (which as we’ll see is best avoided) and the video mode. The S5700 can shoot at VGA resolution and 30fps with mono sound and electronic image stabilisation, and the zoom lens can be used while filming.
Performance figures are not discouraging. It starts up in about 2.5 seconds, which is slower than the S5600, but not annoyingly so. In single-shot mode, the shot-to-shot cycle time is approximately 2.4 seconds, which is reasonably quick, and in continuous shooting mode it can manage a shot approximately every 1.5 seconds, which while not blindingly fast is at least quicker than some compacts. The AF system is nice and quick too, at least in good light, locking on in less than half a second in most circumstances. The multi-area mode will usually find the right subject too. In low light it does slow down somewhat, but it will nearly always lock on within a couple of seconds, even in pitch darkness at a range of several meters thanks to a good AF assist lamp. The S5700’s low-light focusing is among the best I’ve seen.
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