S95 - not that impressed

Started Mar 28, 2011 | Discussions thread
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S95 - not that impressed
Mar 28, 2011

OK, putting my flame proof suit on for this one...

My mum and my aunt both bought new Canon cameras last week. My mum bought an S95 (on my advice, as she wanted a decent camera that would fit in her bag). I'd never used one but given all the great reviews it seemed the sensible choice.

My aunt on the otherhand just wanted a cheap point-and-shoot, so we got her a Powershot A495. The S95 cost £300; the A495 cost £60. Ignoring the additional benefits of S95's manual controls & RAW, I thought I'd just compare the IQ of the S95 with the A495, also with my own Ixus 100IS (which cost £130). Nothing too scientific; just point, shoot, and see what comes out of each camera.

Anyway, after studying quite a few JPEGs from all three cameras my main conclusion was, if you don't need manual controls or intend to process RAW, then don't bother with the S95 - just get a much cheaper IXUS model. (In fact, I'm still not entirely convinced there's any point in having aperture priority on a small sensor compact like the S95, but that's another debate!)

Although images from the S95 were good, they still "looked" like images from a compact camera (if you know what I mean). i.e. nowhere near dSLR quality.

Given all the rave reviews, maybe I had set my expectations too high to start with? Yes, the S95's images were obviously cleaner at higher ISOs. But the S95 did show a lot of purple fringing (more than I was happy with given the price difference between it and the A495).

Anyway, a couple of examples below. Focal length of the S95 was set to approx 35mm equiv (in order to get similar framing between the cameras). The indoor test (vs the IXUS100) was shot at ISO400, and does actually show the benefits that the S95 brings. The outdoor test at ISO80 on the other hand was a real surprise considering the A495 was a fifth of the price.

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