Canon PowerShot S90 review

Started May 9, 2010 | User reviews
Michael Doleman
New MemberPosts: 16
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Canon PowerShot S90 review
May 9, 2010

My motivation for purchasing this camera was to transition as an "enthusiast" out of
a P&S pocket camera (Canon SD1000) to something with a bit more sophistication.
The features I wanted were compact & lightweight format, nice bright lens (f2.5 or
better at the wide focal lengths), RAW capability, lots of manual control, and a
versatile (but not ridiculous) zoom range--something like 30 to 80 equivalent. My
decision basically came down to the Lumix LX3 or the Canon S90, with the G11 as
an outlier possibility. I chose the S90 over the LX3 for the following reasons:
slightly smaller & lighter, bigger zoom (the 60mm equiv. on the LX3 is just a bit too
short), and the integrated lens cover. (I know that last one probably seems very
trivial, but for the way I typically shoot--e.g., on the go while hiking--it's actually
quite important).

So far, I've found the S90 to delivery very adequately in every way promised. I get
very nice images in all three primary modes--auto, scene, and program--and find the
manual controls quite easy to access and operate to good effect. There's no
comparison to my old SD1000 in terms of overall image quality, and that's what I
was looking for. Are the images anything like DSLR quality? Of course not, and to
read some of the other reviews of the camera, I'm not sure why anyone would be
expecting that level of image quality from a camera like this. It's just not possible in
a unit this size, of course--I humbly submit that people need to adjust their
expectations a bit. With that said, in my opinion, for a camera this size I just don't
see how you could do much better. Images are good all-around--including low-light
situations--provided you learn the basics of adjusting exposure in program mode...

Totally worthy of 4 stars right down the line.

Problems:

People have complained about the ergonomics of the camera, and general usability
of the controls. Perhaps I'm just used to tiny cameras, but to me it doesn't seem
like a major issue. Yes, it's true, the camera doesn't fit like a pistol grip in the hand,
and the small controls are a bit fiddly. But you get used to it quickly, and I have
not had issues getting the camera securely steadied for almost any conceivable
angle.

I've also read negative reactions to the build quality of the camera. I'll say that I've
indeed seen and handled more solidly-built cameras in this price range. However,
the camera is by no stretch of the imagination cheaply made or flimsy. It's a solid
camera, to be sure--just not awe-inspiring in terms of that warm and fuzzy feeling
that can be imparted by a magnificently engineered and beautifully-built unit. For
the money, it's absolutely within the realm of acceptability.

Michael Doleman's score
4.0
Average community score
4.3
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