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Canon PowerShot Pro90 IS Review

January 2001 | By Phil Askey

Review based on a production PowerShot Pro90 IS, Firmware Version 1.00

Exactly two years ago I was handed the first ever camera reviewed on this site, it was Canon's Pro 70.. And, at the time it was most definitely the class leader, I gave it a positive review, there were definitely a few drawbacks but image quality was not one of them. Since then many people have cried out for an update to the Pro 70, well guess what folks? It's here...

The new Pro90 however is definitely a very different beast, sporting a 3 megapixel sensor (producing a 2.6 megapixel image) that big 10x optical stabilised lens which we heard about a while back, a TTL electronic viewfinder and the ever popular flip out and twist LCD. Essentially the Pro90 is based on the G1's engine, features and functionality are very similar, obviously the major addition is the big lens.

Just 2.6 megapixels?

It's the same story as Sony's F505V, put simply, the lens doesn't create an image on the CCD large enough to cover the whole imager area, so Canon mask the imager down from 3.3 megapixels to 2.6 megapixels (1856 x 1392). So are we disappointed that it's not a full 2048 x 1536? Well, yes, to be frank, it would have been nice to have a full 3 megapixel image though I'm sure as most F505V owners will agree it's not THAT much of a loss, it's a compromise between zoom length and image size.

The diagrams below (borrowed from the F505V review, top down view) show the relative sizes of each component of the CCD sensor, the final image shows the amount unused by the Pro90 (the red portion). Diagrams below will appear about three times larger on your monitor than in real life.

ICX252 2088 x 1550 effective pixel area (green) 7.20mm x 5.35mm
Masked ICX252 1856 x 1392 effective pixel area (green) 6.40mm x 4.80mm

   Plastic chip package (13.8mm x 12.0mm)
   Glass cover (12.7mm x 10.9mm)
   Effective pixel area
   Unused (wasted?) pixels on Pro90 IS

Putting things into perspective

  • With its 2.6 mp the Pro90 has 34% more pixel area than a 2.1 megapixel digital camera
  • With the full 3.1 mp you'd gain 192 pixels horizontally and 144 vertically

I f you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this review (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Photographs of the camera were taken with a Canon EOS-D30, images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (normally 1024 x 768 or smaller if cropped) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Adobe Gamma at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This review is Copyright 2001 Phil Askey and the review in part or in whole may NOT be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author. For information on reproducing any part of this review (or any images) please contact: Phil Askey.

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