Canon PowerShot S90 Review
The S90 may not look much like the S80, S70 and all its earlier predecessors, but it has been conceived in much the same spirit; a smaller, more stylish alternative to the G series, offering key enthusiast features (such as raw capture and manual controls) in a compact body.
It was way back in August 2005 that Canon launched the last in the line of its S-Series compact photographers' cameras, the S80. And though you can see traces of the S60/S70/S80's DNA in the S90 it is a very different beast to those cameras; the S90 is smaller, sleeker - and in many ways more sophisticated, but it's lost the optical viewfinder and the lack of anything to really get hold of will undoubtedly impact on handling.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the new design is the new Control Ring built around the lens, which can be set to control exposure (i.e. aperture or shutter speed), AE compensation, step zoom, manual focus and a selection of other functions. Finding a way of offering usable manual controls has proved surprisingly difficult for the normally ingenious designers of ultra compact cameras (although we've suggested a traditional 'aperture ring' like this on many occasions); this seemingly simple addition has a transformative effect on the utility of the S90's extensive manual controls.
As with the Panasonic LX3, Canon has chosen to incorporate a relatively large (1/1.7", 0.43 cm²) CCD sensor which has been designed with high sensitivity, rather than just higher megapixel count in mind, to make the most of the bright lens. This 10 megapixel sensor is then mated with Canon's latest Digic 4 processor to offer what the company describes as a dual anti-noise system.
Canon S90 Key Features
- Lens Control Ring
- 10 million pixels sensor
- RAW shooting
- Fast f/2.0-4.9 maximum aperture range
- Lens covering the classic 28-105mm range
- Dual Anti-Noise System (high sensitivity sensor and Digic 4 noise reduction)
- 3.0 inch PureColor II LCD
- Optical Image Stabilization
- Smarter Scene Detection
- Low Light mode
- DIGIC 4 image processor
- HD output
Side by side
The image below should give a good impression of how the Canon S90 compares size-wise with Panasonic LX3. It's a touch smaller and more IXUS/SD-like than the LX3, its simplistic overall design making it visually appealing in an understated way.
|The S90 is noticeably smaller (and crucially, a lot slimmer) than the Panasonic LX3 - and a lot lighter too.|
Canon S90 specifications
1/1.7" Type CCD
|Image sizes|| 3648 x 2736
3648 x 2048
2816 x 2112
2272 x 1704
1600 x 1200
640 x 480
320 x 240
|Movie clips|| 640 x 480 @ 30fps
320 x 240 @ 30fps
|Maximum clip length||Up to 4GB or 1 hour|
|File formats|| Still: JPEG (Exif v2.2), RAW
Movie: MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (monaural)]
|Lens|| 28-105mm (35mm equiv)
f = 6.0 - 22.5 mm
3.8x optical zoom
Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups 7 elements in 6 groups (2 double-sided aspherical elements including 1 UA element)
|Image stabilization||Yes (Lens-Shift)|
|Digital zoom||up to 4x|
|Focus|| Auto focus :TTL
- 9-point AiAF
- 1-point AF (center or Face Select and Track)
|AF lock||Yes (on/off selectable)|
|AF assist lamp||Yes|
|Focus distance||Closest focus distance 5 cm|
|Metering|| Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame)
|ISO sensitivity|| Auto
|Exposure compensation||+/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments|
|Shutter speed|| Auto (1 - 1/1600 sec)
Auto (including Face Detection WB)
|Self timer|| 0-30 sec (1-10 frames)
Face Self Timer
|Continuous shooting|| Approx. 0.9 shots/sec.
AF: Approx. 0.6 shots/sec.
LV: Approx. 0.8 shots/sec. (until memory card becomes full)
|Image parameters||My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)|
|Flash|| Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye reduction
Slow Sync Speed : Fastest speed 1/500 sec
+/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
Face Detection FE compensation
Flash exposure lock
Manual Power Adjustment
Second Curtain Sync
Range (Auto ISO):50cm - 6.5m (wide) / 2.5m (tele)
|External Flash||Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1|
|LCD monitor|| 3.0 inch PureColor LCD II (TFT)
|Connectivity|| USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
HDMI mini connector
AV out (PAL / NTSC switchable)
|Storage||SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus|
|Power||Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-6L|
|Weight (no batt)||175 g|
|Dimensions||100 x 58 x 31 mm|
If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).
Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.
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This article is Copyright 2010 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.
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