S90 & G11 – my final conclusions & suggestions

Started Oct 12, 2009 | Discussions
Schnake Regular Member • Posts: 329
ebrandon - Does this mean you are going to return the S90?

or simply add it to your collection?

rocsen Contributing Member • Posts: 774
Re: I want manual controls.

Totally agree with you. If I didn't know what a G10/11 looked like, I'd think it's another P&S. And the past I had to look closely to actually notice iit was a G series.

GaryJP wrote:

To take more than snapshots, I want to be able to control as many aspects of ther shot as possible, even if I don't do so all the time.

That's always been my rationale behind going for the G series cameras. And i ionfd the extrenal controls superb.

I don't agree though that the G11 really draws more attention than simpler P&S cameras. I catch a lot of people using the G series, but only if I really look out for it. And if you use the swivel viewfinder to shoot at waist level, it's even less consicuous. In most situations, it's actually much less conspicuous than a shiny silver Ixus.


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Gary S Veteran Member • Posts: 6,230
Re: I want manual controls.

GaryJP wrote:

I don't agree though that the G11 really draws more attention than simpler P&S cameras.

Correct, it's really not that noticeable. I live in a Los Angeles suburb with lots of people everywhere, and one thing I do notice these days is everyone is walking around with a camera when they visit places.

Mostly compacts but all different sizes and models. It's so common I don't think people pay that much attention anymore unless you have something rather unusual. To me, the G series just looks like a compact camera. Nothing unusual about it.

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Olga Johnson Forum Pro • Posts: 24,360
Thank you for...

...all your samples and analyses. They have been greatly appreciated.

For my purposes I have chosen to go with the G11. The articulating LCD is my #1 reason. I had it with my G3 and found it very convenient. #2 to me is the 140mm. I have the LX3 but find too many times that I miss having longer focal length. #3 the hotshoe. I have the 270EX and I think it's perfect for the G11.

My need is for a camera lighter than my Canon dSLR+lenses for those times that my hands cannot pick up the dSLR.

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rkhndjr Forum Pro • Posts: 13,082
Re: Thank you for your magnificent endeavor

James Bligh wrote:

rkhndjr wrote:

James Bligh wrote:

You said what I wanted to say but have not I am afraid succeeded in describing the peculiar behavior of ring & dial due to whatever inadequacies I have. Thank you for your magnificent endeavor and I say you succeeded in it. I agree with most of the points you made in your reviews and I think that peculiar behavior of ring & dial is a design mistake.

Do you think the G10 and LX3 would be the better choice to stay with rather then buying the G11 and S90?

If you shoot mostly low ISO shots yes I think G10 and LX3 may be better choices.

That is why I am keeping them.


ebrandon wrote:

Pretty good controls vs. Way too many controls for a lot of people and for most situations

The S90 menus and control system are about as good as I’ve seen on a point and shoot for most people and for most casual situations where you might want to change one or two critical settings like ISO or exposure compensation before taking the picture.
It’s not perfect. I have two gripes.

As many others have noted, the dial on the back moves too easily and changes your settings unexpectedly

Also, the front ring and back dial do different things in every mode and this forces you to think about the controls more than you should have to.

For example, In “A” mode the back dial changes your aperture. In “P” mode it changes your ISO and there’s nothing you can do about that. In “Video” mode it changes between several crazy video scene modes and again there’s nothing you can do about that.

I have the ring around the lens set to change exposure compensation in “A” or “P” mode. In video mode it zooms, and there’s nothing you can do to change it. In “Nostalgic” scene mode it change the nostalgic effect settings.

This isn’t a deal breaker, but it does mean you have to run a little checklist in your mind every time you change modes on the camera – “ring does this, dial does that.”

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In Manchester in the 1840s, men and women were treated like animals. Why then should we be surprised that the utopian dreams of early communists were so appealing, or be so certain that they never will be again? -- Michael Elliott

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realgeek Senior Member • Posts: 1,395
Re: You have greatly confused me...

theranman wrote:

I'm sure I'll be purchasing an S11 within a few weeks.

If I were you, I'd go for the G90!

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John TF Senior Member • Posts: 1,362
Re: S90 & G11 – my final conclusions & suggestions

I am full of praise for your careful, balanced, skillful evaluation of these two cameras. Thanks to you and Tom, I think the DPR review(s) will be anticlimactic - we now know what we need to know!

I think that the S90 is a fine complement to a DSLR, but that if you only have one camera, go for the G11 (as I did). That makes a lot of sense.

I take a lot of macro shots from all sorts of positions, and couldn't imagine doing that without an articulating LCD (like my A620 and A650). The twisty screen also encourages more interesting point of view in all my shots, rather than eye-level, standing up.

I'm happy carrying it on my belt, which unfortunately means I don't always have it with me, but that's OK.

The image quality is so good. For moderate cropping and normal prints (rather than pixel peeping) the difference between G11 and DSLR/MFT is probably going to be insignificant for my purposes. Bokeh notwithstanding.

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theranman Veteran Member • Posts: 4,228
Re: You have greatly confused me...

realgeek wrote:

theranman wrote:

I'm sure I'll be purchasing an S11 within a few weeks.

If I were you, I'd go for the G90!

I've definitely thought about it, but I can't keep waffling any more. Going for the S11 next week.

OP ebrandon Regular Member • Posts: 459
Re: ebrandon - Does this mean you are going to return the S90?

Schnake asks:

Does this mean you are going to return the S90 or simply add it to your collection?

If I didn't already have a Panasonic G1 or my wife have an Olympus EP-1, one of us would keep the G11. Given that we have those cameras, it makes no sense for us to keep the G11, since it would play such a similar role.

I have decided to keep the S90 and it will basically replace the LX3 in my pocket. And I expect it will be in my pocket more often than the LX3 ever was thanks to it's size & shape. I've had it with me 100% of the time I've been outside the house since I got it.

Here is an unsuccessful experiment of a picture, but I think it really conveys what it means to have your camera with you 100% of the time

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jschenk New Member • Posts: 9
Re: S90 & G11 – my final conclusions & suggestions

Thank you ebrandon for your post.

I already thought that the S90 will be the perfect camera for me, but I feel now more confident than ever with my decision.

DrewS40 Regular Member • Posts: 197
Re: ebrandon - Does this mean you are going to return the S90?

That is great! Too bad the S90 doesn't have a dentist chair scene mode.

theranman Veteran Member • Posts: 4,228
Re: ebrandon - Does this mean you are going to return the S90?

Actually, it does have a "surgical patient" mode, so you can cheat a little.

Tigerotor77W Regular Member • Posts: 161
Re: These points make me question the whole review...

Charlesn wrote:

I have to express appreciation to anyone who goes through the time and effort to post such a lengthly and detailed review. But to say that a full f stop of lens speed offers no practical difference, or that there is "little practical difference" in one lens offering 30% more reach than the other, calls all conclusions of this review into serious question, since there are countless real-world situations in which these differences would certainly make a significant difference.

I'm going to defend ebrandon here. For one thing, while it's true that 1-stop at 28 mm might save a photo, the number of times one would shoot at

ISO1600, 28mm, 1/3 sec shutter, f2.0

and have a photo ruined by going to ISO3200 because of one less stop on the G11 is probably pretty low... (my example is in atrocious light, wide open, and also on the extreme limit of hand-holdability with IS). If these are conditions that a photographer routinely finds him or herself in, chances are the need for a specific camera are beyond the scope and intention of the OP's review.

As for the extra "30%" in optical zoom, practically 105 mm and 140 mm are very similar. Again, if a photog happens to require that extra reach, then he or she probably wouldn't need this review to guide them to which camera to choose.

Certainly I believe that neither of these two points calls anything of ebrandon's post into "serious question."

AdamT Forum Pro • Posts: 61,482
Brilliant Work Eric ------->

Thanks - at the moment I've been using the yuppie version of the LX3 , I don't like the gameboy handling, the super-reflective LCD or the bulk of the lens with the very necessary Ricoh LC1 cap fitted and shoot it exclusively in RAW because the JPG engine delivers murky panny colour and find it smears too much at Base ISO with the NR on LOWest (the GX100 it replaced sure had its faults but it delivered lovely colour and grass was not smudgy at base ISO) ....

I got the thing to replace the GX100 and F30 in one cam and it almost pulled it off - certainly in the high-ISO + 24mm bracket and apart from the JPG engine / colour - it combined both cams with improvements BUT its bigger than the GX by too much and since getting the Panny 20mm Prime, end up grabbing the EP1 for those quality moments ....... Soooooooo

Soooo can the S90 replace the Hi-ISOs , RAW quality of the LX3? - If its as clean as the LX3 in RAW, as good as the GX100 in JPG and as sharp as the G10 or an S70 at pixel level in RAW then I guess it CAN , AND replace our time served Ixus 750 too (which has been wrecked and rebuilt 4 times) .... I can live without 24mm ..

for me it all hinges on the RAW quality in DPP with the Lum NR off and how the JPGs at high ISOs compare to the F30 / LX3 and to the GX100 at low ISOs ... My work rig always stays the same , its the damn compacts which I seem to change all the time (though usually used ones thankfully)

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Alashi Contributing Member • Posts: 569
Good job - it's all about your daily work flow.

I have more digicams than I deserve. Among them (there are MANY others...several non-Canon), the Pro1, 1DsII, G10, SD990 and now the S90. With my D60, the 1Ds and the 1DsII, I've gotten both lazy and self-conscious.

People simply do not like it when I point my big DSLR at them. Doing an event or wedding or landscape series is one thing, but candid people shots are difficult at best and create at times, horribly unexpected animosity. The Pro1 was less of a hassle, the G10 even less than that. But, for having something with me everywhere I go, the P&S is a must--and that's become the S90. Because it's so plain, people thinks it's a plastic toy from a Walmart/Walgreens blister pack and pay it no heed. In reality, that little sleeper outperforms my D60!

But now, with the G10 for bright daylight and resolution, and the S90 for evening, night and other candid work, I've got the bases covered without the ache of D-series bodies with L-series lenses. Over the years, so many wonderful things have evolved with digital cameras that I can't help but be grateful for what we have now.

It used to require an SLR to get what is common now with many P&S's. So, I'm not complaining. I do have a choice, and most often, it's the P&S. The S90 is totally awesome. What control and what great low light capabilities!

I think the G10 and the S90 are an ideal, light weight duo. Get the G10 while you still can! It's fun index is actually higher than the S90, albeit not by much.

Ahhh...all those wonderful buttons, dials and lights!


(Naturally, I'm looking forward to Canon's next surprise. I'd wager the S90 will become a hand-me-down in a year. Next will be a 12MP with the same pixel density--or less, higher IQ. The gauntlet has been thrown. Panasonic called Canon's hand.)

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ecka84 Contributing Member • Posts: 639
Re: Good job - it's all about your daily work flow.

I just need good camera with good low AND high ISO IQ, and I found a better way than buying both G11 + G10. It is 500D.
cheaper than G10+G11
smaller (depends what lens attached)
better IQ (no matter what ISO)
HD video
interchangeable lens
you can continue this list yourselves
...and I can live without Vari-Angle LCD
Thank you very much and good luck choosing your new cameras.

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richardalanfox Regular Member • Posts: 249
Re: Good job - it's all about your daily work flow.

On my S90 I have the front ring set to manual focus and the rear wheel on exposure compensation and the shortcut button set to ISO.

I found that if the rear wheel moved a notch or two off center in ISO mode I was sent to 3200 from Auto, this could be a disaster, but in exposure compensation one or two thirds of a stop bias is that bad.

Having used the camera for several days I find the the loose dial to be less of a problem as I get used to it.

Also the manual focus on the lens ring gives a quick infinity lock when needed.

I use the camera in RAW only and in P mode most of the time, using M on rare occasions.

In the few days I have had the camera I am very satisfied, but I must not get too lazy and leave the DSLR home all the time.

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onlooker Veteran Member • Posts: 4,002
S90's LCD in manual mode

First of all, thank you for fabulous threads. You've been very helpful to the readers of this forum.

I don't know if you mentioned it (I may have somehow missed it), but I would like to make sure that Canon displays on S90 and G11 the actual scene including effects of settings in manual mode, which I use almost exclusively. That's the way they've always done before, but having been bitten by Panasonic G1, which is a great camera but has an infuriating non-defeatable LCD autogain in manual mode that does not allow you to see the effects of your settings until you took the picture, I want to make sure Canon has not done something cute like that.

I will appreciate your confirmation.

Larry MacKinnon Senior Member • Posts: 1,392
Re: S90 & G11 – my final conclusions & suggestions part 2

Thank you for the detailed post. It was helpful.

Alashi Contributing Member • Posts: 569
Re: Good job - it's all about your daily work flow.

Your points are well enough taken. This work-flow works for you. You are in DSLR mode and that's good for what it is and what you want. For most of my shooting needs now, the DSLR no longer works best for me.

My biggest issue was that people are put off by my aiming an SLR at them, with it's obvious big optics. They think you are x-raying them. I need something truly small, unintimidating and pocketable--very light and convenient. Also, your system will indeed run about the same as the other 2 cameras combined when you get a decent lens installed. I have about $30,000 in my Canon DSLR body and lens combinations. In retrospect, a big mistake. But that's in light of what's available today. At the time, it was great. I'll never play the lens chase game again. The returns are not worth the investment.

I like my DSLR's a lot. But, I like the portability of their other cameras a lot more and I'm likely to take them along many places the SLR is too noticeable, bulky, or inconvenient.

We are talking about the S90 and G11 here and the reasons many of us have decided to take that route. Nobody will argue the merits of Canon's DSLR's. Many of us have them. We're opting for other paths to feed our photographic objectives that provide not perfect, but quite sufficient results.

I honesty believe that the large DSLR behemoths of the past, and present, have their days numbered. We like convenience and we demand quality. It's starting to happen.


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