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