Conclusion - Pros

  • Good image quality, resolution, sharpness, on-par with 3 megapixel digital cameras
  • Compact 10x times optical stabilised zoom lens offers superb "reach"
  • Stabiliser offers one or two stops over what you could handhold
  • Good colours, stronger and more accurate than most, slightly cool skin tones
  • ISO 50 produces cleaner images
  • Solid build quality
  • TTL Electronic Viewfinder (though it may not be to everyone's taste)
  • Good ergonomics, comfortable grip
  • Good white balance, easy to use preset manual white balance
  • Flip-out & twist LCD with anti-reflective coating
  • RAW file format
  • Super-Fine JPEG mode as-good-as TIFF quality
  • Noise reduction algorithm (though it shouldn't be "always on")
  • CompactFlash Type II & Microdrive support (inc. new 1 GB Microdrive)
  • Flash hot-shoe and E-TTL flash support works flawlessly
  • Lots of manual features, full range of scene modes, all controls on outside of camera
  • Control over internal algorithms: contrast, sharpening, saturation
  • Fast shutter lag, good internal buffer
  • Can be used as a point-and-shoot and equally satisfying for shutterbugs
  • Battery life is very good from Canon's Li-Ion battery pack
  • AC Adapter / Charger included
  • Infrared remote control included

Conclusion - Cons

  • Slow startup time
  • Almost non-existent continuous mode thanks to the "always on" noise reduction
  • Visible chromatic aberrations
  • Vignetting on certain types of shot
  • No histogram in record review or playback mode
  • No macro mode, requires optional lens to shoot macro
  • No flexible program AE
  • No sharpening / zoomed image in manual focus (and no distance readout, only blocks)
  • No zoom / sharpening in manual focus makes it difficult to be sure about the focus point
  • SET and MENU buttons should be located elsewhere
  • Not full 3 megapixels, if that troubles you.

Overall conclusion

Here's my rating of the Canon Powershot Pro90 IS: (3 megapixel compact prosumer)

Detail Rating (out of 10)
Construction 8
Features 9.5
Image quality 8
Lens / CCD combination 9
Ease of use 8
Value for money 10

When Canon first announced the Pro70 they managed to hit a nerve with traditional photographers which brought them into the digital arena, looking very "SLR Like" the Pro70 was familiar yet at the same time new and cutting edge. To this day many photographers still swear by the Pro70.

The Pro90 is a very different beast, we could have guessed ahead of time that it would have the 10x zoom lens announced earlier by Canon, the 2.6 megapixel resolution will probably be a surprise to many but in our real life use it made little difference day-to-day. Feature wise the Pro90 is as rich as the G1 on which its based, and we all know how popular the G1 has become. There are certainly gripes and things which need to be put right, but as a whole the Pro90 currently stands alone as the digital camera with the combination of a long zoom lens and 2.6 megapixels of resolution.

Anyone considering a 3 megapixel digital camera should seriously consider the Pro90, forget bolting aftermarket 3x lenses onto that fragile lens thread, this camera has everything you need in one package, that plus great image quality. Anyone considering the Sony DSC-F505V or Olympus C-2100UZ must now consider the excellent Canon Pro 90 IS. Kudos once more for Canon.

Highly Recommended

So which one should I buy? A question I get asked several times a day, and I wouldn't like to say. In a new addition to my reviews (after the amount of feedback I normally get) I've added a link to a specific forum in which you can discuss the review or ask me specific questions which I've not answered in these pages.

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