Canon PowerShot Pro90 IS Review
Lens barrel controls
Looking at the lens barrel from the left of the camera we see a variety of controls starting with zoom ring, flash, manual focus and image stabilisation switch then the main power / record / play dial with the mode sub-dial, each control is described in more detail below:
Buttons / Switches
Zooms towards full wide angle (37 mm), note that the lens ring does not turn but rather is a proportional spring loaded switch which can be pushed one way or another. There are two zoom speeds, a slight twist produces a slow zoom (5.5 secs) a further twist produces a faster zoom (4 secs).
Zooms towards full telephoto (370 mm). (Otherwise same as above)
Toggles through the flash modes: Auto, Redeye Reduction Auto, Redeye Reduction On, Flash On and Flash Off. (The availability of different flash modes varies with the selected exposure mode). Flash mode is displayed on the top LCD and rear LCD (if open). Enabling the flash will automatically pop it up the next time you half-press the shutter release or press the AE Lock button.
Holding down the MF button allows you set a manual focus distance (in conjunction with the up and down arrows on the 4-way controller) or re-engage auto focus if already in Manual Focus mode.
Enable / Disable the optical image stabilisation feature of the Pro 90, we found the stabiliser to be very effective and give you at least one or two stops more in low light (or at long zoom).
It's a shame Canon couldn't implement a mechanical zoom ring which is directly attached to the zoom mechanism inside the lens barrel, this would produce far better and more accurate control over the lens and allow for much quicker changes from wide to tele.
Note, there's an annoying 0.6 sec delay between you turning the zoom ring and the actual zoom beginning.
Exposure Mode Dial
Camera has complete control over exposure, point-and-shoot operation, the majority of manual features are disabled, you can't alter exposure compensation, ISO or use RAW mode.
|P||Program Auto Exposure
Very similar to AUTO exposure but you have access to all the normal manual controls, can set the ISO, exposure compensation, use AE lock, bracketing etc.
Shutter Priority Auto Exposure
1/1000, 1/800, 1/640, 1/500, 1/400, 1/320, 1/250, 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80, 1/60, 1/50, 1/40, 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/15, 1/13, 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/5, 1/4, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8, 1, 1.3, 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3.2, 4, 5, 6, 8 secs
Aperture Priority Auto Exposure
Wide: F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0
|M||Full Manual Exposure
In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above. Left and right arrows select shutter speed, up and down arrows select aperture. The LCD view changes to reflect the look of the final image at this exposure. It appears as though the Pro90's metering system is disabled in this mode as there's no exposure meter as seen on other cameras.
In this mode the focal length is locked to maximum wide angle (you cannot zoom). No auto focus is performed, instead the focus is locked (much like a fixed focus lens camera) which allows very fast (almost lag free) shots to be taken. Useful for situations when you need a fast reaction.
In this mode apertures are kept as large as possible (small F number) to produce a blurred background to help define the subject in a portrait shot.
In this mode the flash is by default disabled (although you can enable it) and focus is locked at infinity. Apertures are kept as small as possible (large F numbers) to produce the largest possible depth of field. Macro focus is also disabled. Designed to be used for taking landscape shots.
Known on other cameras as "Slow Sync Flash". Put simply in this mode slow shutter speeds are used to capture a dimly lit background (buildings at night for example) and the flash fires briefly to illuminate a foreground subject.
|BW||Black & White
Shoots in black & white.
Designed to make shooting of panorama / stitch shots easier. You have a choice of five different stitch modes: left-right, right-left, down-up, up-down or 4-frames in a square. The display changes to show previously shot frames in the sequence to help alignment of each frame. Exposure and White Balance are locked to the first frame.
Shoot short (up to 30 second) movie clips @ 320 x 240. Audio is also recorded.
Again, as with the G1, there's a very good range of exposure modes which makes the Pro90 a camera which can be used by the beginner, keen amateur and prosumer alike. A good range of shutter speeds, apertures and ISO's means that you should be able to shoot just about any type of shot in just about any situation.
1/1000 sec shutter speed
Once again the Pro90 uses a single iris mechanism for both aperture and shutter (close of shutter), luckily the situation isn't as complex as with the G1, put simply you can't use a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec and any aperture larger than F4.