First impressions with the Canon S90

For my last college spring break, a group of my friends and I took a trip to Puerto Rico. I thought this was a good excuse to purchase my first compact camera. After doing a good amount of browsing, I settled with the Canon S90.

Size

The size of this camera is perfect. In fact, the size was what made this an easy choice over the Panasonic LX3. As good as the S80 was, the camera was just not convenient to carry around. The S90 slips in and out of my pocket and there’s no lens cap to worry about (something the LX3 has). Again, if nothing else, the small size of the S90 is easily a deciding factor versus most advanced compacts. If the scenario screams for image quality, I’ll shoot with my SLR.

Image Quality

I was somewhat relieved to find the image quality not as good as my Canon Rebel XT or I think I would have been quite sad, although not too surprised. There is significant noise even around ISO 400. I was surprised by the number of ISO increments starting from 80 up to 3200, with two settings between each each multiple of two, e.g. 200, 250, 320, 400. The camera shoots RAW, something I really appreciate. Additionally, the camera has image stabilization, which I assume helps with the longer exposures.

The S90 has a fast lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.0 but at the long end, the lens only opens up to f/4.9. The camera has a 35mm zoom range of 28mm to 105mm, which is quite versatile. I find my personality tends to feel home in the 20-50mm range so this camera satisfies my wide-angle desires. And with the wide aperture comes all its advantages, including having good video capture. Yes, the S90 does not do HD videos but it definitely performs well in low light situations.

Interface and Operation

The control ring in front of the camera is interesting. It’s not as radically useful as I had hoped but it serves as another dial input, which is always welcome. For my personal settings, I let the control dial in front of the camera control aperture while the traditional dial controls exposure. There is a customizable shortcut button, which I assign to ISO. These settings are for aperture priority, which is how I usually shoot. Overall, the interface and controls are intuitive. As with the S80, I think the dial controls make navigation and selection easier, and having two of them just makes it better.

Notable

The camera has a beautiful 3″ LCD screen. The colors are vivid and the resolution is sharp. My friends commented that my pictures looked better than theirs if no reason other than the screen itself. The camera also looks nice; it’s black all around and has a clean feel. I use a 3″ GGS screen protector to cover the LCD screen, which seems to work well.

Overall, I’m quite satisfied with the purchase. There isn’t anything that I can point out that would deter me from making the same purchase.

And if you’re at all inclined to check it out, here’s a link to the Canon PowerShot S90 on Amazon. Yes, okay, it’s a referral link.

Margot & the Nuclear So and So's
コメント
  • http://in.somniac.me Paul

    Yeah, I did. It performed as I expected (which is pretty well). The big ISO range and wide aperture (f/2.0 when zoomed out) make it quite nice for low-light/nighttime photos. I guess the image stabilization also helps with the longer night-time exposures. The camera is quite noisy so you get a noticeable amount of grain but I assume it’s comparable to other compacts of the same size.

  • http://www.veronicabelmont.com Veronica

    I've heard (and seen) evidence of excellent low-light options. Did you get a chance to take some nighttime shots?

  • http://in.somniac.me Paul

    Yeah, I did. It performed as I expected (which is pretty well). The big ISO range and wide aperture (f/2.0 when zoomed out) make it quite nice for low-light/nighttime photos. I guess the image stabilization also helps with the longer night-time exposures. The camera is quite noisy so you get a noticeable amount of grain but I assume it's comparable to other compacts of the same size.

  • http://www.cannons90.com/canon_s90.shtml Canon S90

    I like the picture that you've taken. Good point of view !