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Forget that SLR and Pick This Up
May 03, 2011 04:21 PM 16448 Views
(Updated Feb 17, 2012 04:47 PM)

Picture Quality:

User friendly:

Value for Money:

Shutter Speed:

Battery life:

There is a bug in all of us to be an aspiring photographer. So we invest in a big fat SLR camera, sling it around our neck for 1-2 months, clicking every moment of your life and get praised for the quality of the pictures. The issue is how long can you carry the big fat SLR?? Only if you had a compact with the features of an SLR.  This is where the Canon S90/ Canon S95 comes out trumps.

Size- Lets face it - it is not convenient to take an SLR everywhere – imagine taking your SLR to a club, sky diving, jet boat!! So I looked at camera’s which have manual adjustments - basically at the features of an SLR camera but in a compact size. The choice was between the Pana LX 5 and the Canon S90. I did however settle for the Canon even though the specs of the Pana were better – been a fan of Canon quality (previous camera's). Besides being small, it is light too – front and back metal with plastic sides. It does have a quality feel to it.

Sensor– The same sensor as the Canon G11 (10MP) which is a professional photographer’s choice - that’s got to be good. Please do not compare the MP size – 10 MP is good enough. One thing which stood out were the night photos – this is a general gripe for all compacts with poor quality night photos (cannot get the background) - now with this camera you can get the skyline of hongkong/singapore/chicago in the background (generally difficult to capture this with a normal compact)

Zoom & Wide Lens – Decent zoom 3.8x optical, 28-105mm. Anti Shake lens. Longer zoom would have been a killer deal.  28 mm lens – great for panaroma, huge family photos :-)

HDMI - yes yes, HDMI in your camera. Don't be too happy though - it is the mini hdmi cable which you would need to purchase.

Looks– This is one area Canon could have done better. It is plain and drab looking. Good that the images make up for this simple design. Some will however love the black colour – preferable over the silver and multicoloured camera’s out nowadays.

LCD– Simply one of the best screens I’ve seen on a camera. A 3” LCD which will make you photos look even more gorgeous. Great to show off your photos just clicked.

Features – It has gotpreset image modes (auto mode - 22 scene modes) – max 3200 iso, colour separation, colour swap, nostalgia, photo stitch and all these features directly in your camera. Full manual mode (ISO, EV, shutter speed, aperture, white balance, etc) so the amateur photographer in you can take over – including shooting inRAW. A really useful feature is that you have a control ring on the lens – this control ring can be allocated to various functions of your choice and it clicks to precision – zoom, preset modes etc. This feature makes you feel like using an SLR. Battery life – Good battery life.

Demerits – Besides the looks, the S90 does have some other flaws. Theflash is of the pop up variety – it pops up where you left finger holds the camera – you can get used to it but when you let someone else click your photo, the flash popping up disturbs the user. Video – it doesn’t shoot in 720i video (640 x 480 is still pretty darn good) however the S95 model has sorted this issue out. Viewfinder – It doesn’t have one, so if you are running low of battery, you do not have a choice.Hotshoe – No hotshoe like the pana, but the flash was good for my use. Wheel – the wheel for the setting is too light – it does shift while you are clicking photos. The shift should have been of the same quality as the control ring in the front of the camera. Camera Case & lanyard – it does not come with a case and the lanyard is one of the cheapest available for a high end compact camera – it has now shredded.

Conclusion– Pick it up if you need really small, compact camera with features of an SLR - good enough to put in your pant pocket. Consider it an investment and do go in for this camera rather than a basic model – your friends will soon be asking you to send you a copy of the photo you clicked!!! Happy Shooting.

Feb 2012 - The Canon S100 is the latest model over the S90. It covers quite a lot of the demerits of the S90 - 1080p movie recording, 24 mm wide angle lens, high speed movies (play back in slow mo - awesome feature to have), GPS, better zoom - Basically it improves on everything the S90 did. Plain freaking awesome. Look no further. You'd be very satisfied with the Canon S100

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