Canon Powershot S90
DSLR price and pretensions
Review The S90 marks the re-introduction of Canon’s acclaimed PowerShot S series. Aimed at the serious amateur or professional photographer, it combines full manual capability with the simple design of a point-and-shoot, all in a pocket size camera with near-DSLR performance. Unsurprisingly, it comes with the hefty price tag of £449.
Canon's Powershot S90 marks the return of the S-series
To justify its price the S90 comes with an array of professional features packed into its small and stylish case. The 10Mp sensor also features on its bigger brother, the G11 and utilises Canon's latest DIGIC 4 processor with its Dual Anti-Noise System that allows low light shooting without increased noise. Perhaps more surprising is that currently, the PowerShot S90 is the smallest compact camera to shoot in Raw format. With no optical viewfinder the S90 relies on a 3in LCD display comprised of 461,000 dots.
First impressions are a sleek and elegant compact, but the handling was not entirely satisfying. The matt black finish of the case gives a sense of solidity while the sparse body design with its hidden pop out flash has an odd retro feel to it. At 100 x 58.4 x 30.9mm and 175g, the camera is small and light, but Canon seems to have sacrificed function in favour form.
The lack of any kind of grip is, for any keen photographer, a bit of an obstacle to a smooth shooting experience. Canon has also changed the traditional position and design of the shutter button making pressing the correct button somehow less immediate. After some practice you get used to the new layout but, initially, attempts to take photos by pressing the Program Dial instead, was a common occurrence.
In addition there is not a dedicated button to activate or deactivate the flash, so this is done through the selection of the appropriate settings, and it's always a bit of surprise when it pops up, especially as the flash is positioned in line with the natural grip of the left forefinger. Unless you pay specific attention to the left hand position, it’s all too easy to obstruct the flash.
With no traditional viewfinder, the sharp, bright LCD panel handles image framing
One of the best features of this new baby is the introduction of a Control Ring, a rotary collar at the base of the lens barrel programmed to adjust the settings of various functions according to the mode you are in or the function you assign to it. For example, in Auto mode the ring allows you to switch between focal lengths, acting almost as a manual zoom, while used in Program mode it becomes a manual focusing dial.
Holy crap, you unfortunate British-dwellers are getting ripped off on this one; it's $429 plus tax (so about $500) in the States - hell, even in Canada we only get ripped off an extra hundred bucks ($529). I love mine but I'm not sure I'd have paid nearly $1,000 for it.
If you want a viewfinder and a grip (and a flash hotshoe), then you want the closely-related G11 - http://www.photographyblog.com/reviews/canon_powershot_g11_review/ . The S90 is for those of us who want top-class image quality but don't want the bulk and weight those features add.
For those talking about shutter lag - it's pretty decent on this camera, not SLR level, but good. And against all the shots you may miss on a compact due to shutter lag, I place all the shots you may miss on a DSLR due to not being able to fit it in your pocket. Which, for me, would be all of 'em. This isn't meant to replace a DSLR, it's meant to be the best camera you can get for the situations where you don't have a DSLR (or micro 4/3) with you (or for people who don't want a DSLR at all as they know they'd never take it anywhere).
re: Pics or it didn't happen
I think you will find there's a court injunction preventing publication of those tiger "photos"...
Pics or it didn't happen
I'm so ashamed.
Why did they kill the Powershot Pro?
I love my Powershot Pro1 - a totally awesome camera that still embarrasses DSLR's, four years or more on! Professional level lens, full on manual, and all. Now *that* is what Canon need to do again, not a quirky retro compact like this one!
...is the one thing I could never reconcile myself to with compacts which is why I bought an SLR a couple of years ago and never looked back. So many missed shots with compacts and their shutter lag :( I got used to the bulk and weight of an SLR very quickly so when there's a compact with SLR-like focus speed and shutter delay, that'll be news. Until then, this is just another compact with the failings thereof. RAW, face recognition, low-noise at high ISO are meaningless unless you get the shot.