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Canon S90 Digital Camera - The New Point and Shoot Camera Bests the Competition

Updated on July 5, 2010

Canon's New Digital Elph the S90 Powershot

Finally a point and shoot worth owning in the Under $500 segment. Canon’s new S90 is getting solid if not rave reviews from professionals. I was considering the G11 but the S90 packs all the punch of the G11 (With a little less zoom range and a lot less weight).

I have a bit of a confession I guess I should make… I’m a camera junky! I have way too many cameras, but I keep on buying the hot new camera every year or so. I already own 2 cameras from the Canon Elph series. Something about the smaller pocket size cameras that just appeals to me. Every year they get better and better and I just always “want” for the new model. I own Digital SLR's but I find it's the pocket cameras I use the most because I always have one with me!

This year has been ripe with new product announcements… but while the cameras look great on paper, in real world use they have been disappointing. Such is the case with the recently released Sony WX1.

Before I even jump into the details I’d like to talk a bit about what the Canon S90 can do for you that other cameras can not. First the new features allow you to take pictures in low light situations that would otherwise require flash. And pictures that are as bright and clear as possible. This camera will allow an ordinary person with little photographic knowledge or skill to take much better pictures. And after all isn’t that what we all want. Most people don’t want to take photography courses, they just want to take pictures that look great… all the time every time! You won’t have to understand every little feature to benefit from this camera.

So what makes the S90 so special compared to the competition? In nearly every category compared to other Point and Shoot Cameras the S90 excels. Take the f/2.0 lens for starters. Most point and shoots get nowhere near this low light capability. Couple in a new high sensitivity sensor with higher ISO speeds and you’ll be able to take a lot more pictures without flash! Flash annoys people and often results in overly bright pictures and red eyes with other point and shoot cameras.

Probably the most talked about feature on the Canon PowerShot S90 is the “control ring” at the base of the lens barrel. With the control ring you can program manual settings that are either missing on the competition or hidden deep inside menus. With the Canon S90 you can quickly and easily set aperture or focus, exposure, ISO, Step Zoom or White Balance. The choice is yours! Or you can simply choose not to change anything and let the camera make all the choices for you.

The S90 packs a powerful punch in a tiny package… to get these same features you would have to step up to the G11 which is considerably larger, heavier, and won’t slide easily into your pocket. The S90 weighs a little over 6 ounces and measures 3.94 x 2.30 x 1.22 inches. While not the smallest its still pretty small considering the powerful manually adjustable features. If your interested in specifics you can see them at Canon USA S90 Specifications page.

Lets get to some of what the Professionals are saying about the Canon S90 PowerShot

Ken Rockwell has written an excellent review and calls the Canon S90 “The Worlds Best Pocket Camera”.

First compact camera with two click-stopped direct control rings, which is better than DSLRs! Few compacts have even one control ring, and DSLRs have maybe one.

Big 3" full-height LCD (3:4 aspect ratio), not the crummy sliced-off ones becoming popular on compact cameras. Your images will fill the screen, not just the center as they do on other cameras with "chopped" (16:9) LCDs missing their tops and bottoms.

Performance is incredible. You simply pick it up, use the CONTROL RING button to select which function you want to control with each ring, and then shoot the S90 like a real camera for ever more.

I’ll try to update this and post more as the camera goes into full production and is widely available on sale.

For now you should take a look at the preview on Digital Photography Reviews.

Update: Th Canon S90 Camera has been released and user reviews while positive have pointed out some flaws. The Build Quality has been criticized, along with the occasional slipping of control settings on the back panel when accidentally bumped slightly. Low light performance is being praised, but not with an absence of noise. I think the expectations for this model are unrealistically high.

Comments Welcome

Canon PowerShot S90 Digital Camera

The Canon S90 Digital Camera is part of the Canon Powershot "Elph" camera line.  A Worthy Successor to the S80
The Canon S90 Digital Camera is part of the Canon Powershot "Elph" camera line. A Worthy Successor to the S80


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