Point shoot releases are so many and so mediocre that it’s easy to fall for a under rated cameras in the market. Serious enthusiasts know that the higher resolution sensors on the new cameras are not really worth it. Cramming 14 million pixels on the same 1/2.5 inch sensor is not going to improve picture quality. Worse, it brings annoying noise issues. My cousin was kind enough to lend me his Canon S90 for review. Re launching the long abandoned S series, Canon has given point and shoot photography a big leap (and other companies a run for their money) with this tiny shooter.
Full Review Below
Canon S90: Black Beauty
Canon S90 is an attempt by Canon to revive the Sxx series due to the increasing popularity of performance point and shoot cameras. S90 uses the same 1/1.7″ sensor used in G10/G11 and is optimized for low light photography instead of a higher megapixel count. It’s a lot slimmer than Panasonic LX3 and packs quite punch too. Let’s get it through the paces.
The body is mostly metal with plastic used only for the top and bottom panels. The buttons are well placed and tactile. One thing the previous S cameras couldn’t pull off well was size, they were too bulky for pocket use. This camera changes all that, with an impressive Ixus like body that is both strong and pocket able. The minimalist styling may not got go down well with some people but the discerning enthusiast should have no issues with the all black, no frills body. The screen is a healthy 3 inch in size and one the best ever. The lens has wider f2 aperture for low light photography but useless at the telephoto end. The glass is pretty good though.
Apart from offering full manual control with the PASM dial, the S90 gains an edge over other comapcts by offering RAW mode, allowing post processing and better pictures. Another impressive feature is the control ring around the lens which can be customized for changing aperture, shutter speed and ISO. There is another ring around the D- pad itself which makes navigation a breeze. Handling is a bit like a dSLR, one hand holds the camera while the other can be used to set the control ring. There’s also a nifty little pop up flash to the left.
The interface is silky smooth and intuitive. There’s a display at the bottom showing focal length while the shutter speed and aperture are displayed at the top along with IS and ISO information. The scene mode offers customized settings for shooting low light scenes, kids, fireworks, sunset etc.
Now for the interesting bit. I took a few pictures at home and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it metered the shots. In auto mode though, the ISO was pushed a little too far leading to noise. In daylight however, the pictures were clear and color reproduction spot on. The lens covers a focal length of 28-105mm which is not much compared to the superzooms of today. But the f2 aperture at the wide end and the clear optics make it a winner nonetheless. The picture quality is very good up to ISO 800 after which things start going downhill. ISO 3200 is pretty much useless. The aperture slows down at the telephoto end and the limited focal range itself might not appeal to some.
Overall this camera holds its own when it comes to performance.
Launched with an initial price of about Rs22, 000 the price has now come down to a much better 14k. It’s cheaper if bought abroad. For its performance, this camera offers the best value even outperforming some of its overpriced counterparts from other companies.
Canon has always focused on after sales service, and with the steadily growing sophistication of photo devices, service has now become even more prominent. With hundreds of service centers in India with several centers in metros Canon is sure not to disappoint in after sales service.
In the crowded and saturated market of point and shoot cameras this is one camera that will blow most of the competition out of the water. The lack of a viewfinder may be missed by some and some may find the focal range limited but overall this is one sweet deal.
- Superb Image quality up to ISO 800
- Fast aperture at the wide end.
- Control ring
- Ease of use
- No optical viewfinder
- Limited focal range
- Noise above ISO 800