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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Canon Powershot S90

Finally I've decided and bought the Canon Powershot S90 for my wife. After another round of search and hands-on review of some compacts, I settled for the Canon S90. I'm going to explain why, read on.

The Canon S90 box. It's really small and it doesn't make you feel that it worth thousand over bucks, I suppose Canon is helping to the shops to save storage space, but resulted to cheap packing.

The Canon S90. A very beautifully made with good finishing and solid features. The camera body comes with two adjustable ring, first at front and second one at rear (beside the LCD). Both these are the most valuable add-on to the body that provide quick important adjustment for a professional photographer.

The rear view of the S90. You will notice the second adjust ring around the four-ways button. The LCD screen is 3" 461k TFT and it's very bright and vivid for any viewing condition. The built is solid and properly put together. It's definitely one of the most solid built compact around.

I pushed the dealer to include a camera pouch with the package. I got everything in the box, the camera pouch above, 4GB Class 4 SD card, and screen protector. Email me, if you want to know more about the deal.

I quickly push around the S90 and went into the menu for a quick glance. It's the usual friendly menu of a typical Powershot which will give you enough tweaking that match the dSLR. To my surprise, some of the quick adjust features of this S90 easily put those budget dSLR to shame. Incredible work by Canon to put everything together into such a small body.

I set-up the camera with all its original setting and put the file size to Fine Large (10MP) for a try shot.

The first virgin shot in the shop. Instantly I noticed the crazy bokeh effect that's so obvious with it's Aperture Value of f/2 lens. Please bear in mind that this shot is not even done in Macro mode, and if you don't understand what I mean, you need to play around more with other compact and try to get what I show above.

I did a macro shot of the S90 at Manhattan Fish Market. The shot is clear and again, the bokeh is even more obvious at aperture of f/2. I noticed the colour of the original setting is a little dull to my liking. A quick adjustment can fix it.

I tweaked around with white balance and did another macro with the signature dish. Impressive and full of wow factor. I'm so outdated that I don't know that compact can do this. A well trained photographer will be able to make full use of the S90 and compete with other dSLR user.

As promised, hereby I revealed the reasons why I buy the Canon S90 but before that, some specifications for digestion.

Canon Powershot S90
Sensor: 1/1.7" CCD Type with 10 million effective pixels
Imaging Processor: Digic IV
Lens: 6-22.5mm (28-105mm equivalent) optical zoom 3.8x with Image Stabiliser
Shutter Speed: 15 - 1/1600 sec
Aperture: f/2.0-f/8.0 (wide) ~ f/4.9-f/8.0 (tele)
Continuous Shooting: 2.1fps with manual
Focus: 9 points AiAF & TTL (autofocus)
ISO Range: 80~3200 (full auto entire range) with 1/3 increment
LCD Display: 3.0" Colour LCD wide viewing angle at 461,000 dots

File Format: Exif 2.2 (JPEG) and RAW CR2
Movies: 640x480 @ 30fps
Dimension: 100 x 58 x 31mm
Weight: 175gram without battery

It's a very impressive specification that anyone will agree. I've highlighted the important specifications that I think it's very important to a camera and help in my decision making. Now let's move on to the reasons why I buy it and it's arrange to my priority of importance on my decision.

1. Size, the compact of 100x58x31mm with these features are incredible. Looking into it's competitor such as Panasonic Lumic LX-3, it's marginally bigger. Don't trust the dimension given, go out there and try it yourself. I doubt you will find anything smaller than this with the same specifications & quality.

2. It's a Canon. Don't mistaken by this sentence. I'm a Nikon user for dSLR but I must say Canon excels in all its compact market. Never buy Nikon compact. Why? Go out there and ask for a Nikon compact and a Canon compact. Put it side to side and ask the shop to set everything to original. Then you play with it and push it to manual and start setting ISO to 400, white balance to fluorescent, file size to fine medium, and etc. You will know what I mean. Canon's menu interface is one of the fastest and most friendly. No brand beats Canon on that features.

3. The ability to capture RAW. I'm not sure how many compact out there can do this but I'm impressed that S90 is able to capture RAW. This is not part of the my initial reasoning to buy S90 but I would just stressed the importance of this feature for photography that make me think this is very important to fit to top 3 list.

4. Quality. The image quality is impressive with Canon latest Digic 4 processor. The colour is a a little dull but the overall sharpness is very good. A quick tweak will resolve the colour issue. As shown on photo sample above, the bokeh effect in such a small sensor is impressive and its low light performance is top notch. I personally thing that's the best quality that you can expect from a compact.

5. Aperture value of f/2.0. There is only 1 frustration when I'm using compact earlier, which is the horrible experience in night shot. f/2.0 will ensure this problem is diminished. The big aperture that give the maximum opening is going to give a new lift to compact limitation.

6. Full manual ability. Most of pro compact will give you this function and you need it. Some of the compact only provide programmed feature but not full manual. Please check or you will be disappointed. I'm talking about if you dont know how to set properly, your photos will be black! That kind of full manual.

7. Not one but Two (2) Control Ring. These control ring are only available for S90 and its so useful! I turned to Av and set the front control ring for aperture setting and the rear control ring for exposure setting. These rings are the main reason why I take up Nikon D90! That's also the reason why the professional camera are more expensive, because it allows you to make very quick adjustment to the setting and not miss the moment.

8. Auto ISO setting from 80-3200! That's a very wide auto setting for ISO. It's a gimmick because I tested the ISO setting and noticed anything above 800 is very noisy. That's the limit I guess but no harm extra auto ISO is available for you to impress your friend =) I put mine to Auto 400 at current time.

A little lazy, so I will stop at 8 reasons. I will add if I can think of more. Hope this is helpful and do let me know if you wanted to know more. Cheers.

ps: my wife is crazily happy now that she can join the photographer wagon. hehe ...

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