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343 of 349 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent image quality, full controls and pocketable, September 9, 2010 This review is from: Canon PowerShot S95 10 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch inch LCD (Electronics) If you're looking for a pocketable camera that has reasonably high quality images, lets you control aperture, speed and focus and shoot in RAW format, this is it. I bought mine as an upgrade from a previous small but versatile camera, a Canon Powershot S70.
The Powershot S95 was introduced in August 2010 as a slight upgrade to the S90, which was widely praised for its image quality and excellent interface but criticized for being hard to hold ("like a bar of soap in the shower") and for having a control dial that turned too easily. The S95 fixes both problems and adds a couple of other features in a package that fits in the pocket of your jeans (if they're not super tight). The case is metal, and although there are no finger grips on the body, it's not slippery at all. It feels like it's covered with super-fine sandpaper (like 1000 or 1500 grit, for those you who know what that feels like).
The second major complaint about the S-90 was that the function selection ring on the rear moved too easily. The ring on the S-95 has a slight click when you move it, and it doesn't move unless you want it to.
There are a couple of other cameras of this type, including the Panasonic LX-3 and LX-5 and the Samsung TL500. They all have let you control camera functions, and like the S95 they have 10 MP sensors that are almost twice as large as a typical pocket camera, so the pixels on the sensor are larger. That lets them gather light more efficiently, which reduces digital "noise" when you shoot in dim light. Image quality is noticeably better than photos from typical pocket cameras. You can make an 8 x 10 or perhaps 11x14 enlargement, although a digital SLR will be significantly better for larger prints. They also have f/2.0 lenses at their widest angle, although the aperture closes down as you zoom in.
The Canon has two advantages over the Panasonic LX-3 & LX-5. First, you really can put it in your pocket or in a belt case no bigger than the one you use for a mobile phone. Second, the interface is a brilliant re-thinking of how a very small camera with a full set of controls should work. There's not much room for buttons on the small surface, but you don't have to get into a multi-level menu on the LCD, and yet changing settings is fast and intuitive.
For example, there's a ring around the lens that you can grip easily to control zoom, or, shutter speed, or aperture, change ISO, or manually focus. You select what you want it to do by pressing a button on the top, and when you look at the LCD screen you can see what it's programmed for. There's a selection wheel on the back for other functions, and when you move it, a clear set of choices appears on the screen. The selections are context-appropriate, so they change depending on whether you've set the camera for aperture control, "Program" control, etc.
The two Panasonics have the same sensor as their Canon equivalents, but they offer a slightly wider lens (24mm vs. 28 for the S95). The LX-3 has a much shorter telephoto - only 60 mm. The LX-5, which was introduced a couple of weeks before the S95, has a 90mm telephoto, and you can buy an add-on optical viewfinder. It also has a flash shoe in addition to the pop-up flash, although you can buy a dedicated add-on flash for the S-95 to supplement its pop-up flash The LX-5 is about 25% more expensive than the Canon S95 (and 60% more with the optional viewfinder) and while it would fit in a coat pocket, you can't stuff it into a trouser pocket.
If you want a truly pocketable camera that gives you good image quality and full control over your photography, the S95 is an excellent choice.
362 of 375 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! What an improvement!, August 31, 2010 This review is from: Canon PowerShot S95 10 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch inch LCD (Electronics) I spent two or three months doing tons of research to replace my old Canon SD870. Finally a month ago I decided to buy the S90 despite the fact that it didn't have 720 HD video, it was a one-year old model, and many reviewers disliked the looseness of the control dial. My S90 arrived in the middle of August and over the course of many days I learned how to use all the functions and was very pleased with the results.
And then on August 19 Canon announced the upcoming release of the Canon S95. I immediately returned my S90 and anxiously awaited the arrival of its successor. Earlier today it was delivered and I've been using it all day.
I must say that I wanted to love the S90, but the smoothness of the body annoyed me. I figured I'd just have to get used to the slipperiness. But now that I have the S95 in my hands, I can't believe what a difference the matte finish makes regarding secure handling. There's no way you can appreciate the difference if you haven't handled both models yourself. Honestly, that feature alone is worth the slightly higher price.
Control dial issues? No longer! Subtle click-stops have solved that problem.
Finger missing the shutter button on the S90? Well, the geniuses at Canon took care of that, also. You won't mistake the shutter button on the S95 for any other button due to the distinct and secure feel.
I'm in love with this camera. I won't go into details about picture quality because it's as good as its predecessor; there are examples all over the Internet. And of course the S95's 720 HD video is a big improvement over the standard video of the S90.
Only one "con" I can think of: The new, smooth, elegant display on the back is no longer recessed therefore you'll have to be careful if you place the camera face up on a flat surface. In that position it appears the screen will come in direct contact with the table's surface.Help other customers find the most helpful reviews Was this review helpful to you?
172 of 175 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Great camera and upgrade to superb S90, September 5, 2010 This review is from: Canon PowerShot S95 10 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch inch LCD (Electronics) I own both the S90 and S95 (G10 and G11 also, as well as F-1 and numerous Nikons including the D90).
Hands down, I took more photos on a daily basis with the S90 since I took it EVERYWHERE.
As they say, the absolute best camera is the one you have when you need to take a photograph.
The picture quality of the S90 is superb and the S95 is at least as good.
Often the biggest limiter to picture quality is the skill of the photographer.
Time spent mastering a particular camera is well spent and paper specs often can mislead.
Discussing subtle nuances over comparable cameras is often more academic than practical.
The S95 gives the serious photographer tremendous flexibility from full auto to full manual and superb features that are packaged in a truly pocketable high performing camera that is arguably best in class.
So what has improved:
Body finish...more tactile and grippy
Selection wheel on back has click stops....hurray!
On/off button is where it should be.
720p movie mode added (24 fps vs 30 for lx5) with stereo recording.
More scenes including High Dynamic Range (very cool)
Numerous technical innovations that result in more stable, sharper pictures.
Button feel on back is more positive.
Ring on front has more friction and feels more positive.
Body even smaller and more pocketable.
Menu system updated but if you can drive a S90, G10 or G11 you will be off and running.
Improved hand lanyard placement.
Improved shutter release.
Slightly rounded corners...looks feels better.
What stayed the same:
Battery door and card slot.
Same cables and connectors.
Lack of grip....no denying it would add weight but...
Build quality...as good as it will get.
What got worse:
This part is highly subjective because different people see the same change differently (I see the size reduction as good, while others have said it's bad....so be wary and know if you agree with peoples reasons).
Thumb rest no longer there...I missed it.
So there you have my first impressions and if I had to choose between the S90 and S95, the S95 is the clear winner!
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