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New Canon S90

KatieR 14 6.2k 6
20 Nov 2009 3:20PM
Just bought myself a Canon S90 compact.

Call it a birthday present... ahem!

Anyway, first impressions are good.

I like the giant LCD, having RAW and the quality of the images (compared to my Ixus in particular) appears to be very good. The wide angle lens is great having had a 38mm start previously.

I am not sure about how the ergonomics yet - it's small and there's no thumb grip but then I love the lens ring (to which you can assign various functions)

I am amazed at how many functions and options there are - it does appear to be very flexible and customisable, which I wanted.

I'll come back with some more observations later if it's useful.

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Rob_Taylor 14 661 5 Wales
20 Nov 2009 5:02PM
Good choice Katie !
From what I've seen, the image quality looks really good, probably better than my LX3 ....if you want to swap, let me know!!

I look forward to hearing how you get on with it, always good to hear first-hand feedback as well as reviews.

KatieR 14 6.2k 6
21 Nov 2009 6:36PM
I've played quite a lot with the S90 today - the battery is getting a good workout!

My latest thoughts are...

Even more than yesterday, it feels so small. In fact it's tiddly. I have long fingers and they are getting in the way at the moment. The body is very smooth, so I immediately attached the wrist strap for safety. The good thing is that it goes in a pocket very easily - it's a lot slimmer in the body than my Ixus.

Manual mode (and others) is made fun by the use of the lens ring - I have to say it reminds me of using a manual film SLR, which is rather nice. There is a feeling - perhaps artifical - of some real control! My current set-up is to control aperture by the lens ring, shutter speed with the wheel dial which surrounds the rear selection pad (sorry, hard to describe!) and I have assigned ISO to another button. We'll see how it goes.

Image quality still looks very good, though it struggled with serious contrast and I experienced very blown-out skies from a standard setting. Recovery of detail in RAW was good, though so far not as much as from my DSLR. I am having to use DPP rather than ACR as it has not been updated yet, so things are unfamiliar.

I know it's daft, but the great thing is that it has inspired me to do some more photography - I didn't need another camera, but
perhaps it will serve a purpose other than satisfying the shopper in me!
KatieR 14 6.2k 6
25 Nov 2009 12:58PM
Thought I should mention a little issue - that of wide-angle distortion.

I have been using DPP instead of ACR to process the RAW files, as I was aware that ACR has not been updated as yet. By accident, I used ACR once - and it did actually process the file (it has a beta version of the s90 settings). To my horror, the resulting shot was horribly distorted.

After some research, it turns out that what I saw was actually correct. Manufacturers leave it up to post-capture software to make the corrections needed.

Here is a link to the article which explains what and why... see the "Barrel Distortion" section:


You may already know about this, but it was news to me.
Rob_Taylor 14 661 5 Wales
25 Nov 2009 5:42PM
Same goes for the LX3, in-camera software corrects for distortion, CA, etc.. (only I imagine the LX3 distortion is even worse given the 24mm wide setting)
Seems to work OK for jpegs but if using RAW you have to use a compatible converter.

27 Nov 2009 6:11PM
If anyone is interested in one of these S 90 cameras, I checked out Camerapricebuster today and bought one from Jessops for 295 with free delivery.

You need to quote the discount from the the camerapricebuster webpage and I had to phone in to Jessops to get the discount.

Fill your boots
strawman 14 22.1k 16 United Kingdom
27 Nov 2009 6:51PM
Oooh tempting, I could use a small compact like that, decent wide angle too.

Not that I need, more covet Smile

Glad you are enjoying it.
27 Nov 2009 6:59PM
I wish Jessops had the same level of discount for the Mark IV, but 295 for a S90 is good, its at least 50 cheaper that anywhere else in the UK with the exception of Kerso on ebay and its even 20 cheaper than him
KatieR 14 6.2k 6
3 Dec 2009 2:00PM
Now here is a weird thing with the S90...

I was playing with Flash Exposure Compensation and I found that there is less flexibility in Manual mode, than in Av or Tv.

Select FEC from the menu in Av and a traditional scale pops up - you are offered 1/3 stop + or - compensation. Same in Tv.

In manual, the same menu selection brings up a different scale which only offers you full, then half and half again (there are no numbers, the bar just reduces, so I can't be sure exactly what it means).

Can you think of a reason why there would be less control in Manual mode? If this is an oversight, is it something that could be corrected by firmware?

Any ideas?

Oh, and I'm still accidentally holding that flash down when it tries to pop up because of where my finger naturally rests. So far, that's the only thing really detracting from my full enjoyment!
KatieR 14 6.2k 6
3 Dec 2009 2:55PM
I've been searching for any comments on this issue and found this

"Manual Flash Output - When you shoot in Manual exposure mode, the flash exposure compensation scale changes from the standard + and - to a flash output control. You can manually set the flash to 1/3, 2/3, or full power. Works great! It's also more intuitive than flash exposure compensation."

Personally, I don't get it.
Coleslaw 12 13.4k 28 Wales
3 Dec 2009 2:59PM
If I remember it right, I think that is the same thing with G9, quite annoying.
KatieR 14 6.2k 6
3 Dec 2009 3:27PM
Oh right. Strange.

It's obviously not a main feature, or combination, that many people use as there is little written about it.

I'm a bit grumpy about it, I must admit.
KatieR 14 6.2k 6
4 Dec 2009 11:31AM
Ok, it looks like the S90 only lets you use manual flash in Manual mode. That is, you can't choose TTL flash in this mode.

It appears that this started in the G series models. Manual flash removes the need for the pre-flash used by TTL and so you can use slaves... or something...

Considering what the S90 is and how it is most likely to be used, this seems bonkers.

But hey, maybe I'm wrong.
Tony_M 14 342 England
25 May 2010 10:13PM
I used our new S90 properly for the first time last week and promptly dropped it on the pavement - it's quite slippery! Thankfully it wasn't turned on and the metal body seemed to suffer only a couple of scratches. I'm looking into getting a Giottos glass LCD screen protector, even though they don't make one quite the right size. The 40D-specific option looks like the best fit, and if it doesn't work, then I'll put it on my 40D!!

I enjoyed using ISO1600 for hand-held night time photos thanks to the F2.0 aperture. I found the colour balance to be a bit wayward at night on Auto WB. Post-processing the RAW files in DPP gave much better colour rendition when selecting Neutral or Faithful rather than the default Standard picture style. Unfortunately there does not seem to be an in-camera control for picture style.

Overall I'm very happy with the results from this little camera so far.
LensYews 9 1.3k 1 United Kingdom
25 May 2010 10:56PM
I got an s90 at Heathrow a the weekend before last, and it was great to have a pocket sized camera that I could take on a business trip. I even ended up using it in the meetings to take snapshots of the whiteboards rather than taking endless notes. Plus a few pics of Indian street life as well, but I had fewer opportunities for those than I would have liked. But I love this little camera. I do find my finger resting on the flash a lot though, which is the only real issues I've come across so far, but generally prefer to increase ISO instead anyway.

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