Customer Review

992 of 1,013 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 LCD (Camera)
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.
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Comments

Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 38 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 25, 2010 7:43:51 PM PDT
(1) What is your source for your claim that "The two Panasonics have the same sensor as their Canon equivalents"? I'm pretty sure that's not true. They're not even the same size.

(2) I don't think there's any "Samsung 150" fitting the description you give. Are you thinking of the Samsung TL500?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 25, 2010 7:57:30 PM PDT
The comment about the sensors being the same comes from the reviews of the earlier versions - the LX-3 and the Powershot S90 -- on the web site dpreview.com, and the commentary on similar reviw sites about the LX5 and Powershot S95.

You're correct about the designation of the Samsung -- it's the TL500 in the US and teh EX1 in Europe. I'll fix that in the review. Thank you!

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2010 7:16:54 PM PDT
Hi, Michael.

Thanks for your reply. I think you may be misinterpreting dpreview's statements. When their S90 review said "As with the LX3, Canon has chosen to incorporate a relatively large (1/1.7", 0.43 cm²) sensor", I think they meant only that both cameras incorporate large sensors (for point-and-shoots), not that they incorporate the same sensors. Dpreview lists the LX3 sensor as being 1/1.63" in size, different from the S90. Furthermore (correctly or incorrectly), dpreview's S90 review attributed the S90's lack of HD video to its sensor, which wouldn't make sense if it had the same sensor as the HD-video-capable LX3. Finally, consider this line from dpreview's comparison of the Raw Noise of the S90, G11, TL500, and LX3 in their TL500 review: "This test is a perculiar (sic) one in that three of the four cameras in this comparison almost certainly use the same sensor. As a result there's not a lot to call between them, with the exception of the LX3, which is visably (sic) noisier from ISO 400 upwards." (I admit that the misspellings cast doubt on dpreview's attention to detail!)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2010 7:09:50 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 27, 2010 7:13:27 AM PDT
Yup, it's possible I'm misinterpreting dPreview, or that their statement that "that three of the four cameras in this comparison almost certainly use the same sensor" is off the mark, since you correctly point out the dimensional differences between sensors. The three cameras -- Panasonic LX-5, Powershot S95 and the Samsung -- aim at roughly the same market and I hope that the review reflects a fair comparison between their features, whether the sensors are identical or simply similar.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2010 9:49:56 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 29, 2010 9:52:05 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 29, 2010 9:53:22 AM PDT
Presko says:
See the article on the S95 by David Pogue in the NYTimes of Oct. 29. He calls it "A Love Letter to a Camera" and raves about the sensor. Let us know what you think of it.

Posted on Oct 31, 2010 8:32:57 PM PDT
K. Shin says:
Does this camera have auto audio recording level adjust during video to avoid clipping (distortion) in loud settings such as at clubs and live concerts? My SD1100 has it but S90 does not and still not sure about S95... It could make or break a video hence a very important feature for me. I enjoyed your review, thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2010 5:45:35 AM PDT
You can adjust the playback volume once you've recorded the video, but the manual doesn't show how to change the recording volume, so I don't think that's possible.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2010 12:09:50 PM PDT
K. Shin says:
Well, it doesn't have to be manual audio recording level control. I'm looking for whether it has auto recording level adjust (to attenuate the level).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 1, 2010 5:45:31 PM PDT
Sorry, no info on that in the product manual. I think you need to contact Canon to get an answer.
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