67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
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)
I've become quite the compact camera expert of late, buying for myself as a backup to a dSLR, but also for colleagues and employees.
Simply, the new Canon s95 is the best quality compact I have used. It's out of stock in a lot of places, but shop around -- even the Big Boxes seem to have them right now (don't pay the overinflated prices some marketplace vendors are asking).
Having recently used the Panasonic Lumix LX5 for a week in Paris, I wish I had the s95 instead. The Lumix was returned the day I returned. It quite simply is not a compact camera, and stayed in the backpack more than any other compact camera would have.
The S95 by contrast, has identical IQ, fits into a pants pocket, is small, and easy to use. The settings are quickly changed either through the menu, the mode dial, or the front ring. The small tweeks between the S90 and the S95 actually make a world of difference -- and it's a fine fine high IQ compact camera.
Compared to a standard pocket camera, though, you might might find the zoom range quite limiting. It's better than the Lumix, but only just. It certainly is not capable of superzoom -- the optical zoom works to 3.8x -- but with digital zoom you can get to 15x. Those photos are unusable. The digital zoom is fine in a pinch for a "must have" shot, but they are all pixilated and blurry one you get into the digital zoom range. If you are looking for a superzoom, this camera is NOT IT.
But with the 10 mp size of photos, you can easily crop down, and the IQ is so fine that it will still look clear and sharp at normal printing size up to 10 x 8 for super cropped shots.
I've been very happy with the S95 and have used it all weekend for several hundred shots. I am consistently surprised at the excellent IQ in almost all shooting situations. (There does seem to be some flare when shooting into sunlit situations). I see no chromatic aberation, no vignetting, and simply clear shots. The IQ is fine across all scene modes. Some of the creative modes are fun. The bokeh in depth of field shots looks great.
IF you are contemplating between the older s90 and the s95, there is no comparison -- you will NOT be happy with the s90 once you see what the s95 will do.
Quite simply, this and the Lumix LX5 are the best compact cameras on the market as far as high-end IQ and features. Either camera will do a great job with low-light shots up to 3200 (note that noise is still quite visible with both cameras, heavy at any ISO above 800 but also noticable in anything over 400 ISO with either camera).
Still, for the money, the features, and the sheer compactness, there is no other current camera that matches the S95. Highly recommended.
Pros: Great low-light shots; up to 3200 ISO; great IQ across most shooting situations; very compact and small; easy to use dials and menus. Good ISO.
Cons: Limited focal-range up to 3.8x only (up to focal distance 105). Anything shot in digital zoom is unusable. No grip on body. No dedicated video recording button.