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Canon PowerShot S90 10MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (OLD MODEL)
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- New 10-megapixel High Sensitivity System; DIGIC 4 Image Processor
- Improved low-light image performance, plus a Low Light scene mode for ISO settings up to 12,800
- Customizable control ring for easy access and operation of manual or other creative shooting settings
- Wide-angle 3.8x optical zoom with Canon's Optical Image Stabilizer; bright f/2.0 lens
- RAW + JPEG shooting and recording modes; capture images to SD/SDHC memory cards (not included)
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|Auto Focus Technology|
|Battery Type||Lithium Ion|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||0.9 fps|
|Display Fixture Type||Fixed|
|Display Resolution Maximum||461,000|
|Display Size||3 inches|
|Effective Still Resolution||10 MP|
|Expanded ISO Maximum||3,200|
|Expanded ISO Minimum||80|
|External Memory Included||No|
|Flash Memory Type||SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus card|
|Flash Modes Description||Red-eye reduction, Slow synchronization|
|Flash Type||Built-in Flash|
|Focus Description||AiAF TTL|
|Focus Type||Autofocus & Manual|
|ISO Range||Auto, 80, 100, 125, 160, 200, 250, 320, 400, 500, 640, 800, 1000, 1250, 1600, 2000, 2500, 3200|
|Image Aspect Ratio||4:3, 16:9|
|Item Dimensions||1.22 x 2.3 x 3.94 inches|
|Item Weight||0.43 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Energy Content||3.7 Watt Hours|
|Lithium Battery Voltage||3.7 Volts|
|Lithium Battery Weight||4 ounces|
|Macro Focus Range||5 cm|
|Maximum Aperture Range||F2.0 - F4.9|
|Maximum Focal Length||105 mm|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/1600 of a second|
|Maximum horizontal resolution||3,648|
|Metering||Multi, Center-weighted, Spot|
|Minimum Focal Length||28 mm|
|Minimum Shutter Speed||15 seconds|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||10 MP|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Photo Sensor Technology||CCD|
|Processor Description||Digic 4|
|Sensor Cleaning Method||No|
|Shipping Weight||1.25 pounds|
|Supported Battery Types||Lithium-Ion NB-6L rechargeable battery & charger|
|Video Capture Format||H.264|
|Video Capture Resolution||640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps)|
|Water Resistance Level||Not Water Resistant|
|Zoom Type||Optical, Digital|
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This item Canon PowerShot S90 10MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3-Inch LCD (OLD MODEL)
|Shipping||—||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||Available from these sellers||REGAL TRADE||REGAL TRADE||Camera Center||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Screen Size||3 in||3 in||2.5 in||2.7 in||5 in||3 in|
|Item Dimensions||2.3 x 3.94 x 1.22 in||1.1 x 3.9 x 2.36 in||3.43 x 5.04 x 3.46 in||0.7 x 3.63 x 2.21 in||1.21 x 3.86 x 2.28 in||1.41 x 4 x 2.29 in|
|Item Weight||6.88 ounces||7.04 ounces||1.32 lbs||4.64 ounces||7.4 ounces||0.53 lb|
|Optical Sensor Resolution||10 megapixels||12.1 megapixels||12.1 megapixels||14.1 megapixels||12 megapixels||20.2 megapixels|
|Video Capture Resolution||640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps)||1920 x 1080 (24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (120, 30 fps), 320 x 240 (240, 30 fps)||1280 x 720 (30 fps) 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30, 15 fps)||1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps), 320 x 240 (30 fps)||1920 x 1080 pixels, 640 x 480,1280 x 720,1920 x 1080 pixels||1920 x 1080 (60 fps), 1440 x 1080 (30 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30 fps)|
By combining a 10 megapixel CCD sensor and Canon's advanced DIGIC 4 Image Processor, the PowerShot S90 offers dramatic low light sensitivity with minimal noise. Impressive ISO 3200 capability reduces blur and subject movement for crisp photos with spectacular sharpness and clarity. The S90 boasts an incredibly slim profile and lightweight body for true pocket-sized convenience. For the photographer that never wants to miss an opportunity, the S90 the high quality camera that you can carry every day. With an equivalent zoom range of 28-105mm, Canon's 3.8x Optical Zoom Lens captures everything from sweeping landscapes to telephoto action shots with ease. An impressive f/2.0 aperture allows you to create dramatic portraits by emphasizing your subject's face and blurring the background with a soft, shallow depth-of-field.
From the Manufacturer
Canon’s storied S Series gets a revitalized new leader in the slimmer, lighter, new PowerShot S90, the perfect everyday camera for people who are serious about great photography. Image quality is superb thanks to the new High Sensitivity System and higher ISO speeds, plus an exceptionally bright f/2.0 lens that makes portraits and low-light shots come to life. Photography enthusiasts will love the new control ring at the base of the lens barrel, designed for intuitive, pro-style manual control.
PowerShot S90 Highlights
New 10-megapixel sensor coupled with Canon’s DIGIC 4 Image Processor
The PowerShot S90 employs a newly developed, 10-megapixel High Sensitivity System by combining a powerful CCD sensor and Canon’s DIGIC 4 Image Processor. Thanks to this technological advancement, the S90 is dramatically more sensitive than cameras with identical megapixel counts, and delivers spectacular images with minimal noise. Increased sensitivity demands a higher ISO speed, and the PowerShot S90 delivers with a new maximum setting of ISO 3,200. Blur and camera shake are notably reduced for the ultimate in sharpness and clarity.
In addition, a new Low Light mode lets you capture images in an astonishing range of conditions. The camera automatically adjusts the ISO speed from ISO 320 to ISO 12,800 in relation to ambient brightness, subject movement and camera shake.
Compact and pocket-sized camera for everyday use for the advanced amateur
Serious photography buffs never want to miss a shooting opportunity, and that means keeping a high-quality camera on hand at all times. With a robust feature set that meets an advanced amateur’s exacting standards, the compact PowerShot S90 fits the bill. The S90 boasts an incredibly slim profile and lightweight body for pocket-sized convenience, yet packs in advanced capabilities that make every image memorable. It’s the perfect take-along complement to your camera collection.
The S90 sports an f/2.0 aperture, perfect for creating enticing portraits, by drawing attention to the face and blurring the background with its impressively shallow depth-of-field. The Macro setting lets you get even closer. The large aperture also does more. It lets you capture more nuances in low light shooting by using more of the available light. You’ll be ready for anything with a lens aperture larger than even many professional sizes.
Customizable control ring for easy access and operation of manual settings
Focus, Exposure, ISO, Step Zoom, or White Balance can now be adjusted more precisely than ever with the S90’s new control ring. It’s even more intuitive and quicker than the usual 2-button control and the S90 lets you decide which function the ring will adjust.
The PowerShot S90 features Canon's precision 28mm Wide-Angle Lens that allows you to shoot any scene from wide-angle to telephoto. It lets you capture more in every frame, so everyone fits in a family gathering shot. When it's time to take a closer look, a 3.8x optical zoom (35mm equivalent 28-105mm) greatly minimizes camera shake and maximizes the brilliance of every detail. The camera uses a USM (Ultrasonic Motor) for high-speed, quiet, energy-efficient lens movement with precise control. Focal length is conveniently indicated on the lens barrel.
Full range of shooting and recording modes including RAW + JPEG
The PowerShot S90's RAW mode lets you shoot images without JPEG compression. It gives you clearer images and complete creative control in editing. RAW images are transferred directly to the computer where they can then be edited using image adjustment software or a processing application to adjust your images as you please. The camera can also be set to allow the simultaneous recording of both RAW and JPEG images while shooting.
Also, with 25 Shooting Modes including 17 Special Scene Modes, you're ready for whatever shot comes your way.
With a high resolution stemming 461,000 dots, a high contrast ratio and a wide viewing angle, the PowerShot S90 captures the more subtle variations of color in a scene to make all your images truer to the real thing. The LCD’s multiple coatings prevent visual interference from dust, scratches and reflection.
What's in the Box
- PowerShot S90 Body
- NB-6L Battery Pack
- Battery Charger CB-2LY
- Neck Strap WS-DC9
- Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM
- USB Interface Cable IFC-400PCU
- AV Cable AVC-DC400
Read about our customers' top-rated cameras on our review page: Point-and-Shoot Cameras
Top customer reviews
Here are my observations after a month of heavy use, taking up to 170 photographs a day (which is conservative for me, but I was trying to conserve battery life)
Excellent photo quality. Most scenes in any settings turned out vibrant.
Low weight and compact made carrying this in a deep jacket pocket convenient.
Sturdy. Although the camera was "dead" for four days after I fell into a swollen creek, the camera dried out and soldiered on as expected of a Canon.
Excellent low-light quality photographs.
Long battery life.
LCD is very hard to see through in even normal sunlight.
New photographers will have to read the owner's manual to fully take advantage of the S90's many features. This is obviously only a "con" for novices.
No handgrip. The flat, flushed design makes holding this camera tricky. I wrapped black electric tape around the right side for a better hold in the backcountry.
Shutter release is a tad too far to the left of the hand grip; it doesn't feel ergonomically designed.
Back knob moves too easily from the set mode. A locking device would be ideal.
I bought this camera along with a Gorillapod, a small tripod I love. This made group and self-portraits a breeze. I also added four Maximal batteries to my load. The Maximal batteries performed as well as the Canon batteries, providing for 330 photographs before a recharge was needed (120 if using flash.)
Edit 26 Nov 2010: My Canon S90 started showing the "lens error" warning this morning and hasn't been able to work since. I hope this isn't an early demise for such an otherwise great camera. I've taken a few stars off for unreliability due to this. A camera this expensive shouldn't just up and die for no reason.
Edit 8 Dec 10: I contacted the Canon Repair Center in Elk Grove Village, IL. My camera is under warranty so I was allowed to send it in for repair, although shipping was on me, Priority Mail, for around $5. I'll know in another week what the damage is, if any, to my wallet. This camera is worth repairing as it can do so much except take great video. I will adjust my rating accordingly in two weeks when I hear back from Canon.
Edit 8 Feb 2011. Getting my camera fixed over the month-long holiday season was quite a chore. I mailed my camera off on 8 Dec 10 but didn't get a response from the repair shop until 30 Dec that they had received it. Two weeks later I get an email saying my camera cannot be fixed due to internal water damage, which is not covered under free warranty work. They offered me a refurbished one for $157 which I accepted, but this one doesn't seem to have the vibrant color capacity as my original camera.
I was delighted to have finally received my Powershot S90, and without further adieu, let me say that this is one heck of a camera. It's not perfect -- you can take truly terrible pictures with it just like you can take terrible pictures with a D700 -- but when used properly, the camera turns out remarkable shots that make us find it hard to accept the images are coming from a camera that fits in your pants pocket.
What struck me first upon using it? First, it's size. This thing is small, and it's light, too. It's a bit smaller than my Panasonic TZ3 and TZ5, and it's lighter, too. (The camera uses a front and back metal construction with plastic on the top and bottom, but the Panasonic's, while also using metal, use a thicker gauge steel which adds a feel of sturdiness but also adds some weight, as well). The camera also has a high-quality feel to it. The buttons click and depress well (although the rear wheel is a bit too easy to turn, in my opinion). It has a rounded shape, so it feels comfortable in the hands, and when you stick it in your pocket, it will slide right in and out without snagging. The screen on this thing is simply gorgeous: why can't every camera have a screen like this? It's large, bright, and pretty high in resolution (461,000 pixels). You can't help but admire the camera's design once you get looking at it and using it.
Next, the camera seems to perform well in terms of speed and overall operational use. The screen has the typical lag when taking shots, but you can adjust this somewhat in the menu system to speed things up, and quite frankly, every small camera I've ever owned exhibits this behavior. It is easy to use most of the camera's functions, and you may have heard about the programmable control ring around the lens on the front of the camera. It's operation is easy, solid (the ring "clicks" with detents at different positions), and, to boot, there is the standard programmable "S" button that the Powershots "S" cameras have typically had.
But of course, I'm interested in high ISO operation, and so I immediately took it into the livingroom where it was quite dark, and just started shooting. I was quite surprised at the results. You are not going to necessarily submit these to win any contests, but for the most part, the camera took nice shots even in that bad shooting environment, and the vast majority of the photos came out quite well (I will post a few with this review). The camera is the first (along with the Powershot G11) to deploy Sony's new ICX685CQZ sensor, a 9.31mm diagonal sensor with high performance specifications. With a little post processing, many of them look quite good. As the ISO crept into the very high ranges (800 and above) some sensor noise became apparent, but this is certainly the best low-light performance I've seen in a non-DSLR so far. (See my explanations, below, to see why this is possible). Surprisingly, some shots as high as 1600 ISO seemed to be acceptable as long as you are not a "pixel peeper." I was quite surprised when I discovered that a few of the shots had been taken at this high ISO 1600 level -- I've never had this experience before with a point and shoot camera.
Outdoor operation is fantastic. My outdoor shots for the most part have come out very well, with rich color, great detail, and little sensor noise. Like most Canon portables, these images seem to respond well to post-processing (you can sharpen them quite easily, and Canon now uses a standard meta-data tagging format that is readable by virtually all photo editor programs.) I even turned the EV down -2/3 while outside, and the sensitivity of the camera is so good that, even with this reduction in EV, my shots came out sharp and clear. Again, I will post a few shots with this review.
The camera TRULY excels at macro photography. The macro shots I've taken thus far are clear, sharp, and have great depth of field. In a word, they are superb: this camera is a macro shooter's delight. (A nice touch, too, is that in AUTO mode the camera automatically shifts into macro mode, without having to press any buttons!) The functionality just begs us to keep shooting macros over and over again. I've been able to take macro shots that I only dreamed of before, and the camera makes it easy to do so.
And although this is not an objective measure, the camera is just plain fun to use. It works smoothly, is light, has a beautiful screen, and seems to keep cranking out one nice shot after another. Wow.
Early Pro's and Cons
-- PROS --
1. Exceptionally small and lightweight (100 x 58 x 31 mm and 175 g)
2. Increased sensor size for a portable with a lower megapixel count (Sony's new ICX685CQZ sensor, 9.31mm diagonal)
3. Reasonably large zoom factor (28-105mm, approximately 3.8X zoom)
4. Wide end is very wide for landscape shots, vistas, group photos (28mm)
5. Fast f/2 lens permits high levels of light passage in low light situations
6. f/2 lens makes shallow depth of field shots incredibly effective - this camera is a macro shooter's delight
7. Two types of highly effective shake reduction technologies
8. Design makes lens cap unnecessary
9. Extremely high image quality for a pocket sized camera
10. HUGE 3 inch LCD screen with 461,000 pixel resolution and 100% coverage of the shot you wish to take
11. RAW mode allows for highest image quality and post processing
12. Virtually every camera setting is user adjustable (ISO, shutter speed, aperture, EV, white balance, etc.)
13. Ring-based control implementation one of the best on ANY current camera
14. Reasonable cost for a camera of this ability (but watch the prices climb as the camera stays in and out of stock)
16. Metadata being properly written to the file so they can be read by photo editing software (a problem with earlier Canons and some other brands)
17. SDHC flash card is highly standardized, and is coming in larger and faster formats (necessary if you are taking many RAW shots)
18. Extremely attractive physical design
19. High quality construction apparent on first use
20. Reasonably good battery life - most people are reporting about 300 shots (without flash) between charges
-- CONS --
1. Zoom ends at 108mm (3.8X zoom), which may be a deal breaker for some
2. Does not take HD videos (but does shoot 640 x 480 at full 30fps)
3. LCD screen not at the highest current resolution as seen in some DSLR's (but is great, anyway)
4. Proprietary battery is an expensive proposition, as two or three are needed for daylong trips
5. Camera case not included, and is expensive to purchase afterword
6. No prices below retail due to the high demand of the device
7. May be difficult to initially acquire due to high demand
8. Still no "universal standard" RAW mode file format - the camera manufacturers need to address this soon!
9. Mechanical noise when setting focus and moving between bright and dimply lit areas - this is the aperture being adjusted, but it can be annoying
Some Other Things I Can Tell You about this Camera (and the Powershot Line in general)
Canon's reinstatement of the venerable "S" series within the Powershot line is a welcome move to thousands of photographic enthusiasts. Although the S90 announcement a few months ago caught the photographic community by surprise, the announcement was greeted with overwhelmingly positive reactions. As a person who had been greatly impressed by my older Powershot S80, a phenomenal camera for its time and a pleasure to use, I was one of them.
Read the online posts of virtually any photography forum, and you'll quickly see there is no shortage of individuals, many of them longtime professional photographers, who have tired of carrying around anywhere from four to ten pounds of photographic equipment simply to get a few shots while out on a trip. (I think it may have been Scott Kelby who said, and I paraphrase, "The best shot is the one you take," and if the weight and size of your equipment makes it so that you end up not bringing your camera with you, you won't take any photos at all! This is a corollary to one famous photographer`s statement that there is an inverse relationship between the amount of photos you take and the amount of equipment you bring.) The problem has generally been, however, that the smaller you make the camera, the worse the image quality of the photos the device can produce. This has set up a tradeoff between image quality and camera size, and, more specially, image quality and sensor size, which for years has forced photographers to take a stand with one side of the equation or the other, and then defend to the community why they made such a choice.
Without going into too much detail here, the problem in manufacturing a compact camera that takes excellent images under a wide range of environments essentially boils down to the sensor, the electronic device that takes the place of film in older cameras. The larger the sensor, the more surface area for light to fall, and the higher the density of the sensor (in megapixels) the higher the sensor's resolution. Camera manufacturers have excelled at developing ever higher densities in sensors of the same physical dimensions -- many 12 and 14 mexapixel cameras are using sensors sized no larger than those on previous cameras possessing only 3 or 4 mexapixels -- but where they have fallen flat on their faces is in the development of sensors that have good resolution AND low noise. And the most direct impact of increasing mexapixel count on a sensor that remains static in size is the increase of electronic "noise" (also known as the "signal to noise ratio," a term used for describing all electrical circuits, whether photographic in nature, or not), resulting in photos that have a grain like appearance with miniscule spots of white and color spread throughout the entire image, spoiling the photo's clarity and diminishing its overall appearance.
The problem is that when more reactive pixels are crammed into a sensor of a fixed size, the size of the pixels themselves must be decreased to accommodate more of them within the same sensor size. But as pixels are made smaller, they also tend to emit more unwanted electrical emissions (called "noise") along with the desired output (called "signal"). As consumers have somehow mistakenly equated megapixels with quality (and the camera manufacturers have done little, if anything, to dispel this misunderstanding), camera manufacturers have released successive waves of new cameras with higher and higher resolution, but with essentially the same sized sensors. These "upgrades" have driven noise levels higher, and have resulted in more cameras capable to taking "good" photos only in full sunlight where the signal from the sensor easily overpowers its noise. (This phenomenon is best seen when taking a picture in a low light setting, say inside a building, and the photo, if it comes out blur free at all, is laden with noise spots, making the photo generally unappealing in appearance and lacking in detail and clarity.)
The approach to this problem has typically been to apply "noise reduction" processing algorithms to the image before it is written to the flash card, similar to techniques used by computer software image editing programs. And although this "after the fact" noise reduction approach can help, the truth is that, for most situations, there simply is no way to repair a photo so laden with noise: you can remove the noise, but the cost is a loss of detail, making such photos appear slightly soft and blurry, with little detail. Some cameras produce so much noise that noise reduction algorithms appear in all photos, not just low light shots, where even full sunlight shots present noise reduction artifacts in the resulting picture.
That preamble may have been a bit longer than was expected, but it is an important background to the Powershot S90, a camera that attempts to tackle the problem of low light image quality in a manner few manufacturers have generally attempted:
1. increasing the physical size of the sensor to a size larger than most point and shoot cameras
2. reducing the noise generation inherent in the hardware sensor pixels
3. increasing pixel size by reducing the number of pixels on the sensor
4. using a "fast, bright" lens with a very wide aperture (f/2 at its widest zoom level) that allows a great deal of light to pass through to the sensor
When these four approaches are employed, the result can be a portable camera that, under some conditions, can rival the performance of most entry level DSLRS, and do so in format that fits in your shirt pocket.
The Powershot S90 has just now been released, and most all initial reviews seem to be extremely positive, including my own here. Functionality on the camera is praised, particularly with Canon's implementation of a very old, but generally discarded control mechanism: a ring around the diameter of the lens element serves as a selector for variety of user-defined functions in conjunction with a small function button on the top of the camera. The unit itself is diminutive in size and weight (100 x 58 x 31 mm and 175 g , respectively) and makes use of a matte black finish with smooth curved edges that maintains the generally rectangular shape.
What is the price we pay for such performance? The primary one (and this may be a deal breaker for many) is that the camera zooms only from 28 105mm, making it effectively a 3.8x zoom, too little to be able to compare with compacts such as Panasonic's DMC-TZ5, which starts at this same wide end but (incredibly) zooms to 10x. But if we understand what the S90 is designed to do, which is to take high quality images even in less than desirable lighting conditions (at dusk, inside a cathedral, in museums, etc.), we can see Canon's strategy: don't worry about a lens that zooms across the football field and concentrate on developing a fast lens that transmits lots of light and excels at the wide end. In fact, the S90 is marketed as a camera that is particularly well suited to depth of field shots, where only one item in the frame is in focus, and the rest blurred, and in macro shots where the subject is less than 2 inches away. In this sense, we can say the camera's zoom is not a deficit in the design, but a strategy that helps the camera achieve its goals.
My Canon Powershot S80, a camera I purchased many years ago, took pictures of startling clarity and quality. While possessing similar lens characteristics to the new S90, the S80 had no anti-shake technology, could hold only up to a 2Gb SD card, and had an optical viewfinder that wasn't too accurate. But none of that mattered: the photos that came out of the camera were some of the best I took in those years, and, to boot, the camera was constructed in a quality manner that distinguished itself from all other portables at the time, and was simply a pleasure to use. Early reviewers of the S90 are reporting these very same qualities, but now with a camera that is designed to push the boundaries of portable cameras into a new standard.
Canon Powershot S80 8MP Digital Camera with 3.6x Wide Angle Optical Zoom
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5K 9MP Digital Camera with 10x Wide Angle MEGA Optical Image Stabilized Zoom (Black)