Canon s90 – First impressions

Canon Powershop s90The Canon s90 is an advanced, lightweight compact digital camera with optical image stabilization. It has a 1/1.7″ CCD sensor, larger than most other cameras in its class. Because of the sensor size, combined with its fast lens ( f/2.0) at  wide angle, the camera does very well in low light. No, it’s not DSLR quality but high ISO images are better than those produced by many compacts.

The s90 has features and menus I’m familiar with, similar in a number of ways to the Canon SD series cameras. Despite all the similarity, things are different and I  find myself often referring the manual.

When I first held the Canon s90, it was awkward. Though lightweight and relatively small, the camera felt boxy compared to my more ergonomic ultra compact cameras. Yet after about an hour of handling, I began to feel at home with it.

Well, not exactly!

First day out with the s90

The second day of ownership was my first serious day out with the s90. In all honestly, I had plenty of photo foibles.

Don’t misunderstand, I got some great shots. But for some reason, the camera triggered at times without me realizing it so I have a couple of photos of grass and knees. While the high resolution LCD glass is quite good, you still can’t see it when the sun hits it at certain angles. It is, however, more visible than any other LCD I’ve used.

All to often, the sensitivity setting would slip to ISO 3200 without realizing it, even in bright sun. I finally discovered this was due to the free-wheeling control dial.

Is there something wrong with my Canon s90? No, I don’t think so.  But the buttons and control dial are small and they do take some getting used to.

So it’s back to the manual to learn more about the features. And it’s back in the field to take plenty more test shots and getting a better handle on holding and using the camera.

Bottom line: the Canon s90 is a keeper

Despite my initial foibles with the s90, I’m quite happy with it. It’s unpretentious design and layout belies the advanced capabilities of this little gem.

The s90 produces images that are tack sharp. It exposes well and produces beautiful colors and skin tones. The high ISO performance, compared to other compact digital cameras I’ve owned, is impressive.

I’ve been waiting a long time for a carry-at-all-times camera like this. It was worth the wait.

Sample photos taken with the s90

Visit Gail’s pbase gallery for more sample photos taken with the Canon s90.

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