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Canon S95 Review - Jan 1st, '11
1) Perhaps I should resolve to blog more. Especially now that almost no one is blogging now, seeing as Facebook has become the world's daily public diary. Which makes it cool again to actually blog right?
2) The Canon S95 is making me very happy. There are a few quibbles, and obviously it doesn't replace a real DSLR, but for a pocketable point and shoot camera the S95 is stunning. So let's pour a morning coffee and see what it can do.
First of all, it does all the things you'd expect a pricey digital camera to do flawlessly. If you put it on auto mode, pull it out and click the shutter you'll get great photos. No surprise there, as the Canon Powershot cameras have been improving this basic stuff for years. Colors, great. Speed, snappy. Intuitive functions, yes.
But the reason I got the camera was all the stuff most people don't want to mess with - Aperture control, custom white balance, RAW capture, ISO range, long shutter speeds, etc. I was happy to find all of this, and if you are comfortable tweaking f-stop and exposure compensation on a DSLR this camera will fit that style wonderfully. Finally.... my beloved Tv and Av settings without lugging around 15 pounds of gear.
But it is a tiny little camera, and that full control only goes so far. Obviously aperture control means a lot less in a tiny point and shoot lens than it does with a whole bag of ES lenses. Even so, the S95s F2.0 at the wide end is really impressive for this sort of camera. Once zoomed all the way in you have to settle for F4.9. Oh well.
Picture quality across the range of settings and functions is extremely good. Easily the best point and shoot quality I've ever had. Especially impressive is the low light ability. The F2.0 lens drinks in light like nothing I've seen, including my Canon ES F1.4 lens, which I find very confusing. That picture of the bookcase was taken in a room so dark I was stumbling around trying to get back there to take the photo. Yes, it was shot at ISO 1600 and there is plenty of noise. But this is an extreme example and I can't ever imagine needing to actually take a picture someplace that dark, other than to show off.
Other bonus functions are equally impressive. The HDR mode works quite well. Blink and face detection go above and beyond. It will even let me swap colors as the shot is taken if I'd rather someone was wearing a blue shirt rather than green. And it goes on and on. The manual is about 200 pages, all of it good useful information.
So. Very happy. More pictures coming.