Those who follow camera introductions already know that Canon has just announced a successor for its S90, which itself is only a year old. The S90 has been an extremely popular product this past year, and for good reason. The new S95, according to Canon, "...has been enhanced with 720p HD video capability and in-camera HDR scene mode. For macro-photography enthusiasts, Canon has built its Hybrid IS technology into the PowerShot S95 camera to compensate for angular and shift camera shake, making it the first PowerShot model to feature Hybrid IS technology." It has a wide and fast lens and retains its predecessor's distinctive (and pleasing) lens-ring control, to which various functions can be assigned.
The monumentalizing effect of a closeup photograph of the camera like the one above masks the fact that the camera is amazingly small and compact. It's a triumph of miniaturization, really, even in this age of miniaturization. Not that other cameras aren't just as tiny, but you really have to see it and hold it to appreciate just how tiny it is.
I mention the following probably just because I have Leicas on the brain after the past couple of days, but it strikes me that the S90 and S95 might be the up to the minute analog of the original Leica—the so-called "Barnack camera." It's capable but stealthy, as tiny as it can reasonably be, supremely portable and able to be carried virtually anywhere, suitable for visual note-taking and catching life on the fly...all of which could have been said of the Barnack camera in 1924. Just as the Barnack camera couldn't compete with a 4x5 press camera for image quality, you sacrifice some image quality with a pocket digicam compared to the best digital devices available—and yet (just like the Leica) its IQ is very good, eminently "good enough" in most situations, once you familiarize yourself with its strengths and weaknesses.
The S95 is due to begin shipping at the end of August—i.e., in a mere matter of days—and can be pre-ordered from Amazon now. I'm sure B&H will have it in a few days. Price, $400. It's a good thing I don't have a spare $400 in my pocket, because I'd be sorely tempted to convert it to one of these.
Send this post to a friend
Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. More...
Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Hugh: "You've hit it exactly: I've a Leica CL sitting unused and a S90 in constant use. It's tiny, quiet, and the IS works. High ISO black and white looks quite film-like as well. The ability to use the front ring to set focal length equivalents is what makes the camera magic: mine is set on "35mm" nearly all the time, so I know what'll be in the frame. Set the shutter on 'program' and use the other rotary button for +/- exposure compensation, and you've only got one control to think about. Shutter lag is acceptable, everything else is near perfect."
Featured Comment by Don Parsons: "To me, the Panasonic LX5 will be more usable. 24–90mm-e ƒ/2 Leica lens, four selectable formats with all the rest the Canon offers. Only its MSRP scares me."