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Tuesday, 24 August 2010


I was amused to find this on the Amazon link:

Customers buy this item with Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S NIKKOR Lens for Nikon Digital SLR $1,049.00

What a fit-up problem!

Or perhaps it's like an Olympus XA, but with IS and AF? That's something I could really go for. Except I'd miss film, and I'd miss the viewfinder (I mean the whole sighting/aiming thing, especially as my near vision deteriorates. It's too bad there's no shoe on it.).

Which raises the question (though I'm sure I'm speaking only for myself): will we ever see a film camera with anti-shake?

The S90 was released at ~$430, so it's laudable of Canon to reduce this price for the S95. Doubtless this is because both cameras share almost all physical and software components.

I paid full price for my S90 when it came out, and I don't regret it one bit. I recommend it to anyone looking for an advanced P&S.

"will we ever see a film camera with anti-shake?"

I'll say a pretty strong "no"--a guess, but with a high probability. Of course you can use an IS lens on a film body.


I've got an LX3, which I believe is physically very nearly identical to the LX5. It lives in my shoulder bag and travels with me nearly all the time. The LX5 fixes the biggest problem I have with it, namely the short max focal length. And the street price is only $100 more than the S95.

However, the LX3 is thick enough that I've been seriously considering getting something else, like an S90 or something, that's thinner, so I can have it more accessible more of the time. As much as anything I'm putting that off until I deal with the phone upgrade and see if I finally get a usable camera there (lots of phones have them, I've seen the posted pictures; none of mine ever have).

Anyway, that might be a reason to prefer the S95 to the LX5, depending on your exact use cases.

I bought an S90 about a month ago to take on my honeymoon. I was worried the S90's successor would burst onto the scene shortly after receiving my copy. Of course, it came on the scene shortly after my return period expired.

However, after using the S90 for a few weeks, I feel no lack of remorse for buying it, nor do I feel the need to flip it for the S95. It simply takes great photos and fulfills its purpose as a great "everywhere" camera.

Now if only I could use it as a wireless E-TTL II commander ...

The S90 is a great camera and this looks like another winner. if it has a hot shoe and better scale focusing it would be hard to beat, but I'm going to buy one regardless. It gets so much right and is only about the size of a deck of cards.

The S90 was the perfect camera for me, finally a successor to my S30 from 2002 (3 Mp with raw).
But, since I really wanted HD video I never bought it. I considered the equivalent Ixus which did have HD video, but didn't shoot raw.

Now the S95 comes along wíth HD video, so I'll just have to buy it I'm afraid. I've wanted a good pocket camera for a long time, I'm really looking forward to using it.

@Don Parsons: the LX5 is nice, like the LX3, but it's bigger, I wouldn't consider it pocketable anymore. Yes maybe in a coat pocket, but then you could also use a Sony NEX or some equivalent EVIL camera.

The ring function on the S90 & S95 is great, but it means that you can't attach a polariser via a lens adapter; to me this is a major drawback.

I have a Canon A720 as a carry-everywhere camera, with a lens adapter and polariser. It's definitely not pocket-sized, but it works for me. 35mm isn't wide enough, but image quality is surprisingly good at ISO200 or less: an Ultrapod II helps keep the ISO down. It has PASM and an apology for an optical viewfinder.

RAW and a live histogram are available via CHDK. The histogram pops up a red diamond when the highlights are blown, so it's very easy to expose to the right and get the most out of the limited dynamic range. How about a USB cable release? CHDK & US$20 will get a plug-and-shoot kit.

Here's an ISO 200 shot that's been slightly denoised in Neat Image (I generally clean up the chroma and do little with the luminance):

What I notice with small sensors is that the images look flat, in the sense of two dimensional, while large-sensor images a look that is closer to three dimensional. Does anyone know why this is?

I have a few hypotheses, but this one has me stumped.

Most of the S90 reviews I've read mentioned a too-loose back dial. Does the S95 fix the jiggly dial problem?

The first pocket camera to offer 4:5! Olympus had it on the E-30 but I could never understand why they didn't offer it on the PENs. Kudos, Canon.

I confess I don't really enjoy the experience of composing with the camera held at arm's length, pinched precariously between the fingers, while trying to make sense of the LCD in light that almost unfailingly doesn't cooperate. And I'm not sure that's really "inconspicuous." That said, I've been tempted more than once by the S90; maybe I just need practice dealing with the rest.

I have the S90 and bought the auxiliary lens adapter and grip from lensmate. This has really improved my use of the camera, as I can use a 37mm polarizer and have a better grip on the camera. I was able to take a 15 second exposure of the night sky (on a tripod) and capture the Milky Way - a very impressive camera. The S95 I am sure is also a worthwhile camera.

Does anyone have experience with this aftermarket grip on the S90? It looks helpful, and I assume it will fit the S95 also....

I must say I have a Samsung TL500 and even if bulkier with its 24-72 (1.8-2.4 max aperture) lens it is a real gem for low light, and now Adobe supports its raw files. Michael Reichmann has a nice overview on the Luminous Landscape.

Yes the rear dial "problem" is supposed to be fixed. But as a happy S90 owner I have found it to be a pretty insignificant issue anyway.

To the person who asked if it was like a modern Olympus XA, I'd say no - you have far far more control with this camera than an XA ever gave you!

I had the distinct pleasure of shooting with the S90 for a few months, both on land and underwater. I'm excited about the enhanced Macro capability of the S95, and will probably pick one up if the form factor remains the same as the S90. (I still have the underwater housing) There is a noticeable difference in the feel of the images (read: flattening) from this camera as compared to, say, a DX sized sensor, but I can easily live with this for the tradeoff in portability. Particularly living and working in a tropical country, wearing a D90 as a permanent accessory just isn't ideal. (I might, however, be convinced to live with it once they inject a D700 sensor into a D90 sized body) But, I digress. In the time that I owned the S90, it had a permanent home in my pocket and at my bedside, while my larger, higher IQ camera sat in it's bag. In the quest for photos, the best camera really is the one that's with you. And the good news in this case is- the S90/95 isn't even much of a compromise! With that said.. What's a guy gotta do to get something like an M9 without taking out a line of credit?


From the press release:
"The handling of the Multi-Control Dial has also been redesigned following feedback from owners of the preceding model. The dial now features a more pronounced ‘click’ mechanism, preventing any unintentional changes to settings. Furthermore, the positioning of the ‘Ring Func.’ and ‘On/Off’ buttons has been revised, providing greater all-round operation in everyday use."


"will we ever see a film camera with anti-shake?"

Yes, all you need to do is attach a third-party add-on device. (commonly referred to as a tripod)

Mandeno Moments: Probably because of the shallower depth of field of larger sensors.

Also, the S95 has been in stores for several days here in Taipei, and in Hong Kong as well. There are claims that it autofocuses in video mode but the samples look like just a lot of DOF to use rather than focusing. It only does digital zoom in video as well, but the HD looks good enough.

When I lost my first LX-3 I almost bought an S90 to replace it, but the camera is not *quite* as zippy frame to frame as the Panasonic. Better files on average, probably. But I didn't like to wait that 1.5 seconds between frames.

I wonder if this camera is quicker.


According to early reports from journalists, they have. I would note, however, that this seems like an especially minor update (unless the availability of HD video is very important to you). I'm still considering getting one though...


After handling one in the store, I can also say it's smaller than the S90 and yet easier to get a grip on thanks to the new rougher surface. The wheel on the back is more sturdy and less apt to move when you don't want it to.

An anti-shake mechanism on a film camera would surely have to vibrate the film-plane? I which case that emulsion would, presumably, be blended like the paint you get mixed to order at your local DIY superstore. Anyone for 18% grey (gray)?

James, I believe the last model the 750 had an anti shake mechanism as well with exceptional clarity.


That sounds more like pro-shake than anti-shake.

@Robert Noble
Yes, I bought the Franiec custom grip. I highly recommend it. It's beautifully made, a little jewel which actually wraps a little way round the edge and it's inside curve fits a finger hold perfectly. It is easy to attach since it is milled so snugly to the body. It gives me a lot more grip when I grab it out the bag/pocket and I have a good positive grip when I am free holding it. Once fixed, it is lower than the control ring/lens ie: it doesn't increase the thickness of the camera so it doesn't snag or bulk out a tight camera bag. To be honest, I forgot it was an accessory, it just blends in so well. My S90 was poached by my gf so if I get an S95, I will definitely be getting a grip, even if the S95 has a rougher surface. Don't know if it fits the S95 tho - I suspect yes. According to this forum, where Richard answers questions, it should fit the front but he has more testing to do to confirm the fit to the base. http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1010&message=36104216

I vote for the micro four-thirds cameras. I have the OLY. I am impressed with the big sensor, prefer interchangeable lenses, manual control of zoom and love the 9-18. And then there is the collapsable lens-very Leica-like!

All of these new miniature cameras lack one thing which I think is important - a proper viewfinder.

I miss the small, eye level peephole too, especially since all cameras before the S90 had one. However, in reality I do use my S80 'at arms length' most of the time.

I once saw a short movie clip of Cartier-Bresson working the street with a Leica. Despite being a rather tall guy, he did not stand out as a photographer, he just seemed to wander or even 'dance' around with the busy crowd a bit like a waiter on a busy cafe terrace. I assume he had preset his Leica, including focus distance, because he did not look through his view finder once. He would move about, only sometimes sometimes raising the camera shortly to chest, face or overhead level, press the shutter and lower the camera again. He did not compose with the viewfinder, but with and inside his head, knowing what his lens would see.

I use my S80 pretty much the same. I look at something, and when I see a picture, I simply raise the camera between me and the thing I see, and hardly look at the LCD. Using just one focus length (in my case 28mm equivalent) helps me to know what will be in the frame.

I would say the line of the original Leica had already moved to the Olympus XA when it was introduced, and yes, these 'advanced point and shoots' offer all the photographic possibilities (and then some) that once belonged to Leica.

The one thing these new cameras lack is the allure of the 'fine machine', the feel of a perfect lens turning, a shutter ring locking into position and such. Pushing buttons is just not the same. But that is nostalgia, not Photography. I do miss it nonetheless.

@Don Parsons: calling the LX5 lens f2 is like calling the S95 lens f2; calling it a Leica lens is like calling the S95's an L. And saying it has 'all the rest the Canon offers' is to suggest the LX5 weighs 193g not 271g, it has hybrid IS, it has 105mm tele, it is truly pocketable like an IXUS, and has a magnificent front control ring.

What it *does* have is 24mm wide, hotshoe flash, optical and electronic viewfinder options, and a decent finger grip, which make it a highly desirable and genuine option. But no, it does not have the S95 covered.

Also neither is full HD on video. Someone should set a standard: HD=1080p, anything less is hype.

Anyone for 18% grey (gray)?

Right first time - grey.

"Grey" is the correct British spelling and "gray" is the CORRECT American spelling. Certain spellings, verbal constructions, and typographical conventions that are right and proper in the U.K. are not proper or correct in American English. Any competent American high school English teacher would mark "grey" as wrong.

And, contrary to widespread belief on ONE side of the Atlantic at least, the English are no better at speaking and writing English than Americans are--*Good and bad flourish alike on both sides of the "pond."*

--Mike the Ed.

*Period goes inside the quotation mark in American typography. Likewise, in American typography, a dash is not an en-dash set off between half-spaces, but an em-dash between words with no spaces.

I've got the Franiec grip as well. It makes an already great camera even better.

I keep mine with me almost all the time. It travels in that other terrific 21st century innovation, the cargo pants pocket.

Daryl wrote:

"I confess I don't really enjoy the experience of composing with the camera held at arm's length, pinched precariously between the fingers, while trying to make sense of the LCD in light that almost unfailingly doesn't cooperate."

As an S90 owner for most of this year, that is precisely my experience. Call me a fuddy-duddy, but I need a viewfinder to compose. And the camera is just too damned small, even for my medium-sized hands.

Smell the coffee, guys! It's a nice little camera, with good IQ, but HCB would find it no more the digital Leica than those compact Sigmas, Olympuses and Panasonics that preceded it.

By the way, Mike, there's a school of thought in British English which believes 'gray' to be acceptable as a lighter 'grey'. Less than 18% I wonder. . .

Against my judgment I feel compelled to offer a squeak here. I've been using the S90 for nearly a year (since it was introduced last year). Frankly, it has been a breathtakingly good go-anywhere camera that's enabled me to capture images that I would have missed with nearly any other tiny camera. The S90 is basically the same sensor as the G11's, just in a (much) smaller package.

I hear the old familiar songs about viewfinders, small sensors, yadda, yadda. Fine. All I can say is if you're in the hunt for a truly pocketable camera that offers excellent image quality at a range of ISOs with very usable manual adjustability the Canon S90 (and probably the S95*) is, to my knowledge, unbeatable.

* I am, of course, imagining that the S95 is mostly a marketing enhancement to the S90.

"Likewise, in American typography, a dash is not an en-dash set off between half-spaces, but an em-dash between words with no spaces."

You're just showing off now. :)

You'll find plenty of dictionaries that now list "grey" as an acceptable alternate. (I only have online ones at work, but many of them do.)

The weird thing is how many people seem to agree with me that "gray" is more warm-tone and "grey" is more neutral-to-cold. Because that's just weird.

(The Firefox Spullchicker is however objecting to "grey").

God *might* have written the Bible, but no one that I know of claims that he was the writer of any dictionaries. You and I could have a long discussion about the relative merits of various dictionaries.


Another happy owner of an S90+Franiec grip. The camera is great, albeit a little too easy to drop 'naked'. The grip just improves the handling out of all recognition, not least because of the reduced effort to hold it. I can't imagine anyone regretting buying either item from a photographic point of view.
BTW I still have my XA and even though I don't use it any more I love that little camera. The S90 is just as handy and usually either in a pocket or a belt case.
I did carry an OM4 and a 50mm lens for a while - camera in one pocket and lens in another until needed, was the OM4 the smallest 'proper' slr ever? must be pretty close. The shutter speed ring behind the aperture ring was a brilliant design and the resonance with the control ring on the S90 is interesting too.

> ... will we ever see a film camera with anti-shake?

We did - in 1994! But the Nikon Zoom 700 VR wasn't exactly flying from the shelves at the time ...

What can I say except to heartily concur. I have an S90 "pimped" with the Franiec grip, Lensmate filter adapter + 37 mm polarizer and even the little "control dial solution" that I bought just before a 2.5 week trip to Bulgaria and Istanbul. What can I say, by the end of the trip I was in love with this little camera and could operate it pretty much blindfolded. Kept it on me at all times and got the pictures that the guy with the D300 back in his hotel room missed. A lot of camera in a small package and handles very well (except for the rear dial, which with the "solution" is liveable but not ideal). Just got in last night so no sample images.

Not the best for video mainly because of the locked zoom and focus but I find that my "vacation videos" just gather virtual dust anyway whereas I look back at photos all the time . . .

Since nobody else has mentioned it: The S90 has remarkably good low-light capabilities for its size, especially when combined with Lightroom 3's nice luminance-noise reducer. See http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/201x/2010/04/09/Canon-S90 and http://www.tbray.org/ongoing/When/201x/2010/07/26/Three-Photos-of-Illuminares

"Likewise, in American typography, a dash is not an en-dash set off between half-spaces, but an em-dash between words with no spaces."

Now, after all these years, I realize why Roger Hicks used to use spaces. It always annoyed me (on the old CompuServe PhotoForum).

The S90 delivers for me; especially when I can take photos like this and this almost effortlessly.

Also agree w/ Tim Bray's comments re: low light photos. For its size, the S90 delivers very usable images.

The S90 is an amazing camera; most of all for the form-factor. I carry mine almost everywhere/all the time.

In good light, the S90 can take very fine images- most of all, the detail that can be pulled out of the RAW files from this little camera is simply amazing for a compact. Of course the lens has a large part to play, too.

And no, the "loose" rear control dial does not bother me- I suspect that Canon did it intentionally; a 'harder' dial in such a small camera would mean your fingers jog the camera too!

Here's an S90 image. At 100%, it's hard to believe that the smooth tonality and pixel-level sharpness came from a... super-compact.


Mike is correct about typographical standards -- but note that that's not manuscript standards.

So the question becomes, which standards apply in email? On web forums? And so forth.

From years of habit, when email and Usenet and so forth were straight text and always read in fixed-width fonts, I treat them as places where manuscript standards apply -- hence double-dash delimited by spaces to indicate an em-dash.

@ Mike and David: and don't forget that the M-dash does not reproduce correctly in some browsers, so instead of my preferred symbol—this one—I use the space-hyphen x 2-space convention too in emails and on forums like this one. I feel this is preferable to the N-dash spaces option suggestion above, only because all browsers will reproduce spaces hyphens correctly; some have the M-dash problem with N-dashes, too (top bit set ASCII characters, IIRC).

I too have an S90 with the Freniac grip; a tiny marvel as a combination. Very good images; I was once able to shoot a job in the Cayman Islands (images of a nursery for a web site) for a friend when I didn't have one of my 'real' cameras with me. DPP corrects the lens distortion brilliantly, as well.

I agree with the posters above who think the LX5 will address the limitations I experienced with the LX3, and I have already bought the EVF from a second-hand GF-1 to fit it, so hopefully the best of both worlds.

By all accounts, HCB worked as described above, but lesser mortals like a viewfinder (even a not particularly good one) from time to time, and at least EVFs frame accurately. As well, they don't stop the use of the camera without framing, and I have used the LX3 this way many times for people candids.

These photos were all taken using the Canon S90 on a recent hike north of Vancouver. Some had the 37mm polarizer using the lens mate adapter.

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