Canon PowerShot S95 10 MP Digital Camera with 3.8x Wide Angle Optical Image Stabilized Zoom and 3.0-Inch LCD
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973 of 994 found the following review helpful:
Excellent image quality, full controls and pocketable Sep 10, 2010
By Michael Sandman
If you're looking for a pocketable camera that has reasonably high quality images, lets you control aperture, speed and focus and shoot in RAW format, this is it. I bought mine as an upgrade from a previous small but versatile camera, a Canon Powershot S70.
The Powershot S95 was introduced in August 2010 as a slight upgrade to the S90, which was widely praised for its image quality and excellent interface but criticized for being hard to hold ("like a bar of soap in the shower") and for having a control dial that turned too easily. The S95 fixes both problems and adds a couple of other features in a package that fits in the pocket of your jeans (if they're not super tight). The case is metal, and although there are no finger grips on the body, it's not slippery at all. It feels like it's covered with super-fine sandpaper (like 1000 or 1500 grit, for those you who know what that feels like).
The second major complaint about the S-90 was that the function selection ring on the rear moved too easily. The ring on the S-95 has a slight click when you move it, and it doesn't move unless you want it to.
There are a couple of other cameras of this type, including the Panasonic LX-3 and LX-5 and the Samsung TL500. They all have let you control camera functions, and like the S95 they have 10 MP sensors that are almost twice as large as a typical pocket camera, so the pixels on the sensor are larger. That lets them gather light more efficiently, which reduces digital "noise" when you shoot in dim light. Image quality is noticeably better than photos from typical pocket cameras. You can make an 8 x 10 or perhaps 11x14 enlargement, although a digital SLR will be significantly better for larger prints. They also have f/2.0 lenses at their widest angle, although the aperture closes down as you zoom in.
The Canon has two advantages over the Panasonic LX-3 & LX-5. First, you really can put it in your pocket or in a belt case no bigger than the one you use for a mobile phone. Second, the interface is a brilliant re-thinking of how a very small camera with a full set of controls should work. There's not much room for buttons on the small surface, but you don't have to get into a multi-level menu on the LCD, and yet changing settings is fast and intuitive.
For example, there's a ring around the lens that you can grip easily to control zoom, or, shutter speed, or aperture, change ISO, or manually focus. You select what you want it to do by pressing a button on the top, and when you look at the LCD screen you can see what it's programmed for. There's a selection wheel on the back for other functions, and when you move it, a clear set of choices appears on the screen. The selections are context-appropriate, so they change depending on whether you've set the camera for aperture control, "Program" control, etc.
The two Panasonics have the same sensor as their Canon equivalents, but they offer a slightly wider lens (24mm vs. 28 for the S95). The LX-3 has a much shorter telephoto - only 60 mm. The LX-5, which was introduced a couple of weeks before the S95, has a 90mm telephoto, and you can buy an add-on optical viewfinder. It also has a flash shoe in addition to the pop-up flash, although you can buy a dedicated add-on flash for the S-95 to supplement its pop-up flash The LX-5 is about 25% more expensive than the Canon S95 (and 60% more with the optional viewfinder) and while it would fit in a coat pocket, you can't stuff it into a trouser pocket.
If you want a truly pocketable camera that gives you good image quality and full control over your photography, the S95 is an excellent choice.
469 of 483 found the following review helpful:
Great camera and upgrade to superb S90 Sep 05, 2010
By Thomas McLean
"absit iniuria verbis"
I own both the S90 and S95 (G10 and G11 also, as well as F-1 and numerous Nikons including the D90).
Hands down, I took more photos on a daily basis with the S90 since I took it EVERYWHERE.
As they say, the absolute best camera is the one you have when you need to take a photograph.
The picture quality of the S90 is superb and the S95 is at least as good.
Often the biggest limiter to picture quality is the skill of the photographer.
Time spent mastering a particular camera is well spent and paper specs often can mislead.
Discussing subtle nuances over comparable cameras is often more academic than practical.
The S95 gives the serious photographer tremendous flexibility from full auto to full manual and superb features that are packaged in a truly pocketable high performing camera that is arguably best in class.
So what has improved:
Body finish...more tactile and grippy
Selection wheel on back has click stops....hurray!
On/off button is where it should be.
720p movie mode added (24 fps vs 30 for lx5) with stereo recording.
More scenes including High Dynamic Range (very cool)
Numerous technical innovations that result in more stable, sharper pictures.
Button feel on back is more positive.
Ring on front has more friction and feels more positive.
Body even smaller and more pocketable.
Menu system updated but if you can drive a S90, G10 or G11 you will be off and running.
Improved hand lanyard placement.
Improved shutter release.
Slightly rounded corners...looks feels better.
What stayed the same:
Battery door and card slot.
Same cables and connectors.
Lack of grip....no denying it would add weight but...
Build quality...as good as it will get.
What got worse:
This part is highly subjective because different people see the same change differently (I see the size reduction as good, while others have said it's bad....so be wary and know if you agree with peoples reasons).
Thumb rest no longer there...I missed it.
So there you have my first impressions and if I had to choose between the S90 and S95, the S95 is the clear winner!
570 of 591 found the following review helpful:
Wow! What an improvement! Aug 31, 2010
By Amazon Fan for Many Years
I spent two or three months doing tons of research to replace my old Canon SD870. Finally a month ago I decided to buy the S90 despite the fact that it didn't have 720 HD video, it was a one-year old model, and many reviewers disliked the looseness of the control dial. My S90 arrived in the middle of August and over the course of many days I learned how to use all the functions and was very pleased with the results.
And then on August 19 Canon announced the upcoming release of the Canon S95. I immediately returned my S90 and anxiously awaited the arrival of its successor. Earlier today it was delivered and I've been using it all day.
I must say that I wanted to love the S90, but the smoothness of the body annoyed me. I figured I'd just have to get used to the slipperiness. But now that I have the S95 in my hands, I can't believe what a difference the matte finish makes regarding secure handling. There's no way you can appreciate the difference if you haven't handled both models yourself. Honestly, that feature alone is worth the slightly higher price.
Control dial issues? No longer! Subtle click-stops have solved that problem.
Finger missing the shutter button on the S90? Well, the geniuses at Canon took care of that, also. You won't mistake the shutter button on the S95 for any other button due to the distinct and secure feel.
I'm in love with this camera. I won't go into details about picture quality because it's as good as its predecessor; there are examples all over the Internet. And of course the S95's 720 HD video is a big improvement over the standard video of the S90.
Only one "con" I can think of: The new, smooth, elegant display on the back is no longer recessed therefore you'll have to be careful if you place the camera face up on a flat surface. In that position it appears the screen will come in direct contact with the table's surface.
818 of 863 found the following review helpful:
A lot more to be wanted Oct 20, 2010
"I don't like sales tax"
This is my 5th Canon (G2, S30, A530, XSi) and is supposedly Canon's best ever P&S. I bought this for its compactness, low light performance, and image quality. In these regards I would say it is excellent! But for its price I would expect something that is top of the line on most aspect which I found out not true.
What I don't like and wish the Canon Guy take note (most serious come first):
1. Most people complained about the flash design which is true and very very annoying. I have gone through 2 trips and 3000 photos. I still get surprised whenever the flash turns active and push my left index finger out. The camera has safeguard measure so that whenever it detects that the flash movement is blocked it will stop and issue a warning signal. The only way to reset it is to switch the camera OFF and then ON again. I have gone through this procedure around 10 times a day during my trips. Because of this I expect the first thing to fail for my S95 would be the flash. And I would not expect it to last as long as my G2 (9 years and still going strong). CANON GUY, PLEASE MAKE THE CAMERA A LITTLE TALLER AND PUT THE FLASH FIXED IN YOUR NEXT VERSION !!!
2. The internal micro-processor is too slow and the firmware design cannot handle real time event. In layman terms, S95 responded too slow in every aspect. One example is after I finished a shot and then quickly turn the front wheel to change exposure compensation and prepare taking another shot, I found out the camera did not respond to my front wheel adjustment at all. It had to wait until it finished rounding up the previous job (and it took a while to finish!) before it has time to register any change on the wheels and buttons. So if you acted too soon it will totally disregard it. The killing part is the processing usually take long. So beware user: don't think you can shoot like a professional fast and quick between photos, you have to pace yourself and make sure u don't press buttons and adjust wheels too fast. CANON FIRMWARE GUYS: PLEASE SET UP AN EVENT QUEUE AND USE INTERRUPT TRIGGER TO RECORD ALL USER'S INPUT, SO THAT THEY CAN BE PROCESSED LATER, MY PANASONIC ELECTRONIC RICE COOKER DO A BETTER JOB THAN S95 IN THIS REGARD!!!
3. This one is the deal breaker. It cannot auto focus during video recording! This make the video feature seriously handicapped. Althought S95 has small lens and a deep depth of field, you still find the video constantly out of focus when your kids are running around you while u r shooting them. I thought I would have spent $400 and get something that can at least do good photos and video. Well, it can only do half of it and I guess I have to wait for something better in the near future. Just for reference my $100 Samsung can autofocus during video recording!!!
4. WB and some other adjustments not allowed to work in most SCN modes, which make the SCN shooting modes seriously handicapped.
5. My favorite Stitch Assist Mode (for taking panoramic-view picture) works only in landscape, not portrait mode.
6. The rear dial is much improved over the S90 (not as loose) but still easy to turn by mistake. I have many occasions of changing the ISO from AUTO to 3200 by mistake. When I find out it is already too late and I got a dozen grainy photos!
7. Battery last only 100-150 photos in practical use and so need at least 2 batteries for a day's photo. If you are doing video, expect to bring half a dozen !!!
8. The image stabilization (IS) is not very effective. I closely examined the LCD screen images when IS is both engaged and not engaged. The difference is very subtle and nothing compared with Rebel XSi (SLR) in which the image motion is obviously smooth out and slowed down. The salesperson told me don't expect any serious IS capability from P&S' I wonder if that's true.
9. The lens is fast (F2.0) at wide end only. But at zoom end it is very slow (F4.9). My G2 has F2-F2.5 throughout the whole zoom range. I can understand it's a limitation imposed by the size of the lens, not Canon's fault. Coupled with an ineffective IS, I got a lot of blurry pictures at max zoom under cloudy sky outdoor. I have very steady hands and I hold my breath when I press shutter, and my wife could do much worse. I wish Canon would put a better but little bigger lens in the next version. F2.0-3.5 would be a good compromize.
In summary, you would think the S95 is wonderful when you play with it shortly at Best Buy. The picture quality and LCD's display quality are superb too. But when you bought it home and put it to use in real life, you will find out a lot more to be wanted and that it's too far from being perfect at all. Some shortcomings like the video focusing are in my opinion a design fault, others are inconvenience and annoyance. The Canon Guys should have done much more than just a touch-up of S90. I waited a long time and paid $400 for a camera like S95 and thought this would be the ultimate pocket P&S that will last me a long long time. Well definitely it is not simply for reason like the half-cooked video recording capability. FORTUNATELY OR UNFORTUNATELY, ALTHOUGH WITH ALL THOSE SHORTCOMINGS, IT IS STILL THE BEST POCKET P&S ON MARKET, NO OTHER BETTER CHOICE YET.
In my opinion Canon still makes the best digital P&S and I might stay a Canon buyer in the future. But my advise to Canon is to stop abusing loyalty of fans like me. And make products that really live up to its name. For those who already got a decent P&S, I would recommend hold your purchase until S99, S100 or whatever which at least solve the flash and video fault.
After 10 months and 5800 shoots, the lens stuck midway while power on. Manufacturer replaced the optical module. This is my first Canon that needed service within 1st year of purchase. A little disappointed and worried.
98 of 100 found the following review helpful:
a little realism Nov 13, 2010
Let me begin by saying that I think many of the "negative" reviews here are from people with unrealistic expectations. I have had the s95 for a couple of months now (and I see it has come down in price) and think it is a great little camera. Some people may think it is supposed to be a "wonder camera" that will turn you into an amazing photographer that produces professional quality DSLR images and will still fit in your pocket! Well, it's not that.
It is a camera that is just a little too big to fit comfortably into the pocket of my jeans, but that is alright because I would rather keep it in a case that I can clip to my belt or that my wife can easily throw into her purse. It does fit very easily into a loose shirt pocket of a side pocket of some cargo pants.
It is a camera that is capable of producing uncompressed RAW images (not too many choices in this size that can do that), and/or compressed JPEGs. For most people the JPEGs are fine, for some the RAW is a major draw to the s95. Even in JPEG mode the images are great. I am coming from a several year old point and shoot and this thing is better by far. Some people argue that this or that camera/phone takes images of equal quality when shooting JPEGs... this might be true (phone cameras have come a long way) but can your phone shoot in RAW? No? okay then quit your whining.
Does the s95 make me a GREAT photographer? NO. I am still as good (or bad) as ever, but the s95 does give me several tools to use that go a long way to help me become a better photographer.
Movies: good quality. Far better than I expected and stereo sound.
Part of the reason I got this camera is to take pictures of my daughter as she grows. Right now she is 9 months old. If you set it on "kids/pets" it is nice and fast but you give up creative control for the shot. If you are using some of the great and plentiful manual features there is sufficient lag to be a little frustrating if you are trying to catch a fleeting smile. Not anything that would make me want to return the camera, and certainly due to my abilities as a photographer... like choosing a faster ISO, or a wider aperture setting, or using the flash.
Battery life is fine. I actually thought it is quite good. I guess I am not one of those people who has to check every shot and watch ever little movie over and over again while it is still in the camera. I am more of a "sort it all out later" kind of a guy. I give a quick check to see if I got a decent shot or not, and my wife will look at the pictures we took at the end of the day (the s95s display is awesome for this), but that's it. The battery lasted a couple of days for us with fairly heavy use. We did buy a second battery, and I am glad that we did but only because it is really convenient and pretty cheap (if you buy an off brand). Certainly the battery life shouldn't be an issue for anyone.
I gave serious consideration to the Panasonic/Lumix for this purchase but thought that if I was going to spend that much I should be getting into the micro 4/3rds realm. That will probably be my next camera purchase once the tech evolves a bit more, and prices are a little lower.
Bottom line for the Cannon s95:
Great (semi)small point and shoot camera!
Not a miracle worker, not a revelation, just a solid performer with a lot of manual controls not found on most other point and shoots.
Value: Pretty good
I don't feel cheated having paid $399, now with the price at $366 you can get a spare battery, a SD card and a case and still get out the door for under $400! Not bad.
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