The Canon PowerShot S90 has a 9.5mm (diagonal) sensor, the latest DIGIC 4 processor, optical image stabilizer, face detection, the ability to shoot RAW images and HDMI output. While there are several cameras that offer such features, few are as small as this one: with dimensions of 10 x 5.84 x 3.09cm (width / height / depth) and weight of 175-grams, it is as small as a smartphone (one of the older ones, though). The pictures taken are stored on a standard SD card (like all of the Canon PowerShot cameras), and could be displayed on a large 3-inch LCD.
The list of features for the new camera is long, but two features stand out above the others. The first is the S90’s glass; it has a 28-105mm equivalent lens, in order to provide a wide angle at the short end. It is a good solution for large group shots and landscapes – situations which require a wider angle than usual.
The second advantage the PowerShot S90 brings is the speed of the lens, which goes down to f2. Thanks to this quickness, it is possible to avoid what makes most indoor photos disastrous: the flash. Now users can shoot at reasonable shutter speeds inside, taking photos of family without the frozen look that a flash sometimes seems to impart.
Another interesting feature is the innovative control ring that surrounds the lens, similar to a focus ring on a DSLR. However, unlike DSLR cameras, here users can assign the ring to control any function they want, such as exposure compensation, ISO control, white balance, and shutter speed. This interface, combined with another quick adjust dial on the back of the camera, tries to offer users enhanced control over most of the settings.
The PowerShot S90 has some great potential; in addition, it is reasonably priced, with a price tag of $430. However, assuming competitors will try to equalize with similar-or-better products, consumers are advised to wait and see if prices change.
TFOT has also covered the Nikon CoolPix P6000, a 13.5-megapixel camera which features a built-in global positioning system, and the Carl Zeiss PhotoScope, a combination of high-resolution digital camera with a super tele-lens. Other related TFOT stories include DARPA’s new camera, with unprecedented resolution of 2.3-gigapixel, and the first digital Rangefinder camera, the world’s smallest full-frame system camera, recently announced by Leica Camera AG.
For more information about the Canon PowerShot S90, see its webpage.