Friday, August 20, 2010

What about the Canon PowerShot S95?

Trees, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Field, originally uploaded by jiihaa.

Well, this was a surprise: Canon announced a successor to the S90, only a year after it was introduced. Although the improvements are minor, they do add value to the camera and keep it competitive. The Panasonic LX5 and the Samsung EX1/TL500 are probably the biggest competitors.

The Canon S95 is smaller that the LX5, and has a built-in lens cover. However, the LX5 focal range starts at 24 mm; the S95 starts at 28 mm. And LX5 is f/3.3 at 90 mm; S95 is f/4.9 at 105 mm.

Canon seems to have improved the handling of the S95, especially the dial in back, which turned easily by mistake. And there is a covering on the surface which should make the camera less slippery and harder to drop. The continuous frame rate is doubled, and there is a new hybrid image stabilization system. Also, now the S95 makes it possible to change the aspect ratio in camera - however, the sensor is not multi-aspect natively as is with the LX5.

So, now I have two interesting cameras to look into if the LX3 breaks at some point. And it seems that the longer end of the focal range is getting interesting in my photographs, the wide doesn't dominate some much any more.

The possibility to select the aspect ratio is really good to have. I used to think it pointless to include the 1:1 aspect mode to the LX3. (This mode was added as a firmware update.) Why include an aspect ratio which has no advantage over cropping the image afterwards? With the other aspect ratios you get on the LX3 and LX5 the benefit of extra pixels.

But it is extremely convenient to see the 1:1 image on screen. This helps you compose the photograph while shooting. As you have seen since beginning of the summer, nowadays I shoot mostly square...

So, even though changing the aspect ratio is "just cropping" on the S95, it really is useful addition to the updated camera.

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