s90: Likes and dislikes

The Canon s90 has winning combination of small size, larger sensor than most compact cameras and fast lens at the widest aperture. But like all digital cameras, the s90 has it’s pros and cons.

What I like about the s90

  • Small, lightweight size – unassuming design.
  • Outstanding image quality – pleasing colors, sharp images right out of the camera.
  • JPEG quality – Very good in-camera JPEG processing, much appreciated by those like me who don’t regularly shoot and process RAW images.
  • Excellent high ISO performance up to 800 for a compact digital camera; acceptable at ISO 1600 for smaller prints.
  • Fast maximum aperture of f/2; aperture range is f/2.o (W) – f/4.9 (T)
  • Large, bright LCD – 3″ color with wide viewing angle monitor (approximately 461,000 dots) – okay, so the size and resolution almost make up for the lack of a viewfinder….but not totally (see below)
  • Flash exposure compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments – it’s nice to be able to adjust the amount of light emitted from the tiny, but effective flash.
  • Dedicated play button – push the play button to review images. Press it again, or press the shutter halfway, to return to photo-taking mode.
  • My Menu settings – Select and sort your most frequently used menu settings. When you push the Menu button, it will open to a Star tab to access the five menus you’ve selected.

What I dislike about the s90

  • Camera buttons are small and can be difficult to read in poor light.
  • Low Light scene mode – does not allow user to select a focus mode, but I’d have to be desperate before using this mode anyway [Read why]
  • Lacks a viewfinder – would be helpful when the sun hits the LCD screen at certain angles, making it difficult to view things on the screen.
  • Control Dial – the control dial is too loose; it is automatically assigned a function based on the function assigned to the Control Ring. This can be problematic [Read why]
  • Pop-up flash – is motorized and pops up either automatically or when you switch to an ON flash mode. It can be annoying if you’re in the habit of resting a left finger on the top of the camera when taking shots.
  • Focus point – Can not change the location of the Focus point.
  • Continuous mode – burst mode is immediately accessible from the back of cameras such as SD890IS. On the s90, you have to scroll through the Function menu to select it.
  • No 3:4 aspect ratio
  • Battery life could be longer.
  • RANT about the s90 wrist strap: non adjustable, may shred – imho, Canon should be ashamed for including a non-adjustable wrist strap with the s90. Like wrist straps included with other Canon cameras (such as my SD700 & 890), there is no slider to hold the strap securely around your wrist. The camera can easily slip off the wrist. s90 wrist strap with washerIn addition, the wrist strap will begin shredding if it comes in contact with Velcro used in some camera bags and pouches.I contacted Canon and they basically said that’s what comes with the camera, live with it.“Regrettably, we do not have a different strap available for the S90 that we can send to you.  We only are able to send a replacement of the same strap you already have.”Bah humbug, Canon!The s90 is not cheap, the strap is. I recommend users replace it or tie a knot near the end. Photographer BSquared came up with a creative solution. For the cost of about a dollar, he uses a 1/4 x 1/2 x 1/16″ rubber washer to tighten the strap around his wrist. Nice going!

Visit Gail’s pbase gallery for sample photos taken with the Canon s90.

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