Canon s90

s90 control dial: what other reviewers say

Many Canon s90 digital cameras have an Achilles’ heel: the free-wheeling control dial. Here’s what reviewers say about the dial.

s90 Control DialMany Canon s90 digital cameras have an Achilles’ heel: the free-wheeling control dial. If you inadvertently touch the dial, it moves. Camera settings change and when that happens, shots are missed or ruined.

I have lots to say about the dial my s90 Blog.

I’m evidently not alone in my concerns. Read on to learn what those who review digital cameras for a living have to say about the control dial. It ain’t encouraging!

What reviewers say about the s90 control dial

“…Canon’s trademark spinning rear controller can be as frustrating as ever.”

“The ring surrounding the controls is far too loose, and I find myself constantly adjusting exposure compensation when I don’t actually mean to.” Luminous Landscape

“[The rear Control Dial…is so loose that] it’s a major liability when shooting with the Canon S90, because you have to check your settings all the time.” Imaging Resource

“The wayward rear Control dial and the slow zoom control…make setting exposure and zoom level almost unbearable most of the time, such that I missed 60 percent of the shots I’d have been able to get with other cameras.” Imaging Resource

“(The Control Dial) moves much too freely and can result in accidental changes.” cnet reviews

The Control Wheel: ”likely to change in just a light touch;” “a sloppy feel.” Impress Watch (translation)

[The Control Dial] … moves far too fast for precision, often resulting in unwanted changes.” Reg Hardware

“Since [the Control dial] spins freely…adjusting something accidentally is very easy.” Digital Camera Resource

“The rear ring…can be a bit fiddly. It’s not as well engineered as the ring around the lens, and it’s frustratingly easy to activate the nearby four-directional controller by mistake.
Tech Radar

“…the rear wheel is much too easy to move. If I’m simply trying to engage the flash, or bring up a menu (these buttons are located in the middle of the wheel), I’ve found myself accidentally changing some aspect of my shot on numerous occasions. It’s kind of annoying! gdgt

“[the thumb wheel is]…another source of ergonomic frustration on the S90: it’s too loose. It’s very easy to move the wheel accidentally.”  bythom

“Rear dial rotates too freely and cannot be disabled, so accidental settings changes too common.dpreview (Conclusions – Con)

If you’re thinking of buying the s90, be sure to test the control dial before plunking down your hard earned money. What was Canon thinking?!

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


  • Qmungous, glad the wheel is working out for you. I doubt the reviewers are clumsy. They are professionals and no doubt handle more cameras in a year than most of us hold in a lifetime.

  • Bolo. I’m sorry to hear they didn’t fix it! If you can adapt, or add some of the fixes, you’ll be very happy with the image quality and low light capabilities. The size is great. But if you’re not happy with the handling, send it back after trying it. I’m not sure how many days Amazon gives you to return an item. If you tell them it’s faulty (which it is), they will pay the return shipping.

  • Hey Gail, I just received my new S90 camera from Amazon last week, and as expected, my control dial is loose as well but not as loose as that display model at Best Buy I tried out a few months back.  So it looks like Canon has apparently done nothing about this situation.  I am a bit disappointed to say the least.

  • Just got this camera, and the wheel is a bit loose. But I don’t hold the camera with my thumb on that wheel so it’s never an issue. Those reviewers must all be clumsy!

  • Hey Gail, thanks for the reply.  I recently went to Best Buy to check out the S90 in person since reading so much about the dial all over the internet really piqued my interest.  The display model that I checked out at BB was extremely loose as well.  I’ll be ordering an S90 on Amazon next month, and hopefully mine won’t be as loose as the one that I tried out.  In the meantime, I just ordered the RF grip so that’ll help out a bit when I get my new camera.

  • It’s difficult to say, Bolo. It seems obvious now from all I’ve followed and read that some of the rear control dials are more free-wheeling than others. I bought the s90 from Best Buy before the general salespeople even knew it had arrived. I made them go look for it. I went back the BB about three months later, and the control dial on a display model was slightly tighter (every bit counts!), so some are better than others. I suspect Canon may have done a little tweaking since the first release of the camera. There have been so many complaints about the dial that I think Canon has no choice but to improve it in future models. In the mean time, if you want an s90 now, check the control dial before anything else.