For years, we’ve been holding onto the Canon 780IS as the perfect suit jacket camera, and perfect for carrying in your jeans pocket. Just keep it away from the keys and coins. Sweet HD video too, in a pinch.
Then they came out with the PowerShot S95
The lessons learned from too many megapixels on a small chip are taken to heart here with a 10MP resolution, instead of a 12 or 14. Less noise when you put less MP on a chip.
Now there are a few places that most people take pix, and the scene selection has a mode for each: Beach, Kids & pets, Snow, Super vivid, Poster effect, Landscape, Portrait mode, Color swap, Color accent, Smile shutter, Stitch assist, Fireworks, Low light, Underwater, Foliage.
Each scene gives you fast descriptor so you know when to use it.
The ISO range is 100-3200 but, we’d keep it in the lower ranges for quality, maxing at 1600.
We are of the mind that better to get the shot, and do some post work, noise reduction, etc, than not to have gotten the shot at all.
Ok, here is the crazy part: a f/2.0 lens! This is pretty remarkable in a camera this size, and lets your low light photo capture go on without a flash.
Another innovation we like, is the control ring surrounding the front element.
You can customize it’s functionality ( f/stop, shutter speed, ISO, etc.) so whatever you like to adjust first when you shoot, just got a big old ring at your fingertips. And the wheel on the back adjusts your other functions, and is illustrated with a more solid circle.
Plus you get a display on the LCD yo show you what you are doing:
One of the biggest deals is the fact that it shoots RAW. True, we’ve had that feature in previous point and shoots, but none with this slim profile.
And you know what a perfect feature this is once you get into doing some post processing on your photographs. No compression, and all of the data glory you need to make the image what you want.
Sure, we should never make a comparison to our full size DSLR functions, but we can’t help it. Yeah, best camera is the camera in our hands, blah,blah, blah.
Sorry. Just want the best file, sharp images and good color space. Fast lens? Yes, we’ll take it.
The focus point choosing took a little getting used to. You press the shutter button halfway , with the selected subject in the center. Then it will track that subject with a blue box so you know it’s doing it’s job.
If you are an information person, you can get it all. There are color space charts and a histogram if you keep going through the menu. We tend to shoot a bit more simply on these type of cameras, but……
USB and HDMI out ports:
OK, what else? There is the new Canon Hybrid IS image stabilization system, which we liked when shooting close-up:
Simply put, this helps correct camera shake from 2 sources. When you’re shooting close, usually handheld, this is a major factor.
The current rage of HDR is also built in, but bring a tripod or a Gorillapod to make use of it.
If you had the S90 and wondered about an upgrade, you should still wonder. The S90 is a helluva camera, and hard to beat.
Don’t have one?
The S95 added 720P HD video, stereo mics, HDR, and Hybrid IS.
The size of this is just a bit larger than the 780IS we love to carry, and since the profile is still pretty slim, it goes the same places.
The feature step-up is substantial and will make you think twice about the next sizes in the compact range.
This is not an inexpensive choice, however, with a near $400. USD price tag, which held pretty steady during the holidays.
A Canon G12 or Nikon P7000 go for about $500. USD so you’re getting close.
Bottom line: Strong recommendation. Travel lighter with a ton of great features: F/2.0 lens, 28-105 equivelant lens, RAW, manual adjustments including focus, 720P HD video.
Here is another look at the video we made with Canon on the S95 ( plus the 60D)