Canon s95



Canon s95, ISO 200
I didn’t think the sunset was going to be too great.  By the time I realized it was going to be pretty good,
all I had ready to shoot was my pocket s95.

Recently Canon upgraded both the G11 as well as the s90.  I haven’t really played with a G12 yet, but since the s90 has been a trusty pocket camera for over a year now, I decided to upgrade to the s95.  While I don’t regret buying the s95, I’m not sure “upgrade” is an appropriate term, since the difference in the cameras are pretty minor.

The s95 uses the same sensor and basically same electronics as the s90.  It also has an improved image stability system, but I’m not sure that will translate to anything very useful.  I suppose there might be rare occasions where the s95 will produce a slightly sharper image handheld at slow speeds, but those will be few and far between (if at all).  This means image quality between the two cameras is virtually identical.  As such, much of my s90 review, especially comments regarding image quality still applies.

Probably the biggest difference is the s95 shoots 720p HD video, and has dual mikes to capture stereo sound.  If you like to grab quick videos with your digital camera (something I’m seeing my kids do more and more with the grandkids), this may make the upgrade worthwhile.  If you don’t shoot any video with your s90, then there isn’t much point in upgrading.  Many complained it was too hard to use this on the s90.  To me it wasn’t really hard to use, but there wasn’t very good tactile feedback so it was hard to tell when you were turning the ring.  The s95 ring is much easier to “feel”, but the trade-off is the 4 way controller buttons are more challenging to use.  Other ergonomic changes include switching positions of the power button with the ring function button on the top making it a little easier to turn the camera on if you are holding it ready to shoot, and a redesigned shutter release button which offers a little better tactile feel when pre-focusing and taking pictures.

There is now only one access door to the video and usb out ports on the side, which means there is no longer a way to attach to the wrist strap to the middle of the camera side.  I know a couple of photographers that actually use this to attach the camera to a neck strap, so the s95 won’t hang around your neck quite as evenly and nicely as the s90 does.

If you already have a s90 and don’t shoot video with it, upgrading offers very little. The good news is the s90 is still pretty valuable and the s95 camera doesn’t hurt it’s used resale value much. Some good deals can still be had on s90‘s.  If you don’t have an s90 and are looking for what is perhaps the best “pocket” camera out there, the s95 really does fit in your pocket and yields great results for a camera so small.


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