ReviewGist Report for Canon PowerShot S95
The Canon Powershot S95 was released in August 2010 and is an upgrade on the very popular PowerShot S90 camera. In this report we take a deeper look at the newer features that Canon has launched with the S95. We futher analyze around 32 expert reviews, including some of the best reviews from sites like Imaging Resource, Cnet, PC Mag and Steves Digicam, and look at their findings as they put the S95 into their paces. Finally we present you some buying advice on the Canon PowerShot S95.
What the Manufacturer Says
According to Canon the Canon PowerShot S95 is the first PowerShot model which is coming out with their Hybrid IS technology. The advanced optical image stabilization combined with what Canon calls the HS (High Sensitivity) system is claimed to dramatically reduce image noise and improve clarity, in both low light situations and highly dynamic natural settings.
The HS System is basically the much famed Canon's DIGIC 4 Image Processor combined with a 10-megapixel High Sensitivity CCD Sensor.
A big introduction with the Canon S95 is the introduction of a manual control ring. The Manual Control ring basically allows access to the manual control options and RAW shooting capabilities and makes pefect sense for the amateurs graduating to a professional status.
Canon S95 also comes out with some interesting scene modes. Notable among them are the following:
1. An HDR scene mode, best suited to capture the depth and details typical of scenes found in natural settings.
2. Handheld Night mode to capture images in dark settings and low light conditions.
3. Smart Auto Mode which features around 28 shooting scenes and optimizes image quality by adjusting to different lighting and movement levels.
What the Reviews Say
Almost all review experts have unequivocally hailed the image quality of the Canon S95. This PowerShot definitely ranks amongst the very best compacts as far as the image quality is concerned. However, 'Imaging Resource' (which is one of the most respected reviewers) has reported on a not so good performance as far as low ISO images are concerned - especially in shadows. However as most other experts did not raise this objection this might not be too big a deal for typical point-and-shoot crowd.
As advertised by Canon, the HD Video quality of the S95 is pretty impressive stuff. Most of the expert reviews are mighty impressed by the video quality. This includes the biggies like CNet, PC Mag and Pocket Lint. According to CNet, the great video quality is accompanied by great audio capability from the stereo mics of the S95. PC Mag has delivered high praise for the S95 video and called it a "D-SLR like shooting experience" with specifically pointing out great quality at 720p HD.
Even the low-light capabilites of the S95 has recieved high praise from almost all experts, some of them have had some issues regarding the finer optical capabilities of the S95. 'Imaging Resource' has commented about soft detail in indoor shoots due to the low 1/20 second shutter speed. 'Pocket Lint' reports fringing in high contrast shots, and 'CNet' reports assymmetrical distortion at the highest zoom levels. Even though most reviewers found the S95 sufficiently fast in the CONTINUOUS mode.
The interface/handling is also pretty good for the S95. By far the most standout feature is the LCD screen, which according to 'CNet' is "gorgeous to behold". The build quality is also very good according to 'TechRadar' athough some found the size to be too small, so much so that it comes in between the navigation of the menu. Even then most experts are generally satisfed with the manual controls including PC Mag and DCRP (Digital Camera Resource Page).
After all the good and excellent about the S95, we come to the big bummer - The Battery Life. Unfortunately, all experts have consistently rated the battery life of the S95 as short. The Battery life lets down on what could be truly the best compact at the time.
Canon's claimed HS system delivers on its promise according to experts, and out comes a compact extremely proficient on low light conditions.
It goes without saying that the Canon PowerShot S95 is one of the best pocketable cameras of the time. Combining excellent image quality, great video and decent optics - it is a great all round point-and-shoot and should satisfy both the amateurs and the amateurs-leaning-to-pro crowd. The only bitter pill that would need to be swallowed is the short battery life.
The Canon S95 is one of the best compacts in the market right now. It is accomplished and easy to use. However you might want to check out the Panasonic DMC-LX5 before settling for the Canon S95. The LX5 even though much bigger in size does beat the S95 hands down in terms of battery life.