Hands-On: Canon S95

Today, Canon announced the S95, the successor to the beautiful and wonderful S90camera that was a huge seller. The upgrade adds 720p HD video, art filters and higher ISO settings. I saw and held a rough working prototype a little over a month ago.

Editor’s Note: The Canon S95 is available for pre-order by clicking the links in this story at the time of writing this update. It will be available for order in late August.

Tech Specs

– 10 MP CCD sensor

– 720p HD video at 24p

– ISO 3200 in manual; 12,800 in auto mode.

– Scene modes: HDR, Smart Shutter, Vivid, Poster Effect, Fish-Eye Effect, Miniature Effect (which also works in movie mode).

– Hybrid IS like that found in the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS USM

– 3 inch LCD

– Ring around the lens is still there. This was perhaps one of the most popular features of the camera.

– DIGIC IV Processor

Ergonomics

Ergonomically, this is the same as the Canon S90. The Canon PowerShot S95feels like a wonderful, compact point and shoot with a great lens on it. Like the S90, the ring around the lens allows users to control many different commands while maintaining a very small body. The front lens dial ring and the back control dial will be more than sufficient for users, like me, who prefer to set everything in manual and create the images themselves.

The dials and buttons on the camera are essentially still the same and the camera itself still has a fairly simple learning curve as the S90did.

The S95is still a compact camera with a large lens barrel that allows the user lots of control. Because of this, it is not extremely pocketable unless you’ve got large pockets (should be ideal for coats) but I’ve seen the S90 used with a strap and leather cases that make it look like an old rangefinder.

If you’re in the market for a small sexy camera but don’t want interchangeable lenses, this will suffice most users. Additionally, you can turn it into a camera with serious sex appeal if you can find an accessory like the ones here. Click on work and then look through the camera cases.

Needless to say, the camera is still gorgeous.

Image Quality

Since I was dealing with a pre-production unit, I was not able to put an SD card in. However, the images seemed to be on par with the S90 and the filters looked pretty good.

And yes, it still shoots RAW. The Canon S95has the same larger-than-standard-point-and-shoot sized sensor. Take a look at the chart above. The S95has the same sized sensor as the G11.

The S95also still has an F2.0-F4.9 stabilized lens at its widest aperture allowing the user to shoot at lower ISO settings and still get a nice depth of field.

Autofocus

The autofocus seems to be exactly the same as the S90’s as well. The focusing on the S90 was very similar to that of the G11(review here). It was spot on and though not the quickest in its class it is still more than usable. The market that this camera is targeted towards will be more than happy with the performance. I didn’t get to mess with the autofocus in video mode, unfortunately.

Once again, this was a pre-production unit.

New Features

The only new feature that I really got to try out was the Miniature effect, which didn’t seem to be working at the moment. However, I did see what the results could look like and they are similar to that on the E-PL1from Olympus. The difference here is that the areas that are out of focus seem much more blurry and almost Leica-like.

I didn’t have time, however, to test out the 720p HD video.

Once again in case you’re wondering if this is the same camera: it almost is. The S90was a hit with many customers and so Canon decided to just add onto what didn’t need fixing.

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