Canon Powershot S95 Preview

The Canon Powershot S95 comes one year after the release of the S90, which was very popular with enthusiasts looking for a capable camera in a compact body. Having owned a S90 for a year now (and loving it), I was very curious about the new model. The spec sheet looks very similar, but there are a few key differences. I had a chance to fiddle with the camera at Photokina, and here are a few impressions I came away with…

Canon Powershot S95 at Photokina

The S95 doesn’t do much to improve on it’s predecessor, but has a few tricks up its sleeve. First, a few ergonomic redesigns, including a matte finish body which feels better than the slippery metal of the old model. Also, the rear control dial now has click-stops instead of continuous motion, which is very, very nice. Although I usually don’t rotate the dial on my S90 by accident, it happened three times yesterday! So these click-stops would be a big help. The rear thumb grip is no longer there, and it’s a shame as the one on the S90 is quite useful. The ‘Ring Func’ and On/Off buttons have been swapped, and the new shutter button is smaller and easier to locate, although harder to press. Video can finally be recorded in HD (720p), catching up with it’s peers. You also have a few more in-camera processing options, such as an HDR mode which prove popular. And there are claims of one-stop noise improvement. If that holds up, this is a worthy upgrade despite few radical changes. It’s wise to stick with a winning formula which has made the S-series legendary. In other news, I’ve just dropped my S90 onto the concrete from waist-high, for the 5th time, and it’s still shooting as good as ever.

And now, a few sample images, from ISO 100-3200. Click for full resolution.

Canon S95 @ ISO 100

Canon S95 @ ISO 800

Canon S95 @ ISO 1600

Canon S95 @ ISO 3200

More on the S95:

Ken Rockwell has plenty of praise for the camera.

CNET is not sure if it’s upgrade-worthy from the S90.

Photography Blog has a comprehensive review.

DPReview has the press release and full spec list.

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