Canon PowerShot S95 Review

Review posted 10/14/2010

Quick Take

  • Well built, mostly metal body
  • Good control layout
  • Awesome f/2.0 lens
  • Produces high-quality 10-megapixel photos
  • Loads of user-friendly exposure options
  • Almost unmatched degree of exposure control for a camera of this size
  • Capable Smart Auto mode
  • Top-notch 3.0-inch LCD screen
  • Cool and handy control ring mounted around lens bezel
  • Outstanding high ISO performance for a camera of this size
  • Finally has HD video mode
  • Cool in-camera HDR mode
  • Removal of the small "hump" on the back where your thumb rests is quite nice
  • Increased burst mode speeds over past model
  • It's very easy to accidentally rotate the rear control wheel, which would cause exposure problems depending on the mode being used
  • $400 price tag may seem steep to some
Bottom Line
Canon has improved upon an already great product, with added exposure modes and features, better burst mode performance, and the addition of HD video. All combined make one heck of an awesome pocket camera. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
Likely one of the most anticipated Canon point-n-shoot models for 2010 is the PowerShot S95. This unit builds off of the success of the PowerShot S90 from last year, with some exciting new upgrades. While most of the major features and controls have stayed the same (if it ain't broke, don't fix it), Canon has added some interesting enhancements. First off, they've bumped video resolution up to 1280x720 (720p); a feature we all cried for on the S90. Next, they added their all new in-camera HDR scene mode, which captures three photos at difference exposure intervals, then combines them inside the camera to produce an image with increased detail in both highlights and shadows (tripod required).

Lastly, Canon has included their newer Hybrid IS system into the S95, which is the first PowerShot camera to incorporate this new technology. This system helps the S95 compensate for both angular and shift camera shake, which are both prime suspects when it comes to blur found in photos. This stabilization is realized through the use of both an angular sensor as well as an accelerometer. Like the S90, the S95 offers a wide range of custom controls and modes that are not found on most digicams, and is designed to fill the needs of photographers who want a small, yet very capable compact pocket camera.

Canon PowerShot S95 key features:
  • High sensitivity, 1/1.7-inch 10-megapixel CCD imager
  • Canon's DIGIC 4 image processing and HS (High Sensitivity) Systems
  • Fast f/2.0, 3.8x optical zoom covers 28-105mm
  • Hybrid Image Stabilization system
  • 3.0-inch "Pure Color" LCD with 461k pixels
  • Advanced TTL AiAF 9-point autofocus system
  • JPEG and RAW image capture modes (RAW+JPEG also available)
  • Low-light focus assist illuminator
  • Smart Auto, Program AE, Shutter-speed priority, Aperture priority, Manual, and Custom exposure modes
  • 19 Pre-programmed creative scene modes for specific shooting situation; including new HDR mode
  • 720p HD video mode (30fps), length limited to memory capacity (4GB clip size max.)
  • 1.9fps burst capture of Large/Fine imagesin Program mode, or up to 3.9fps in Low light mode
  • Face Detection AF/AE/FE/WB and Face Detect Self-timer mode
  • Evaluative, Center-weighted or Spot metering options (fixed to the center or linked to the AF frame)
  • Stitch Assist mode for perfect panoramas
  • Exposure compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • White Balance: Auto, 7 presets and two Custom settings
  • Orientation sensor that automatically detects vertical or horizontal shooting
  • Auto pop-up flash unit, is hidden inside the body when not in use.
  • Flash output compensation: +/-2EV in 1/3-step increments
  • Shutter speeds of 15 seconds to 1/1600 second
  • Selectable ISO settings from 80 to 3200, in 1/3EV steps
  • Low Light mode boasts ISO speeds up to 12,800 (all photos captured in this mode are only 2.5-megapixels)
  • Built-in microphone and speaker
  • Li-ion power source
  • Direct print and PictBridge Compatible
  • USB 2.0 high-speed connectivity for PC and Mac
  • SDHC/SD/MMC/MMC Plus compatibility
  • HDMI ouput to HDTV sets
The PowerShot S95 is available now with a price of $399.99 US.

What's in the box?:

  • Canon S95 camera body
  • NB-6L Battery Pack
  • Battery Charger CB-2LY
  • Wrist Strap WS-DC9
  • Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-400PCU
  • AV Cable AVC-DC400ST
  • User's Manual

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.