Steve's Digicams

PowerShot Pro 90 IS

Camera Controls

Canon PowerShot Pro 90 IS

The eyelevel viewfinder is electronic and eliminates any parallax problems due to its through the lens operation. There is a diopter adjustment for those of us with less than perfect eyesight. The eyelevel finder shows approximately 95% of the captured image.

Canon PowerShot Pro 90 IS

Being an electronic viewfinder it allows for overlaying exposure and camera data on top of the image. The frame above shows the camera is in manual focus (MF) mode, the focus distance is displayed by the vertical bar graph on the right hand side. Icons in the upper left hand corner indicate the camera is in "M"anual exposure mode, the flash is disabled and the drive mode is single shot.

This same display is output to the color LCD when it is opened and activated. You can change the viewfinder output between the eyelevel viewfinder and the color LCD by pressing the center control button on the top of the camera (see picture below).

Canon PowerShot Pro 90 IS

The "JUMP" button is only used in Playback mode, it lets you jump 9 images forward or backward quickly. The "INDEX" button enables thumbnail mode in Playback, the number of thumbnail images per page may be selected in the Setup menu. The third button enables or disables Spot metering in Record mode and turns on the magnified image display when in Playback mode. The Drive mode button located below the data LCD toggles between Single, Continuous, Remote or Self-Timer exposure mode.

Canon PowerShot Pro 90 IS

The data LCD displays important camera settings without using the color LCD. Depending on the operational mode other icons will indicate the selected white balance, drive mode, spot metering, exposure compensation, flash exposure compensation, AE lock, AE Bracketing, manual focus, digital zoom and raw mode. ISO speed and manual focus distance is not displayed.

A note to the camera manufacturers -- Please illuminate these data LCD displays so we can see them in the dark, this one like most, is not illuminated.

Canon PowerShot Pro 90 IS

The controls on the back include the 4-way Omni Selector switch for navigating menus, selecting images in Playback mode and changing camera parameters. The MENU button calls up the onscreen menu system and choices are made by pressing the SET button.

The STAR button is the AE/FE lock control. If the flash is disabled it functions as an AE lock allowing you to calculate and lock the exposure and then recompose the picture. When the builtin flash or an external Canon EX series flash is used the STAR button becomes a FE (flash exposure) lock. Pressing the STAR button causes a brief flash to be emitted and the exposure is held as you recompose the shot.

Canon PowerShot Pro 90 IS

The middle button cycles between Exposure Compensation, White Balance, Flash Exposure Compensation and Auto Exposure Bracketing. All of these functions are adjusted via onscreen overlays as shown above.

When in shooting mode the display can be switched from the eyelevel viewfinder to the color LCD by simply opening it. The DISPLAY button cycles the LCD monitor to the next mode each time it is pressed. In shooting mode it switches between "no information" and "information view" when pressed.

Pressing DISPLAY while in Playback:

Single Replay: Simple Display -> Detailed Display -> No Display
Index View: Simple Display -> No Display

Canon PowerShot Pro 90 IS with Canon 420EX speedlight

On the side of the lens barrel is the Flash mode button which cycles between Auto, On, Redeye Auto, Redeye On and Off. The MF when pressed and held lets you set the focus manually. The slide switch turns the Image Stabilization system On or Off. The Main Dial located underneath of the Mode Dial selects the operating mode (Connect to PC, Replay, Off, Record).

The Mode Dial is used to select the recording mode:

  • Manual - you set both the shutter speed and aperture
  • AV (Aperture priority) - the camera automatically selects a shutter speed to match the aperture you set. Aperture settings available are: F2.8, F3.2, F3.5, F4.0, F4.5, F5.0, F5.6, F6.3, F7.1, F8.0
  • TV (Shutter priority) - camera automatically selects an aperture setting to match the shutter speed you set. Available shutter speeds are: 1/1000, 1/800, 1/640, 1/500, 1/400, 1/320, 1/250, 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80, 1/60, 1/50, 1/40, 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/15, 1/13, 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/5, 1/4, 0.3, 0.4, 0.5, 0.6, 0.8, 1, 1.3, 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3.2, 4, 5, 6, 8 seconds
    (Note: 1/1000 can only be used with an aperture between F4 and F8).
  • Program AE - camera automatically set the shutter speed and aperture settings like AUTO but the user can change many options like white balance, exposure compensation, saturation, sharpness and more.
  • AUTO - camera sets everything automatically, this is "point and shoot" mode

The pre-programmed "Image Zone" modes that were adopted from the EOS cameras are:

  • Pan Focus - When you need the fastest "grab" shot possible, sets lens to wideangle for greatest depth of field (25 inches to infinity)
  • Portrait - Sets a large aperture value to have a minimum depth of field so your subject is sharp but the background gets blurred.
  • Landscape - Sets the focus to infinity and uses a small aperture
  • Night Scene - Uses slow shutter speed (tripod recommended) to capture night backgrounds and synchronizes the flash to illuminate foreground subjects
  • BW - Good for text capture or when you want that nostalgic touch
  • Stitch Assist - The user will be aided by the LCD when creating multi-image panorama pictures. Five types of assistance are available:
    1. Horizontal - left to right
    2. Horizontal - right to left
    3. Vertical - top to bottom
    4. Vertical - bottom to top
    5. Clockwise starting at top left.
    Up to 26 images can be recorded either vertically or horizontally.

    Stitch Assist

    Onscreen view of Stitch Assist mode

  • Movie - capture full motion video and sound clips up to 30 seconds in length at 320 x 240 resolution at a rate of 15fps.

    The AE, AF and zoom settings are locked to the first frame. The digital zoom, flash, continuous mode, AEB mode, flash exposure compensation, AE lock, FE lock, metering method, resolution, compression, file format (raw), and image adjustment (ISO speed, contrast, sharpness and saturation) cannot be adjusted in Movie mode.

    Canon PowerShot Pro 90 IS with Canon 420EX speedlight

    Canon includes this handy infrared remote control that lets you operate the zoom lens and trip the shutter (with a 2 sec delay) when in shooting mode. In replay mode it can be used to move forward or backward through the images, play a movie clip, magnify a still image and pan around inside of it, toggle the display mode or call up the index mode.

    The infrared remote has a range of up to 5 meters (16.4 feet) and can be used in front of the camera with a working angle of 15 degrees to the left or right.


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