Canon S90 review

Canon revives its S series compacts with this likeable SLR backup

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  • Fast, bright zoom lens
  • Quality high ISO sensor
  • Powerful noise-reduction technology
  • Innovative, helpful design
  • Generous three-inch rear LCD


  • No HD video recording
  • Flash is harsh on auto setting
  • Rear rotary well is fiddly
  • Burst mode could be faster
  • Rear screen tends to scratch

The Canon S90 is the latest compact DSLR replacement from Canon - the little brother to the successful Canon G11.

Profits are squeezed to the point of asphyxiation in the compact camera market at the moment; tough economic times mean your typical 'point and shoot' compact owner doesn't feel the urge to upgrade as often as makers would like.

There's also a bewildering range of new cameras to choose from. And of course, camera phones keep getting better and better.

Hence the rebranding of some compacts as 'SLR backups'. The term's a bit vague, but basically it refers to a compact camera which offers better optical quality and more sophisticated imaging options than your typical point-and-clicker - while still being very compact and easy to carry around.

The kind of compact, in other words, that SLR owners would be happy to take as a backup, or use as their main camera when the SLR is just too big and indiscrete.

The Canon PowerShot S90 certainly falls into this category. It weighs in at a slimline 175g and is only about three inches deep with its 28-105mm lens fully extended.

canon powershot s90

At the same time, it shoots in RAW as well as JPEG and comes with Canon's Digital Photo Professional RAW-processing software, just as you get with Canon EOS SLRs. As well as SLRs, the Canon PowerShot S90 has a lot in common with Canon's flagship compact, the PowerShot G11.

You get the same 10-megapixel sensor, for instance, which as well as offering a very respectful resolution, does a sterling job of keeping digital noise down at higher ISO settings.

And while the Canon PowerShot S90 only has a 3.8x optical zoom lens compared to the 5x zoom on the PowerShot G11, the difference is not that huge.

Tech Specs

Product TypeCompact Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution640 x 480
Effective Camera Resolution10 Megapixel
Wide AngleYes
Product FamilyPowerShot S
HD Movie ModeNo
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, MultiMediaCard (MMC), MMCplus, HC MMCplus
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom3.8x
Digital Zoom4x
Brand NameCanon
FeaturesFace Detection
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsQuickTime MOV
Viewfinder TypeNo
Weight (Approximate)175 g
Maximum Image Resolution3648 x 2736
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height30.9 mm
Width100 mm
Depth58.4 mm
Product SeriesS
Focal Length6 mm to 22.50 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto
ManufacturerCanon, Inc
Product ModelS90
Product NamePowerShot S90 Compact Camera
Product LinePowerShot
Aspect Ratio16:9
Manufacturer Part NumberS90
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

At a mere 175 grams, the Canon PowerShot S90, is packed full of features. With a 10.0 megapixels High-Sensitivity CCD sensor offering amazing low light capability, a bright 2.0 lens and complete creative control you're only one click away from the perfect shot.

Package Contents
  • PowerShot S90 Compact Camera
  • Battery Pack NB-6L
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-400PCU
  • AV cable AVCDC400
  • Wrist Strap WS-DC9
  • CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year