canon powershot s90

The lesser zoom range will be less of an issue for PowerShot S90 owners when they discover they get a very handy maximum aperture of f/2.0 at the wide-angle end, a big advantage in a camera in this price range.

Something else the PowerShot S90 has in common with the PowerShot G11 is innovative ergonomics.

Although the S90 lacks the cleverly combined exposure/ISO dial you get with the G11, it has a unique ring mounted around the lens.

canon powershot s90

Using the Ring Function button on the top of the camera, this can be configured to adjust aperture and shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, white balance compensation, or operate a 'step zoom' feature that sets the lens to a series of specific focal lengths. Just like a 'pro' camera.

Rotary club

The PowerShot S90 also has a bigger rear LCD than the PowerShot G11.

It's a full three inches in size and is very easy to read with its 461,000 pixel resolution. All it lacks is the PowerShot G11's articulation, but as we mentioned in the G11 review, this does make the latter rather fat.

canon powershot s90

Another of the PowerShot S90's innovations is a rear rotary wheel, used to adjust key settings in a similar way to the ring around the lens.

So, you can set the front lens ring to change aperture, for instance, while the rear ring adjusts exposure compensation. The rear ring is a good idea, but can be a bit fiddly. It's not as well engineered as the ring around the lens, and it's frustratingly easy to activate the nearby four-directional controller by mistake.

Making the rear ring a tad stiffer would have really helped here, and we suspect Canon will fix this on the next iteration.

canon powershot s90

Another slight quirk is the placement of the shutter button; it's quite small and you find yourself fingering the PASM dial every time you want to take a shot until you get used to it. The zoom lever, which is connected to the shutter release button, is also quite fiddly if you have big fingers.

These are not major problems though and the PowerShot S90's build quality is pretty good. This is clearly a compact that is built to last, although you should be aware some owners on the Canon USA site have already complained that that lovely rear LCD has a tendency to scratch quite easily. Since we have to send our review sample back, we weren't going to put this to the test!