In the middle of last year I was looking for a new compact camera as my beloved Fuji F31fd had gone missing in action and I really needed something portable to carry around.
At the time the two contenders were the Canon PowerShot G10 vs Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 (LX-3) which I compared in the linked post.
Myhorng was in the same situation, he had the Fuji F31fd previously and had just bought the G10, which gave me a good chance to test it out.
I decided to get the LX-3 as it was smaller than the G10…in the end, it turns out it just wasn’t small enough with the protruding lens and very annoying lens cover.
I wanted something that could serve as a backup for the dSLR I use to snap ‘serious’ pics, it turns out (of course) that the LX-3 still can’t even come close to the pics from my ancient D200 and it was just a little too bulky to pocket which turned me off from using it too much.
Then along came the Canon S90, the reintroduction of the legendary Powershot ‘S’ series. Almost everyone I hang out with jumped on the bandwagon and grabbed on (KY, Ringo & Jac for starters).
This little monster comes with:
- 10 Megapixels
- 3.8x optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 28-105mm)
- F2.0-4.9 stabilized lens
- Digic 4 Image processor
- Dual Anti-Noise system
- ISO 80-3200
- Manual Control
- Raw Shooting
- 3.0 inch PureColor LCD II (TFT) screen
The camera measures 100 x 58 x 31 mm and weighs 175 g
Yes the Lumix was wider (24mm vs 28mm) but I actually found in reality that works against you unless you shoot mostly landscapes/cityscapes it’s better not to have such a wide lens as it gives more distortion especially when taking close up shots.
And the S90 – an f/2.0 lens with ISO3200! Wow who needs flash and seriously you don’t, this camera can take pics sans flash is almost any level of light. It even has a candlelight mode on the dial for super low light situations, yes it’ll be grainy…but through experience I’ve found pics from this kinda camera are for blogging and sharing online not printing A2 posters or billboards so it doesn’t really matter.
So far after using the S90 for a few weeks, the only thing I’ll miss it from the LX-3 is the really nice 720p video it takes (some can be seen here).
The S90 only takes normal VGA video, but for blogging use it’s fine enough, I’m no movie maker anyway. In low light it wins, the auto mode is super smart (you rarely have to use anything else) it has a dial on the front AND the back (two dials is more than the low-end Canon dSLRs have :P) so changing settings is a breeze.
It doesn’t come with any funny dangling bits, the pouch is nicer and the camera really is pocket size.
If you’re looking to buy a compact camera now I’d say get the S90!
I’ll take some more pics with it and give it a better review when I’ve used it for a few months.
yess, S90 is awesomesauce, now i know at least 5-6 ppl who uses it already 😀
how much how much?
What is the RRP for this cam? I am also looking to get one as well.
KY: Yah long live the Canon S series!
eyeris & Mark: Most commonly selling for RM1499 including memory card without pouch. I got for mine without the SD card and added the pouch for RM1480 cos I already have a 16GB Sandisk card.
Wootz.. can’t wait to see your review 😉
wah.rm1480 is cheap..
I wanted to get it when my wife wanted to get a digicam for baby use, but guess it’s a bit complicated for her so have to get a Panasonic. But definitely will get one when the price drop a bit as a backup to my 40D.
Hey ST, do you have any recommendations for a DSLR camera? The s90 looks good but I’m looking to buy a DSLR at the end of the year and I’m just trying to get some opinion..
ahlost: Will work on it 🙂
nikel: I can bargain well.
JD: Yah it’s a super compact cam. Panasonic are easy to use, but this one is really very easy to use, you can just leave it on full auto all the time.
SamuelGoh: If I were in the market now, I’d go for the Nikon D90 + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8.
hi, stumbled across your site when i was looking for info about S90.
just want to know where did you buy your camera and what kind of pouch that they bundled with the camera. as a new reader this may be asking a lot, but can you post a picture of the pouch that you got? 😀
yeah, im thinking of changing my G10 to S90 also because of the size. F2.0 is another point for the consideration.
what holding me back are, 1st extra money 2nd, battery life, 3rd better zoom and i can always curi KY’s S90 if i wanted to. perhaps should just keep this G10?
Nikon D90, roger that, will check it out thanks.
Currently I’m looking at 500D or 450D what do you think of that? I’m looking at a budget around 1000 – 1200 SGD
Currently i am using 550D, so far no complaint about it.
Since 550D is coming out soon, the price certainly will drop.
Just wait for few more weeks
For high IQ compact camera, do you have any more suggestion behind S90, LX3 and G11 (thought G11 is a bit bulky)
Nice review there! I’m considering between LX3 and S90 too. Do you have any comment on S90’s battery life? Thanks!
ed: I bought from 2nd floor in Digital Mall, it’s the normal powershot canvas/nylon type pouch not the leather kind. Aver awards on the ground floor was giving the leather type.
Myhorng: Yah G10 is good, just big and bulky. S90 has it’s own advantages, depends what you want really.
SamuelGoh: Just get D90, you won’t regret it 🙂
Eu: If you have budget Leica M8 or M9 is best haha, other than that can consider Panasonic GF-1 or Olympus EP-2. Other than that true compacts LX-3 and S9 would be the two giving best image quality. Fuji F200EXR is not bad too.
~Jessy~: Battery life is not so great but there are a lot of power saving features and habits you can use to extend it.
Thanks for the superb review. I need a new dig cam anyway. Cheers.
Wow… It Sound great then~
I think I should goto have a look on it…
DSvT & Aussie Blog: If you’re looking for a cam, S90 is the one to get now!
I using Nikon D90 now, but I have a lumix fx30, I’m thinking to buy a compact camera such like lx3, but now maybe I need to go try on this canon G90 1st~
Is that better then the powershot series?
thx for the reply.
i have bought s90 from the same shop in digital mall.
However, i didnt notice it do not have auto focus in video mode until my gf told me…. such a pity.. nice cam though… thx for the review
DSvT: Yah try the S90, it’s great!
thatssoron: It is Powershot series actually, but it’s S line.
Eu: Cool, hope you enjoy it! Yah video is not as good as the LX-3, everything else is better though.
Sorry, but its terrible, to read all that nonsens here.
Why dont you buy a car, or motorcycle, and discuss horsepower etc.? Is here anybody, that is a photographer ?
I suppose there isnt. So go on talking, instead of photographing !
Great comparison. I heard the LX3 has better macro capability too.
Photograph: Er ok, yes of course you discuss horsepower when buying a performance car.
kurt: Yah, both have plus and minus points, but for what I want S90 serves better. Just hope they come out with a model next year with good 720p video because I miss that!
hey shaolin tiger,
am not a pro photographer but am planning to buy semi pro camera, am not sure if that is what is called and today i went to the camera shop and ask the asst to recommend me a compact camera for jewelry photography i.e. need good focus and he recommended the lumix LX3. is this good enough for a beginner?
hope to hear from you soon.
Gerry: Yah the LX-3 is great for macros/close-up shots. You could also consider the new Canon G11. Either of those would be great. A new LX-4 may be coming soon though.
Thanks for the reply. Today I went to check for pricing, one shop no more selling LX-3 and was told LX-5 is coming soon. But the Canon G11 is very pricey right? My budget is below RM1,500 only as am just a beginner. Yday at Sunway Pyramid, LX-3 was offered at RM1,499 with free tripod. Is this ok?
I recently sold my G11 at RM1400. It is a very good camera, very sharp and low noise at high ISO. Why did i sell mine? Coz i bought a Lumix GF1 instead. I do suggest that you wait for the LX5 instead. Mr Tiger, there is no LX4 because 4 is not a nice number. So LX5 it is. Once i have more cash in my pocket… i might get LX5 too..
wah.. you buy camera like us buy shoes. am so confused with all the comparison charts. am just looking for something compact to take macro / close up shots i.e. jewelry and budget rm1,500 and can fit handbag. hehehehe… should i just concentrate on lumix then? any recommendations?
IF money is not a problem.. i would buy Leica instead. Lumix is the nearest. But first of all ask yourself what do you want in a camera. I have a Canon DSLR.. but its heavy to carry around.. so when GF1 came out.. i was doing my research for 6 months.. and in the end.. i bought it. And no regrets buying it.
Both LX-3 and S90 are around RM1500 for a package, I suggest you have a hands on with both, perhaps take something with to shoot and shoot on your own SD card then take the pics home and compare them on your PC screen. Buy whichever one you prefer 🙂