Thoughts on the Canon Powershot S90

I realized, after posting the photo above to Flickr, that it’s very likely that Bridget was the one who actually took it! I was using my D300s with the Tokina 11-16 fitted when we arrived at this scene in the Maruyama area of Kyoto. She had the Canon S90 on her, and while I did ask her to hand it over a few times to get some shots in this area myself, I can’t remember for sure if I actually took this one. Oh well! This image was processed in-camera using the S90’s “Film” color mode, and I added a touch of vignette in Lightroom 3 beta. So Bridge, if you took this, good job!

Speaking of which, Bridget did take a lot of fantastic photos with the S90 during our trip. She really took to the camera because it’s such a joy to use. I would set up a white balance appropriate for the scene for her, set the camera to Program Auto (usually), and program the control ring around the S90’s barrel to adjust exposure compensation. Then I simply told her:

“If it’s too bright, twist the dial this way. If it’s too dark, twist it that way.”

That’s it!

With that awesome control ring allowing easy access to exposure comp adjustment, she was able to focus on composing, and the camera stayed out of her way (the control ring is that black bezel you see around the lens in the image above, and is the S90’s coolest feature). I often used the camera in the exact same way myself. The S90 tends to expose a little hotter than I prefer, so I’m usually dialing in at least -1/3 EV when I’m shooting with it (the above shot has a -4/3EV dialed in by either me or Bridget, can’t remember!). I also found that it was a lot of fun to use the S90 in full manual. The control ring around the lens would set aperture, and the control wheel on the back would set shutter speed. Wow! I felt like I was using a film camera again! The combination of seeing the live view preview, a live histogram, and a live EV read-out on the LCD while composing made it dead simple to nail the exposure I wanted every time. No compact camera has ever given me a control experience like this one!

Here are a couple sample photos that show how great the JPEGs produced straight from the camera look from the Canon S90 (neither of these were adjusted in post):

I finally feel like I have a true compact camera with the control and feature set that can be utilized and appreciated by both a beginner and a more advanced photographer. Good job Canon!

So anyway, we were heading up to this huge temple in Maruyama-cho. To get to it, you had to scale these ridiculously steep stairs. The first image was the view from the bottom. Here’s what it looks like from the top:

I’m not sure this image really tells you just how steep these stairs were, but they were STEEP. Worth the climb, however. =)

Top Image: Canon S90
Second Image: Nikon D300s + Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 VC
Third and Forth Image: Canon S90
Fifth Image: Nikon D300s + Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8

8 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Canon Powershot S90

  1. Cool post! I don’t remember if I took it, either. Bo well! But I am totally in love with this camera. Soooo glad we bought it.

  2. I appreciate this blog. Our camera (Sony T8 or T9…i forget since we bought during our first trip to Japan) is on it’s last leg so B and I will be shopping around for a new one. I’ve heard good things about Canon’s and now your input is swaying me towards the s90.

  3. Hi Jonathan !

    I can’t believe I missed your last few posts 🙂 Remember how you were jealous when I was in Japan myself last november ? Well, you have your revenge !

    You took great pictures and as always, it’s a pleasure to have a look at them, as well as reading your posts.

    Take care.

    1. Nicolas! Good to hear from you. Yes, the photos from your last trip really inspired me, and I thought of them when I was over there. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Wow, these steps are this steep? I myself have visited this temple, but I don’t remember;p

    I love the first photo, it expressed the tranquil ambience well. The pink color is very beautiful and stands out in the other dusky colors:))

    1. コメントありがとうございます!

      After enjoying the tranquil images of parks and temples in Japan that you’ve been sharing, I’m glad I finally had a chance to take some of my own =)

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