The Canon PowerShot S95 may be pocket-sized, but testers say this businesslike black camera offers the manual controls -- and high-quality images -- of a larger, pricier, more advanced camera. For about $100 less than the more advanced Canon PowerShot G12 (*Est. $420) , you'll get the very same 10-megapixel sensor, and reviewers say these cameras capture better night and indoor shots than most compact cameras. You'll also get a manual lens ring -- almost unheard of at this size and price -- so you can control nine functions (zoom, focus, aperture and more) with an intuitive twist of your wrist, instead of punching little touch-screen icons or fiddling with a tiny dial.
The S95 also shoots high-quality HD video clips, reviewers say (its major difference from last year's Canon S90). It lacks the G12's optical viewfinder, but the S95 does have a big, sharp 3-inch LCD screen that testers say frames shots nicely and looks gorgeous. However, the S95's optical zoom is shorter than the G12's (3.8x versus 5x) and its same-price rivals'. Testers say the S95 also feels slow, at more than two seconds per shot. Other common complaints include short battery life (200 shots per charge) and the fact that you can't use the optical zoom while shooting video.
We found multiple expert reviews for the Canon PowerShot S95. CNET, PhotographyBlog.com, DigitalCameraReview.com and TrustedReviews.com all test this camera fully and expertly and give clear buying advice. PopPhoto.com is another respected source that gives a shorter synopsis of why the S95 is an important camera. Amazon.com customers aren't shy about posting negative owner reviews, but most people who post there love the S95.
CNET includes the Canon PowerShot S95 in its list of the five best digital cameras, the ones that "blow our socks off." In this full review, Lori Grunin finds fault with the slow shooting speed and short battery life, but she praises its "top-flight photos," loads of manual features and compact size.
Review: Canon PowerShot S95, Lori Grunin, Sept. 27, 2010
With an overall rating of 4.5 stars (out of 5), the Canon PowerShot S95 is one of PhotographyBlog.com's most highly recommended cameras. Mark Goldstein finds a few complaints in this full test -- including the lack of an optical zoom while shooting video -- but he's just as impressed with the image quality and low-light performance as other critics are.
Review: Canon PowerShot S95 Review, Mark Goldstein, Sept. 1, 2010
After a comprehensive five-page review, Howard Creech concludes that the Canon PowerShot S95 "is an almost ideal general purpose digital camera" for both point-and-shooters and knowledgeable photographers. It earns DigitalCameraReview.com's Editors' Choice award.
Review: Canon PowerShot S95 Review, Howard Creech, Sept. 29, 2010
The Canon PowerShot S95 wins TrustedReviews.com's 2010 award for best advanced compact digital camera. Like other reviewers, Cliff Smith finds the S95 a bit sluggish, but its "creative versatility and more importantly image quality, especially in low light, are as good as it currently gets."
Review: Canon PowerShot S95 Review, Cliff Smith, Oct. 7, 2010
The Canon PowerShot S95 is one of a dozen "game-changing" photo products for 2010 honored by American Photo magazine. Its main asset is its manual control lens ring, which allows for uncommonly fine, intuitive control for a pocket camera.
Review: 2010 American Photo Editors' Choice, Editors of PopPhoto.com
With an average of 4.5 stars (out of 5) with over 370 owner reviews posted, the Canon PowerShot S95 is one of the best-reviewed cameras at Amazon.com. Two-thirds of owners give this camera a perfect score, although some criticism is posted.
Review: Canon PowerShot S95, Contributors to Amazon.com