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August 19, 2009

New Canon Powershot S90 IS takes aim at Panasonic LX3

Canon took notice of the popularity of the Panasonic LX3, and hoping that they can have a better reading on the supply and demand curve, they have now re-imagined their popular SX0-series with the brand new Powershot S90 IS.

The previous camera in this series, the then popular Canon S80 was introduced four years ago. And just like Canon did with the G-series (and GINO G7), they were forced by the invisible hand of the market to re-vitalize the S-series, otherwise they would risk letting Panasonic and Ricoh have an increasing interest-share.

Canon SD90 IS front view

Canon S90 Points of Interest
+ 10mp 1/1.7" CCD sensor (what happened to Canon's own CMOS project?)
+ 28-105mm f2-f4.9 (yes, f2 is here!)
+ with image-stabilization
+ control-ring (concentric to the lens) attached to camera body on the front let's you adjust camera function of your choice (zoom, ISO, expo, focus, WB) [interesting!]
+ manual exposure
+ new Low Light mode that promises better results
+ 17 scene modes
+ up to ISO 12800
+ on-board pop-up corner flash
+ no OVF, no hot-shoe
+ 3-inch LCD (461K dots)
+ turtle-mode (oops, burst-mode): 0.9fps (imagine if it was 15mp instead of 10mp)
+ 30fps VGA movie mode (no HD!)
+ Elph-in-Tuxedo styling
+ uses existing NB-6L lithium-ion battery, with a rather disappointing CIPA rating of 220

Canon S90 IS sample pictures (by Canon itself) [New!]
Canon has published three full-size JPEG samples pictures on their own website. To find them, first locate the red link that says "View Sample Images" under the "Features" heading. Then click on it and the three pictures will appear. There is no direct link to this page, so you have to do this routine to locate them.

Early reactions
+ Excitement among some Canon users
+ Better than the new G11?
+ Discussion of the two at GetDPI

Closest Competitors
+ Panasonic LX3
+ Nikon P6000

Price and Availability
The camera's starting price will be $430 with a September release date according to the press release. It is already available for pre-order at Amazon, also for $430 (add to cart). Initially Amazon had the price of $450. Regardless, Amazon has an on-going pre-order low-price guarantee, so you will get the lowest price.

The European prices and availability are mentioned at the bottom of the article at Pocket Lint.

The camera also has a companion (optional) underwater housing that goes for $200 and is available for pre-order as well.

The Perils of Web 2.0 [New!]
One of the side-effects of Web 2.0 when you don't have someone actively engaged, is what just happened on the S90 product page. A prankster left a fake negative review of the camera.

Further Reading
+ Hands-on at Pop Photo Flash [New!]
+ Short hands-on with the camera at dpreview
+ Canon's product page

Canon SD90 IS back view

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