Canon S95 - My Favorite Compact Just Got Better

After just having spent a week in Kauai with a Canon S90 in my pocket, I can tell you that this compact is a godsend on the road. The ability to shoot with a fast f/2 lens in low light and save the images in Raw means that I rarely miss a photo opportunity.

Now, with the just-announced Canon S95,a great camera gets even better.


Canon has added HD 720p 24 fps video, click stops on the back control dial, improved stabilization, enhanced front control ring, and a high dynamic range mode. These improvements address just about every nit I had with the S90. It's an upgrade that I'm going to get as soon as I can.

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Derrick, you've got a lot of experience with these high end compact cameras. I've thought about getting one (e.g. S90 or G11), but am worried about focus and shutter lag - with low-end P&S cameras (the only kind I've actually had a chance to try, since that's what some family members own) that makes them basically unusable for me.

I'm so used to being able, with my D700, to get exactly the picture I'm hoping for because dSLRs have no shutter lag to speak of - but of course, once or twice, I've been caught without a camera because I didn't want to lug my D700 somewhere. How do these high-end point-and-shoots compare in terms of focus speed and shutter responsiveness? I know that's a subjective question...

I have taken over 120,000 photographs with the LX3 - it would have been impossible to lug a DSLR with me to such a degree. And the LX5 and S95 promise even better handling and performance.

As to the shutter lag, of course it is a subjective question. I wouldn't try to shoot birds or butterflies in flight with the LX3 (although I did try), but normally, there really isn't a problem.

For me the question is whether to have a big and fast camera (which I would seldom use) or a small and slower one with me everywhere.

I agree with Juha.

Compacts generally don't have the responsiveness of DSLRs, even premium compacts. But the S90 focuses well and its shutter has not bothered me. You're not going to shoot sports with this camera. But for most shots, it's just fine. This is not a replacement for a DSLR. It's a complement for when you want a camera in your pocket.

When I was looking for a take everywhere pocket camera, I purchased the S90 largely on your recommendation and it's been a constant companion ever since. I love that little camera. I've used the video but have always wanted at least HD 720 and I've always wished the dynamic range was a little better. So now that the S95 has these it's a no brainer for me, I'll be right behind you in line waiting for one.


Thanks, everyone, for the responses.

I wouldn't be trying to shoot sports or butterflies :-) - I'd still have my D700. But, say, at a family party where I wanted to get a shot where my nephew is shoveling ice cream into his mouth... I'd want to have the camera respond before the ice cream has disappeard.

A week or so ago, I was at said party. My sister handed me her compact, and said "please take some pictures" - but it was so slow to focus, and even when focused was so slow to trip the shutter, that after a couple minutes I handed that camera to my wife and pulled my D700 out of my bag.

In a small informal gathering I'd much rather have a camera that's not really drawing much attention - but in the end, I want to get the shot.