Canon PowerShot S90

Last update (27 May’12):
– Review by PCAuthority
– Check out the successor of S90; Canon PowerShot S95 Review

Canon PowerShot S90 is a 10 MP compact camera features 3.8x optical zoom (35mm equivalent: 28-105mm) F2.0-4.9 stabilized lens, Digic 4, Dual Anti-Noise system, ISO 80-3200, Manual Control, Raw Shooting and a 3.0 inch PureColor LCD II (TFT) screen. The camera measures 100 x 58 x 31 mm and weighs 175 g

Overall Rating: ★★★★½ | Latest Price Info

Expert Reviews

PCAuthority reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“The LX3 retained sharper details at ISO 1600, but also displayed more noise. On balance, we preferred the S90’s approach.
Automatic focus and exposure, meanwhile, were unerringly excellent, and the extra zoom range compared to the LX3 gave the S90 more flexibility..”

Rating: ★★★★½

AmateurPhotographer reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“Small, stylish and with full manual exposure control, the Canon PowerShot S90 is a great compact camera for those looking for a few more advanced features than the standard compact. Unlike its bigger brother, the PowerShot G11, the S90 is small enough to take anywhere. “
Rating: N/A

SteveHuff reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“My PRO list is much longer than my CON list and the S90 is a heck of a camera for the money. I have to admit, if I were in the market for a nice point and shoot it would be tough to decide between this and the C-Lux 3. The C-Lux 3 is a more beautiful and simpler camera with equally as good image quality but the S90 beats the C-Lux with features and high ISO shooting so it all comes down to features vs looks. “
Rating: N/A reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“Shooting in better light reveals the Canon S90 to be mightily impressive for a compact camera. Colours boast a vibrancy and richness that’s lacking on most compacts and detail is sharp. The macro mode can focus as close as 5cm from the lens too, enabling some pin-sharp extreme close-ups of flowers and the like.”
Rating: ★★★★½ reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“This is a top quality smaller digital camera. It has a great set of features. This is backed up by image quality. I also like the way the Powershot S90 handles. Recommended.”
Rating: ★★★★½

T3 reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“The S90 is not for novices. It’s a powerful camera for those who are serious about photography, but want the advantages a compact offers. It’s expensive, sure, but on balance it’s worth the outlay.”
Rating: ★★★★★

PhotoRadar reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“A great camera in its own right and the perfect ‘second’ camera for D-SLR owners – more so than the PowerShot G11, certainly, because the S90 really is pocketable. You’re not getting gimmicks here, just a really good little camera.”
Rating: ★★★★★

PCAuthority reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“Canon makes bold claims about the S90’s low-light performance. Up to ISO 800, we had few complaints with only a little noise settling in. It wasn’t until ISO 1600 that a few images began to show disruptive amounts of mottled colours and noisy backgrounds. “
Rating: ★★★★☆

ePhotozine reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“It’s a lovely little camera although personally I prefer the bulkier build of the previous S series before they ended production the first time round. The price is a decent point to start at for the amount of features available. It’ll make a very good back-up camera for the photographer who likes keeping control, shooting in Raw and a good lens “
Rating: ★★★★☆

ByThom reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“Like many compacts, the S90 performs quite well from base ISO to ISO 400. Unlike many compacts, I’d judge ISO 800 to be usable for some work. It’s only when we get up to the highest ISO values (1600 and 3200) that things really start to break down and require care in exposing and post processing to get useful images.”
Rating: ★★★★☆

MacWorld reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“You’ll need an extra battery, the burst mode isn’t snappy, and there’s still that nagging shutter lag that we usually have to endure with cameras of this type. But the Canon S90 takes great pictures in just about any lighting situation, and provides easy to use, intelligent controls to do so. This camera gives you confidence. You know that when you walk out the door with the S90 in your pocket, you’re prepared to make great photographs.”
Rating: ★★★★½

PhotographyBay reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“While the Canon S90 will not deliver DSLR-quality images, it stands apart from the most of the point and shoot camera pack with solid image quality and exceptional control over exposure. I can highly recommend the S90 as camera for those who want to get more out of their cameras, but maintain a compact go-everywhere size.”
Rating: N/A

PCAuthority reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“The flash is a lovely retracting affair as with the 200 IS, though the 200 IS feels far more classy. But with its many functions, controls, and options, as well as a nice range of advanced adjustments, this is like having the G11 in a more portable form.”
Rating: ★★★★½

TechRadar reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“The metering system is generally reliable, save for an occasional tendency to overexpose, and the Digic 4 image processor delivers smooth, well saturated shots.. Canon revives its S series compacts with this likeable SLR backup”
Rating: ★★★★☆

Steve’sDigicams reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“While we really like the S90, it does carry a lofty price tag of about US $399. With this said, I feel the level of control offered by such a compact camera, along with the high-end features it boasts, justify the price increase over the top of the line Digital ELPH models.”
Rating: N/A

Canon PowerShot S90 Reviews

Panasonic LX3 VS Canon S90 Comparison Video;

ImagingResource reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“Print quality is excellent from the Canon S90’s images, with good color. ISO 80, 100, and 200 shots are usable if a little soft at 16×20 inches but get quite crisp when printed at 13×19 inches. Even ISO 400 shots are usable at 13×19 but are a tad soft, sharpening up more at 11×14. “
Rating: N/A reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“Long exposures at night were noise-free up to ISO 400 and only slightly noise-affected at ISO 800. Slight image softening was detected at this point but images were still usable (albeit with some post-capture sharpening). Beyond ISO 800, noise was quite visible and shots taken with the ISO 3200 setting were noticeably softened, although printable at snapshot size”
Rating: ★★★★½

NeutralDay reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“Given all of its merits, I can certainly highly recommend the S90, but I’ll go one better and say the S90 is “Essential” for consumers who simply want the best compact available.”
Rating: ★★★★½

CameraLabs reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“Once again it’s not perfect: the absence of HD video, a flash hotshoe or filter mount may be a deal-breaker for some photographers, but for many it delivers a compelling combination of the G11’s power and control in a truly pocketable body. As such it comes Highly Recommended.. “
Rating: ★★★★½

Video Review by;

DPInterface reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“I would highly recommend the Canon PowerShot S90 to anyone else who wants a capable, imaging-savvy compact camera that excels at taking pictures. The camera’s image quality is easily better than most of the competition and its overall value will make buying the Canon S90 something you’ll –never– regret. “
Rating: N/A

NeoCamera reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“Image noise is much better than average for a fixed-lens camera. Although it does start as early as ISO 100, noise increases very slowly at each ISO and Canon has managed to apply noise-reduction gently enough as to reduce noise while retaining a good amount of details. ISO 80 to 400 are usable without restrictions while 800 and 1600 limit images sizes somewhat, mostly due to noise-reduction becoming quite aggressive. ISO 3200 is an emergency only setting, suitable for the smallest print sizes.”
Rating: ★★★★½

Pocket-Lint reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“The good: Creative control options, Control Ring, size, image quality, useful ISO range. The bad: Video offering a little disappointing, price. Verdict: In the hand the S90 is an absolute delight, the Control Ring flirting with the playful side of photography, putting controls literally at your fingertips”
Rating: ★★★★½

DCI reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“Canon PowerShot S90 is rather expensive for a point & shoot camera at $430. But it has the performance to justify it, with the camera achieving excellent scores across most of our tests. Most point & shoot cameras do well in one test but poorly on others, but the S90 was good across pretty much all of them, with accurate color, low noise at most ISO settings and sharp, clear images with plenty of detail. “
Rating: N/A

CNET reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“The good: Excellent control system for manual, semimanual shooting; fantastic wide-angle f2 lens; very good low-light photo quality. The bad: Performance is merely average; no HD movie mode or optical zoom while recording; a couple design miscues. The bottom line: As long as you’re not expecting dSLR speed in a tiny body, the Canon PowerShot S90 is an excellent compact camera for advanced amateurs”

Rating: ★★★★☆

NYT reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“In fact, I’ll come right out and say it: This camera takes better photos than any other pocket camera on the market. “
Rating: N/A

PhotographyBlog reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“In terms of ISO performance the S90 excels in keeping noise down to acceptable levels. Even at ISO 3200, though detail has softened our test images reveal results that arguably, would give lesser compacts shooting at ISO 800 a run for their money, or certainly ones taking images at ISO 1600 if we’re being particularly conservative.”
Rating: ★★★★½ reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“The good: Compact and light; useful features such as time-lapse mode; options for choosing AF frame size; quick to focus; fast performance. The bad: Picture quality starts to deterioriate from ISO 400; control ring operation can be cumbersome; no multi-aspect mode. The bottom line: This advanced compact has a good range of shooting options to keep most shutterbugs occupied, but we think there is still room for improvement in some areas.”

Rating: ★★★½☆ reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“We like: Superb control ring on lens; excellent image quality; able to shoot raw files; compact body; straightforward design. We don’t like: Rear controller can be frustrating; lack of a hi-def movie mode. CNET UK judgement: The Canon PowerShot S90 is a cracker. It’s not just elegant, compact and beautifully made — it also combines high-end photographic controls with a straightforward interface, a seriously good lens and image quality that raises the bar for all other camera makers “
Rating: ★★★★½

LuminousLandscape reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“The bottom line on noise is that ISO 80 and 100 are as clean as any tiny sensor camera yet, but should not be compared in this regard to a DSLR…if you want the world’s smallest and lightest shirt-pocket-sized (SPS) camera that shoots raw and comes in at under $500, the Canon Powershot S90 is the one to get. “
Rating: N/A

Gizmodo reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“And the best camera’s always the one you have with you—for me, that’s this camera, which just happens to be an excellent one all by itself. “
Rating: N/A

Wired reviews the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“The S90 is the best compact camera I’ve ever used… Performance in our shooting was very, very good. Shutter lag was basically non-existent, and images were sharp and nicely balanced in all situations. Low-light shots were especially good, with ISOs up to 3200 yielding usable images. “
Rating: ★★★★½

KenRockwell has a preview of the Canon PowerShot S90 and writes;
“From the prototype I used, I’m dubbing the S90 as the best compact digital camera that Canon, or anyone, has ever made. “
Rating: Recommended

User Opinions

Canon PowerShot S90 User Reviews

A Compact Camera Suited for Serious Photographers | Rating: ★★★★★
“… The S90 is a well designed, solid camera. The build quality is excellent. It’s small, but easy to handle. It has features that aren’t even on my DSLR and is quite capable. All-in-all, a very good camera and well worth the money.” – by Jeffrey

Keeper | Rating: ★★★★★
“Yes. Its a keeper. Easy to use, portable, some nice features, low light performance is amazing (tested ISO 400 and 800 mostly). Zoom is abit on a short side, but thats understandable. Love the front and rear rings and custom button. Waited a few years for this to come out. LX3 is also a great camera but zoom range and size killed it for me.” – by Ilya

walk around photography | Rating: ★★★★★
“… This camera is not for those who want an all in one. It takes video, but not HD. There are cheaper cameras that can take nice shots. If you want the ability to shoot RAW though, and really enjoy still photography, and never want to be caught without your camera….buy this. By the time I’ve actually played with this enough to know what all it can do, my 5 stars will be 5 stars with emphasis. “ – by Kevin

More user opinions | Write your opinion


Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos

Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @ Dpreview
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @ StevesDigicams
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @ ImagingResource
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @ NeutralDay
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @ DPInterface
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @ CameraLabs
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @ NeoCamera
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @ TrustedReviews
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @ DCI
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @ PhotographyBlog
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @
Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos @ Gizmodo
– Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos: 123 @ Canon

Canon PowerShot S90 Sample Photos


Canon PowerShot S90 User Manual (PDF)

Click to view or right click and select Save Target As..(Firefox) or Save link as.. (IE) to download

– Download Canon PowerShot S90 Software User Guide for: Win | Mac


Canon PowerShot S90 Specifications

Recommended price

• $429
• €469
• £449


• 1/1.7" Type CCD
• 10 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 3648 x 2736
• 3648 x 2048
• 2816 x 2112

• 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
• 320 x 240

Movie clips • 640 x 480 @ 30fps
• 320 x 240 @ 30fps
Maximum clip length Up to 4GB or 1 hour
File formats • Still: JPEG (Exif v2.2), RAW

• Movie: MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (monaural)]

Lens • 28-105mm (35mm equiv)
• f = 6.0 – 22.5 mm

• 3.8x optical zoom
• F2.0-4.9
• Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups 7 elements in 6 groups (2 double-sided aspherical elements including 1 UA element)

Image stabilization Yes (Lens-Shift)
Digital zoom up to 4x
Focus • Auto focus :TTL
– 9-point AiAF
– 1-point AF (center or Face Select and Track)
• Manual focus
AF modes

• Single
• Continuous
• Servo AF/AE

AF lock Yes (on/off selectable)
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance Closest focus distance 5 cm
Metering • Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame)
• Center-weighted average
• Spot (center)
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 80
• ISO 100
• ISO 125

• ISO 160
• ISO 200
• ISO 250
• ISO 320
• ISO 400
• ISO 500

• ISO 640
• ISO 800
• ISO 1000
• ISO 1250
• ISO 1600
• ISO 2000

• ISO 2500
• ISO 3200

AE lock Yes
Exposure compensation +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
Shutter speed • Auto (1 – 1/1600 sec)

• 15-1/1600 sec


• Auto
• Program AE

• Shutter Priority AE
• Aperture Priority AE
• Manual
• Custom
• Scene

• Low Light
• Movie

Scene modes

• Portrait
• Landscape
• Night Scene
• Night Snapshot
• Kids & Pets

• Indoor
• Sunset
• Foliage
• Snow
• Beach

• Fireworks
• Aquarium
• Underwater
• Color Accent
• Color Swap

• Nostalgic
• Stitch Assist

White balance

• Auto (including Face Detection WB)

• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H

• Flash
• Custom
• Underwater
• White Balance Correction

Self timer • 0-30 sec (1-10 frames)
• FaceSelf Timer
Continuous shooting • Approx. 1.9 shots/sec.
• AF: Approx. 0.6 shots/sec.
• LV: Approx. 0.8 shots/sec. (until memory card becomes full)
Image parameters My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red, Custom Color)
Flash • Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye reduction
• Slow Sync Speed : Fastest speed 1/500 sec
• +/- 2EV in 1/3 stop increments
• Face Detection FE compensation
• Safety FE

• Flash exposure lock
• Manual Power Adjustment
• Second Curtain Sync
• Range (Auto ISO):50cm – 6.5m (wide) / 2.5m (tele)

External Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1
LCD monitor • 3.0 inch PureColor LCD II (TFT)

• 461,000 pixels
• 100% coverage
• Adjustable

Connectivity • USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
• HDMI mini connector
• AV out (PAL / NTSC switchable)
Print compliance PictBridge
Storage SD, SDHC, MMC, MMCplus, HC MMCplus
Power Rechargeable Li-ion Battery NB-6L
Weight (no batt) 175 g
Dimensions 100 x 58 x 31 mm

2 Responses to “Canon PowerShot S90”

  1. Gerald Horgan says:

    Great Great camera – I got it on a holiday in Philly, I am very happy with it

  2. Ladislav Solc says:

    Clever repair of the “free” ring!

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