Canon Powershot S90 Review

Advanced Digital Cameras

Canon Powershot S90 Ease of Use 7
Features 9
Movie Mode 8
Build Quality8
Colours 9
Photo Quality 9
Style 8
Lowlight 9
Macro 10
Value for Money 9
10 Megapixels
3.8x Zoom
3 inch LCD Screen
100.0 x 58.4 x 30.9 mm


The Canon Powershot S90 is a small digital camera packed with features. These include manual exposure modes, the ability to shoot in RAW mode and a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2. More standard features include 10 megapixels and a 3.8x wide angle lens.

When it comes to picture quality the Powershot S90 is hard to beat unless you are looking to step up to a Digital SLR. This camera showed no obvious weaknesses in any of my photo tests.

Another plus point is the way the camera handles. It is relatively easy to access the various controls on offer. One feature I really like is the lens ring. By twisting the ring you can change settings. You can choose the feature you would like it to control. For example it can be set to fine tune focusing manually.

Other classy touches include an LCD that offers great clarity.

Overall I am very impressed by the quality the Powershot S90 offers and I am happy to recommend this camera.

Main Features

LCD Screen:

3 inches
100.0 x 58.4 x 30.9 mm

HD Movies:
Manual Controls:
Memory Cards:

Lithium Ion

Image Quality - See Sample Images Below

Outdoor Scenic Shots in Good Light

The Powershot S90 manages to produce some top quality photographs. The definition in each of my outdoor test shots leaves the majority of cameras trailing in its wake. Part of the reason for this is likely to be the size of the CCD unit Canon have used with this camera. I also like the fact they have not gone overboard trying to pack too many megapixels onto the sensor.

All four of my outdoor test shots are far sharper than I am used to seeing. This is especially true when looking at the second test shot with the lens zoomed out. There is a very minor issue in the same shot with purple fringing, but I doubt this will be a problem you are likely to notice with any print.

I also like the depth of colour the Powershot S90 manages to pack into the photo.


My three portrait shots work very well. They have the right mix of colour, light and sharpness. Starting with the outdoor portrait shot the Powershot S90 manages to liven up the colours in the shot more than a lot of cameras do. This creates a more pleasing portrait.

When you need to use flash you will find this camera has more settings than the vast majority of compact cameras. As you get to know the camera and how it works best you should be able to fine tune your photos using flash to get the best possible results. In my test the lighting is subtle and evenly spread.

With flash turned off there is still enough light for the camera to focus. It is also able to keep noise levels under control allowing high levels of detail and definition in the photo.

Macro, Colours and Noise

I think it would be difficult to find a better quality macro shot from a small compact digital camera. The definition showing in the shot is excellent.

There is plenty of depth to the colours produced by the Powershot S90. The camera also uses light very well to produce a string of bright, colourful shots.

With such a large maximum aperture this camera should have an edge over many rival cameras when it comes to working in lowlight. This should mean that noise is reduced when light starts to fail.


Overall the picture quality is the highest I have seen for quite some time. The level of detail in each of the shots is very impressive.

See sample images link arrow


The design is very simple and unfussy. The finish is very smooth. You need to take care when handling this camera. I used it on some very cold days. On more than one occasion the combination of smooth body and cold hands almost led to the camera slipping out of my hands.

Shutter Lag Times

Shutter Lag Rating Par

Single Shot
Five Shots
Single Shot With Flash
Five Shots With Flash
Turn on Time

0.35 seconds
12.29 seconds
1.65 seconds
15.12 seconds
2.39 seconds

Shutter Lag Table link arrow

Ease of Use

Ease of Use - Par The Powershot S90 gets a difficult rating because of the number if features it has. To get the most out of this camera will take plenty of time. It should be time enjoyably spent though.

Points I Like

Picture quality - LCD screen - Handling - Features

Where it Could Improve

Shutter delay with flash

Product Shots

Front View

Front View

Back View

Back View

Top View

Top View

Sample Menus

menu 1 menu 2

menu 3 menu 4

Top Rated Cameras in this Category

Panasonic DMC LX5 Rating 91/100

This camera is one of the very best I have ever reviewed. Picture quality is excellent and I love the small size of the camera. It is packed with advanced features and I found it was able to handle a variety of different shooting conditions without a problem.

Read Review: Panasonic DMC LX5 Review

Related Pages

Canon Powershot S90 Review Canon Powershot S90 Specification Canon Powershot S90 Sample Images Canon Powershot S90 Features Canon Digital Cameras

Review Date

May 2010

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