Canon PowerShot S95 Review

4.5
September 1, 2010 | Mark Goldstein |

Image Quality


All of the sample images in this Review were taken using the 10 megapixel Fine JPEG setting, which gives an average image size of around 3Mb.

The Canon PowerShot S95 produces images of excellent quality. It recorded noise-free images at ISO 80-400, with some noise and slight colour desaturation at ISO 800. ISO 1600 shows more obvious noise and loss of colour but still remains perfectly usable, and even the fastest setting of ISO 3200 doesn't suffer too badly.

The Canon PowerShot S95 handled chromatic aberrations well, with limited purple fringing effects appearing only in high contrast situations and generally at the edges of the frame. The lens exhibits a little barrel distortion at the 28mm wide-angle setting, along with softening of detail towards the corners. The built-in flash worked well indoors, with no red-eye and good overall exposure, although there's noticeable vignetting at 28mm. The night photograph was excellent, with the maximum shutter speed of 15 seconds being long enough for most after-dark shots.

Anti-shake works very well when hand-holding the camera in low-light conditions or when using the telephoto end of the zoom range. Macro performance is OK, allowing you to focus as close as 5cms away from the subject. The images were a little soft straight out of the Canon PowerShot S95 at the default sharpening setting and ideally require some further sharpening in an application like Adobe Photoshop, or you can change the in-camera setting. The new HDR mode works well, combining three separate images to greatly expand the dynamic range, although you need to mount the S95 on a tripod to prevent camera-shake and fast-moving subjects appear as ghost outlines.

Noise

There are 7 ISO settings available on the Canon PowerShot S95. Here are some 100% crops which show the noise levels for each ISO setting.

ISO 80 (100% Crop)

ISO 100 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 200 (100% Crop)

ISO 400 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 800 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (100% Crop)

   

ISO 3200 (100% Crop)

 
 

Sharpening

Here are two 100% crops which have been Saved as Web - Quality 50 in Photoshop. The right-hand image has had some sharpening applied in Photoshop. The out-of-the camera images are a little soft at the default sharpening setting. You can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default look.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   

Focal Range

The Canon Powershot S95's 3.8x zoom lens provides a focal length of 28-105mm in 35mm terms, as demonstrated below.

28mm

105mm

File Quality

The Canon Powershot S95 has 2 different image quality settings available, with Fine being the highest quality option. Here are some 100% crops which show the quality of the various options, with the file size shown in brackets.

10M Fine (2.28Mb) (100% Crop) 10M Normal (1.03Mb) (100% Crop)

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon PowerShot S95 handled chromatic aberrations very well during the review, with limited purple fringing present around the edges of objects in high-contrast situations, as shown in the example below.

Example 1 (100% Crop)

Macro

The Canon PowerShot S95 allows you to focus on a subject that is 5cms away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

100% Crop

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon Powershot S95 are Auto, On, Auto Red-eye Reduction, Slow Synchro and Off. These shots of a white coloured wall were taken at a distance of 1.5m.

Flash Off - Wide Angle (28mm)

Flash On - Wide Angle (28mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (105mm)

Flash On - Telephoto (105mm)

ISO 64 ISO 64

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, neither the Flash On or the Red-eye-Reduction settings caused any red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Red-eye Reduction

Red-eye Reduction (100% Crop)

Night

The Canon Powershot S95's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds, which is great news if you're seriously interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 15 seconds at ISO 80. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)

Anti Shake

The Canon PowerShot S95 has an anti-shake mechanism, which allows you to take sharp photos at slower shutter speeds than other digital cameras. To test this, I took 2 handheld shots of the same subject with the same settings. The first shot was taken with anti shake turned off, the second with it turned on. Here are some 100% crops of the images to show the results. As you can see, with anti shake turned on, the images are much sharper than with anti shake turned off. This feature really does seem to make a difference and could mean capturing a successful, sharp shot or missing the opportunity altogether.

Shutter Speed / Focal Length

Anti Shake Off (100% Crop)

Anti Shake On (100% Crop)

1/5th sec / 28mm
1/4th sec / 105mm

High Dynamic Range

The Canon Powershot S95 combines three separate images to greatly expand the dynamic range, as demonstrated in the examples below.

HDR Off

HDR On

   

Entry Tags

hd video, hd, 3 inch LCD, compact, wide-angle, 720p, hdmi, manual, RAW, 10 megapixel, prosumer, HDR, 3.8x zoom, s95 review, canon s95, Canon PowerShot S95 Review