Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS Review
(also known as the Canon Powershot SD790 IS)

Review Date: May 5th 2008
Author: Gavin Stoker

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Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

Image Quality

All of the sample images in this Review were captured using the 10 megapixel Superfine JPEG setting producing a file that is between 4-5Mb.

Noise

The Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS has 6 ISO settings. At ISO 1600, noise reduction is apparent and detail is noticeably soft, if, at a push, there is more edge definition when comparing an identical sample shot from the IXUS 80 IS alongside the IXUS 90 IS at the same setting but, as I say, it's only noticeable if you're really looking for it. Noise appears at ISO 400 and upwards, though generally subjects are more clearly defined on the Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS. 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 900 (100% Crop)

ISO 1600 (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 at the default setting are a little soft and benefit from some further sharpening in a program like Adobe Photoshop. Alternatively you can change the in-camera sharpening level if you don't like the default results.

Original (100% Crop)

Sharpened (100% Crop)

   
   

Chromatic Aberrations

The Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS handled chromatic aberrations quite well during the review. Though there is some evidence of pixel fringing if you look hard enough, it's no more and probably a lot less than you'd expect from a snapshot camera pitched at the entry-level end of the market. Here are some 100% crops which show the typical chromatic aberrations that you can expect.

Chromatic Aberrations (100% Crop)
Chromatic Aberrations (100% Crop)
   

Macro

The Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS offers a Macro setting that allows you to focus on a subject that is 3cms away from the camera. The first image shows how close you can get to the subject in Macro mode (in this case a compact flash card). The second image is a 100% crop.

Macro Shot

Macro Shot (100% Crop)

   

Flash

The flash settings on the Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS 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 (35mm)

Auto Flash - Wide Angle (35mm)

ISO 64
ISO 64
   

Flash Off - Telephoto (105mm)

Auto Flash - Telephoto (105mm)
ISO 64
ISO 64
   

And here are some portrait shots. As you can see, both the Flash On and Red-Eye Reduction settings caused a small amount of red-eye.

Flash On

Flash On (100% Crop)
   

Flash - Red-Eye Reduction

Flash - Red-Eye Reduction (100% Crop)
   

Night Shot

The Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS's maximum shutter speed is 15 seconds in Long Shutter Mode, which is good news if you're interested in night photography. The shot below was taken using a shutter speed of 1 second, aperture of f/2.8 at ISO 200. I've included a 100% crop of the image to show what the quality is like.

Night Shot

Night Shot (100% Crop)
   

Overall Image Quality

Without comparing like for like, it's hard to determine any visible difference between the images delivered by the 10 megapixel Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS and its 8 megapixel little brother, the IXUS 80 IS. Once again colours are naturalistic bordering on vivid straight out of the camera, with skin tones flatteringly healthy. Highlights tend to burn out, bright sun results in occasional lens flare, there's visible if thin purple fringing between areas of contrast, and generally the performance is that which you'd expect from a camera that throws the lion's share of its weight behind exterior design: good enough, if no prize winner. At ISO 1600, noise reduction is apparent and detail is noticeably soft, if, at a push, there is more edge definition when comparing an identical sample shot from the IXUS 80 IS alongside the IXUS 90 IS at the same setting but, as I say, it's only noticeable if you're really looking for it. Unsurprisingly, an image taken at ISO 1600 on the IXUS 80 IS still holds up better than one taken on the IXUS 90 IS at ISO 3200, which appears distinctly soft and watercolour-like in comparison. Though a nice extra to have on what is essentially a snapshot camera, it's a setting you'd reach for in desperation. Noise once again appears at ISO 400 and upwards, though generally subjects are more clearly defined on the Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS. Red eye is noticeable mainly by its absence in flash shots, and though I had the image stabilization permanently on, its results in low light still as we found with the IXUS 80 IS proved a little hit and miss. Luckily the large-ish rear LCD lets you pretty quickly determine whether your shot is soft or not, and you can take corrective action accordingly.

Page 1
Introduction / Ease of Use
Page 2
Image Quality
Page 3
Sample Images
Page 4
Design
Page 5
Specifications
Page 6
Conclusion

DIWAPhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.

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