Night Out with the Canon PowerShot S95

November 14, 2010 / Media Events, Photography / 6 Comments

I had a phenomenal time playing with Canon’s latest line-up of cameras last week. Canon brought out the IXUS 1000 HS, Powershot SX130 IS, PowerShot S95, PowerShot G12, Legria HF M32 and the semi-pro DSLR EOS 60D for the Singaporean bloggers to have a go at.

I managed to spend some time with the Canon PowerShot S95 and the semi-pro EOS 60D. Here some initial thoughts.

Canon PowerShot S95

This is the mother of all point and shoot cameras. If you have even the slightest interest in photography, you MUST seriously consider this camera. If I didn’t already own 3 cameras, I would probably get one myself. As an entry-level DSLR user, I was totally blown away by what this tiny thing can do! Here’s what I liked:

Breathtaking Night Shots
Its main value proposition? It’s got a very wide aperture of f2.0. For non-enthusiasts, that basically means it can take breathtaking night shots without a tripod.

Here’s a comparison. This photo was taken with ISO 125, F9.0 and shutter speed of 5 seconds. At those settings, almost all cameras can take stunning night shots. But who can hold a camera in their hand without shaking for a whole 5 seconds?! (I used a ledge to support the camera, by the way.)

Marina Bay Skyline, Singapore

So the hallmark of a good low-light camera is for it replicate this image quality with a much shorter shutter speed, while keeping the noise low. Here’s how the S95 fared:


Maintaining an ISO of 125, this shot was taken with f3.5 and shutter speed of 1s. Isn’t it close?!

New Scene Modes
The last time I wrote about Canon cameras, I talked about the Fisheye, Miniature, Color Accent and Color Swap. Canon has upped the ante with even more new modes like Nostalgia and Poster Color. Here are some test shots in Nostalgia mode.

Canon's Nostalgia Mode
Canon's Nostalgia Mode

Nostalgia tries to emulate the feel of older cameras. There are different ‘levels’ of Nostalgia, each level represents an era of cameras so to speak. This has become my second favorite mode after Miniature!

A Pocket DSLR
The controls really emulate the DSLRs. It’s got two control rings, a custom mode to save a shooting profile, it tells you the focal length and even comes with a grid so you can shoot with the Rules of Third in sight.

Who’s it for?
I’m very tempted to say everyone because it’s got an intuitive auto mode for casual shooters, scalability for photography noobs and DSLR-like controls for enthusiasts. I highly, highly recommend this camera.

Canon EOS 60D

This is from Canon’s prosumer range of DSLRs – a range that clearly outmatches my level of skill. I had to spend a whole 30 minutes learning how to use basic functions like adjusting the shutter speed, aperture and custom white balance. I only had one usable shot too. Here’s a picture of Nicole – and even then the white balance wasn’t quite right.


Here are some highlights:
Quick Mode
It’s a mode that lets you see a whole lot of settings at a glance. You press the Q button to adjust these settings. On top of the usual ISO, shutter and aperture, there are things electronic field which helps you judge how you tilt your camera and color fidelity. It took a little getting used but I appreciate the level of control it brings.

Mode Dial Lock
I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing but the mode dials are locked by default. You have to press a button to release the dials every time you plan to switch modes. I guess that would be nifty to prevent your dials from being accidentally switched. I personally prefer my dials to be unlocked.

That’s it for Canon’s latest line-up. Check out my Canon Blogger Flickr set for more sample pictures.