Pros: Compact, lots of features, great sensor, good focal length, Image Stabilized,
Cons: Price tag, low FPS, propietary rechargeable battery
There are so many great things about this camera:
- Uses the Digic IV processor - same one found in the Canon 7D / 5D Mk ii / 60D / Current Rebel bodies
- Compact - fits in my pocket with ease, unlike my old AS590IS
- lens mounted control ring (function can be changed with the press of a button)
- in-camera HDR (I actually like this thus far)
- Face detection (which allows for smile/wink detection for remote shutter control)
- Hybrid Image Stabilization
- 3.0" LCD LCD
- 28-105mm effective zoom
- allows for Manual, Aperture Priority (AV), Shutter Priority (TV), Green Box (Auto) and other modes of shooting
- adjustable timer (in time till shots taken, and number of shots taken)
- allows for Raw capture (and any combination of the sm/md/lg JPG + raw or just JPG, though some shooting modes use JPG such as HDR).
While it has a lot of great features, everything has aspects that aren't perfect.
- Pricey (while I got a great deal on mine, I would be looking at other options more closely if I was paying what the camera is going for, ~$339.00)
- Noise handling -- at very low ISOs, I can sometimes see noise in only slightly-underexposed images
- proprietary rechargeable battery - I'll touch on this a bit more below.
- shooting in raw changes the maximum aperture available (lowers the aperture range).
- retractable flash
- Low FPS
My personal take:
The camera is great in general. I can carry it everywhere I go with relative ease. I like that I can put it in my pocket and go - I've never had a decent P&S camera that I could do that with. I keep mine in a Crumpler Grub - it's kind of like a sleeve for the camera, it was pretty cheap, it protects the camera (it adds some nice padded protection) and the S95 fits in it perfectly in my experience.
The most important thing to take out of this review is that the camera will take great images (if you use it properly). Yeah, this can be said about any camera, but I wont lie and will tell you that I feel like it takes a little getting used to in order to get the most out of this camera. That being said, if you practice with it a bit and learn its ins-and-outs, it will provide you with great images for a long time to come.
I know I listed a couple of strange things as negatives - I wanted to talk about them briefly. It may seem like a long list of cons, but some of them are negligible cons, if even that.
Proprietary battery: I dont like them. For DSLRs, I get it and I accept it, but for point and shoot cameras, it's kind of a situation where you can either have a more compact camera, or a more clunky camera that accepts AAs. Since I'm using rechargeable AAs already in all my flashes, etc, and since I'm used to using AAs in my old A590IS, switching over to a camera with a proprietary battery (and thus charger) means one more thing I'll need to pack when I'm traveling (two if you include the second battery I'll probably end up picking up. That being said, and after thinking about it a bit, I am OK with it because it makes the camera more compact, which is something that I really do appreciate.
Retractable flash: I like the idea - the cover for the flash will have less opportunity to get scratched/cracked/etc because it's not always on the exterior of the camera, but at the same time, it's moving parts, and as we all know, the more moving parts you introduce to something mechanical, the more stuff that can go wrong and break. It's obviously not a deal breaker, etc, but just something that I think could be considered a con. I do appreciate its value though and what Canon was trying to do in protecting the flash. In 6 months, the front of my flash wont be dirty/dusty/yellow/etc like most external flashes on the face of point and shoot cameras, so that's cool.
Low FPS: the camera shoots slow, that's all I can say. I haven't quite tried to get the speed up as fast as I can, but I'm lucky to get a couple of frames off in the same second if I'm shooting raw. This makes the HDR a little interesting because it's best if the shots are in rapid succession (I also strongly suggest putting the camera on a tripod and adjusting the timer to a few seconds in order to make it cleaner).
Given all the above though (and I'm sure I've already said it but I'll reiterate) the pros far outweigh what I've listed as cons above; I would recommend this to anyone who wants to get a nice quality point and shoot camera that will be useful for some time to come.