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Canon Powershot S95 review

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Building on the success of the S90, the S95’s handling has been improved and there are some useful new features. Image quality is also right up there with the bulkier LX5, but it does lose some flexibility as a result.

Review Date: 12 Nov 2010

Price when reviewed: £305


Reviewed By: Tim Smalley

Our Rating 5 stars out of 5

User Rating 5 stars out of 5

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Canon PowerShot S90 shook up the premium compact camera segment when it launched last year, offering excellent image quality in a very sleek body. It narrowly missed out against the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3, but with the S95 Canon is hoping to build on the foundations laid with the S90.

Canon Powershot S95

The S95 looks almost identical to the S90, but it’s slightly slimmer and also a bit heavier. Canon has used a new tactile coating on the body to improve handling in the absence of a hand grip and helps to make it feel more secure in your hands. The controls remain familiar and include a shooting mode dial – complete with Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Manual modes – and a selection ring on the lens barrel.

Canon Powershot S95 top

Improvements over the S90 include a 720p HD movie mode – which records in h.264, but both auto-focus and optical zoom are disabled – and an in-camera HDR scene mode that captures three pictures at different settings and combines them in-camera, which works very well but requires a tripod to avoid ghosting from camera shake and can’t be used to shoot fast-moving objects.

The S95 is also the first PowerShot to include Canon’s Hybrid IS technology, which compensates for both angular and shift camera shake. It’s particularly useful for macro photography, but has uses in other photographic mediums.

Instead of being sensor-based, it’s built into the 4.0x 28-105mm f/2.0-4.9 optical zoom lens, which does unfortunately suffer from some minor barrel distortion throughout its focal range. It’s not a huge issue though as the S95 produces technically good images that are very crisp. There’s very little evidence of chromatic aberration and flare is also very well controlled.

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