Canon PowerShot S95 digital camera
Canon PowerShot S95 review: small and packed with manual features
- Small size, physical exposure controls, very good image clarity and colours
- Shutter speed a little too restrictive, lens ring could be smoother to operate
If you want a small camera that has good manual features and can capture crisp, vibrant photos, the Canon PowerShot S95 is perfect. We absolutely fell in love with it during our tests and used it every chance we got. It's great for travellers and also for photography enthusiasts who want something that's easy to carry, yet will still let them to retain control over the exposure.
Price$ 599.00 (AUD)
Canon's PowerShot S95 is a compact digital camera that's perfect for travellers or even photography enthusiasts who want a small camera with manual controls. It's very small, yet it's designed to allow you to change the exposure almost as quickly as you could with a digital SLR. If you don't want to change the exposure settings manually, the Canon PowerShot S95 has an auto mode and plenty of scene modes to help you get the most out of it straight away.
The S95 is the type of compact camera you buy when you absolutely must have something that will be very easy to carry around, yet also be capable of capturing very good quality images at a moment's notice. We think it's perfect to take on vacation or on a work trip as it can be used effectively in all kinds of lighting situations.
It has a 10-megapixel CCD sensor, but at 1/1.7in, it's slightly bigger than the CCD sensor in a typical compact camera such as the Canon PowerShot SX210 IS, which has a 1/2.3in sensor. The S95 has the same sensor size as other advanced compact cameras such as Samsung's EX1, but it's a smidgin smaller than the 1/1.63in sensor that can be found in Panasonic's LUMIX DMC-LX3 and LX5. The slightly larger sensor allows more light to be captured, which means that overall the camera can produce more vibrant images than a typical compact.
Sitting in front of the sensor is a 28-105mm zoom lens with an aperture of f/2.0, which is nice and wide for capturing images in low-light situations. It closes to f/4.9 when you zoom in all the way, and the smallest size you can use is f/8.0. Its star-shaped diaphragm renders lights with a lovely star burst–like effect, which can look good when capturing reflections during the day and streetlights during the night, for example.
The lens' diaphragm renders lights and reflections with a lovely star burst shape.
The camera's shutter speed isn't overly quick; it only goes as fast as 1/1600th of a second, but it can slow down to 15sec for night shoots. We would have liked it to shut at least as fast as 1/2000th of a second, which is a speed that most compacts can achieve. Still, this isn't too much of an inconvenience and we had no problems using the S95 on very bright days. At the other end of the scale, we would have liked the shutter to be able to stay open for a least one minute for tasks such as capturing lightning or fireworks at night. (There is a fireworks scene mode, but it only keeps the shutter open for two seconds.)
A night scene as captured using aperture priority mode with a aperture of f/2.0 and an ISO of 100.
Image quality is very good. Pictures are captured clearly and with accurate colour tones; when it's in auto and semi-auto modes, the camera does a good job of properly exposing each scene. Even difficult scenes featuring both highlights and dark shadows were captured accurately. The camera has a good handle on noise up to around ISO 400, but we'd recommend using as low an ISO as possible, as pictures will start to look too grainy above that figure. With the wide aperture, a high ISO isn't always needed anyway.
Colours are rendered accurately and aren't overdone. This was taken in a shaded area.
Even at their full size, images retain their clarity and you can make out fine details.
The S95 is accurate and versatile when it comes to focusing, but it's only accurate if you want to focus on a subject in the central parts of the frame. You can use tracking mode to lock on to subjects and then bring them to the side of the frame if you want to give your photos are more interesting perspective. This worked very well in our tests and we're also pleased with the amount of background blur that occurs with a wide aperture of f/2.0.
We used tracking mode focus to bring Tux to the right side of the frame. The camera kept focus even as we moved closer to him.
The PowerShot S95's physical features are what make it stand out from the crowd. The rotational control on the rear can be used to change the aperture and the ring around the lens can be set to change the function of your choice — you can set it to change the shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation or focus. However, it's not very easy to use it for focusing; because the ring clicks as you move it, it has a fair bit of resistance that makes the camera move, and you can easily lose sight of what you're doing. We'd actually prefer it if the ring didn't click but instead moved smoothly.
The flash pops up automatically when you enable it and it can be closed by disabling it. You have to make sure your finger is not over it when it's invoked. There is no hot shoe on the S95, which means it can't take an external flash, nor does it have an electronic viewfinder. These are features that can be found in more expensive cameras such as the G11. To frame your photos you have to use the 3in LCD screen, which is very bright and relatively easy to view in bright sunlight.
It's hard not to like the Canon PowerShot S95. It feels solidly built and its manual features are easy to use for the most part. We love the focus tracking feature and the overall swiftness of the camera — it can take photos very quickly — and it has enough zoom range to be useful as a travel companion. We wouldn't change much about this camera except for its lens ring: we'd like it to turn smoothly without clicking. Overall, this camera is stunning. If you want a small camera that can take great photos and give you the opportunity to change settings, you should definitely consider it.
Become a fan of GoodGearGuide on Facebook
Follow GoodGearGuide on Twitter: @GoodGearGuide
Stay up to date with the latest reviews. Sign up to GoodGearGuide’s Gear Daily newsletters
Join the newsletter!
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Apple iPhone X
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
WD MY PASSPORT™ Gaming Storage
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Toys for Boys
Bose SoundLink Micro
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
UBTech First Order Stormtrooper Robot
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Google Daydream View VR Headset
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Xbox One X
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Fallout Geeki Tikis
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 TCL X2 review: QLED escapes the premium market
- 2 Fitbit Ionic review: Impressive but not quite iconic
- 3 Acer Spin 5 review: Value for money but conditions apply
- 4 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 5 Sony LF-S50G review: Google Assistant and then some
Latest News Articles
- Panasonic Announces Compact, Lightweight ultra-telephoto LEICA Lens
- Panasonic announce still-shooter flagship G9
- Sony Announces Development of New G Master Super-Telephoto Full-Frame E-Mount Lens
- Sony Expands Full-frame E-mount lens lineup
- Sony’s New Full-Frame α7R III Interchangeable Lens Camera promises to delivers both resolution and speed
PCW Evaluation Team
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
- JBL Link 10 review
- Amazon Alexa and Echo set for Febuary launch
- OPPO Load Up A73 Smartphone With Flagship Features
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- FTSenior Rail Project Manager, Fleet TransformationOther
- CCChange ManagerNSW
- CCLead Pega Systems ArchitectACT
- FTSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior AEM ConsultantACT
- TPInside Sales Process Improvement AnalystNSW
- FTLead Business AnalystOther
- TPProcurement ManagerACT
- FTBusiness Analyst - TableauOther
- FTEmail Production SpecialistOther
- FTProject Manager - NSW Health exp essentialOther
- FTMainframe DevelopersOther
- FTPHP Developer (Codeigniter / Cake)NSW
- FTSenior Java DeveloperWA
- CCNetwork Engineer (Juniper)VIC
- CCIT Service Desk Specialist - BrisbaneVIC
- TPChange AnalystVIC
- FTDevOps Engineer, Continuous Delivery, Cloud AutomationOther
- FTSiebel Project Manager - Immediate StartACT
- CCCall Centre Operator /AdministratorNSW
- TPProject ManagerNSW
- FTNetwork EngineerOther
- TPSystems ArchitectNSW
- CCIT Service Desk Specialist - BrisbaneNSW
- FTBusiness Analyst (Engineer) Mining SystemsOther