Canon S90 - Lacks Optical Viewfinder
by Bill Bates
I bought the Canon S90 in hopes of replacing my aging Canon SD800IS, they both have the same zoom range but the S90 has a faster lens and larger more sensitive sensor. Plus it's a Canon so the controls & menu systems would be mostly familiar.
My opinions are rather mixed, in terms of picture quality, handling, and ease of use the Canon S90 is superior. The dual control wheels allow a ton of flexibility in programming & adjusting all sorts of custom settings without going into the menu system like I'd have to do with the SD800IS.
For instance I can program one of the wheels to adjust colour balance and the other for exposure, I can quickly dial in the desired look of the photo without wasting time in the menu system.
The picture quality is also a lot better, the larger sensor and faster lens gives much better performance in poor lighting. ISO 400 on the SD800 is useable only for smaller web photos, the same setting on the S90 is still perfectly acceptable for making 6"x8" prints.
The downside to me, and it's a rather serious one is the lack of an optical viewfinder. Because of the type of photography I do, I tend to find myself in bright sunlight with the sun shining directly into the LCD screen.
As good as the screen is it's still barely visible in those situations so I need an optical viewfinder as a backup for framing the subject. If Canon could just squeese an optical viewfinder in there, the Canon S90 would be the perfect digital camera for me.