Canon PowerShot S95: Video and Image Quality

by Howard Creech Reads (1,238)
Editor's Rating
9.00

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 9
    • Features
    • 9
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 9
    • Performance
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 9.00
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10


Video Quality
One of the biggest complaints consumers leveled at the S90 was its lack of an HD movie mode. Canon listened to those complaints. The S95’s 1280×720 at 30fps HD movie mode produces sharply focused, properly exposed, color correct videos clips. I shot the video that accompanies this review at dusk. The light was pretty poor, but the video capture is fluid even though it can’t always keep up completely – see the male drummer’s flourish at the end of the clip. Like most digicams, the S95 can’t be zoomed while in video capture mode.

Image Quality
The S95’s image files are clearly optimized for bold bright hues and hard-edged but slightly flat contrast. Viewed on my monitor S95 images look a lot like the slides I shot during an earlier photographic era – somewhere midway between Velvia and Sensia transparencies.

Overall, reds are a bit warm, blues are a little brighter than they are in real life and greens are impressively vibrant, though purples are bluish. The S95’s images are highly-detailed and surprisingly sharp, although I did have some problems (the AF system couldn’t lock focus) in macro mode and a small percentage of my close-up shots came out blurry. In bright outdoor lighting, highlight detail was only rarely blown-out, which is very impressive interpolation and exposure engineering. Comparatively, the S95’s image quality is noticeably better than average.

The S95 provides users with a very good selection of White Balance options, including auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, fluorescent H, flash, underwater, and custom. The S95’s auto WB system does a very good job in most lighting, but like all of Canon’s consumer cameras, the auto WB setting produces colors that are noticeably warmer than real world colors under incandescent light and slightly cooler than real world colors under fluorescent lighting.

Canon S95 Test Image

The S95 provides a very impressive range of sensitivity options, including auto and user-set options for ISO 80 to 3200. ISO 80 and ISO 100 images are virtually indistinguishable. Both show bright colors, slightly hard edged native contrast and very low noise levels. ISO 200 images were also very good, but with a tiny bit less pop. At the ISO 400 setting, noise levels are noticeably higher and there’s a (barely) perceptible loss of minor detail.

Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 80
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 80, 100% crop
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 100
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 100, 100% crop
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 200
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 400
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 800
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 1600
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 3200
Canon S95 Test Image
ISO 3200, 100% crop

ISO 800 images are noisy, but not as noisy as expected – due in large part to Canon’s Dual Anti-Noise System (also found on the PowerShot G11). ISO 1600 and ISO 3200 show flat colors, reduced contrast and lots of noise, but once again less noise than expected.

Additional Sample Images

Canon S95 Test Image Canon S95 Test Image
Canon S95 Test Image Canon S95 Test Image
Canon S95 Test Image Canon S95 Test Image


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