Compact Camera Upgrade

Canon’s excellent PowerShot G10 has been my default compact camera choice since June last year. Its combination of superb image quality, RAW capture, effective manual mode and rugged construction made it unbeatable in the sub-DSLR sector.

A modern classic - Canon PowerShot G10

The only problem is that the G10 is a fairly big camera, definitely not something you slip in a pocket. So when I needed a camera, it was just as easy to chuck my Nikon D200 over my shoulder as it was to take the G10 in its leather ever-ready case. Turns out it had taken a mere 588 shots since I bought it, which is a pretty feeble effort (the D200 has taken over 5,000 in about the same period).

Up on Trade Me it went and it sold quickly because it was absolutely mint. There was no point in upgrading to the even better (much better) G11 or G12 because they would just languish unused. I assumed that I’d just live without a compact camera but then I got to thinking that I could have my cake and eat it too with a PowerShot S95.

Nondescript but awesome - Canon Powershot S95

I’ve just reviewed the S95 for a local photography magazine and I was vastly impressed. With the same 10MP sensor that’s found in the G11/G12, the S95 is an astonishingly capable camera. It doesn’t have the G10’s solid body or external dials but it will fit in a pocket, it’s great in manual mode and it can take pictures that are unfeasibly good, even in low light where the sensor shows why it’s the best in the industry at the moment.

I’d still prefer owning a G11/G12 because the design is a modern classic, where the S95 is “just” a great compact camera. Ken Rockwell called the S95 the “World’s Best Compact Camera”. He’s wrong. The G11/G12 would be the world’s best compact camera (assuming you knock the Leica M9 out of the contest based on its typical crazy Leica pricing) but the S95 is definitely the World’s Best Pocket Camera.

It’s already getting a fair amount of use and while I feel a little lost without the G10, at least I’ve now got a camera with me almost all of the time.

4 Comments

  1. Ah herein lies the rub. Brand new camera equals no way to use Adobe products to edit the RAW files. Humbug! Can’t do it with my versions of Camera Raw, Lightroom or even the latest release of the DNG Converter. Have to use Canons DPP software until Abobe releases a version that supports the S95’s RAW files and I don’t plan on installing DPP.

  2. Hi Ash,
    I’m another G10 user (a few more than 588 photos)and found it to be pretty poor in low light and absolutely useless in RAW.
    Is the S95’s RAW performance worthy of using RAW mode ?

  3. Hi there. I didn’t find the G10 to be terrible in RAW but then again, I didn’t spend nearly as much time processing images with it compared to my D200, which is equally bad in low light.

    I wish I could answer your question about the S95’s RAW performance but none of my CS4 or Lightroom 2 software wants to know about the CR2 files from the S95. Adobe’s DNG Converter still won’t support the files and I’m reluctant to install Canon’s Digital Photo Professional on my Mac (I hate installing extraneous software on a computer that I use so much). I’ll wait for the DNG Converter to “catch a wake up” as we used to say in SA, or I’ll have to see if I can get a newer version of Lightroom.

    The DNG Converter supports the S90 RAW files and I’d be very surprised if there had been much of change to the S95. So annoying!

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