Pros + Excellent image quality
+ Excellent interface
+ VERY Handy size
+ Extensive range of Pre settings that cater for any condition
+ Full Manual controls for when your are feeling more adventurous
+ User friendly controls and menus
Cons - No live preview of exposure changes
- Mode Dial could have some better grip
Summary First off, no camera is perfect. This camera isnt perfect but its the best "pocket camera" you can buy. Period. A lot of people compare this camera to the Panasonic Lumix LX5. The LX5 is an awesome camera but I dont consider that a "pocket" camera. It is bigger and bulkier and doesnt fit in your pocket very well. I would almost compare that camera to the Canon G11 or G12. The Canon S95 is simply the best camera if you are looking for something very portable and you can take anywhere with you. I have owned the S90 and now the S95 and its the only camera I use. I take it everywhere to capture my 4 year old in all his activities. I used to lug around a DSLR camera but didnt like it because it was so big and bulky (but it took awesome photos) I looked into this camera (S90 initially) and fell in love with it and its all I use now. The S95 is basically the same but basically three things got better.
Video which was good just got better because its now in HD. The sound which I thought was very good just got better because video is now in Stereo. (two very tiny speakers are now visable on the front of the camera) The S90 was very sleek and some said too sleek because when you held it, some compared it to holding a bar of soap in the bathroom. It was very slick. The body of the S95 has a texture to it now that is better and not as "slick" to the touch. One thing I also like about this camera is it takes action photos a little better. The S90 "sports" mode took photos at a snails pace of about 1 photo every second basically. (DSLR's take about 4-5 per second and are very fast) The S95 does a little better at about 2 shots every second. This still is not very good but is acceptable for a camera like this and does help if you are taking photos of action, etc.
Again, no camera is perfect but this is about as close as you can get until something new comes out next year. However, if you want an awesome "pocket" camera that can take great photos (especially in low light), has a very fast lens (aperture 2.0), can be used fully manual if you want and takes very good video clips, this is the camera to buy. I am sure next year there will be some more improvements with this camera or features added and maybe Nikon or someone else will come out with something comparable to this Canon S95 but it doesnt exist right now. This little camera is the best right now. You wont be disappointed and quit looking around for something comparable because it doesnt exist. The only other camera that I looked at is the Panasonic Lumix LX5. It is a very, very good camera also (maybe a little better then this camera) but it is bigger and bulkier and really doesnt slip into your pocket very well. It also takes photos very well in low light (aperture of 2.0 also) and has a lens that is wider 24mm compared to Canon's 28mm and takes photos at around 3 shots per second compared to the S95 2 shots per second but its a little bigger and about $50 more. I encourage you to look at the Panasonic but the Canon wins for me!! Good luck and quit worrying and buy this camera!!!
Update: Here is a really neat "letter" that was written and posted on Yahoo the other day from an editor with the NY Times....I copied and pasted it into this review. Its good!
Dear Canon S95,
I don't often write love letters to gadgets. But you, you're something special.
Truth is, I've been searching for someone like you for years.
See, I love the huge light sensor that's inside an SLR. It can take sharp low-light shots without the flash. It can blur the background the way professionals do.
I just don't like how an SLR is big and heavy and obtrusive.
What I've always wanted is a little camera with a big sensor. Is that so hard?
Apparently, yes. The problem is covering a rectangular sensor chip with a circle of light from the lens. Bigger sensor? You need a bigger camera. Those are the simple bylaws of physics.
But you, oh, cute little Canon PowerShot S95! I love that you're a pocket camera, only 3.9 by 2.3 by 1.2 inches. I love your big, bright, three-inch screen, your built-in flash, your H.D.M.I. output for hi-def TV sets. I love that you turn on directly into Playback mode, without having to extend the lens.
I love the unique control ring around the dial, which I can quickly program to adjust whatever feature I want: focus, zoom, exposure, light sensitivity (ISO), aperture, even degree of color saturation (all the way to black-and-white).
I've had fun with your special modes, like the tilt-shift-lens simulator and fake fisheye.
I love the wink-driven self-timer. Yes, I set up the camera, walk into the scene, and then wink-the picture is taken two seconds later. Beats hunting around for a remote control. (Or I can ask you to wait two seconds after a new person-that would be me, joining the group-enters the frame.)
But above all, I love your enormous sensor. It's 0.59 inches diagonally-88 percent more area than most pocket cameras' sensors. And I love that you have an f/2.0 lens, a rarity among pocket cameras, meaning that you let in a lot more light.
And all of this means that you, little S95, can take amazing, sharp pictures in low light without the flash. Your designers have shrewdly dropped the ludicrous quest for more megapixels-you have 10 megapixels, just right-in favor of something that really matters, like better photos.
So many times I've used you for pictures at night, indoors, in shadow. Cathedrals, restaurants, parties. No, the results aren't as good as an SLR's-you still manage to blur a shot, especially in very dark situations when the subject is moving-but they're light-years better than any other pocket camera can do. I love to show off your photo samples.
You're even better than my last love, your predecessor, the S90. Because you're slimmer. And now you take hi-def videos-with stereo sound. You have a high-dynamic-range mode, where you combine three tripod shots at different exposures into a single photo with a really great range of darks and lights. Your controls are refined in size and placement.
Look, S95-I know you're not perfect. Your battery takes only 200 shots on a charge, which is very low. You won't let me use the optical zoom while I'm shooting video; in fact, you can't refocus while shooting video, either. (Your arch-rival, the Panasonic LX5, can zoom during video. Then again, it's porkier and requires fussing with a detached lens cap.)
And, of course, you cost twice what most pocket cams cost. You're $400.
But you are the best pocket camera on the market. I have carried you for many weeks, in many situations, and I have been thrilled by the sharpness, color, control and photographic success rate that you give me.
Yes, Canon S95, I think you and I have a long, happy future ahead of us. Heck, you may remain state-of-the-art for several months at least!
But if you will buy the Canon S95 I suggest you have to compare prices before you decide at: www.amazonshotcode.com/Canon-S95
Pros Fantastic imagery
Ease of Use
Super Indoor, Low LIght capability
Flexibility of Manual, Automatic, and everything between
Numerous options for settings to fit the photo situation
Cons Pricey, but when compared to the plastic-case Lumix that is similar...worth it!
Summary Having used numerous high-end cameras over the years....as well as qulaity DSLR's....I've gotten to the stage where 95% of my photos can be done with a top-shelf point and shoot. I've spent the past 3 months reseraching, viewing, and trying various options....narrowing the final choices to the Canon S95, Lumix LX5, and Nikon P7000.
In the end, its about the photo quality - and the S95 wins that battle. Using other point-by-point comparisons and pros and cons of equal value, the Canon S95 also comes out on top. During the past few weeks, I've put the S95 through a wide range of photo scenarios, and it has totally exceeded my expectations - a winner.
Pros Size, Degree of control, Photo quality, Low light ability
Cons Battery life- buy extra battery , Grip is OK (an aftermarket grip is available), Flash pop up location, screen fingerprints, shutter location should be where rotating function knob is (not a problem for you, just when you hand off to someone else)
Summary Very small, solid build, large bright screen that lets you format picture in full sun, amazing ability to shoot natural light photos( without even thinking about a flash); can shoot in almost darkness. Sharp pictures, good focusing and color. Nice zoom range. Amazing amount of adjustment control, Turns on really fast (despite CNET review). I use burst mode for successful child photography- pretty quick, but of course not SLR speed. Very quick review mode. Canon software is good.
Very happy with my choice.
Pros I love the size - super small it fits in the pocket or purse with ease!Great pre-settings.
Cons Pop up flash - in the way at times. Can be complicated for new users or people unfamiliar with manual settings.
Summary For a combination on the DSLR and Point and Shoot this one gets 5 stars!!! Size is amazing - fits in pocket or purse with ease! Highest quality P and S. Bright large LCD. Love the iphone like shuffle for images. Great compensation in low light (such as church/auditorium). Battery seems to live a long time. HD video very nice. I love the ability to quickly change the settings and get what you want easily.
Pros Really good automatic mode
Manual mode is phenomenal
Picture quality is as good as my DLSR in many situations
Fast startup times
Easy to use
Cons A little expensive
Auto mode indoors isn't as good as it could be, but manual mode works great.
Summary Viewfinder and a big battery would be nice, but I think Canon made a good design choice by keeping the camera so small, you will be able to get great pictures anywhere.