Canon has produced some tough compact digital cameras that are difficult to beat. The features, design and photo quality make some of the Canon models the best on the market. The Canon PowerShot S90 is a well-made image capturing device but lacks a few key features that could make it better. The S90 is designed for photography enthusiasts but if you are expecting the best of the best with this device, you will most likely be disappointed. If this doesn’t sound like the product you are looking for, visit our compact digital camera page for side-by-side comparisons and more objective reviews.

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The PowerShot S90 is thin, lightweight and small enough to be carried around wherever you go. Designed with a 3-inch LCD screen and a bright f/2.0 lens, pictures are easy to take and the quality is decent. The lens is a key feature on this Canon model and is ideal for capturing images in low light conditions. It is sharp, consistent and features a wide-angle 3.8x optical zoom.

Located on the exterior of the camera are mini HDMI and USB/AV outputs. However, we were disappointed that there was no optical viewfinder to help ensure photo quality. However, optical image stabilization, flash, self timer and white balance features are designed on this Canon product.

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One characteristic of the Canon PowerShot S90 is the control ring that is built around the lens. This is designed to set the control exposure, zoom, manual focus and other options on the device. There are 17 specialty scene modes such as auto, low light, VGA quality and RAW shooting mode that each add to the image quality. The RAW mode is a nice addition and provides the ability to capture images without JPEG compression. This allows you to be more creative and gives you clearer images for editing.

The performance on this image capturing device is best for portraits and landscapes. Unfortunately, the performance also seems to be this device’s greatest weakness. Fast moving subjects are not clear; rather, they tend to be blurry.

Another disappointment we found on the Canon PowerShot S90 is the lack of HD video recording. Too many other compact digital cameras make it to the top with their HD video recording capabilities. The lack of this video capturing feature makes this camera feel outdated and we want more advanced features.

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The Canon PowerShot S90 can capture up to 220 images on a single charge. This is the same number of images captured on the Canon PowerShot SD940 IS and the Nikon CoolPix S1000pj. It may not be the highest number of images available but it still allows for a fair amount of photos to be taken during a weeklong vacation or a significant string of events.


The Canon PowerShot S90 is an average compact digital camera that will provide decent images but lacks many features that would be needed to make it one of the best on the market. The high-quality lens and strong low-light photo quality really enhance this device but if you want something above average, we would keep looking.

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Electronics » Digital Cameras » Compact Digital Camera » Canon PowerShot S90

Canon PowerShot S90 3635B001

Seventeen specialty scene modes are available on this Canon camera.

This compact digital camera has poor overall performance.

The Verdict

This camera has some advanced features but overall lacks what it needs to be the best.