This is a fantastic digital camera that is loaded with features and at about $399, the Canon PowerShot S95 is a great value. It has a 10 megapixel rating that works with the DIGIC 4 processor. This is the Canon HS System. It gives great images. The camera can also be used as a 720p HD video camera which records with stereo sound. The camera has an HDMI output port that allows play back on HDTV. This gives a true HD experience for your video. The higher 1080p is not available but is not noticeable. 1080p capability would cost about $1000 more than this camera does. The S95 has an f2.0 lens which is really good in low light conditions. It also gives a shallow dept of field which means that image focusing is controlled across the whole shot. There is a control ring for manual control. The camera has 3.8x optical zoom. One of the best features is the Canon IS, or image stabilization. This is an automatic feature that compensates when the camera moves or shakes during a shot. The photos are captured onto replaceable memory cards. While you can start taking photos right out of the box, you really want to get a compact flash SDHC memory card to go with the camera. These are less than $3 per gigabyte, (GB). The biggest one you can get is 32GB for about $75. This will hold a lot of photos and video time. The camera does support the new SDXC format that will store up to 64GB. Prices are really high for this memory card at about twice the SDHC cost. Good to know that the camera will use the new format, though, so when you see a good SDXC cost, you will be able to buy and use that memory card.
This camera is quite unusual in that it is a compact model with a real HDMI output for 720p HDTV broadcasts. It has 1280 by 720 pixels of high definition imaging. The stereo recording is a great feature to go with the HD video. The video mode will use a lot of camera memory but it is a useful option. You might find that being able to shoot short video sequences with this will reduce your need for a separate dedicated video camera. The HDMI can also be used to send your still photos to an HDTV for a slide show viewing experience. The S95 comes with the cable necessary to connect the camera to your TV.
You will find that the Canon PowerShot S95 is more light sensitive than other cameras with similar specifications. Evidently, the DIGIC 4 image processor adds this capability to the camera. There is minimal noise on these shots. The noise adds unwanted blips and other image degradations to the shot. The higher light sensitivity requires a higher ISO speed. The S95 has a maximum ISO setting of 12,800. Coupled with the f2.0 lens, it helps to reduce blurring on the photos and increase sharpness.
The S95 lens, as discussed, helps to create great shots. This is clearly seen with portraits. You are able to have the subject's face clearly focused with a blurred background for a professional looking effect. The large aperture of the lens lets you capture more details in low light. The lens actually has a larger aperture than many professional cameras costing perhaps $1000 more than the S95.
The Canon S95 comes with Hybrid IS for great image stabilization for your shots. This advanced system compensates for camera shake from two sources which helps to sharpen the image and remove blurring. Even with a zoom setting, the Hybrid IS gives great performance. It uses an angular sensor and an accelerometer that corrects both camera and subject movements. This can be very helpful when you take boating or other action shots.
For maximum flexibility, the Canon S95 allows shots to be taken in raw mode without JPEG compression. It uses more memory for the shot but it gives you great creative control. The raw images are transferred directly to the computer where image adjusting software can be used to process shots are desired.
The camera comes with a powerful Lithium-ion batter pack. This is a rechargeable unit that gives a lot of photos per charge. Replacement batteries are available for about $20 for those who would like to carry a spare. This allows you to take a lot more shots, obviously, and lets you keep active for the whole length of a wedding, or other long running events.
This camera is perhaps the top of the compact digital cameras. The hybrid image stabilization, f2.0 lens, HDMI output and HDTV with stereo capability, are features that you don't often get in cameras worth twice as much or more. Canon has really delivered a great unit with the PowerShot S95 and thanks the the SDXC capability, you will be able to take advantage of the new ultra high density memory cards. If you are looking for great shots whether in automatic or manual mode, you should check the Canon PowerShot S95.