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John Brown
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
Upgrade to S90 from SD800 worth it? on 05/13/2010 22:21:36 MDT Print View

I'm a very amateur photographer who would like to take better photos, and would like the camera to help me! Am considering upgrading from my old Canon Powershot SD800 to the new S90. Is it a big enough jump to matter?

Can't spend more than about $400 (give or take), don't want to carry a dSLR.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Upgrade to S90 from SD800 worth it? on 05/13/2010 22:32:00 MDT Print View

What are your priorities?

Some people want the lightest camera, period.

Some people want the lightest camera that uses interchangeable lenses.

Some people want the lightest camera that uses AA batteries. Lots of the new cameras use proprietary lithium batteries.

Some people want a still camera that can also shoot video clips.

A friend of mine just got the Canon S90, and I was favorably impressed. Another friend just got the Canon SX120 IS, but I haven't seen it yet.

--B.G.--

John Brown
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
Upgrade from s90 to sd800 on 05/13/2010 22:47:27 MDT Print View

Priorities:
Honestly, I've just noticed that with the same level of skill on my end, I take much better pictures w/ the DSLR we have at work than I do with my little sd800. But I'm not gonna lug a DSLR. So, I'm wondering if the s90 is gonna give a big enough bump in quality, at my same skill level, to be worth shelling out for. Also, being able to set aperture, shutter speed is appealing, can't do it on the sd800.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Upgrade from s90 to sd800 on 05/13/2010 23:02:07 MDT Print View

In general, in the big DSLR, you will have a much faster continuous shooting speed. You would have much quieter color noise, and you would have convenient access to manual settings. Maybe those are not that important to you, and the compact camera will be just the ticket.

--B.G.--

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Upgrade to S90 from SD800 worth it? on 05/14/2010 00:08:37 MDT Print View

don't want to carry a dSLR.

If I understand that correctly, you don't want a dSLR...

Let me see if I can help.
Going from the 800 to the 90 you lose a little bit of tele (about 5% not really noticeable) but you gain one full F stop (from 2.8 to 2) that means twice as much light hitting the sensor when fully open.
The sensor is also about 52% larger. Nothing like an SLR type sensor but one of the largest in a compact camera of this size and price range.
So expect more detail and cleaner images particularly in low light.
From DPReview :

It is, above all else, a great walkaround camera, capable of results (particularly at lower ISO settings) that most serious photographers would be more than happy with. The control system encourages photographic experimentation (unlike so many compacts, which simply make it too painful to work manually), but the automatic systems are also reliable - and intelligent - enough to give you great results if you prefer to just 'point and shoot'. The tiny body might not make for particularly good handling, but it's small enough to carry anywhere and the image quality it produces rarely disappoints.
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canons90/page19.asp

Worth the difference ?
You decide.
Franco

Brian Camprini
(bcamprini) - MLife

Locale: Southern Appalachians
Re: Upgrade to S90 from SD800 worth it? on 05/14/2010 06:14:35 MDT Print View

I think this guy's website does a great job of explaining in layman's terms some of the issues you might be debating. Lot's of good info here:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/recommended-cameras.htm

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Upgrade to S90 from SD800 worth it? on 05/14/2010 09:30:40 MDT Print View

Hi John,

Yes, the S90 is an unambiguous step up from your SD. You'll see a clear improvement in your photos and will be able to exercise more control over the camera.

For a little more money you can get into the micro four-thirds system, which will offer quality and control that will leapfrog over either Canon. That's where my money would go, if I were in your shoes.

Cheers,

Rick

John Brown
(johnbrown2005) - F

Locale: Portland, OR
upgrade from sd800 to s90 on 05/14/2010 09:40:14 MDT Print View

Franco: exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for.
Brian: Thanks for the pointer
Bob: thanks for the detailed response...

Rakesh Malik
(Tamerlin)

Locale: Cascadia
Re: upgrade from sd800 to s90 on 05/24/2010 09:28:26 MDT Print View

Though I'm a freelance professional photographer, I use an S90 as my only digital camera when backpacking now. I would recommend something like a gorilla pod, or a similar alternative (StickPic?) if you want to shoot things like flower closeups and sunsets without a lot of sensor noise.

I haven't tried printing any of the images I've shot with the S90 yet, but except for the batch that I shot at a rather high ISO (over 1600), noise hasn't been an issue. I think most people would be happy with up to 8x10 prints from the S90, as long as you shoot with a low ISO, which means use a tripod or shoot with bright light. It wouldn't require a big tripod though.