Canon S90 - my new AP camera - RC Groups
Thread Tools
Oct 25, 2009, 04:04 AM
Registered User
icebear's Avatar

Canon S90 - my new AP camera

I just managed to get hold of a Canon S90 while in the US last week.

They seem to be sold out everywhere but I got the display unit at BestBuy.

Since the S80 was a great cam and the S90 is smaller and lighter (6 oz) and has a big sensor (1/1.7"), 28 mm lens, Shutter priority, I am hoping it will be a great AP cam...

Firts impressions on the ground look promising and I tried a few AP shots from the window of the airliner going home

More reports to follow - and I know TStokes has got one too so I am sure we will see some real AP shots soon!

Sign up now
to remove ads between posts
Oct 25, 2009, 05:00 AM
Registered User
Wojtass_nt's Avatar
Wow looks like You were so high this time!!

Go Huskies!!
Oct 25, 2009, 06:41 AM
Begin with end in mind...
power's Avatar
Nice camera, I was just playing with one yesterday at Bestbuy, I will be watching your image results.

Oct 26, 2009, 01:45 AM
Registered User
TStokes's Avatar

S90 vs S80

I've been flying S80's exclusively for about three years. Been buying them used on EBay and CraigsList.

Was thrilled to see the S90. I had started considering the G11, but it's heavy. The S90 seems to be in-part an answer to complaints that the G11 is not "pocketable". It has essentially the same specs, but in a smaller, lighter package.

Below are the two cameras side-by-side. As shown, the S80 is 10 oz where the S90 is 6.5. Besides, it is a lot smaller in every dimension, so sits on the plane better. Difference in the 3.5 oz is very noticeable in the performance of the plane.

The "Servo Boards" are my method of driving the shutter. Used with a Shutterbug Pro, they allow me to set precise repeat intervals and prevent the over-current risk of stalling a servo. And there is absolutely no modification to the camera.
Last edited by TStokes; Oct 26, 2009 at 02:14 AM.
Oct 26, 2009, 01:50 AM
Registered User
TStokes's Avatar

S90 Images

Below are some images. We've just planted "winter grass" in the lawns and golf courses, so the green really is intense.

These have been re-touched some, but not enough to prevent evaluation.

For the locals, that's Ocotillo Golf Course on Dobson, the new Intel fab and the condos I call home.

(The weather here might be better than Sweden for camera evaluation, but the scenery falls short)
Oct 26, 2009, 02:11 AM
Registered User
TStokes's Avatar

S90 Comments

In general, there is not a big improvement in photo quality from the S80 to S90. However, to have that photo quality in a lighter package is worth the upgrade to me. There may be a little more sharpness with the S90 and noise in the shadows seems a little less - but I've not taken enough photos to be certain.

The lens focal is the same as the S80, so it has the distortion drop off in the lower corners, like the S80. This is easily compensated in Photoshop, but I left it in the photos above.

The tripod mound is not in the center of the camera body. That matters to me because I use the tripod screw for mounting on the plane, and it's a little more aft when I switch sides. Small enough that the CG is easily compensated by shifting the battery. Didn't have to build an adapter like I once did for a Panasonic.

There's no view finder, so the display cannot be turned off (when flying without video, I generally turn off the display to save camera battery).

The camera's display is beautiful, but the photos look little like they do on the computer. There's more contrast and luminance on the camera.

The photos posted above all used "P" with auto-focus. I've tried all the scenarios with shutter priority and manual focus on infinity, but find that these cameras do a fine job on P. I can't remember the last time I tossed a photo for motion blur.

For the moment, they're hard to get. I have a pretty good relationship with a local camera shop (TCR) so was able to get one held. I paid $430 + tx. This will change in a few weeks.

Batteries are common with a few other Canon models, so are about $40 for the name-brand. Battery life seems a little less than the S80 (but the battery is a lot smaller/lighter).

The repeat rate is not as high as the S80. With the same SD card, I had to reduce the cycle rate on the Shutterbug.

Though I've concentrated on the negatives, I am very pleased. With a slight step in photo quality and a lot less weight, it's just great. SO HAPPY to see a break in the Pixel War.

Oct 26, 2009, 10:37 AM
Registered User
quailbird's Avatar
Boy! That camera puts out beautiful images! Crystal clear!
Oct 26, 2009, 02:40 PM
Supersonic Engineering
GordonTarling's Avatar
Looks like a great AP camera! It'd be most interesting to compare it with the Panasonic LX3 that I've just bought.
Oct 26, 2009, 04:09 PM
Registered User
TStokes's Avatar
Yes, it would. Specs on the LX3 look similar and it has a 24mm equiv lens to boot. I went with the Canon because I was already "in the family" with the S80 and I remember reports of huge noise issues with earlier Panasonics. That's not to say those have not been solved.

Difference with a 28mm lens and, say, the 36mm that comes with some Nikons is significant. I found it impossible to do many AP shots with a 36mm lens. However, the distortion at 28mm is sometimes an issue. I would think this could become a real problem at 24mm, but have no first-hand experience.

Perhaps I just adapted, but I find the 28mm shots most of the sites I am interested in with a comfortable altitude.

Oct 27, 2009, 04:13 PM
Registered User
icebear's Avatar

Thanks for the reports and REALLY nice shots!
Just hope I have weather someday here to try mine too...


Oct 27, 2009, 04:16 PM
Real Time Recon
realtimerecon's Avatar
Both cams. are doing a great job...RTR
Oct 28, 2009, 09:33 AM
Supersonic Engineering
GordonTarling's Avatar
Tstokes - I've had the LX3 for less than a month, so it's only been flown once in that time. I didn't particularly notice any distortion, but then I wasn't photographing buildings etc. In the jpg's that I've taken so far, noise doesn't seem to be an issue, but I tried shooting in RAW and had a BIG problem with noise, so I need to investigate that further. I suspect it was more to do with my RAW processing than a camera issue.
Oct 28, 2009, 12:43 PM
Registered User
is shutter-priority new with the S90? anyone try CHDK (i'm interested in the intervalometer function so it'll take a picture every 4 seconds)?

great shots!
Oct 28, 2009, 01:04 PM
Master Procrastinator
Tango Juliet's Avatar
This is interesting. I'm in the market for an AP camera and I currently shoot with a Canon DSLR. I didn't see any distortion in the above posted photos. I'm not very familiar with the CHDK, but I understand that it allows you to kind of "hack" into the camera to get functions not normally available to the consumer, like being able to shoot in RAW. Do I understand this correctly? And what is the Shutterbug Pro?
Oct 28, 2009, 03:04 PM
EyP3's Avatar
CHDK needs to be adapted when a new camera model comes out. It will probably take some time until a CHDK for S90 is built.

Tango, yes, that's correct.



Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My new AP platform gustabmo Aerial Photography 50 Apr 25, 2005 11:12 AM
Air Camper from NE Sail. My new AP plane? eBird Parkflyers 42 Apr 06, 2005 07:43 PM
Rave My new AP plane Gliding-Peter Aerial Photography 15 May 21, 2004 03:56 PM
My New AP Aircraft and Camera - EZ400G/Pentax Optio flytowner Aerial Photography 34 Mar 11, 2004 10:52 PM
My new digital camera simingx Life, The Universe, and Politics 1 Mar 24, 2003 12:49 AM