Category Archives: Canon Powershot S90

Canon PowerShot S100

Looks like Canon is about to come out with a new compact point and shoot which will replace the S95 which replaced the S90: Canon S100: The New Pocket Powerhouse Point-and-Shoot.

Here’s Canon’s “official” page on it: PowerShot S100.

Here’s DP Review’s Canon Powershot S100 Preview.

As yet we’ve only been able to handle an early pre-production S100 briefly, but initial impressions are positive enough. It’s as fast and responsive as we’d expect from a Canon Powershot, and the handgrip, despite its minimal size, goes some way to addressing one of the criticisms of its predecessor. The rearranged control layout means you can now initiate movie recording in any exposure mode, without sacrificing any particularly important external control over other functions.

Of course everything will depend on the image quality obtained from the new lens and sensor, and as yet we simply can’t comment on that in any sensible way. Canon is making some pretty confident claims in this regard, calling the S100 the best Powershot yet with 1/4 of the S95′s image noise at ISO 1600 (in its JPEG output, of course). So we’re very much looking forward to getting our hands on a finalized camera to see how this works out in practice – naturally we’ll bring you sample images as soon as we possibly can.

The most important updates for me are:

- Canon CMOS sensor (S90 and S95 use CCD)
- Slightly higher resolution (12 MP vs 10 for S90 and 95)
- Better ISO range: 80-6400
- New image processor (Digic V)
- 24-120mm, F2.0-5.9, (S90 and S95 have 28mm on the wide end)

Looks like they’ve moved the ring function button from top deck to the back which is great. I hit it by mistake on the S95 from time to time when turning the camera on and off. Nice improvement.

There are more new features as well but given the way I used my S90 and now use my S95 the best new feature for me is the 24mm end of the zoom lens. This will make landscape and other types of photography much more interesting from this camera. And, the fact that Canon has kept the aperture at f/2 even at 24mm is a wonderful thing. Of course, 24mm may introduce distortion where 28mm did not. Time will tell.

I’ve enjoyed these small cameras tremendously for travel and even though I’m using my iPhone quite a bit there’s nothing like a “real” camera with exposure controls and a decent sensor and lens for making better images.

This camera is no Fuji X100 but given the new sensor it will be interesting to see if it gives potential X100 buyers pause. Not that there’s not room for both of these cameras, there is, and I could easily see having both myself.

[via Steve Splonskowski]

Rattlesnake on Schaghticoke Ridge

Dave shooting a rattlesnake

Schaghticoke Ridge, Appalachian Trail, Kent, Connecticut. We’ve been hiking this section of the AT between Bull’s Bridge and Rt. 341 for three years now, done the hike dozens of times all year round and have never seen a single rattlesnake. This ridge is sometimes called “rattlesnake ridge” because of the number of snakes on it. Everyone seems to see snakes but us.

Well, today we saw one and not anywhere near where we thought we’d see one. Dave came close to walking into it and backed off as it rattled. We took some pictures and it crossed the trail and went into the woods. I’d say it was between 3 and 4 feet, Dave thinks maybe a two year old animal.

It scared the shit out of both of us.


Travels with iPad and two cameras

outside Sagrada FamiliaMy friend Steve, his wife Cathy and daughter Kristen who live in Oregon recently went on a three week trip to Spain. They wanted snapshots of the trip and wanted to be able to communicate with the outside world as they travelled (email, upload pictures, etc.). These folks like to travel light so no taking their Canon 7D DSLR, lenses, or a computer. Here are Steve’s notes on their trip.


- Canon PowerShot S95 (Steve’s camera)
- Sony DSC-TX5 (Kristen’s camera)
- 5 SD cards ranging in size from 1GB to 4GB
- AC chargers for both cameras
- iPad 2 (16G Wifi model)
- Zagg iPad case with built-in Logitech Bluetooth keyboard
- iPad camera connection kit
- 2 iPad AC chargers (also used for charging iPhones)
- USB charging cable for the Zagg (using an iPad charger)
- 4 US to Spain (Type C) plug converters

Sevilla from the cathedral bell tower

The plan and its execution

1. The plan was to offload each camera every day onto the iPad for back up. And to change SD cards occasionally during the trip. We considered shipping the cards back home during the trip but did not do this.

2. The first misstep of the execution was forgetting to change the date/time on the cameras when we arrived in Spain. I had thought about this ahead of time but forgot when we arrived (jet lagged) in country. To compound this problem one of cameras was setup for DST and other other was not. So not only where they on the home timezone, they were about an hour different from each other. I plan to programmatically adjust the image file timestamps now that we are home.

3. The iPad and camera connection kit turned out to be a very smooth way to offload the photos and view them. This was a complete success for us. Altogether for the 22 days we took 1244 photos with a total size of 4.3 GB. The iPad started getting full at one point – we had a movie on it that we were planning to delete if needed and that did the trick.

4. For sharing photos with folks back home I setup a ‘Spain trip’ set on flickr that we would push photos onto during the trip. The good news is that we had Wifi access at all of the locations we stayed (this was part of the criteria for selecting lodging). As a note, this was much different from our experience 4 years ago in France and Italy were we struggled to find internet access. We pushed a couple of pictures up to flickr each day – everyone back home liked seeing the photos and keeping track of our progress on the trip.

5. I had found an app for the iPad called Snapseed that provided some basic photo editing capabilities and sharing to flickr. This worked out pretty well. It would be nice if Snapseed had better photo library browsing UI (it uses the standard iOS UI in a popover and does NOT remember your place from the last browsing session). The editing facilities worked just fine. The flickr upload worked pretty well overall, but seemed to have problems adding the photo to the flickr set on marginal Wifi connections (it would report a timeout). Richard noticed that photos uploaded to flickr with Snapseed did not seem to have their original EXIF data. I need to do some testing to see if any of the iPhone/iPad apps get this correct. Finally, the EXIF data is intact on all of the photos that were loaded onto the iPad (and then subsequently brought onto my Mac in iPhoto).

6. The Zagg case with the Bluetooth keyboard was a huge success. It is a rigid aluminum cover for the iPad so it is well protected for travel. And the keyboard was a pleasure to use for writing email and other typing chores – huge benefit over using the on-screen keyboard. The keyboard battery did not require charging for the full three weeks.

Except for forgetting to set the time/date on the cameras, things work out really well. This was a light kit of gear that provided a bunch of functionality and a good way to backup and share our photos while traveling.

If you have questions or comments please post them here.

Beaver pond reflection and mountain laurel

Beaver pond reflection

Schaghticoke ridge, Kent, Connecticut. Dave and I found a new beaver pond on a hike between Rt. 341 and Bull’s Bridge on the Appalachian trail and as we walked down the edge of it I noticed some interesting reflections.

Mountain laurel

The mountain laurel are in bloom along the Appalachian trail in Connecticut. Good time to be out enjoying the pink and white colors.

Golden ragwort

Golden rag wort

Taken with a Canon Powershot S90 camera

On the Appalachian Trail near Sheffield, Massachusetts. I’ve been taking pictures like these with my iPhone and Instagram because it’s fun and easy to upload them to both twitter and flickr this way but in doing so I miss the quality of a “real” camera. Of course, calling the S90 a real camera compared with a Canon 5D and decent lens is almost laughable except in a relative sense (relative to an iPhone’s camera).

Interesting how ease of posting can influence tool used.

Golden rag wort

Taken with an iPhone and Instagram

Bear Mountain in sunlight

Bear Mountain in Sunlight

Salisbury, Connecticut. Driving north toward the town of Salisbury I noticed that the storm clouds over Bear Mountain lifted and the sun lit it up. Dave in the car ahead of me noticed it too and we both stopped to try to get a shot of it.

We used two cars because we hiked from Salisbury to Bear Mountain on the Appalachian trail (the ridge to the left of Bear Mountain), one way, car to car. Very nice hike but the trail was flooded with water in places from the heavy rain we had on Saturday. You can see the stream in this field swollen as well.

Rand’s View on the Appalachian Trail

Rand's View

Salisbury, Connecticut. In guidebooks this is the best view in Connecticut. Not sure I agree but it’s a nice view north to Bear, Race, and Everett (mountains). Nice hike with a large group. Spring is here and there are only small patches of snow in shady spots. Yes!

This is the same image that I took with an iPhone. A “real” camera does a bit better.

More ice-coated mountain laurel

Dripping with ice

Bear Mountain, Connecticut. Hiking around the back side of Bear Mountain we encountered more mountain laurels coated with ice. The hike was both wonderful and terrible: under two feet of snow was running water from rain and melt off and every now and than we’d break through the crust and get soaked in the “stream” under the trail. The pleasures (tortures) of spring hiking…

Coated with ice

Coated with ice

Mountain Laurel buds in ice

Bear Mountain, Connecticut. We hiked up Under-mountain trail onto the Appalachian Trail and up onto Bear Mountain the other day and the last 500 feet of elevation gain saw everything coated with ice. It was a beautiful scene and we stood around photographing so long our hands got cold and we had to get moving again. We could have spent hours here with tripods and DSLRs and macro lenses but alas, it was about 20 F with wind, not a great environment for relaxed photography.

Mountain Laurel branch in ice

Oak branch and acorn in ice

Mountain Laurel branch and buds in ice

Pine needles in ice

Fall reflected in Race Brook

Fall refelected in Race Brook

Race Brook Falls, Massachusetts. Dave and I took a late afternoon hike up Race Brook Falls to Mt. Race and the afternoon light was much better for photography than our usual morning hike, sun overhead situation. We’ve had such a dry summer this is the first time since spring that we’ve seen this much water in Race Brook and the fall colors and sky reflected in it caught both of our eyes.

Fall refelected in Race Brook

Appalachian Trail, southern Massachusetts

Appalachian Trail, southern Massachusetts

East of Sheffield, MA. I’m standing on a ridge on the Appalachian trail in southern Massachusetts. From this vantage point you can see across the valley to the southern Berkshires. The AT crosses the valley from where I am to that ridge just out of frame on the right, then descends into Connecticut after going over Jug End, Mt. Everett, Mr. Race, and through Sage’s Ravine where it crosses the border at the foot of Bear Mountain.

We’ve hiked every inch of the trail on that ridge in every season dozens of times and it’s some of the best hiking in Southern New England. We’re now pushing up into central Massachusetts to connect up with Mt. Greylock which we’ve hiked many times as well.

The hike we did here, which started at Rt. 7 in Sheffield and will end at Rt. 23 in Great Barrington was fantastic and highly recommended if you’re in this area.

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Ontario Airport

Ontario Airport

Over Ontario, California. I had a whole row to myself last week on my trip to California and took this picture on approach to LAX. I haven’t done a lot of shooting out plane windows for a while, preferring to sit in aisle seats on the now crowded planes but during this flight I had an entire row to myself and it took me the entire breadth of the US to realize I could both sit on the aisle and shoot out the window.

That’s East Mission Blvd running at an angle to the airport and South Archibald Ave. tunnels under it. The freeway winding east/west in the background is Interstate 10, the San Bernadino Freeway.

I love seeing patterns from the air and I miss taking pictures like this.



Bear Mountain, Salisbury, Connecticut. We met "Bloodhound" (his trail name) on the top of Bear Mountain yesterday. Since early June we’ve seen dozens of "thru-hikers" on the Appalachian Trail; hikers who are doing the entire 2175 mile Appalachian Trail hike from Georgia to Maine (map).

I had a plan to take a picture of each of the thru-hikers we’ve met over the past few months but felt odd about it (like street photography on a wilderness "street") and didn’t do it. I asked Bloodhound and he was fine with it.

I’m less interested in doing portraits of this group of people, more interested in illustrating my awe at meeting a variety of people who plan and execute a 4-6 month hike along a difficult trail. Some people do it in sections over many years, others, like Bloodhound attempt to do it all in one continuous hike. This is serious stuff. Some thru-hikers are young (we’ve met high schoolers) and some are older than 63 year old Bloodhound. Some hike it solo, some as couples and some in small groups. We met a father and son team two days ago, very nice people. There is a trail culture (including trail names) that we get glimpses of from the various hikers we meet. There are people in towns along the way that put thru-hikers up, help them clean clothes and restock their food and more. All of this is impressive to me and I have no doubt that doing something like this is something you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Bloodhound (from North Carolina) started in February which is very early but he’s been taking his time and enjoying the hike. He’s an incredibly nice guy who we talked with for quite some time as he rested and ate his candy bar.