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.

Rattlesnake

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.

Equipment

- 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.

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.