Thursday, August 20, 2009

Canon S90

The new Canon S90. Finally someone decided to put proper, physical, ring controls back on cameras. Now, instead of frantically mashing button combinations as if you're playing a video game, you just turn a dial to control what you want.

When shooting in Manual mode with my Canon 350D, if I want to change Shutter Speed, I turn it's scroll wheel. To change the Aperture, I need to hold down a button and turn the wheel. With the S90, you turn a large ring on the front of the camera to change settings.

Canon have also decided to let their engineers make important decisions for once instead of the marketing team: instead of just pumping up the megapixel count to ridiculous levels to wow naïve customers, they've decided to make the sensor bigger. My simple understanding of physics tells me that a larger sensor means a larger surface for light to fall on. All other things the same, more light would mean a greater signal, which means a clearer picture less noise.

I'd love to have a camera with proper, dedicated, customisable physical controls to be able to control aperture, shutterspeed, ISO and white balance, instead of having to fiddle with buttons. I don't really need 20+ MP, ISO 32'000, Live View or 1920x1080 video recording. What I do need, is to be able to set the core functions easily, quickly, and without having to think about it. You wouldn't replace the steering wheel or pedals in a car with buttons, so why would you do it to a camera?

Hopefully this will start a trend in digital camera design.

All images © 2009 Canon USA.