Custom Compact: Canon PowerShot S95 The world’s smallest RAW- and HD-video-capable “professional” compact features a unique click-stopped lens ring for customizable control.
Compact cameras good enough for serious photography are rare—and this stylish gem is the smallest and lightest one yet. The sturdy, metal-clad S95 is just half the size and weight of Canon’s top compact, the PowerShot G12. Yet it incorporates that model’s 1/1.7-inch CCD image sensor, which is among the biggest in its class.
Because the S95 only has to squeeze 10 megapixels of resolution into that chip, it delivers remarkable quality at higher ISOs, aided by advanced DIGIC 4 image processing. What’s more, like the G12, the S95 can shoot in RAW mode, recording more tonal and color data and permitting much greater control in post-processing.
Though it sheds the G12’s vari-angle LCD, hotshoe and optical viewfinder, the S95 is actually better in some ways. It has a bigger screen (a 3-inch, 461,000-dot LCD), a faster 28-105mm (equivalent) zoom and 24fps, 720p HD video with stereo sound. But the S95’s unique programmable Control Ring is its true innovation. Surrounding the lens and click-stopped like a traditional aperture ring, it can be assigned any of nine separate functions, including ISO, exposure compensation, white balance, manual focus and aspect ratio. About $400 (with Canon’s professional RAW software); usa.canon.com.