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Old Feb 10, 2010, 2:11 AM   #1
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Default The S90 or something cheaper?

Hello all,

I've been looking for a compact camera with a really good auto mode and decent image quality, even in lower-light situations (without a flash, preferably). I enjoy photography immensely but don't enjoy having to fiddle too much with a camera in order to get a decent shot, partly because that often means losing the shot I'm trying to get.

That said, I am torn between the Canon S90 and a cluster of cheaper compact superzooms: Panasonic DSC-ZS1 or ZS3 or Sony DSC-H20. I've already purchased and returned the Canon SX200, having been extremely disappointed with its auto mode, which consistently chose much higher ISOs than necessary, thus ruining many of my shots. I appreciate that the camera affords a good deal of manual control, and I used its non-auto modes a fair amount--but, again, I'd prefer a good, reliable auto mode that I don't have to worry about.

I'm well aware that the S90's myriad manual features are what distinguish it--so I'm basically wondering if, for my purposes, the S90 is worth the $400, against those other choices. I know that image quality is supposed to be superb on this camera, but will that matter if I'm not fine-tuning my pictures? And, importantly, does it have a reliable auto mode? Learning the manual controls in the future is a possibility, but I really don't know if I'll ever make extensive use of them.

Any help would be very much appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Feb 10, 2010, 7:45 AM   #2
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sarrr-

The best auto mode and built-in flash in the class award goes to the Sony H-20. However, it is not a low light level shooting camera. That honor goes to the Canon S-90 and it is therefore priced a good bit higher.

There is no one compact camera that yet does it all. The new Casio FH-15 may fit that role, but we have not yet seen any professional reviews, nor is the FH-15 yet on dealer's shelves. That will not happen until around the end of March.

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Old Feb 10, 2010, 2:02 PM   #3
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Thanks very much for that quick response, Sarah.

Am I to understand then, that the S90's auto mode is not very good? Or is it simply not up to the level of the H-20?
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Old Feb 10, 2010, 3:26 PM   #4
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They are different types of cameras.
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Old Feb 10, 2010, 6:46 PM   #5
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sarrrr-

As Craig has pointed out the Canon S-90 and the H-20 are really different cameras. The Auto Mode on the S-90 is just fine. The Auto Mode on the Sony is rated as the best in the compact zoom camera class. That is the class of cameras into which the H-20 falls. The S-90 is not part of that class of cameras.

As I noted previously, the fast, wide aperture (F 2.0) lens and the new imager on the S-90 both assist the camera in its low light capabilities. So, at the end of the day, the S-90 and the H-20 are as different as apples and oranges.

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Old Feb 11, 2010, 12:00 AM   #6
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Haha, point taken. I suppose this is why it's been such a long and painful search for me--I haven't even narrowed it down to one camera type. Cost is an issue, as well, and if the S90 were $100 less I would probably buy it without another thought...so, really, I should probably just bite the bullet and get it.

In any case, thanks for that clarification, as well as for the helpful advice on the H20, since I could very well change my mind again. I would wait and see about the Casio, but I need to attach a nonrefundable repair-shop warranty to another camera by Friday (the warranty I got with the returned SX200, that is).

Again, your help is very much appreciated. Take care.
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