Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Canon Powershot S90 & Panasonic Lumix LX-3 Compared!

(updated on 4th November 2009)

a duel of the legends!
A duel for the ultimate compact low-light point-&-shoot.
"Swift Sleek Small Sexy" Canon Powershot S90
"Legendary Point-&-Shoot" Panasonic Lumix LX3

In summary,

1. LX3 has got very poor WB estimation in artificial light ending up with either more magenta in skin tone or blue tone in whites. S90 seems to be doing better.

2. LX3 has a higher 2.5 fps. I shot kid's expressions using Shutter priority mode and burst mode, managed to capture a few 'golden' faces.

A video demonstration of LX3 doing burst modes at 2.5fps (max. 4 shots) and 2fps (unlimited).

A video demonstration of S90's much slower 0.9 fps unlimited burst mode. I am skeptical if it is adequate to capture 'golden' shots.

3. LX3 is has too odd a shape, making it not pocketable at all. Though even when I bring my ixus out, I hardly put it in the pocket, so might do the same for S90. S90 has got a more appealing form.

4. More juice out of the LX3 battery. But just throw in another S$60 for an original S90 spare battery that will save your day. Do not bother with 3rd parties that are half the price and last less than half the lifespan of an original. With spare batteries around, I say par.

5. LX3 has 24mm. Though an advantage since I sold my Sigma 10-20mm, but its short-coming is the lack of zoom! Hate that every time I wanna take a portrait shot. So positive or negative point? Step back to get wider shot or jump over the fence and trample over the pond just to get a closer shot of the man-eating white tigers? I vote for more zoom even if its 3.8x, its still more versatile (more walkabout-able), face it...its S90.

6. LX3 also has a slight edge by having a slightly faster shutter speed than the S90 when evaluating the same scene with the same ISO setting (shot widest at f/2).

7. In terms of noise control (from ISO 800 onwards) and details. Both very much on par (with LX3 have sharper details and deeper contrast, compared to softer and smoother pics from S90) . Up to individual preference. I prefer LX3.

8. In terms of operational ergonomics, LX3 fiddles around a small thumb-joystick which accesses almost all shooting settings, but I have always adored the turn-wheel concept and control ring (despite it controlling only one function) of EOS, G-series and now S90. Wheels are always better, just look at how successful an ipod is!

9. HD video on LX3! Love it on my HDTV.

10. In terms of physical ergonomics, I have no gripes over the handling of both, since I grew from ixus, I do not need a molded grip. I have no issues with the rear turn wheel of S90 either, since I rest my fat thumb on the thumb-rest all the time. Par.

11. External bounce flash (using SB600 & SB800) gives very close to DSLR-ish outcomes. Direct flash is just something I will never use! I rather have noisy pictures than have direct flash killing the picture. LX3 edges with hotshoe accessory.

12. LX3 allows the use of filters via an adaptor while S90 does not.

13. In terms of appearance, it is subjective but LX3 of course! S90 looks like another incarnation of ixus.

14. Special effects such as dynamic B+W, pinhole effect or nostalgic effects. I think most imaging softwares have filters for that. But I do like the dynamic B+W out of the LX3.

15. LX3 ver. 2.1 has a zoom resume capability which I am loving so much! Not sure if S90 has it. I had a defective zoom lever on my ixus.... call that a phobia!

16. Still no zooming in video recording mode for the LX3. S90 allows zooming during video recording, but only digital zoom. Zooming in video recording is essential to place emphasis on the subject of interest. But the digital zoom deteriorates the video resolution. Nevertheless, better have than none, so its S90 for this.

17. 1cm Macro on the LX3 is definitely useful at times, but the AF can be rather cranky at that distance.

18. Lens caps are a bitch! Swing here and there, dunks in the soup when taking a food picture. I prefer the cap-less S90.

19. Lanyard or wrist strap doesn't matter. But a lanyard adds bulk to the LX3. Wrist strap can be changed to a neck strap too. Or even better, go strapless! So both are on par.

20. Pwned-ness. This is a rather nonsensical point, totally subjective, but LX3 has a good track record of retaining its RP even one year on, and yet not being replaced buy a newer model with more fancy technology. With Canon's style, I just feel that before the warranty of my S90 expires, there will be a S95 or S100 etc. with HD video and or a fancy remote flash capability. Then I will really feel pwned.

to 6!
Isn't it obvious? But I still crave to get my hands an S90!!
Because everytime I am in a situation of bad WB evaluation especially in mixed lighting and when I am at the edge of the cliff and cannot get anymore zoom, I will regret not having an S90.
How to decide?
If I haven't got the LX3, I would go get myself an S90 and I won't regret anything.
Since I have the LX3, I might give it up for a slightly more zoom at the expense of a less wider angle, possibly better auto WB than LX3, and the better pocketability of the S90.
If I keep the LX3, I still get to use a more powerful external flash and enjoy the pride of the much more appealing retro appearance than another "ixus-looking" S90.
If I got the $$$, I will COLLECT both!
If I feel lucky, I might get an S90 for free!


thebassguy said...

i have the LX3, but do wish it was more pocketable, more zoom (5x or more would be great), and smaller aperture options beyond f8. Also, I still see lots of noise, even at 100 ISO (blues skies,etc). The S90 addresses some of these, but I await my perfect camera!

Lingz said...

Hi there!

I know this is rather random, but I came across your blog when Google-ing for wedding solemnizations held at New Majestic Hotel.

Noticed that you held yours at that hotel last year right? Could you share with me the company which did your decorations etc?

Email me at, yah? Thank you!


人妻 said...


Hチェッカー said...


神待ち said...