The mutual differences of compact cameras, looking at the specifications, are rather small. However, if you look a bit deeper into the matter, you will find out that integrating the increasingly more intelligent software in the camera, lifts a camera to a higher level. Complex calculations necessary to carry out certain tasks automatically, thus preventing the user from having to worry about settings, are processed very fast on the Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS thanks to for example the integrated Canon DIGIC III processor.
Canon DIGIC III image sensor
This image processor, called DIGIC III (DIGital Imaging Core) comes straight from the professional camera segment of Canon and manages all the main functions of the Canon IXUS 90 IS. The level of preciseness and the reproduction of colours including the white balance, and also response speed as well as focus speed are determined by the power of the DIGIC III processor. Besides that the processor also directs functions such as face detection and the advanced noise reduction system. The technique is obtained from Canon's professional reflex segment where Canon's experience lies.
FUNC button for main camera settings
The limited amount of buttons gives away the automatic character of the Canon IXUS 90 IS camera. It's only a matter of activating, setting date/time correctly once and you can shoot ahead. For those, having worked with a Canon camera before, the use of the symbols and the menu structure will be familiar. The camera's default setting is in the highest resolution with middle high compression. If you want to achieve the highest JPEG quality, you can lessen the compression one factor through the menu. The IXUS 90 also has the well-known FUNC button in the centre of the multi-controller available that offers immediate access to the main camera settings.
Canon IXUS 90 IS multi-controller
The recording menu is divided in three coloured tab pages, with a subdivision in camera functions, set-up and personal settings. The multi-controller lets you navigate fast and if you are familiar with the functions you will be able to swap fast too. If you are a newbie you'd better go through the user's guide and memorize the main settings. Small details will become clear during use in practice. The operation is easy and straightforward. Once activated the first picture can be taken immediately.
Canon IXUS 90 IS with face dectection
The camera-intelligence, mentioned earlier in this review, consists among other things of face detection and recognition. The Canon Digital IXUS 90 IS has been equipped with a 3x optical zoom for shooting a perfectly neat portrait. The advanced face detection is a great help in this. This function is currently one of the most extensive one in the compact camera segment. The Canon IXUS 90 IS is capable of selecting a single face in a crowd of approximately 35 detected faces, very impressive. I haven't been able to test the function with this amount of people but my experience with a group of 7 people is very positive.
It is a surprisingly precise and fast system. Besides detecting the face; focus, exposure, flash and white balance are set to the optimum too. And to complete the story, the subject is also tracked when moving through the frame. Aforementioned shows the situation where today's camera market is going. The majority of the specifications are almost identical, but the ability to differ through intelligent image solutions is crucial for current cameras.
Canon IXUS 90IS with optical stabilizer
Optical stabilization today seems a standard feature but not every compact camera is equipped with an optical stabilizer, far from that actually. The Canon IXUS 90 IS camera however does have a built-in stabilizer and despite the limited zoom range, this function is very opportunely. It is the limited light sensitivity of a compact camera lens that tends to select high ISO to ensure the required fast shutter speeds. Thanks to the optical stabilizer high ISO is not required so often, which increases the chance of a sharp picture and offers an improved image noise quality, clearly a surplus value.