Love letter to a camera -NY Times

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    Here the full copy

    A Love Letter to Camera

    Dear Canon S95,

    I don’t often write love letters to gadgets. But you, you’re something special.

    Truth is, I’ve been searching for someone like you for years.
    The Canon S95 has a sensor with 88 percent more area than most pocket cameras’ sensors.The Canon S95 has a sensor with 88 percent more area than most pocket cameras’ sensors.

    The Times’s technology columnist, David Pogue, keeps you on top of the industry in his free, weekly e-mail newsletter.

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    See Sample

    See, I love the huge light sensor that’s inside an SLR. It can take sharp low-light shots without the flash. It can blur the background the way professionals do.

    I just don’t like how an SLR is big and heavy and obtrusive.

    What I’ve always wanted is a little camera with a big sensor. Is that so hard?

    Apparently, yes. The problem is covering a rectangular sensor chip with a circle of light from the lens. Bigger sensor? You need a bigger camera. Those are the simple bylaws of physics.

    But you, oh, cute little Canon PowerShot S95! I love that you’re a pocket camera, only 3.9 by 2.3 by 1.2 inches. I love your big, bright, three-inch screen, your built-in flash, your H.D.M.I. output for hi-def TV sets. I love that you turn on directly into Playback mode, without having to extend the lens.

    I love the unique control ring around the dial, which I can quickly program to adjust whatever feature I want: focus, zoom, exposure, light sensitivity (ISO), aperture, even degree of color saturation (all the way to black-and-white).

    I’ve had fun with your special modes, like the tilt-shift-lens simulator and fake fisheye.

    I love the wink-driven self-timer. Yes, I set up the camera, walk into the scene, and then wink—the picture is taken two seconds later. Beats hunting around for a remote control. (Or I can ask you to wait two seconds after a new person—that would be me, joining the group—enters the frame.)

    But above all, I love your enormous sensor. It’s 0.59 inches diagonally—88 percent more area than most pocket cameras’ sensors. And I love that you have an f/2.0 lens, a rarity among pocket cameras, meaning that you let in a lot more light.

    And all of this means that you, little S95, can take amazing, sharp pictures in low light without the flash. Your designers have shrewdly dropped the ludicrous quest for more megapixels—you have 10 megapixels, just right—in favor of something that really matters, like better photos.

    So many times I’ve used you for pictures at night, indoors, in shadow. Cathedrals, restaurants, parties. No, the results aren’t as good as an SLR’s—you still manage to blur a shot, especially in very dark situations when the subject is moving—but they’re light-years better than any other pocket camera can do. I love to show off your photo samples.

    You’re even better than my last love, your predecessor, the S90. Because you’re slimmer. And now you take hi-def videos—with stereo sound. You have a high-dynamic-range mode, where you combine three tripod shots at different exposures into a single photo with a really great range of darks and lights. Your controls are refined in size and placement.

    Look, S95—I know you’re not perfect. Your battery takes only 200 shots on a charge, which is very low. You won’t let me use the optical zoom while I’m shooting video; in fact, you can’t refocus while shooting video, either. (Your arch-rival, the Panasonic LX5, can zoom during video. Then again, it’s porkier and requires fussing with a detached lens cap.)

    And, of course, you cost twice what most pocket cams cost. You’re $400.

    But you are the best pocket camera on the market. I have carried you for many weeks, in many situations, and I have been thrilled by the sharpness, color, control and photographic success rate that you give me.

    Yes, Canon S95, I think you and I have a long, happy future ahead of us. Heck, you may remain state-of-the-art for several months at least!



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