General

Hands on with the Canon Powershot S95 Underwater

Written by Jayvee Fernandez

The stable of cameras at Casa Fernandez include a Nikon D40 with over 10 legacy lenses, a Canon 350D used exclusively for underwater shoots and a Panasonic Lumix LX3. So as you can see it’s really impractical for this geek to go out buying more cameras. When I saw Canon’s S90 release several months ago I snickered — not because this was a bad camera — in fact it was pretty good. But this was Canon playing catch up with Panasonic’s purely “viral” DMC-LX3. Many months later, Canon releases the Powershot S95 and I must say I’m floored with the results.

I took two cameras to Mobile World Congress but ended up using the S95 for everything because it was light and it fit into my pocket. It produced stunning images on Aperture priority (the default I use for attending conventions since I don’t have time to really care about settings) and like most cameras does really well in natural light. With the flash turned on, it seemed a bit sub-par compared to my Lumix flash, but hands down, this camera is a natural winner. If you want a compact camera that takes good photos and video, look no further. Just ask Winston.

All the photos taken at the Mobile World Congress were shot using the S95. All videos too.

If you’re choosing between a Canon G12 and the S95, you need only to consider two things: if you already own an external Canon flash and would like to use it with your point and shoot too, then you should settle for a G12. If not, get the S95.

So many blogs have reviewed the Canon S95 but it is rare to find a review of how the camera fares underwater. So here it is. The video above consists of snippets from depths between 15-40 feet (the more vivid videos) and 60-80 ft (the more “blue-ish” ones) because the deeper you go, color vanishes. Red is the first to vanish. I shot this using an Ikelite S95 casing which I borrowed from my instructor. Compared to my JVC Ikelite setup, I have nothing but envy for the S95 rig because it takes so much better video and excellent battery.

The only problem with the underwater setup is the casing: Ikelite has a design flaw with the knob used to rotate the dial to change settings. That’s why I don’t have photos: I couldn’t move the dial to enter photo mode!

I have to reiterate that this is one good camera. You won’t go wrong with this purchase. But please research price as you will find these to be much cheaper in Hidalgo than in your commercial establishments.

About the author

Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

5 Comments

  • Hi Jayvee,

    I got this powershot s-95 because i wanted something compact and plus factor i can use it underwater. I just haven’t got the waterproof casing. I can’t decide which one to get an Ikelite 60M casing or the Canon WP DC38 case. What do you reckon? What’s your advice. Thank you.

    Nils

  • hi! i’ve used the ikelite case and this is the one i recommend. ikelite is however known to be prone to 2 problems: buttons getting stuck and the mode wheel mechanism not latching on. so i would suggest for instance, if you’re going to shoot video, stay in video. it will be hard to move that wheel underwater. for the buttons, i would suggest pulling out the rubber knobs from the inside and putting bits of paper to extend the reach of the knob so you are able to press the buttons.

    I don’t like Canon’s casings because from what friends tell me the ones for the G9/G10/G11 flood! Ikelite is safer.

  • Hi! Nice post! The title caught my attention. Underwater. 🙂
    Anyhoo..I was wondering if you know how much the S95 would cost in Hidalgo? Thanks!

    -Kist

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.