Canon G11 vs Canon S90

by Enche Tjin on July 20, 2010

In the last five years, Canon advanced compact camera line, G series has been very popular. Before last year, if you want an advanced compact from Canon, there is only Canon G series compact camera line.

But last year, Canon launched another advanced compact camera named Canon Powershot S90. This camera is much smaller but has some core features of Canon G series camera: manual exposure control, RAW image recording, and better quality image sensor compared to other compact cameras.

canon g11 and canon s90 side by side

How does both camera compares?

The main differences between the two are in handling and control, size, lens and hot shoe.

canon-g11-vs-canon-s90--topCanon G11 has hot shoe on the top of the camera so you can attach external flash such as Canon speedlite, ring flash, and off camera shoe cord. G11 also able to use tele and wide conversion lens. To have a hot shoe also means that you can practice creative off camera lighting (studio lighting).

Canon G11 also has dedicated dials such as exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity. Beside that, it has optical viewfinder which is helpful in direct sun light. Vari Angle LCD screen will be helpful when you compose image in unusual angle.

G11 also has slightly longer zoom lens (28-140mm compared to 28-140mm). G11’s lens can focus as close as 1 cm which makes it better camera for macro (close-up) photography.

However, Canon S90 also has some key advantages:

Canon S90 is much smaller than G11, therefore you can slip in your pocket and bring it anywhere you go. On the other hand, G11 is too bulky for your pocket.

S90 also has bigger maximum aperture of F/2 (allow twice amount of light compared to G11’s f/2.8) which allow you to shoot better in low light condition.

Last but not least. S90 is $100 cheaper than G11.


If you are looking for a advanced camera that is compact and pocket-able, and extreme low light photography is your thing get Canon Powershot S90 IS. However, if you want a compact camera that you can grow with (practice creative lighting)  and has excellent control and ergonomic, Canon Powershot G11 is the better choice.

Comparison table: G11 vs S90

Canon G11 Canon S90
Image 10 MB / 1.7″ CCD sensor 10 MB / 1.7″ CCD sensor
Lens 28-140mm F/2.8-4.5 IS 28-105mm F/2.0-4.9 IS
LCD 2.8 inch Vari-angle 461k resolution 3 inch 461k resolution
Dimension/weight 112 x 76 x 48 mm / 355g 100 x 58 x 31 mm / 175g
Other hot shoe, .77 optical viewfinder none
Closest focusing distance 1 cm 5 cm
ISO up to 3200, very good up to 800 up to 3200, very good up to 800
Movie recording VGA 640 x 480 @ 30fps, up to 4GB or 1 hour VGA 640 x 480 @ 30fps
Continuous shooting Approx. 1 frame per second Approx. 1 frame per second
Handling/Control Dedicated ISO dial, exposure compensation dial, rear round dial, mode dial, textured grip control ring built around the lens, rear round dial, mode dial
Price $449 $349

canon-g11-vs-canon-s90-backcanon g11 vs canon s90 side view

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Barkowski July 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm

“S90 also has bigger maximum aperture of F/2 (allow twice amount of light compared to G11’s f/2.8) which allow you to shoot better in low light condition.”

Unless you want to shoot at the telephoto end, where the G11’s f/4.0 @ 98mm and f/4.5 @ 114mm or 140mm beats the S90’s f/4.5 @ 85mm and f/4.9 @105mm.

Of course, the telephoto end is where it’s more important to have bigger maximum apertures to avoid camera shake.

Put all this together with the G11 lens’ longer reach and closer macro abilities, and the G11 wins hands down in the lens department.



Enche Tjin July 21, 2010 at 11:24 pm

that make sense :)

kwanonku July 30, 2010 at 3:11 am

just two cents … your choice may vary
since both cameras delivers almost identical pictures

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