S90 Upgrade

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Steve McLellan, Nov 14, 2011.

  1. I've had my S90 for a while now and with some money burning a hole in my pocket I'm hoping to get some guidance on what my upgrade path could be.

    I also have a GF2 with a couple of lenses so have the interchangeable lens thing covered as well as a variety of focal lengths.

    To be honest I always found the S90 a little small although I don't have big hands so something a little bigger would be okay and I think I would be fine with a fixed focal length as long as there were other advantages.

    I would be using it as my everyday camera but would still like an IQ as good as the S90 or better if that were possible.

    Any tips for what I should look at?
  2. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    First, welcome to Serious Compacts, Steve and now for the first of many recommendations. Have you read much about the new Fuji X10 or the GRD IV, the former offers a very nice zoom that is getting rave reviews, while the GRD IV (and III) have many who love it, too. You can check out the existing thread in their forums and ask the members who have these two cameras for their input. I also find it helpful to check out a lot of real life photographs from people here and on groups that one can find on Flickr, too.

    If I had money burning a whole in my pocket, I'd be seriously leaning towards the X10....to keep my X00 company. But then again, I see the pictures with the GRDs, and then I think about how much I liked my Panasonic LX5...and wonder what they'll have in store in the future. The LX5 offers a nice wide wide angle...

    Stop by the Welcomes and Introductions forum when you have a chance, Steve.:th_salute:
  3. Spode

    Spode SC Regular

    Jul 26, 2011
    Welcome Steve.

    As a previous S90 user myself before I made the switch, I think I can safely recommend the GRD III (cheaper but no IS) or the GRD IV. Alternatively, the X10 (I don't own one but had an F200 earlier) must be a great little camera. Both these cameras have better IQ than the S90. The GRD III/ IV certainly does, the X10 if its better than the F200 does too.
  4. snake

    snake SC Regular

    Oct 4, 2011
    My recommendation is to try all in the class. I give this advice on dpr as well. I understand this forum is a strong GRD one, but really, try each and every camera in the class, which includes the GRD, S95/100 (though they might be too close to what you have), LX5, Xz1, EX1.

    Each cam has something the others don't have. None of them are perfect and they trade something off for something else. It's simply a matter of seeing if the drawbacks of each cam doesn't matter for you, then you go from there. What you'll miss is your cam's ISO strength, but the tradeoff for most of the cams in the class is their larger apertures, for instance.
  5. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    As a long time owner of the GRD III and recent owner of the X10, I have to say that a) they are very different cameras, and b) depending on whether or not you want zoom, I'd go with the GRD IV.

    The X10 is a mixed bag for me at the moment. These things are great: build quality, handling, shot to shot speed, stealth, video, colour accuracy and ergonomics. These things are not so great: inaccurate focus, irregular power-up, and relatively softish output. The GRD III doesn't have such accurate colour but it is super sharp, focuses right on the money every time, and never skips a beat powering up. The X10 fails to power up disturbingly often and sometimes misses focus by miles or meters.

    I really want to give this camera a chance, though, as so many things about it are really great and a cut above the GRD III. The full HD video is wonderful and the ability to use the manual zoom at the same time is very handy. It is so darn quiet to focus and shoot it isn't funny. It will power down with the lens extended and wake up if you hold the shutter button half way. Shot to shot time is so much better than any other compact I've used. I will shoot direct comparisons between the GRD III, S90, X10 and F30 in upcoming weeks.

    The X10's output is very colour accurate but annoyingly soft. Sometimes it seems to be slightly out of focus, other times it is just soft. The F30's photos are bitingly sharp by comparison, even if you use maximum sharpening in camera. GRD IV samples show they are even sharper and more detailed than the GRD III's, and apparently it focuses faster than the X10. But I'm guessing that it is also noisier, so there are tradeoffs all round.
  6. From all the reports here the GRD3/4 is a great performer but I'm not sure if it would give me anything more than my GF2 and a pancake lens so I'm leaning towards the LX5 or the X10.

    As there are no good camera shops in either Aberdeen & Dundee, the 2 closest cities I may have to wait until I can get hands on with the X10 but a preliminary play with the LX5 felt very comfortable although as it had a flat battery ( Thanks Comet!!) I couldn't check functions/menus etc. Also the X10 is currently £200 more than the LX5 :eek:

    The search continues, thanks for the input so far.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I have a GRD3 and an X10 and I've owned both an S90 and LX5 within the past year and a half or so. As much as I love the GRD3 (and presumably would love the GRD4), it doesn't sound like you're looking for a fixed focal length camera. Of the S90, LX5, and X10, you have a bit of a conundrum. I found the LX5 and find the X10 a lot nicer than the S90 but that's probably because I spend an inordinate amount of time doing street photography, or trying to. The S90 was terrible for that. The LX5 was a lot better, the GRD3 is sublime, and the X10 is nicer than the LX5, but not by all that much. If street shooting wasn't a priority, I wouldn't say the LX5 has that much more to offer over the S90, which is a great little camera. The LX5 has a wider wide end than either the S90 or the X10. The S90 has very limited aperture at the longer end, the LX5 is better in that regard, and the X10 is a good deal better yet. The image quality is remarkably close between the S90 and LX5 and better with the X10, but again, not overwhelmingly better (although it does have some pretty impressive tricks for dealing with low light and high dynamic range situations).

    Knowing what I know, if I had the S90 and was NOT looking for a quicker street camera, I doubt I'd upgrade to the LX5 - its really more of a lateral move than an upgrade, with a few different tradeoffs, but not necessarily 'better'. The jump to the X10 is a bit more noticeable, particularly in terms of handling and and IQ, but its not huge. I'd say if you're gonna upgrade to another camera with a fixed zoom lens, I'd go for the X10 or I'd just stick with the S90. None of these cameras are a quantum leap beyond the S90, though, so I might just sit tight for another year or so and see what the LX6 looks like (very preliminary rumors of a notably larger sensor). If you're itching to get another camera, though, I'd go for the X10. The LX5 and XZ1 (which hasn't been discussed a lot - or EX1 for that matter) are more lateral moves than upgrades. The X10 is an upgrade, but whether its enough of one is another question....

    Good luck,

    • Like Like x 1
  8. Lili

    Lili SC Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Real Name:
    Steve,, welcome to the forum!
    You stated...
    "From all the reports here the GRD3/4 is a great performer but I'm not sure if it would give me anything more than my GF2 and a pancake lens so I'm leaning towards the LX5 or the X10."
    From that it would appear you are leaning towards a zoom.
    The XZ-1 is fine choice, though not much mentioned here. The zoom is fast at both ends. It is dead Silent and still is smaller than your GF2. If you shoot RAW the IQ and DR are amazing.
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/colette_noir/6301942336/" title="Any Home that has Cats, has no need of Statuary by colette_noir, on Flickr"> 6301942336_dc8d0e8f7c_b. "571" height="1024" alt="Any Home that has Cats, has no need of Statuary"></a>
    BTW I adore the GRD's, flat out. I have owned and loved 2.
  9. olli

    olli Super Moderator Emeritus

    Sep 28, 2010
    Metro Manila
    Real Name:
    To me, the biggest difference between these cameras is whether they start at 28mm (equivalent) or 24mm. If you like wide angle or if you find the S90's 28mm max limiting you might want to focus on those models that deliver a wider angle. If not, you have many more options.
  10. Off the wall.......

    Would I be mad to consider an X100?
    I have seen a lot of the reviews and there is nothing there that scares me. As a relative newcomer to advanced cameras I don't have fixed ideas on how they should perform so adjusting to its foibles wouldn't be such a big leap as it may be for others.

    Or should I go for the GRD giving great results and similar levels of control over shooting at half the price?
    Seems a no brainer but the pics I've seen from the X100 are simply stunning. I know the shooter is what is important but no matter how good the shooter is they will never get similar results from a GRD.

    Oh the dilemma of having cash to spend!!:rolleyes:
  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    Real Name:
    you should be able to figure it out...
    VERY VERY different cameras. The GRD has a great interface and a nice film like look to its finished images. Its an extraordinary street camera. But its got a sensor that's a tiny fraction the size of the X100 (or the GXR with the 28mm lens, for that matter). And you can get gorgeous, subtle results out of the larger sensor you just can't get out of the GRD. If you're more attracted to the GRD shooting experience and/or the 28mm focal length, but want something closer to the IQ of the X100, the GXR with the 28mm equivalent lens might be a good landing spot. But if you like shooting with a viewfinder and you like the older style controls and/or the film modes of the X100, there's really no substitute. I have an X100 and a GRD3. I have other cameras that can do what the GRD3 does nearly as well. I don't have anything that can do what the X100 does. Sometimes working with one of the files from that camera I'll just have to stop and admire the subtle details it picks up sooooo well.

  12. Armanius

    Armanius Bring Jack back!

    Jan 11, 2011
    Houston, Texas
    Real Name:
    I have the S90, but my GF uses it nowadays. Nevertheless, it's hands down the best tiny P&S made to this day, IMO (along with the S95). That being said, I recently got the X10, and it is exponentially better IQ-wise. Like the S90, you can use it just as a point and shoot. But you can get more out of it by fiddling with the various settings. Unfortunately, it's not pocketable and it is the same size as the GF2 with a pancake lens.

    Speaking of which, what lenses do you have with the GF2? Maybe the best way to upgrade from the S90 is to get a nice lens for your GF2 like the 20/1.7, if you don't already have it. At about $320-350 new, the 20/1.7 is cheaper than most high end P&S. Definitely cheaper than the X100, which is an awesome awesome camera.

    • Like Like x 1
  13. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Real Name:
    Bill Shinnick
    You have been offered some sage advice and hopefully it has clarified rather than confused. If you can live with a single focal length the X100 sweeps the pool but may be out of your price range. The X10 may be better for you on both counts. I went through something similar a year ago looking for a SC and went for the Samsung EX1. It has a wide, fast lens but the zoom is not as long.

    PS: now that you've found this forum I hope you stick around.
  14. Archiver

    Archiver SC Top Veteran

    Jul 11, 2010
    Melbourne, Australia
    Tell you what, if you are thinking of the X100, put the Ricoh GXR and 28mm module on the list as well. This has all but replaced my GRD III as general everyday camera due to the lush colours and shallow depth of field. The only reason why I shoot with the III these days is the quiet shutter and pocketability. The GXR is smaller, lighter and more discreet than the X100, too, with the exception of the shutter and focus sounds. I understand that the X100 is very quiet; the GXR is rather noticeable.

    Right now I'm pushing the X10 pretty hard and I like it a lot more. I did some comparisons with the Canon G10 and its colour accuracy and dynamic range were so much better, even in jpegs. I'm still waiting for Adobe to offer raw support to see if the sharpness/softness issue can be solved, but at the moment I'm rather enjoying the jpegs, which I didn't before. Shooting like this takes me back to my earlier days of photography, when I only shot jpeg but tried all sorts of in-camera settings to get the most from them. And since the X10 has a lot of customization in that regard, it is quite satisfying.
  15. Thanks all for the great advice. I'm going to wait until I can get hands on with the X10/X100 before i decide , it's too much money not to be sure. I have a trip to Edinburgh coming up and there is a much better choice of shops there than is available to me normally.

    In the meantime I'm booked on a course next Saturday to learn the basics of using my GF2 properly so I will see how that goes too.

    I'll be back to update, thanks again.
  16. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    If you want a smallish but not too small advanced compact with zoom lens I'd personally just get the new collapsible X series zoom for your GF2 and leave it at that, unless you particularly like the large DOF look that a small sensor gives or you just want a second camera to play with (who doesn't, lol).