Canon S95 Review

Camera Reviews / Canon Cameras / Canon PowerShot i Review

Canon PowerShot S95 Performance

Timing and Performance

Slow to average speed for a consumer camera.


Power on
to first shot

2.2 seconds

Time it takes for LCD to turn on and lens to deploy and capture a picture.


1.5 seconds

How long it takes to retract lens.

Buffer clearing time

2 seconds
(after 20 RAW files)*
1 second
(after 20 L/F JPEGs)*

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't retract their lenses and shut down until the buffer is cleared.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times.

Average startup and shutdown times here, very similar to the S90. Buffer clearing is faster than average, though burst rates are slow enough that a fast card can keep up.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus Wide

0.641 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at wide angle position.

Full Autofocus Tele

0.617 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, zoom lens at telephoto position.

Full Autofocus
Flash enabled
0.900 second
Time to capture while forcing flash to fire, zoom lens at wide angle position.


0.096 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Full autofocus shutter response in the default AF mode is slower than average at wide-angle, at 0.64 second. Full AF shutter lag is about average at full telephoto, at 0.62 second. Surprisingly, these results are about 50% slower than its predecessor, the S90. Enabling the flash increases lag quite a bit to 0.90s, due to the preflash metering involved. "Prefocusing" the camera by half-pressing and holding down the shutter button before the final exposure results in a lag time of 0.096 second, which while fast, isn't quite as fast as some.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
2.58 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode

2.88 seconds

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Early shutter


Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG

0.53 second (1.87 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
1 second to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Continuous mode

1.02 second (0.98 frames per second);
20+ frames total;
2 seconds to clear

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length or 20 shots, whichever came first.

Flash recycling

6.0 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity also affects cycle times and burst mode performance, with higher ISOs generally increasing cycle times and reducing burst performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times are slower than average, at 2.58 seconds for large/fine JPEGs. RAW cycle-time was a bit slower, at 2.88 seconds per frame. These results are comparable to the S90's numbers (2.43 and 2.96 seconds respectively).

The PowerShot S95's continuous shooting modes were faster than the S90's (almost twice as fast for JPEGs), but still somewhat sluggish for its class. The S95 captures large/fine JPEGs at 1.87 frames per second (vs 0.94 fps for the S90) , though the camera seemed to be able to capture frames continuously at this rate. The burst rate dropped to 0.98 frames per second when capturing RAW files (vs 0.70 fps for the S90), but again with apparently no buffer limit. The flash took 6.0 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is slower than average, but improves on the S90's 6.8 seconds.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

4,346 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds were moderately fast.

Bottom line, the Canon PowerShot S95's timing performance isn't its strong suit. Startup and shutdown times were about average, autofocus speeds and shutter lag were slower than average, as were full resolution continuous modes. Buffer depths and buffer clearing were however quite good, but not really a surprise given the slow burst rate and 10-megapixel files.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Below average battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery,
(CIPA standard)

The Canon PowerShot S95 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery life is pretty short (and slightly worse than the S90's 220 shot rating), so we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

The Canon PowerShot S95 accepts MMC/SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards, and does not include any built-in memory or a starter card. Canon recommends using a card with Speed Class 4 or faster for capturing movies.

Image Capacity with
1GB Memory Card
Fine Normal RAW RAW
3,648 x 2,736
(Avg Size)
2.8 MB
1.4 MB
15.3 MB
18.1 MB
2,816 x 2,112
(Avg Size)
1.8 MB
863 KB
1,600 x 1,200
(Avg Size)
645 KB
339 KB
640 x 480
(Avg Size)
204 KB
136 KB

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SDHC memory card at least a 4GB card, preferably an 8GB or larger one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings, RAW files or video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)


Canon S95

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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