The comparison does cast the S90 in a rather favorable light. But speaking of light, in this demonstration, the author had adequately bright light to use the S90 at base ISO. Moving past ISO-200 on point-n-shoots is a dangerous game (I rarely went past the base ISO-80 with my Powershot S3 IS), where the rendered detail rapidly approaches blaaaagghhh.
While it is probably a reasonable statement to say the most people buying a entry level DSLRs will keep on using the kit lens and will often upgrade the camera (again) instead of just buying a better lens, it would have been nice if the author had provided an example with better performing lens than the kit for comparison purposes. In terms of optical characteristics, kit lenses really are not much better than those found in "premium" point-n-shoots, otherwise, we would see the XSi/45D pulling way ahead. All the article really tells us is that at base ISO, a good point-n-shoot can be competitive with a DSLR hampered with a less than stellar lens. I would argue that this test should be considered DSLR independent as whether you have a camera with 6, 10, or 18 megapixels, all sensors will be held back by the kit lens. There are lens limitations and sensor limitations and in this comparison, the kit lens is the bottleneck. Poor testing methodology like this is where tons of disinformation can spring from.
For example, take the same shot, with everything at F/8 for all combinations below.
S90 @ ~55mm equivalent
XSi/450D + kit lens @ 35mm
XSi/450D + 35L
This would be much more objective, as you would not be artificially hampering the XSi/450D by restricting the comparison to a kit lens, which fails to demonstrate the potential of a larger sensor, which was the purpose of the article. Also, I think he should have also compared the two cameras with the same scene, but at ISO-800.
But really, the article does show that under favorable conditions, point-n-shoots have significantly narrowed the gap in the last few years. I guess I'd like to finish off with an example to show that even an old point and shoot like my Powershot S3 IS can produce great results too.Mt. Oberlin and Bird Woman Falls [explore 08/29/11]
by posthumus_cake (www.pinnaclephotography.net)
, on Flickr