If you were expecting some spectacular fireworks from Canon at the show, you’ll be sorely disappointed. The company introduced four point-and-shoots and four full-featured camcorders. No full-frame models like the EOS 6D, no CSCs, not even a run-of-the mill APS-C DSLR like the Rebel T4i.
The most interesting of the new models is the rather strangely shaped (for a camera, at least) PowerShot N (shown above), a $299 12.1MP CMOS digicam with improved Wi-Fi connectivity. Like other new 2013 digicams (this one is due in April), it has a dedicated Mobile Device Connect button. Once you set it up, it connects to Android and iOS devices using the Canon CameraWindow app. A nice real-world feature is the fact that it remembers your last three connections so you don’t have to go through log-on hassles every time you want to share a photo. In 2013, connectivity in digital photography will be key, as smartphones have demonstrated.
Canon has enhanced its photo-sharing features. With previous Canon Wi-Fi-enabled models you had to first go through their cloud-based iMAGE Gateway portal to share photos on social networking sites, but now you also have the option of sending your images directly to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, et al. Also new is the ability to attach comments to images you’re uploading (the fact that smartphones have had this capability for a while might have finally turned on a few light bulbs in their Tokyo R&D). The PowerShot N has some cool features, though, such as Creative Shot that takes five shots of the same image and applies different effects to them.
The camera has an 8x optical zoom (28-224mm), the DIGIC 5 processor, Intelligent IS optical image stabilization, and an ISO range of 100-6400. It also has a tilting 2.8-inch capacitive LCD screen and an LED light that acts as an AF Assist lamp or adds illumination to videos. The N’s shutter and zoom controls are located on the two-ring lens; the outer ring handles shutter and the inner controls the zoom. Canon says this design allows the user to shoot from practically any position. The N can be charged via USB as well.
The remaining three cameras – which arrive in February – are fairly plain vanilla. The new ELPH 130 IS has the improved Wi-Fi package, an 8x optical zoom (28-224mm), and a 3-inch LCD screen. This 16MP camera only captures 720p, as does the new PowerShot A2600 with a 5x zoom (28-140mm). It too has a 3-inch monitor. The new A1400 is similar to the older A1300, accepts AA batteries, and has an optical viewfinder, a 5x zoom (28-140mm), and a 2.7-inch screen.
Shrinking Camcorder Lineup
We’ve been big fans of Canon Vixia camcorders over the years but reality is hitting this category hard, as smartphones take over video-making as well. Fewer people are buying dedicated movie-makers, even if the quality far exceeds any phone on the planet. Last year Canon offered seven new models – this year it’s four. The top model is the Vixia HF G20, the replacement for the G10.
The price of the G20 is $1,099 versus the $1,299 of the older edition. This AVCHD 2.0 camcorder offers improved low-light performance, per Canon, has a beefier lens hood, a 3.5-inch LCD, and a color electronic viewfinder with an eyecup. The camcorder has a 10x optical zoom with a focal range of 30.4-304mm, an eight-bladed iris (for creating that smooth bokeh effect), and Powered IS to help eliminate shaky videos. The 1/3-inch HD CMOS Pro chip is rated 2.37MP. You can save your footage to 32GB of onboard flash memory or SDXC cards (two slots). It also has enhanced audio and is really geared toward serious home video makers.
The new R series is much more affordable starting at $299 for the R400, moving up to $399 for the R40 with 8GB of flash memory, while the R42 has 32GB and costs $499. All three accept SDXC cards and the R40/R42 have built-in Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi offers live streaming and the ability to use your smartphone as a remote control. Apps are available for iOS and Android.
Canon states battery life has improved from 30 to 75 minutes for the trio. Also very cool is the fact the R series not only records AVCHD Progressive (2.0), it also uses MPEG4 Progressive at 35 Mbps versus 28 Mbps for AVCHD. Faster compression typically equals better quality. As always, we’ll reserve judgment until we get a production unit. The camcorders also have improved DIGIC DV4 processors, 3MP sensors, and 32x zooms starting off at a nice 32mm so you can capture wider group shots and landscapes.