Canon speeds up autofocusing and adds enhanced Wi-Fi to new PowerShot models

canon powershot g16 s120 sx510hs sx170is hr 3qflash cl

“Evolution not revolution” seems to be an apt moniker for Canon, but that’s not always a bad thing. Although it does surprise us from time-to-time, most of its new products are enhancements of previous models than all-out replacements. We don’t get the “gee-whiz” excitement one gets from a new iPhone, but quality and performance are usually solid. Case in point is its newest models: the higher-end compact PowerShot G16 and S120, and long-zoom SX510 HS and SX170 IS. A slightly enhanced version of the PowerShot N was also announced.

Representing the company’s new “Power to Connect” campaign, Canon is rolling out Wi-Fi across the board as it introduces new models. These new cams feature an enhanced Wi-Fi menu with better social working coordination (including Flickr) via Canon’s Image Gateway software. Setup is also easier and faster as you no longer have to punch in a WEP key, and setup can be handled directly from the camera without a PC. The CameraWindow app now supports Android-based tablets, including landscape display. Despite these updates, Canon’s Wi-Fi implementation remains largely the same, and that isn’t necessarily a good thing as it’s something we aren’t overly fond of.

But the better news is that performance has been amped up. Canon says autofocusing across all four models is faster, by at least 50 percent. Plus, models with the new Digic 6 image processor will see improvements in low-light performance, even at higher ISO levels.

Canon gave us a first-look at these products yesterday during a tour of their new headquarters in Long Island, New York. Here’s a quick overview.

PowerShot G16

Check out our review of the Canon PowerShot G16 camera.

From a design standpoint, the new PowerShot G16 has some subtle changes over its predecessor, the G15. Edges are curvier, including the textured grip. Otherwise the exterior hasn’t been altered drastically. All the new features are happening on the inside: the G16 uses Canon’s new Digic 6 image processor, which Canon claims it’ll deliver improved low-light performance in conjunction with the sensor. It’s also the first PowerShot G-series camera to have Wi-Fi built in, while movies can now be recorded in 1080 Full HD up to 60p. Autofocus has also been improved, now with reduced shooting lag, although burst mode sees a very slight drop from 10 frames per second to 9.3. There are also new shooting modes including new HDR options, and Star mode for photographing the night sky like Star Time Lapse Movie, Star Trails, and Star Nightscape.

Specs wise, this popular pseudo-rangefinder retains the features of last year’s G15: a 12.1-megapixel 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor, and 28-140mm wide-angle 5x optical zoom lens with a fast f/1.8 aperture to achieve soft background blurring.

The G16 goes on sale in October for $550.

PowerShot S120

One of our favorite compact camera series, the PowerShot S, gets minor enhancements. Aesthetically the new 12.1-megapixel S120 looks very similar to the S110, but if you compare them side-by-side you’ll see the subtle design changes. In previous models the pop-up flash automatically pops up when you turn the flash on, but there’s now a dedicated switch on the left side. Wi-Fi isn’t new, but it gets the enhanced features mentioned above.

What’s new is the use of the Digic 6 image processor, but more interestingly is a faster f/1.8 lens, allowing for the new Background Defocus shooting mode (also available in the G16). The S120 records video at 1080 Full HD up to 60p, while burst shooting has been pumped up to 12.1 frames per second (versus 10 in the S110) in High-Speed Burst mode. Autofocusing is also faster.

The S120 also goes on sale in October for $450.

PowerShot SX510 HS

The PowerShot SX510 HS long-zoom camera (30x 24mm) is seeing some significant updates from the SX500 IS predecessor. It’s now using a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor instead of a 16-megapixel CCD, although it’s still using the older Digic 4 image processor. It shoots Full HD 1080p video at 24p instead of 720p, and it has Wi-Fi. Canon added the Zoom Framing Assist feature that helps you track a subject when at full telephoto (to activate, just push the button on the side of the lens barrel). Autofocusing has been improved to reduce lag time.

This camera will go on sale next month in September for $250. 

PowerShot SX170 IS

Compared to its predecessor, the SX160 IS, there aren’t a lot of changes inside the new SX170 IS. What you will notice, however, is a more compact body with the switch to lithium-ion battery from standard alkaline AA. Other than that, the SX170 is relatively similar as the SX160 with a 16-megapixel CCD sensor, Digic 4 image processor, and 16x 28mm optical zoom lens. 

The SX170 hits shelves in September for $180.

PowerShot N

N01Squeezed into the news is that the unique but awkward PowerShot N also gets an update, but it doesn’t address any of the shortcomings. Instead, this “special” version, exclusive to Canon’s online store, features a dedicated Facebook button for uploading your images to the popular social media site. The button can be found on the side (it replaces the mobile device connect button), marked with the Facebook logo. Unfortunately, it isn’t a direct Facebook connection, as you’re still required to go through Canon’s Image Gateway service (complicated one-time setup still required). This N features the new Wi-Fi menu and a new startup screen. This model doesn’t replace the original PowerShot N, as that will be sold everywhere else.

The camera will be available in September for $300. As there aren’t major changes, you can read our review of the original PowerShot N for more details.

Product Review

With the Z7, Nikon gives DSLR holdouts the mirrorless wonder they've waited for

Nikon’s long awaited full-frame mirrorless cameras are here, and the Z7 is the new flagship model. But does it stand up to the company's DSLR pedigree, and, more importantly, does it have what it takes to compete with the likes of Sony?
Photography

Full frame or 4K for less than $1K? These 4 older cameras still have a lot to offer

Looking for a great camera deal? Sometimes, you might be better off buying one that's a few years -- last generation's professional models may not cost much more than today's entry-level models.
Mobile

Which smartphone has the best camera? We found the sharpest shooters

They say that the best camera is always the one you have with you and that makes your smartphone camera very important indeed. Join us for a closer look at the best camera phones available right now.
Mobile

Xiaomi chooses Mi 8 Pro and Mi 8 Lite phones to spearhead British invasion

Xiaomi has launched its first official smartphones in the U.K., after steadily entering Europe over the past 12 months. The company has brought the Mi 8 Pro and the Mi 8 Lite, along with a selection of connected products.
Photography

Flickr just expanded Pro tools — but free users may have to delete some photos

If you have more than 1,000 photos on a free Flickr account, you might want to decide which to delete . Flickr announced some changes following an acquisition by SmugMug, including a new way to calculate the free account storage limit.
Product Review

Rylo is the 360 camera that finally makes 360 video useful

The Rylo puts a new spin on 360 video by focusing on flat, fixed-frame output. It can’t quite replace your action camera or camcorder, but it shows a glimmer of what the future of consumer video could be.
Product Review

Airselfie 2 may as well be a GoPro stapled to a drunk hummingbird

On paper, the Airselfie 2 is marketed as flying photographer that fits in your pocket and snaps selfies from the sky. Unfortunately it’s more like a HandiCam controlled by a swarm of intoxicated bumblebees
Photography

Premiere Pro A.I. plug-in for Adobe paints your videos in the style of van Gogh

CyberLink is bringing its suite of artificial intelligence-based video effects directly to Adobe users as a plug-in for Premiere Pro. The A.I. Style video plug-in "redraws" video in the styles of artists like Vincent van Gogh.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Photography

Photography News: Flickr keeping Creative Commons photos, ONA gets colorful

Flickr has confirmed it's saving all Creative Commons images, ONA has released a new capsule collection in partnership with Passion Passport and 7Artisans has launched a new drone-specific 35mm f/5.6 lens.
Photography

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

Picture this: The Aura packs thousands of photos in a single frame (for a price)

Are you one of those people who miss the good old days of flipping through photo albums to see each and every favorite photo? If so, you might love the Aura digital photo frame. We tested the device and came away impressed.