Canon Unleashes Bevy of New Cameras

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In preparation for this year’s Photo Marketing Association (PMA) show—which doesn’t kick off for another couple weeks yet—digital camera makers are trotting out new models in hopes of capturing mindshare and some ever-valuable "buzz" before doors open. To that end, Canon has announced two new members of its Digital Elph and Powershot lines, along with a new professional DSLR shooters and a PowerShot camcorder which can handle stills and high-definition video.

First up, the Canon EOS-1D Mark III digital SLR aims to extend Canon’s dominance of the high-end DSLR market—estimates put Canon’s marketshare near 50 percent. In the past Canon’s been reluctant to tinker with its designs, since professionals are so accustomed to them, but this time Canon is introducing new features long-in-the-tooth shooters might appreciate. Canon claims the EOS-1D Mark III is the world’s fastest DSLR and is capable of shooting 10 frames per second, a feat it accomplishes with Canon’s new Dual DIGIC III image processor which essentially wraps two image processors into the camera so one picture can be processed while another is being taken. The EOS-1D Mark III offers 10.1 megapixel resolution, ISO sensitivity all the way up to 3200 (with extensions to ISO 50 and a "very usable" ISO 6400). The camera also sports a 3-inch "live view" LCD—a feature common in point-and-shoot digital cameras but rare in DSLRs because the camera’s mirror is in the way. Photographers who are, say, across the studio from the camera, can also connect the camera to a computer via USB and use the computer screen as a viewfinder. And if the camera is set up somewhere inaccessible, Canon is also offering new WFT-W2A Wireless File Transmitter which enables users to view images from the camera in near real-time with the ability to adjust many camera settings on the fly.

The EOS-1D Mark III offers 45 autofocus points, an integrated cleaning system (which can append "dust delete data" to an image file to automatically remote motes from dust or particles on the sensor), and a slew of professional features (including sRAW format support). Canon says to expect the EOS-1D Mark III "this spring" (industry-watchers say that means "late May") with a price in line with its Mark II predecessor: around $4,100.

Next, Canon has announced two new Digital Elph cameras, the SD750 and SD1000, intended for the tech-savvy and fashion-conscious photographers lurking among us. The cameras feature a new DIGIC III processor offering faster startup, improved image quality, and faster shutter times. The units also sport face detection technology, red-eye correction, ISO sensitivities ranging from 80 to 1600 and sport an Auto ISO Shift feature which can automatically increase ISO sensitivity up to 800 to offsent camera shake and motion. The SD750 sports a 3-inch LCD while the SD1000 offers a 2.5-inch LCD; both cameras offer 7.1 megapixel resolutions and 3× optical zooms—although there’s no mention of image stabilization tehcnology in these slim fashion-focused shooters. The SD750 should be available in March at an estimated price of $349.99; the SD1000 should go for about $299.99.

The PowerShot A560 and A570 aren’t as fashion-focussed as the Elphs, offering 4× optical zoomes, 7.1 megapixel resolutions, 2.5-inch LCD viewfinders, and that same DIGIC III processor for fast startup and shot-to-shot times. The cameras offer face detection technology, ISO sensitivities up to 1600, and Canon’s optical image stabilization for blur-free shots. Even better, the cameras will run on standard AA batteries—handy when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere without a charger. The new Powershots will be available in March at $229.99 for the A560 and $299.99 for the A570—the A570 supports three optional converter lenses, a teleconverter, a wide-angle converts, and a close-up lens.

Finally, the Canon PowerShot TX1 aims to be both a camcorder and a digital still camera, packing all your imaging needs into one "do-it-all" offering. The TX1 manages 7.1 megapixel still images, but can also capture 720p high-definition video at 30 frames per second. And users will be able to zoom in on their subjects very cleanly with ISO sensitivities ranging up to 1600, a 10× optical zoom and integrated optical image stabilization. The TX1’s display offers an "intelligent orientation sensor" so the viewfinder image is always intelligible no matter which way the camera is being held, and the unit offers Canon’s DIGIC processing with face detection, red-eye reduction, and 14 scene modes. Canon hasn’t said when the TX1 will be available, but it’ll carry a $499.99 estimated price, which might be enough to have Sanyo reconsidering their handheld HD camcorder offerings (but with a couple weeks yet until PMA, we’re sure we’ll be hearing from Sanyo soon).

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