Canon is taking a step to regain the upper hand in the face of increasingly good camera phones, or is it about to take on the GoPro with its new Canon PowerShot N?
The camera is very small and light, featuring a tiltable LCD touchscreen. You can touch the screen or a ring around the lens on the front of the camera to take a shot, There's another ring around the lens to zoom the 28-224mm lens - and that's something the current crop of smart phones can't do, zooom in on a subject like this (well, not without a separate accessory lens)!
Camera phones don't generally offer 12-megapixels either, or if they do, not with the same quality sensor. Mind you, with some good processing or an easy subject (well lit, stationary etc), my iPhone takes a cracking good shot, but when it comes to enlargement or difficult lighting conditions, cameras like the Canon N will beat the smart phones hands down. Assuming you want quality, of course. I know I do!
There are some interesting features as we watch cameras morph into their next stage as a general communications device. The PowerShot N boasts integrated Wi-Fi and one-touch connectivity with most smart phones and tablets. You can upload images and film clips directly to Facebook and YouTube, or transfer them to your PC or printer when you get home.
And you can use the PowerShot N to enhance your images with Canon's creative modes like Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Toy Camera Effect and Monochrome. Sounds like Canon is copying Instagram which probably copied Canon and the other camera manufacturers in the first place!
There's also a new Hybrid Auto mode which records a four second movie before every still shot in 720p resolution. I wonder if after the still shot might be better, but at the end of each day, the four-second clips are merged into one to tell the "behind-the-scenes" story of the day’s images and I agree with Canon this is a great idea for adding greater context to an online album.
CES in the USA is on or just finishing as you read this, so expect lots of new camera gear announcements in the coming weeks!