Modern snappers are no longer content with point-and-shoot compact cameras just, well, pointing and shooting. We want feature-rich cameras that can produce crisp, clear images even if we're a little shaky in our photographic approach. We want a host of creative image modes to take even our most feeble attempts and turn them into something special. And we want high-def video. Canon has revealed a trio of PowerShot updates which offer all that and more. Amongst the specification increases is high-definition video up to full 1080p, a sensor improvement, lens gains, image handling enhancements and SDXC media card support.
The first of Canon's new PowerShot offerings has the same 3-inch LCD display, through-the-lens auto-focus via a 3.8x optical zoom lens, ISO80 to ISO3200 sensitivity and manual control ring as the S90 before it. It also sports the company's HS SYSTEM, where the HS of course stands for High Sensitivity. The system gets the DIGIC 4 Image Processor and the 10-megapixel CCD sensor to work together and help reduce image-ruining noise and enhance image detail at high sensitivity settings.
However, the 3.93 x 2.30 x 1.16-inch S95 now features 720p movie recording with stereo audio and is the first Canon camera to sport in-built High Dynamic Range functionality, where three shots are taken in quick succession using different exposures and then combined into one enhanced image. It's also the first PowerShot to benefit from Hybrid Image Stabilization technology that is said to correct both angle and shift camera shake, compensating for more types of movement.
Users are offered around 200 frames per battery charge and can now benefit from multiple aspect ratios and SDXC media card support.
The PowerShot S95 will be available from late August and will retail for an estimated price of US$399.99
PowerShot SD4500 IS
The feature-rich SD4000 IS was only unveiled a few short months ago and already Canon is introducing the next incarnation. The SD4500 IS has the same 10-megapixel back-illuminated CMOS sensor and 3-inch LCD display as the previous model but now has a 10x optical zoom lens with optical image stabilization.
The new camera also receives a high def movie upgrade to full 1080p with stereo audio. Additionally, there's now a super-slow-motion mode that captures movies at 240 frames per second, albeit at a lower resolution, to add Matrix-like action scenes to home movies and benefits from Dynamic Image Stabilization.
Back to the snapping side of the camera's personality and something called Best Image Selection, which snaps five sequential frames and then chooses the best one "based on a person's movement and facial expressions." Like the S95 above, the SD4000 IS has been given Canon's HS system but extra attention has been given to after-dark photography with the inclusion of a Handheld Night Scene setting that reduces camera shake so that users can "shoot beautiful images within dark settings."
Available in early September, the SD4500 IS camera is expected to retail for US$349.99
PowerShot SX130 IS
With 4.46 x 2.88 x 1.80-inch dimensions, the SX130 IS is slightly chunkier than the SX120 IS before it but it does have to make room for the new 12-megapixel CCD sensor and 12x optical zoom lens with the company's proprietary Optical Image Stabilization. Like the earlier model, the new camera features a 3-inch, 230,000 dot display, ISO sensitivity of ISO80 to ISO1600, is said to be good for 130 frames on a single charge and sports the handy P/A/S/M settings control on top of the camera. However, it does gain 720p high definition video recording with stereo audio and SDXC media card support.
It will be available in late August for an estimated price of US$249.99