Major Point-and-Shoot Releases for 2009

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Canon Blasts Out 10 New PowerShots

In a huge week for camera announcements, Canon is the latest company to unleash details about its upcoming line of point-and-shoot models for 2009. It announced ten new Canon PowerShot cameras this week, spanning the company's popular and fashion-conscious SD line, the high-zoom SX line, and the entry-level A line. Canon also unveiled the first in a brand-new, weatherproof D line of PowerShots.

The big news here seems to be Canon's Digic 4 image processor, which the company says enhances the new cameras' automated setting-optimization features. All but one of the ten announced cameras features the Digic 4 processor.

PowerShot SD780 IS, SD960 IS, SD970 IS, and SD1200 IS

While it isn't the most spec-packed addition to Canon's 2009 PowerShot line, the slick PowerShot SD780 IS (below) might just be the best-looking camera ever to grace the planet.

The skimpy 3X optical zoom notwithstanding (33mm to 100mm), the 12-megapixel SD780 IS does have decent features: optical image stabilization, a "Smart Auto" mode that optimizes settings automatically based on the shooting environment, face detection, blink detection, motion detection, red-eye removal, and a 720p HD movie mode with HDMI output.

But the main draw here is sleek looks; the PowerShot SD780 IS comes in black, red, silver, and gold, and the metal lens casing is the same color as the camera's body. The SD780 IS will be available in April for $280.

Three other additions are coming to Canon's popular optical-image-stabilized SD line. Leading the charge is the PowerShot SD1200 IS (below), the follow-up to the company's hot-selling PowerShot SD1100 IS.

The pocketable, 10-megapixel SD1200 IS offers optical image stabilization, a 3X optical zoom (35mm to 105mm), Smart Auto mode, face detection, and red-eye correction. The model comes in six colors--dark gray, light gray, orange, blue, pink, and green--and will be available in April for $230.

At the top tier of the new PowerShot SD announcements are the SD960 IS and the SD970 IS. Borrowing a page from the latest iPods' new "shake to shuffle" feature, both cameras offer an option called "Active Display," which lets the user navigate through photos by shaking the camera.The differences between the two units are in the lenses and the in-camera effects. The PowerShot SD960 IS (below) offers a 28mm equivalent at the wide-angle end of its 4X optical zoom lens.

The PowerShot SD970 IS (below) trades in those wide-angle chops for a 5X optical zoom (37mm to 185mm), creative in-camera photo effects, and a 3-inch-diagonal LCD screen (the SD960 has a 2.8-inch screen).

Otherwise, the two cameras have similar specs: 12-megapixel resolution, Smart Auto mode, 720p HD movie mode with HDMI output, face detection, and blink detection. The PowerShot SD960 IS will be available in silver, blue, pink, and gold for $330, while the PowerShot SD970 IS comes in silver only for $380; both cameras go on sale in April.

PowerShot SX1 IS and PowerShot SX200 IS

Two new high-zoom PowerShots join the mix in 2009: the DSLR-like 20X-optical-zoom PowerShot SX1 IS (28mm to 560mm), and the relatively compact 12X-optical-zoom SX200 IS.

The 10-megapixel SX1 IS is Canon's first PowerShot with a CMOS sensor and a full-HD movie mode that records 1080p clips and includes an HDMI output. In addition to the megazoom chops, the SX1 IS also shoots RAW-format images and has a flip-out 2.8-inch LCD screen. Optical image stabilization, motion detection, face detection, and red-eye correction round out the more beginner-friendly features. The PowerShot SX1 IS will be available in April for $600.

Also packing a megazoom lens in a smaller, boxy frame is the PowerShot SX200 IS, a 12-megapixel model with a 12X optical zoom that extends from 28mm to 336mm.

The SX200 IS's other specs are equally impressive: a 720p HD movie mode, a big 3-inch LCD screen, optical image stabilization, Smart Auto mode, motion detection, face detection, blink detection, and red-eye correction. The PowerShot SX200 will be available in black, blue, and red for $350 at the end of March.

PowerShot A2100 IS, A1100 IS, and A480

Canon also announced three new entry-level A-series cameras for 2009, all of which can run on AA batteries.

The 12-megapixel A2100 IS (above) offers optical image stabilization, Smart Auto mode, a 6X optical zoom (36mm to 216mm), and a 3-inch-diagonal LCD screen. It will be available in April for $250.

The 12-megapixel PowerShot A1100 IS (above) also offers optical image stabilization and Smart Auto mode, but has a smaller, 2.5-inch LCD screen, plus an optical viewfinder. Available in gray, pink, blue, and green, it hits stores in March priced at $200.

At the extreme entry-level end is the PowerShot A480 (above), a 10-megapixel camera with a 2.5-inch LCD, motion detection, face detection, and red-eye correction, but no image stabilization. It's also the only new Canon camera announced that has the company's Digic 3 image processor; all the other models listed here have the new Digic 4 processor. It's available in four colors--black, silver, blue, and red--in April for $130.

Canon PowerShot D10

Last but not least, Canon is adding a rugged camera to its 2009 lineup: the deep-sea-diver-inspired PowerShot D10, which is waterproof down to depths of 33 feet, freezeproof at temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit, and shockproof to drops of up to 4 feet. The 12-megapixel D10 also has a number of nice on-board features, including Smart Auto mode, blink detection, face detection, and optical image stabilization. The D10 hits stores in April for $330.

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