Canon adds fast lenses and Wi-Fi to high-end PowerShots

The PowerShot G series and S series of cameras have long been very popular options in the premium point-and-shoot class, and Canon just announced a few upgrades today that might make them even more enticing for prospective buyers.

Canon PowerShot G15: Faster lens, faster AF, fixed LCD screen

The PowerShot G15 is the latest model in Canon's bulkier-than-most G series of fixed-lens cameras, and the big addition here is its F1.8 lens. Its predecessor, the PowerShot G12, had a maximum aperture of F2.8 at the wide-angle end, while the G15 has that same F2.8 aperture at the telephoto end of its 5X optical zoom lens (28mm to 140mm).

The PowerShot G15's sensor is the same size as the one found in the PowerShot G12 (both have a 1/1.7-inch-type sensor), and the G15 also has the same Digic 5 image processor as the G12. However, the G15's 12-megapixel sensor itself is a CMOS sensor instead of the G12's 10-megapixel CCD sensor. Canon claims the new sensor is capable of faster continuous shooting speeds (10fps at full resolution), faster autofocus speeds (Canon is claiming 0.17 seconds), and better low-light performance. The G15's maximum ISO setting of 12,800 is two stops greater than the maximum ISO of 3200 found in the G12.

The G15's video-capture specs are also a step up from those found in the 720p-shooting G12, as the new camera captures 1080p clips at 24fps. The PowerShot G15 also has the Super Slow Motion movie mode found in Canon's newer CMOS-sensored PowerShots; the mode records footage at 120fps in 640-by-480 resolution or at 240fps in 320-by-240 resolution.

Strangely missing from the mix is an adjustable LCD screen, which made the G12 and the larger-sensored G1 X fine options for overhead and low-angle shooting. Instead, the G15 has a fixed 3-inch LCD screen as well as a eye-level optical viewfinder above its zoom lens.

Much of the other in-camera features are unchanged. The G15 offers RAW and RAW+JPEG modes, manual exposure controls in addition to aperture- and shutter-priority modes, a range of creative image filters, and a hot shoe for external flashes.

The Canon PowerShot G15 is due in October for $500.

Canon PowerShot S110: Just like the S100, but with Wi-Fi and a touchscreen

With the new PowerShot S110, Canon is standing pat with the F2.0 aperture found in the PowerShot S100, but the S110 has the same new sensor found in the G15. That new sensor purportedly gives it faster autofocus speeds, a 10fps burst mode, and ISO settings that ramp up to 12,800. The PowerShot S110 also has the same 5X optical zoom lens found in the S100, ranging from 24mm wide angle to 120mm telephoto.

The big additions are built-in Wi-Fi and a touchscreen interface, two things that weren't part of the S100's feature set. The Wi-Fi features are built to work with a free Canon CameraWindow app for iOS and Android devices; you can upload images and video to social-networking sites directly from the camera, offload them to a mobile device, or use a smartphone's GPS data to geotag images. Unlike the S100, the S110 doesn't have built-in GPS.

Beyond the new wireless features and the touchscreen UI, this camera is essentially a carbon copy of the PowerShot S100. The S110 has the same click-control ring around the lens for adjusting in-camera settings, RAW and RAW+JPEG shooting, manual exposure controls, and very pocketable size as its predecessor. Unfortunately, battery life hasn't improved, as the PowerShot S110 is rated at 200 shots per charge.

Due in October, the Canon PowerShot S110 is priced at $450.

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