Canon Joins the Wi-Fi and 20X-Zoom Fray With New PowerShot Cameras
Canon finished what it started at CES 2012 today, announcing a number of new PowerShot cameras that add wireless features and fill in the gaps of its Spring point-and-shoot lineup. Among the new offerings are a 20X-optical-zoom successor to the PowerShot SX230 HS, a couple of Wi-Fi-enabled versions of PowerShot Elph cameras unveiled at CES, and a new rugged camera that will replace the PowerShot D10.
Canon PowerShot SX260 HS: New 20X-Zoom Pocket Camera
The 12-megapixel Canon PowerShot SX260 HS is the company's new top-of-the-line pocket megazoom, and it replaces last year's excellent PowerShot SX230 HS. Offering full manual exposure controls, and aperture-priority and shutter-priority modes, it advances beyond the 14X-optical-zoom range of the SX230 HS with an optically stabilized 20X-optical-zoom lens (25mm to 500mm) and Canon's next-generation Digic 5 image processor; the latter helps increase the camera's full-resolution burst mode to 10.3 frames per second (up from 3.2 fps at full resolution or 8.1 fps at 3-megapixel resolution in the SX230 HS).
The new PowerShot SX260 HS has a raised handgrip and is slightly slimmer than the SX230 HS, with a body that measures 1.29 inches deep versus the SX230 HS's 1.31-inch-deep frame. In-camera GPS is still in the mix, and it's still limited to geotagging shots with raw longitude and latitude information in EXIF data, though the latest version of the GPS feature also includes altitude information. Like its predecessor, the SX260 HS can also shoot 1080p video at 24 fps, as well as high-speed/super-slow-motion footage at a reduced resolution.
Though the new pocket megazoom's core specs look nearly identical to those of the SX230 HS, Canon says that the new model has a few additional changes under the hood, including a revamped optical stabilization system and expanded "Smart Auto" in-camera automation to optimize exposure and automate scene selection based on 58 scene presets. Due in March for $350, the PowerShot SX260 HS will be available in black, red, or green.
Canon PowerShot Elph 530 HS and 320 HS: Wi-Fi/Touchscreen Cousins of Models Announced at CES
The 10-megapixel Canon PowerShot Elph 530 HS is another pocket megazoom, albeit one with a tighter zoom range (12X optical zoom; 28mm to 336mm) and a much slimmer body (0.78 inch thick). In most respects it's virtually the same camera as the Canon PowerShot Elph 520 HS announced at CES, but with two key differences: a 3.2-inch touchscreen, and the ability to share content wirelessly via built-in Wi-Fi capabilities.
Likewise, the 16-megapixel PowerShot Elph 320 HS looks like a Wi-Fi-enabled, touchscreen version of the 110 HS announced at CES: It has a 5X-optical-zoom range (24mm to 120mm), 1080p video recording at 24 fps, and expanded Smart Auto features.
These two cameras are Canon's first Wi-Fi-enabled models of 2012, offering the ability to upload images and video directly from the cameras to Canon's Image Gateway service; they don't support direct-camera uploads to sharing sites such as YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, but you can upload content from Canon Image Gateway to those sites.
Canon is also planning a sharing app called Canon Camera Window that, starting in March, you can use to offload images and video to iOS devices via a peer-to-peer Wi-Fi connection. A similar Android version of the app is slated for May.
The PowerShot Elph 520 HS is due in April, priced at $350 and available in black or white. The PowerShot Elph 320 HS will be available in March for $280, in black, silver, red, or blue.
Canon PowerShot D20: Redesigned Rugged Camera
The PowerShot D20 will replace Canon's submarine-style PowerShot D10 waterproof/shockproof/drop-proof camera, offering a 12-megapixel "HS System" CMOS sensor instead of the D10's CCD sensor. In addition to its sleeker dimensions, it offers 1080p video capture at 24 fps, an optically stabilized 5X-optical-zoom lens, built-in GPS and altimeter features, and a special macro mode for underwater shooting. Due in May, it's priced at $350.
The 20X-optical-zoom PowerShot SX260 HS does many things well. It's as close as a compact camera can get to being "one size fits all," thanks to very good image quality and a great mix of options for novices and experienced photographers. Read the full review