Canon Intros Flagship PowerShot G12 and 35X Megazoom

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Canon this week introduced the PowerShot G12, its latest flagship point-and-shoot camera for seasoned photographers, as well as the 35X-optical-zoom PowerShot SX30 IS, which incorporates the largest wide-angle-to-telephoto range we've seen in a fixed-lens camera.

While the high-end PowerShot G12 doesn't alter many of the basic specs of its predecessor, the PowerShot G11, the new G12 adds 720p high-definition video recording, stereo microphones, new shooting modes for both stills and video, and revamped image-stabilization and Auto mode features.

Canon PowerShot G12: HD Video, HDR Stills, Reworked Auto Mode

Equipped with a 5X optical zoom (28mm to 140mm), the new ruler of the PowerShot roost is the 10-megapixel, CCD-based PowerShot G12. This camera retains most of the basic features of previous G series models. It has the same F2.8 lens, manual controls, RAW-shooting capabilities, 2.8-inch flip-and-rotate LCD, eye-level optical viewfinder, hot shoe for external flash, and quick access to ISO adjustments and exposure-compensation stops that are found on the G11.

As a supplement to those top-mounted dials, the G12 adds a new front-mounted selection dial at the top of the handgrip to help with menu surfing and fast manual adjustments. Also new to this model are the ability to shoot 720p high-definition video at 24 frames per second, an HDMI-out port, and on-board stereo mics for audio capture; the G11 maxed out at 640-by-480 standard-definition video at 30 fps.

Other notable new features include a high-dynamic-range (HDR) scene mode, an expanded Smart Auto mode that automatically adjusts to bring out greater detail in shadowy areas, a spotlight-detection feature that tweaks exposure during live performances, and an advanced Hybrid IS image-stabilization feature that Canon claims will compensate for movements involving the entire camera body, not just the lens. Canon has also added the option to use Smart Auto mode while capturing video, and the option to shoot video in a tilt-shift-simulating Miniature scene mode.

Available by the end of September and priced at $500, the PowerShot G12 is destined to compete for camera bags with the similar Nikon Coolpix P7000.

Canon PowerShot SX30 IS: King of the Megazooms

The marquee feature of the 14-megapixel, CCD-based PowerShot SX30 IS is its versatile F2.7 lens with 35X optical zoom, which ranges from an ultra-wide-angle 24mm to a far-reaching 840mm telephoto, and offers optical image stabilization.

To help you harness the power of that whopping zoom lens while shooting a moving subject at the telephoto end of the range, Canon has also introduced a Zoom Framing Assist button. If a moving subject exits the frame, holding down a dedicated button temporarily adjusts the lens to a wider-angle field of view, and releasing the button autofocuses on the subject and returns the lens to its original focal length.

In addition to adopting two new modes found in the G12--Smart Auto and Miniature--the SX30 IS has full manual controls, and aperture- and shutter-priority modes. A flip-and-rotate 2.7-inch LCD helps the PowerShot SX30 IS handle creative-angle shots; the camera also supports 720p high-definition video recording at 30 fps and includes stereo microphones and an HDMI-out port.

Priced at $430, the PowerShot SX30 IS is due to arrive by the end of September.

See our roundup of the fall 2010 camera announcements, and take a look at our gallery of fall 2010's camera and camcorder highlights.

This story, "Canon Intros Flagship PowerShot G12 and 35X Megazoom" was originally published by PCWorld.

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