A New Wave of Cameras for 2011

Canon's New PowerShots Get New Names, New Sensors

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A New Wave of Cameras for 2011

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A Canon PowerShot by any other name is still, in all likelihood, a good pocket camera. Canon today announced four new PowerShot point-and-shoot models, all of which have slightly different naming conventions than previous PowerShot compact cameras.

The new Canon PowerShot SX230 HS, PowerShot Elph 500 HS, PowerShot Elph 300 HS, and PowerShot Elph 100 HS are all successors to models in Canon's 2010 lineup, but the company is implementing new model names that put the cameras' HS (High Sensitivity) System sensor-and-processor combo front and center.

Crisp low-light shooting, 1080p high-definition video capture, and extensive Auto and scene modes are the marquee features of the new HS System cameras. Gone are the "SD" and "IS" naming conventions of previous generations of PowerShot cameras, but the features those names reflected are intact: The new cameras still use SD card storage and optically-stabilized lenses.

All the new additions to the PowerShot lineup are due to be released by the end of March.

Canon PowerShot SX230 HS: GPS-Enabled Successor to the SX210 IS

The PowerShot SX230 HS is Canon's first compact camera to offer in-camera GPS capabilities, which will store latitude, longitude, and altitude data in a photograph's EXIF data for overlaying images on a map interface once they're offloaded to a computer. One option for the camera is a "logger" feature that tracks a shooter's movements when they're not taking pictures; it's designed to map an entire journey on a computer once the relevant images are offloaded.

The PowerShot SX230 HS retains most of the specs that made the PowerShot SX210 IS one of our highest-rated pocket megazooms of the past year, including a 14X-optical-zoom lens (28mm to 392mm), full manual controls with aperture- and shutter-priority options, and a full boat of scene modes and automated settings for casual shooters.

Besides the GPS feature, other significant changes from last year's SX210 IS are under the hood. The new SX230 HS offers a low-light-optimized 12-megapixel CMOS sensor and captures 1080p video at 30 frames per second; the SX210 IS had a 14-megapixel CCD sensor and maxed out at 720p video capture; that model was announced before Canon lifted the lid on its first wave of HS System cameras.

Other features include a dedicated video record button, a Smart Auto mode for both video and still shooting that selects from 32 scene modes to optimize shots, and a "Movie Digest" mode built for long live performances that automatically stitches together montages of short video clips and still images.

The PowerShot SX230 HS features a 3-inch LCD screen, and the camera is priced at $350.

Canon PowerShot Elph 500 HS: Touchscreen Camera With F2.0 Lens

The new Elph 500 HS is a performance-minded touchscreen camera that looks like a hybrid of last year's PowerShot SD4000 IS and SD3500 IS. It boasts a wide F2.0 aperture with an ultra-wide-angle, 4.4X-optical zoom lens (24mm to 105mm).

The PowerShot Elph 500 HS has touchscreen-based controls for focusing, in-camera controls, and menu navigation; Canon says the camera offers touch-to-focus capabilities, but no touch-controlled shutter release.

Like the other new cameras, it boasts the new 12-megapixel HS System CMOS sensor, the revamped Smart Auto mode, extensive scene modes for both stills and video, and full high-definition video recording at 1080p/30 fps.

Priced at $300, the Elph 500 HS will be available in silver, brown, and pink.

Canon PowerShot Elph 300 HS: Ultraslim Camera With Mainstream Appeal

The PowerShot Elph 300 HS replaces the popular PowerShot SD1400 IS. Canon is heralding the new model as the "world's thinnest 5X 24mm wide-angle camera," and it has an optically stabilized 5X optical zoom lens (24mm to 120mm).

The new Elph 300 HS offers the same 12-megapixel CMOS HS sensor, 1080p/30 fps video capture, and the extensive Smart Auto and scene modes as the other new cameras. The LCD screen is a bit smaller, at 2.7 inches diagonal.

The PowerShot Elph 300 HS will go for $250, and will be available in black, silver, and red.

Canon PowerShot Elph 100 HS: A Solid $200 Compact Camera

At the entry-level end of the new HS series is the PowerShot Elph 100 HS, which replaces the hot-selling SD1300 IS.

The new camera has a 4X-optical-zoom (28mm to 112mm) lens with optical stabilization, a 3-inch LCD screen, and the 12-megapixel HS CMOS sensor found in the rest of the new offerings.

Available in gray, silver blue, pink, and orange, the PowerShot Elph 100 HS is priced at $200.

This story, "Canon's New PowerShots Get New Names, New Sensors" was originally published by PCWorld.

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