Canon Announces Two New Point-and-Shoot Cameras

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Professional photographers used to be much better than amateurs at getting perfect shots. But now amateurs, too, can get professional results simply by shooting with one of today’s advanced point-and-shoot cameras. 

Canon has upped the ante with two new point-and-shoot cameras, the PowerShot S100 and PowerShot SX40 HS. Choose the PowerShot S100 if you want power and simplicity in a pocket-size package. Or choose the PowerShot SX40 HS if you want extreme zooming and have roomy pockets.

The PowerShot S100 lets anyone capture perfect still images and video simply by pressing a button. More advanced users can pick and choose the settings they want to get the exact results they’re after. You can see the results as you obtain them on the camera’s 3.0-inch, 461,000-dot PureColor LCD.

The PowerShot S100 combines a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor with Canon’s new DIGIC 5 image processor. A bright f/2.0 lens with 5x optical zoom ranges from 24mm at wide angle to 120mm in telephoto (both are 35mm equivalents). A high-speed burst mode lets you capture up to eight frames of action at 9.6 frames per second.

Of course, the PowerShot S100 can also capture full HD 1080p video with stereo sound, simply by pressing a dedicated movie button. You can play back your HD footage on an HDTV via the HDMI output. A Super Slow Motion Movie mode records video at 240 frames per second, allowing you to play back the footage in clear, steady slow motion.

Beginners will probably never even scratch the surface when it comes to using all of the S100’s features. Among them are RAW + JPEG mode, a GPS tracker, electronic wind filter, face detection, smart shutter and so on. An Intelligent IS system automatically chooses from six different image stabilization modes, depending on the shooting conditions. A control ring on the base of the lens barrel lets you adjust the focus, exposure, ISO, step zoom and white balance.

If you don’t feel like selecting any settings, special shooting modes help deliver the best results possible without even thinking. Modes include Custom, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, Program, Smart Auto, Portrait, Kids & Pets, Handheld Night Scene, Beach, Foliage, Fireworks and a whole lot more. A neat Movie Digest function automatically records a short video clip with every still image you shoot. All of the day’s clips are then combined into a single video. The PowerShot S100 will be available in black and silver finishes.

The PowerShot SX40 HS is a bigger camera for photographers with bigger ambitions. Except for the lens, the basic specifications and feature set of the SX40 HS are similar to the S100. Like the S100, the SX40 HS features a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5 image processor, offering low-light performance up to ISO 3200. A high-speed burst mode captures up to 8 frames of action, shooting at approximately 10.3 frames per second. The SX40 HS also sports all of the automatic and manual features of the S100. But none of that is what makes the SX40 HS special.

What makes the PowerShot SX40 HS truly special is its lens. The camera features a high powered 35x optical zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 24- to 840mm. Now that’s really something. A Zoom Framing Assist feature helps you track and capture faraway subjects when taking advantage of the camera’s super telephoto capabilities. Also helpful with the extreme zoom is Canon’s Intelligent IS system, which automatically engages one of six different modes to optimize image stabilization for any given setting.

Like the S100, the PowerShot SX40 HS can capture full HD 1080p video with stereo sound, and you’ll never miss a shot fumbling with the controls because the camera has a dedicated movie button. You can zoom while capturing video if you feel the need to do so. Again, like the S100, the SX40 HS offers a Super Slow Motion Movie mode that records video at 240 frames per second, so you can play back the footage in perfectly fluid slow motion. You can play back videos on an HDTV via the HDMI output, or view your footage on the camera’s 2.7-inch widescreen LCD, which pivots to allow easy viewing from any angle.


  S100 SX40 HS
 
Imaging
Resolution 12.1 Megapixel 12.1 Megapixel
Sensor 1/1.7" CMOS 1/2.3" CMOS
Image Stabilization Optical Optical, 3-Way
     
Optics
Lens 35mm equivalent: 24-120mm, f/2.0 35mm equivalent: 24-840mm f2.7
Zoom Optical: 5x Optical: 35x
     
Exposure Control
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 80-6400 Auto, 80-3200
Shutter 15 - 1/2000 Seconds 15 - 1/3200 Sec
Exposure Metering Center-weighted, Evaluative, Face Detection, Spot Center-weighted, Evaluative, Spot
White Balance Modes Auto, Cloudy, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Manual, Tungsten, Underwater Auto, Cloudy, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Tungsten
Burst Rate Up to 9.6 fps Up to 10.3 fps 
     
Flash
Built-in Flash Yes: Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Exposure Compensation, FE Lock, Flash On, Flash On w/ Red-eye Reduction, Off, Slow Sync Yes: Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, FE Lock, Flash On, Off, Slow Sync
     
Memory
Memory Card Type SD, SDHC, SDXC SD, SDHC, SDXC, MMC, MMCplus
     
Recording
Video Recording Yes, NTSC/PAL Yes, NTSC/PAL
     
Display
Screen 3.0" LCD 2.7" LCD Screen 
     
Connectivity
Connectivity USB 2.0, HDMI C (Mini) USB 2.0, HDMI C (Mini)
     
Power
Battery Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack
     
Physical
Dimensions (WxHxD) 3.93 x 2.34 x 1.05" / 99.82 x 59.44 x 26.67 mm 4.8 x 3.6 x 4.2" / 12.19 x 9.14 x 10.67 cm
Weight 6.1 oz / 173 g 21.2 oz / 601 g

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Looks like Canon has another couple of winners with these two. While I shoot with a Nikon DSLR, I'm just as likely to recommend a Canon as a Nikon to friends. I can, and have been, elated with both. My old S2 IS, now many generations old, has been a faithful friend that still produces incredible images, especially in "Super Macro" mode. I freely interchange photos from both my old 5 MP Canon and my Nikon. People are often surprised when they discover which shots were from the S2 IS.