Canon PowerShot N: The Future Of Tiny Cameras Is Touchscreen Squares?

The new Canon PowerShot N includes a lot of the features that Canon (and other companies) been adding to tiny point-and-shoots over the years, like Wi-Fi connectivity and touchscreen controls. What makes it new and refreshing -- at least aesthetically -- is the new square design. It's noticeably different, but does that make it better?

Indeed, the Canon Power Elph cameras have been the quintessential point-and-shoots forever, and that the PowerShot N ditches the Elph moniker is significant. They've gotten smaller and smaller over the years and piled on the features, but they've still remained essentially rectangles of more or less the same proportion. The PowerShot N is still technically a rectangular cube, but it has been shortened on the long side and made taller and thicker. So, consider that the PowerShot N is 8cm x 6cm x 3cm whereas the latest and greatest ELPH 530 HS measures 9cm x 5cm x 2cm.

As touchscreens have been added to point-and-shoot camera, the cameras in turn have been losing buttons. Welcome to the smartphone logic to the extreme where the and there's not a single button on the back of the camera. The touchscreen on the back allows you to control everything, and it flips out 90 degrees. It's a striking look.

Of course because this is the future, the camera has Wi-Fi connectivity so that you can share your photos online more easily. Canon says it has greatly improved the system so that using connected features isn't a pain, to which we respond that we'll believe it when we see it. There's also a new ECO mode that will be added to all Canon PowerShot cameras going forward. It's basically a very strict power save mode that Canon claims will trim 30-percent of your battery consumption.

As for the guts, there's nothing surprising, a 12.1-megapixel sensor, an 8x zoom and the Digic 5 image processor that's been around for over a year. But really, we're dying to know what it's like to use a camera this shape. We'll know for sure when it drops in April for $US300. (Australian release has been scheduled for May.) [Canon]



    Without a physical shutter button, this thing's already a fail.

      Yeah I can't see one in the pictures either. I'd say that this is quite a pure "point and shoot" and wouldnt need the half depress for focus instead utilising touch to focus on the screen and a touch shutter on the screen too. much simpler for those that just want to take party shots.

        There are two 'focus' rings on the front of the camera. One is for the zoom (left/right to zoom in and out), the other ring is the shutter button, which includes half-depress for autofocus and full press to take a photo.

          Where'd you get that info?

          LOL those are the strap holders - there is only one button on/off :)

            Those are indeed strap holders, but we're talking about the focus rings.

          Yeah I saw this on another website. So is it twist to shoot then?

      I initially thought so too, but consider this: most motion-blur that happens with point and shoots is due the combination of slim form factor combined with pressing the shutter button too hard, causing the camera to tilt forwards as the shutter activates. Although the focussing / shutter ring mentioned below is somewhat of a 'unique' solution (and I am skeptical about it's ease of use), it's definitely an innovative solution for a camera with a smaller and slimmer design than usual.

      Overall I see this camera as a good step forwards in terms of design and implementation of technology. ESPECIALLY the wifi. Cables / card readers are the bloody bane of anyone's life who uses a camera these days. Device connectivity looks cool too (as shown in the promo video

      Last edited 08/01/13 1:18 pm

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