Canon fire two new shots with PowerShot SX520 HS and SX400 IS

PowerShot-SX520

Canon have made further moves into the future with its popular camera range. Starting with the SX520 HS which is the replacement for the SX510 HS, the camera is packed with 16 megapixels, which is to be expected in modern cameras, but what is unusual is the 1 / 2.3inch CCD sensor. This is a strange choice when you consider that most other cameras in the sector use a CMOS sensor. However, avid photographers will know that CCD or CMOS are just a matter of light and exposure, and every photographic task needs the right tools for the job. If you want to learn more about CCD vs CMOS I recommend you check out the B&H article on the subject.

PowerShot-SX520-back
PowerShot SX520 back

Let’s get up close and personal with the the SX520 HS and its features. The camera packs punch considering it is fairly compact, with a 42x optical zoom and 24mm wide-angle lens. Compared to larger cameras it is perhaps a downgrade, however. At 42x zoom capacity it is not what you would expect on a smaller camera but you still get a 1008mm maximum focal length, which is pretty good as pointed by TechRadar. Another little bonus for those that favour zoom functionality on their camera is the ZoomPlus technology that boost the range up to a massive 84x by recreating an optical zoom.

Canon’s new SX400 IS also matches up strongly. Again in this camera you get 16 megapixels and a 1/2.3inch CCD sensor, but the real difference between the cameras is in the zooming capabilities. For a small size camera the 30x optical zoom is a really pleasant surprise. The zoom is boosted by the ZoomPlus technology which increases the maximum zoom to an enormous up to 60x – a huge amount of zoom for a small camera. Video recording is only 720p rather than the full 1080p HD that can be found on the SX520 HS. Both cameras come with a Digic 4+ processor that promises to be 60% quicker with high ISOs and 30% quicker focusing and processing than the standard Digic 4.

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PowerShot SX400 IS in black – a compact, easy to store and carry camera

Canon has announced that you will have to wait until January to get your hands on an SX400 IS for the reasonable starting price of £259. However, the SX520 HS is due to start retailing in August with a starting price of £299, very reasonable pricing considering the huge amounts of functionality available here.

PowerShot-SX400-IS-RED
PowerShot SX400 IS in red

 

With both cameras Canon is delivering great competitive pricing – however, extras such as touchscreen, Wi-Fi, GPS are left out on both. The cameras offer little further than strong functionality that you’d expect, but offer plenty of bang for your hard-earned buck.

For more information visit Canon.

Canon’s LEGRIA Mini – Crying Out to Be Played With

legria-mini

Remember when camcorders first hit the mainstream consumer market in the 80s? They were huge, in both senses of the word. These bulky and heavy shoulder-born items suddenly unleashed a whole new load of fun as VHS’s became an almost household commodity with families being able to replay their own experiences and memories on the silver screen. The new found zest for homemade videos in the 80s led to the creation of shows such as the long-running America’s Funniest Home Videos and, in 1990, our own version, You’ve Been Framed.

Imagine and awe and bewilderment if someone had dug the new LEGRIA Mini from their pocket and said that in about 30 years from now this is what home camcorders will look like?

Yes you’ve guessed it Canon’s LEGRIA Mini is small. Although it’s not just the camcorder’s minute size that would cause the home video-infatuated consumerists of the 80s’ eyes to bulge in wonderment, but also its innovative design. Breaking away from the conventional design of the camcorder, the LEGRIA Mini’s built-in stand creates hands-free and flexible recording, enabling users to get in front of the camera themselves and participate in their videos – Perfect for those directors wanting to have a cameo role in their own video!

It has to be said that one of the most common home video mishaps is amateur video makers’ almost collective tendency to unwittingly crop off half of the action when filming. The LEGRIA Mini’s ultra-wide angle f/2.8 lens, which can capture stills at a 170 degree angle and video in full HD at 160, will hopefully eradicate the inelegance and embarrassment of showing a video when half of the action is out of shot. ‘Conventional’ recording is also achievable by tapping the screen to reduce the field of view to a 71 degree angle.

Different shooting options are available to the discerning LEGRIA cameraman by either flipping the LCD touchscreen out to the subject side or to the rear side. With a rotation switch system embedded into the camera, you need not worry that you’ll be displaying images upside down as the camera automatically puts the image the right way up.

Canon has always been at the forefront of image quality and combining a Canon-engineered high-sensitivity back-illuminated ½.3 inch CMOS sensor with an advanced DIGIC DV 4 processing platform for reduced noise, the LEGRIA Mini certainly promises to maintain Canon’s reputation for quality.

With the extraordinary rise of social media, sharing videos is a popular pastime, to say the least. With built-in Wi-Fi LEGRIA Mini users can share their creations until their heart’s content. Though not just on the social channels might we add, as the camera’s Remote Browser feature enables vids and images to be shared on other devices, such as tablets and monitors.

To conclude, the LEGRIA Mini certainly looks like a miniscule device just crying out to be picked up and played with and being made by Canon, we don’t doubt that its functionalities will be as impressive as its exterior. We’ll have to wait until mid-September though to be able to get our hands on one. Perhaps by then we’ll have some indication of the price.

Canon’s Latest Camcorders: Standing Out to be Outstanding

Canon-XA252

With even the cheapest compact cameras, digital SLRs and more recently wearable devices like the GoPro possessing high quality video recording potential, you may think the market for camcorders has somewhat deteriorated.

There is no longer much need to buy a specific video recording device, as even our smartphones and tablets have the ability to not only capture footage, but also edit the results. What used to be a job for the professional is now easily performed by almost anyone with the inclination.

Therefore, if you’re a camera manufacturer, it seems essential to either develop a device that possesses a multitude of capabilities, or produce a camcorder with unrivalled features and quality. One camcorder specialist in particular appears to be targeting both.

Expanding its range of handheld video cameras, Canon has unveiled three camcorders aimed specifically at a professional market. You can replace the word professional with rich if making movies is just a hobby or interest. From the high-end XA25 priced at £2099, to the £1699 XA20 and finally the most affordable LEGRIA HF G30 that costs £1299.

Canon-Legria-HF-G30

All three camcorders have been developed using a brand new picture taking system, which concerns the lens as well as the image sensor and processor. The 20x zoom wide-angle lens featured on all models offers a 26.8-576mm focal range and has borrowed technology from Canon’s premium XF305 camcorder.

As you can imagine, these cameras look to cover all the basics and overcome the common stumbling blocks such as low-light performance and noise reduction.
In addition, an improved Optical Image Stabiliser (IS) system enhances picture quality on the move while an 8-blade circular aperture ensures any background blur is ‘beautiful’ according to Canon. I didn’t even realise this was possible, but even high-quality blur is important apparently.

In some respects, the additional technology and newly developed systems are arbitrary; as for the price you would expect exceptionally high quality images. The respective camera’s ease of use and additional intuitive features are therefore what matters when it comes to differentiating itself from competitors like Panasonic.

Canon-XA20

The XA25 and XA20 feature a removable handle, which can be added or taken away to suit the shooting situation. A new OLED touchscreen gives greater resolution and colour, allowing the user to control exposure as well as aperture, shutter speed, iris, gain and exposure with a customisable control dial.

One interesting additional feature is that each camera features integrated dual band Wi-Fi support (2.4GHz and 5GHz). This handy addition means the user can look at recorded footage on a smartphone or tablet browser without the need for playback software. You can also transfer footage to FTP servers at up to 150Mbps via a wireless access point and play back videos on a supported TV or computer. Even though you’re likely to use the camera for high-quality video, the possibility of uploading to YouTube or Facebook at bitrates of up to 24Mbps exists.

Therefore these cameras appeal exclusively to filmmaking professionals or highly dedicated and passionate amateur video producers. There is no doubting Canon’s ability to develop a camcorder that produces the best possible images, but its additional features and functionality is where it hopes to gain the upper hand.

Canon’s cutting edge (wallet draining) camera range

Canon-6D

Hold on to your wallets and purses Canon fans! The camera giant has just unveiled a whole range of new cameras to get your shutter fingers twitching.

First off is the new, compact DSLR the Canon EOS 6D, the smallest and lightest full-frame DSLR to come out of the Canon stable. It has a 20.2-megapixel full-frame sensor, a maximum ISO of 25,600, for optimum low-light performance, built-in GPS and Wi-Fi connectivity. It also offers the option to grab Full HD video.

New to the PowerShot G-series lineup is the Powershot G15, which boasts the brightest lens yet. The new f/1.8-2.8 lens gives photographers an extra-wide aperture throughout its 5x optical zoom range.

And then there is the PowerShot SX50 HS, which is the first compact camera in the world to have a 50x optical zoom.

Both of these cameras offer full manual controls as well as RAW image capture.

And finally there’s the PowerShot S110, which now comes with Wi-Fi connectivity, along with an 3in touchscreen, which lets you use Touch autofocus to make focusing easy.

And to help you once you’ve taken all those shots, Canon has also revealed the beta of its Project 1709, which is a new image management platform. Cloud-based, it is compatible with all browsers, and lets you access, organise and enjoy images from multiple sources in one simple place.

Canon EOS 5D makes its Mark (III)

Canon has just added a 22.3 megapixel camera to its famous EOS range. The EOS 5D Mark III has been some time in coming and rumours about what it would offer have been bandied about for a while.

The EOS 5D Mark III builds on the performance of the Mark II, with better speed, improved resolution, more creative options and more powerful processing – as well as the option to shoot Full HD movies. On the rear of the camera you’ll find a live view/movie switch that speeds up movie activation.

EOS-5D-Mark-II

The Mark III is powered by the latest DIGIC 5+ processing technology, and is targeted at those photographers who are just as interested in shooting video as they are in capturing still images. The top continuous shooting speed is 6fps – quite an improvement on its predecessor’s 3.9fps.

If you’ve been thinking about buying the EOS 1DX, you might want to take a look at the new arrival first before you make a decision. Mind you, if you’re contemplating buying one, you’ll need a smidge under three grand to take it home with you.

The autofocus system has a 61-point wide-area (like the EOS 1DX), which is far better than that on the Mark II, and the Mark III is also the first of Canon’s SLRs to offer in-camera HDR recording.

If you want to take your camera out and about (and if you’re spending £3,000 or so, you’ll be doing a lot with it, we imagine), the good news is that Canon has improved the weatherproofing on this new device. The 3in LCD is the same as that found on the 1DX – when Canon is going to see fit to add an articulating screen for video makers, we don’t know.

The Canon EOS 5D Mark II is definitely an improvement over the Mark II, even if there are not standout extra features that make you go wow!

IXUS 510 HS and 240 HS: Canon taking advantage of Apple’s domination

When a new camera comes on to the market, it’s a bit like when another car makes its way onto the pages of AutoTrader, there’s so many of them available you don’t really notice it. This is why advertising publications such as AutoTrader offer ‘boxed ads’, with the presumption that an ad in bold with a box around it will be more ‘noticeable’ to the skirting eye of a potential buyer than a ‘normal’ ad. In the world of digital cameras however, to be noticed, a camera really has to stand out in either its spec, design, or preferably both.

Canon-IXUS-510

Being a world leader in imaging products and solutions, Canon is certainly no stranger to producing cameras that ‘stand out’, and Canon’s latest digital ventures are no exception. The announcement of the new IXUS 510 HS and the IXUS 240 HS digital cameras have caused mild excitement to erupt among the digitally-minded, namely for their inbuilt Wi-Fi feature and their ability to transfer photos to Apple gadgets – wirelessly.

Now given the global domination and popularity of Apple products, any company that syncs their products in some way to Apple devices, has to be a wise one. The new ‘CameraWindow’ application enables users to upload and share photos with ease via a Wi-Fi connection by sending them to iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches.

Both the new IXUS models have a 3.2 inch PureColor II touchscreen, meaning that operating the new UXUS models is achieved without the frustration more ‘fiddly’ touchscreens can create, and, in possessing Canon’s Touch Shutter Technology, users can touch the screen to take a photo. Full HD 1080p quality videos are achievable with the new cameras, as they both have Canon’s latest Digic 5 image processor incorporated.

But let’s not cut to the chase, which one out of the IXUS 510 HS and the IXUS 240 HS is the better camera?

Whilst both cameras feature Canon’s Intelligent Auto Stabilisation technology, ensuring that even after a heavy night out your pictures don’ suffer from the DTs, as well as both featuring Canon’s ZoomPlus digital, the 510’s superiority over the 240 lies within the fact its zoom stretches to 21x compared to the 240’s 10x zoom. Not only this but the 510 offers a 28mm wide angle lens and a 12x optical zoom rating, whereas the 240 offers a 24mm wide angle lens and a 5x optical zoom rating.

This superior lens and image sensor will cost you though, as the IXUS 510 HS cashes in at £349 and the IXUS 240 HS costs significantly less at £279.

Oh and one more difference between Canon’s latest digital cameras is their release dates – the 240 being in March this year and the 510 being available from April.

The best cameras at CES

Wi-Fi, zoom lenses on compact cameras, and powerful full-frame DSLRs with impressive specs and big price tags were all on the menu for photography fans at CES 2012. Fuji announced the X-Pro1 – its new 16-megapixel camera with APS-C X-Trans sensor. This is a mirrorless camera, but Fujifilm claims its sensor can rival that of some of the full-frame DSLRs. It’s a retro-looking camera – rather like its older brothers the X100and the X10.

Fujifilm

Three new XF Fujinon lenses were also unveiled at CES, to go with the new X Mount on the X-Pro1. This new mount is really thin, which should reduce shutter lag, and the lenses have some outstanding apertures: The lenses include an f/2.0 pancake, a 90mm f/2.4 macro lens and a 53mm f/1.4mm lens.

The X-Pro1 is expected to appear in March and the price has yet to be announced.

The Nikon N4, meanwhile, has an intriguing wireless network feature. Connect the D4 to a network using either Wi-Fi or Ethernet and you can use your browser to operate the camera – take photos, change your settings, focus shoot video. You can also see a live feed, although of course how well this works depends on the quality of your connection. One of the most useful features is that you can take photos on your camera and view them on your computer immediately, without having to connect it via USB or place the card in a card reader.

The Nikon D4 is a professional DSLR featuring a 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, allowing the shooting of Full HD 1080p and 720p video. Pictures can be saved onto Compact Flash or the new XQD memory card format.

The D4 will be available in February and comes at the professional price of £4799.99

Canon-and-Nikon

Other cameras that focus heavily on connectivity are Samsung’s range, including the 21X-opticazoom WB850F, the 10X optical zoom ST200F and the 18X optical zoom WB150F, which all offer direct uploads and the ability to sync with Android smartphones for sharing and offloading pictures.

Kodak’s EasyShare M750 also allows for direct uploading to sharing sites and can be paired with BlackBerry, Android and iOS handsets.

Camcorders that also offer Wi-Fi include Canon’s Vixia range and Samsung’s QF20 HD camcorder.

Getting rave reviews at CES was the Canon Powershot G1 X, which is a compact camera but still has a 1.5in, 14.3 megapixel sensor  – that’s up there with many DSLRs. So it should give great picture quality (even in low light conditions) without you having to carry around a large camera. It also offers full manual control, 1080p video, and a 14-bit RAW mode

Available in February for around £700.

Lens giant Sigma also announced its new 180mm f/2.8 macro lens for digital SLRS, which features Sigma’s own Optical Stabilizer technology and a wide aperture to offer narrow depth of field and faster shutter speeds.

Sigma also debuted a new range of Micro Four thirds (for Panasonic and Olympus cameras) and E-Mount lenses (for Sony NEX-series cameras) for mirrorless interchangeable lens compact snappers at CES. There are two new lenses – the 30mm f/2.8 EX DN and the 19mm f/2.8 EX DN. Prices and availability to be announced.

Canon packs a powerful punch in its latest Powershots

Canon is going for power with the latest additions to its PowerShot stable, the S100 and SX40 HS. Canon is bridging the gap between the point-and-shoot and DSLR brigade with these two models, both of which are the first to feature the latest generation of Canon’s DIGIC image processor which, it says, offers faster speeds – up to 9.6 frames per second on the S100 on the new High-Speed Burst mode.

Canon-S100

The s100 also boats a longer range (5X) zoom while keeping an aperture of f/2.0 at the wide-angle end. This means that you can use faster shutter speeds in low light, which is good news. And the new DIGIC 5 is claimed to produce exceptional, low noise pictures in all kinds of conditions.

The S100 replaces the S95, and is still small enough to slip in a pocket. There is no viewfinder – all composition is done using the 3-inch LCD.

The cameras also now boast GPS – an interesting use for this is that you can take out your compact camera on a long walk or bike ride, for instance, and then go back on a dedicated day and find the same shots to work on with your DSLR – a handy addition for keen landscape photographers.

The PowerShot SX40 HS, meanwhile is a superzoom camera – it boasts a zoom of x35 and a 12MP sensor. Its ‘Intelligent IS’ system has been designed to assess the shooting conditions and set up the best stabilisation mode, so that the photographer can make the most of the massive lens range. It also works when using the Full HD (1080p) movie capture mode, to help your video footage stay clear and smooth.

There’s also a Super Slow Motion Movie mode, allowing you to add creativity to your movies, or analyse your sporting performance.

The PowerShot SX40 HS offers full manual control, along with creative filters such as Poster Effect, Fish-Eye and Miniature.

There is much debate among users about the benefits of superzooms. While some love them, and see them as excellent cameras for ‘travel’, without having to carry around a bag full of extra lenses, others believe that the zoom quality is little better than digital zoom. At the end of the day it all comes down to personal preference. Very keen photographers will probably stick with their lens kits but for anyone, who, for whatever reason, just wants to carry one reasonable portable, the superzoom is probably a decent compromise.

There is similar debate around the addition of GPS – its usefulness will depend on how many images you take, how much travelling you do and how organised you are. If you take excellent notes, and label your images quickly, you probably don’t care whether a camera has GPS, but for the rest of us mere mortals who download images and then forget about them for a few weeks/months/years, it can be a really useful tool.

The PowerShot SX40 will cost around £459 and the PowerShot S100 around £439.