Canon expands its PowerShot, IXUS and PIXMA ranges.

Mention the name Canon to many camera aficionados and it will be greeted with an almost god like reverence, for Canon is for many, the first and last word in compact cameras. That said, the printer range is not too shabby either. So Canon fans rejoice, as not content to sit around sitting on its laurels, it has announced enhancements to its already lauded PowerShot, IXUS and Pixma ranges.

 

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The IXUS 1100 HS at just 21.9 mm is billed as the slimmest 12X optical zoom compact in the world, with an impressive 28mm wide angle lens and a 3.2” high colour touch screen. The IXUS 230 HS together with its slim 22.1mm figure gets an increased zoom to 8X, a larger 3” screen and full 1080 HD movie recording capability.

The PowerShot SX150 IS has an improved 14.1 ccd sensor up from the previous model’s 12.1 megapixels and Intelligent IS which chooses the most appropriate settings and stability according to the shot you’re looking for.

The PIXMA range of all in one printers has had a revamp with five new models. The high end wireless PIXMA MG6250 and MG8250 versions are aimed at photographers who want quick professional quality prints with 9600 dpi from the 6 ink engine on a 10x15cm borderless print in 20 seconds, whilst the MG8250 also offers a 35mm film and slide scanner. Both versions use Canon’s Intelligent touch system using a built in 8” TFT colour screen.

The mid range MG5350 is up next, with its 5 ink print engine producing photos and documents at 9600 dpi. It also has a 3” TFT screen and wireless connectivity. All three printers feature a cloud printing link giving you access to print your online pics directly and also through mobile devices with Google cloud print.

 

The budget value PIXMA MG2150 and 3150 printers are suitable for a compact everyday all in one solution, with Canon’s FINE cartridge  outputting at 4,800 dpi resolution.

 

The new PIXMA range is available from £49.99 to £300

 

First look: Canon PowerShot SX230 HS

Canon-Powershot

I’ve always been one of those people who have to look the part. It might be an iPad 2, a top of the range notebook, or the very latest DSLR. Those little envious sideway glances from people aspiring to own one but can’t for whatever reason, are the very things I live for. Photographers are the worst of the lot though. Just get a few of them in a room together and they can’t wait to compare notes. I’ve always had a trusted SLR and for me, it looks the part. Reasonable bulky, a decent lens and a strap and it’ll pass muster as belonging to someone who knows how to take a snap or two. Compacts though are a different matter entirely. They use technology that can produce some damn fine pictures; the trouble is, can they look professional enough?

The Canon Powershot SX230 HS may be on the small side, but it certainly packs a punch with a wide range of 12.1 megapixel shooting options and 1080 HD video recording too. It has a 3 inch full colour LCD screen, but thankfully for me, no touch screen controls, just a neat combination of buttons and dials that hide a plethora of features. For a start, the camera gives you a whopping 14X optical zoom, (equivalent to a focal length of 28-392mm) the lens popping out a good four inches from its housing, which conveniently retracts automatically when you turn the camera off. It’s got a decent standard low light sensitivity with an ISO ranging from 100 to 3,200 whilst there is an additional low light option that boosts the ISO to 6,900 but with a significant drop in picture quality to 3 megapixels.

Check out the Infosync review:

Serious photographers will be delighted to see the Powershot SX230 has a full range of manual controls available to use as well as the more popular automated formats leisure consumers crave. Simply selecting the EASY mode will let you just point and shoot with the camera’s intelligent auto system selecting the best possible option for you. There are though a number of semi auto scene modes built in too such as ‘kids and pets,’ ‘landscapes’ or ‘smart shutter’, whilst the built in face and smile detection will zero in on subjects it thinks you want to be the focal point of your picture.

The feature that stands this model apart from its predecessor, the SX210 however is the built in GPS. This will identify where you are in the world and automatically label your pictures accordingly. Be careful though, using the GPS function is likely to drain the battery life pretty quickly.

The one annoying aspect to the SX230 for me was the flash housing popping up each time I turned the camera on. It happens to be just where your index finger rests when you hold the camera, so you either get distracted pushing it closed, or it doesn’t pop up when you need it because your finger is blocking it.

That apart, I was really impressed with the SX230. It gave me some great quality pictures and video without causing me too much concern; it was compatible with my standard memory card, and although the on screen menus were a little clumsy to navigate though, I got the hang of them in the end.

The SX230 is certainly a lot smaller than my SLR and though using it I felt more like a tourist than a professional photographer, the end results certainly gave my SLR a run for its money.
RRP from £250

Canon gets sensitive with latest launch

Has Canon been getting in touch with its feminine side, I wondered as I read the latest press release from the digital camera giant. Well its latest range of cameras certainly have, as they all claim to offer high sensitivity. Okay, it has more to do with producing excellent images regardless of lighting conditions, rather than making an attempt to understand all your little whims and foibles, and coming up with more than a box of chocolates and a last-minute bunch of blooms from the garage on your anniversary.

Canon-IXUS

No, the HS System means that all of the latest cameras to be released – the PowerShot SX230 HS and PowerShot SX220 HS, the IXUS 310 H, the IXUS 220 HS and the IXUS 115 HS, should all be capable of delivering high-quality images whether you’re taking snaps of mates on a night out, or recording a beautiful sunset on holiday.

The two PowerShot superzoom models are aimed at holidaymakers and travellers, with the SX230 having the added bonus of being the first Canon camera to feature GPS tagging and logging. This means that it collects location data from satellites and then geotags your pictures with details about where they were taken. The images can then be displayed on maps in the likes of Google Maps, Flickr and Picasa.

It also has a massive 14x optical zoom, which should enable you to take all the pictures you want to take while you’re away, without the need for extra lenses and gadgetry. The PowerShot SX230 HS comes in pink, blue and black and the metal body of the PowerShot SX220 HS is available in purple and grey. The cameras will be available from mid-March and prices have yet to be confirmed, although the SX230 HS will be $350 when it comes out in the US.

The IXUS 310 HS, meanwhile, has an enhanced intuitive touch interface as well as an ultra-wide angle 24mm lens with an f/2.0 maximum aperture. The IXUS 220 HS has an ultra-wide 24mm 5x optical zoom lens houses in a slimline chassis, while the entry level market is the target market for the IXUS 115 HS. All have features including Full HD movies and high-speed shooting.

The IXUS 310 HS’ stainless steel body comes in a choice of silver, brown, pink and gold, while the IXUS 220 HS is available in silver, black and red. The IXUS 115 HS has a metal body that comes in silver, grey, pink and blue.

The IXUS 115 HS is available from early February 2011, priced at £179, while the IXUS 220 HS will be on sale from mid-February, priced at £199.00

The IXUS 310 HS will be on sale from early March, priced at £299.

All the new models have the benefit of creative filters such as Miniature Effect (for both video and stills), Monochrome, and Toy Camera, for lots of fun when taking snaps, while more experienced photographers gain a grasp of control with both shutter speed and aperture control.

For the ultimate point-and-shoot camera, Canon has included Smart Auto – which is capable of detecting 32 different scenes, and selecting the correct settings for you – this facility is also offered when you’re recording video. And if you like to take lots of pictures, Canon now offers Best Image Selection, which will choose the best one for you before deleting the rest – great for saving time when you’re out and about.

If you’re buying a new camera with your summer holidays in mind, the PowerShot cameras and the IXUS 220 and 115 will both fit in an optional waterproof case that is suitable for diving up to 40m, while you can also buy a cheaper case for the two Ixus models that is suitable for depths of up to 3m, so will suit snorkellers and swimmers.

Canon EOS 600D: Full HD, wireless flash technology and more

Here’s an early warning – if you’re a Canon EOS fan, but really need to keep hold of your cash at the moment, read no further.

So, you’re still here? Okay, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Here’s the good news and the bad news, depending on how deep your pockets are.

The bad news if you’re strapped for cash is that Canon has just announced the release of the EOS 600D – the slightly bigger brother of the 550D and smaller sibling of the 60D. Coming in at £679, the good news is that the camera won’t actually be released until April, so you have a bit of time to save up if you’re really tempted.

Canon-EOS1100D

So what does the 600D have that the 550D doesn’t? Well, if you’ve drooled over the pricier 60D’s articulated screen, there’s one on the 600D, a real boon if you want to take video. With a 1.04 million-dot LCD as well as a fingerprint-proof fluorine coating and anti-refection coatings the screens sounds like it should do the business. While we’re on the subject of video recording, the 600D offers Full HD recording AND a built-in stereo mic.

So what else is there to tempt you? Well, there’s an 18-megapixel CMOS sensor, and continuous shooting at 3.7fps, plus the 600D features wireless flash technology, which should make using a flashgun remotely a breeze.

While the 600D would certainly suit an enthusiast, especially at its price point. Canon is really aiming it at the beginner, which is why it benefits from Canon’s ‘Basic +’, which allows the user to make changes to the exposure modes without really knowing all the technical explanations behind it. Also useful to beginners is the Feature Guide, which has a short onscreen explanation of how each function works.

And videographers can make use of Video Snapshot, which stitches together short bursts of video into one continuous movie – effectively editing within the camera.

While it’s more than a bare-bones entry-level model, the 600D does offer a number of facilities that will tempt the beginner, as well as functionality for the more enthusiastic photographer with a smaller budget.

Having said that, there’s quite a lot of competition in this part of the market, especially from the mirrorless, smaller models, so it will be interesting to see how it fares in the long run.

For absolute beginners, however, Canon has another model up its sleeve – the EOS 1100D, which boasts a 12.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, as well as Basic + and Creative Auto models and comes in at a pretty reasonable £419 for body only.

More on both models at www.canon.co.uk

New year, new lineup from Canon

Well, while we’ve all been busy stuffing our faces with mince pies and drinking up the national beer lake, the folk at Canon have been busy with other things.

That must be why they are greeting the new year not with a hangover but with a new lineup of five new cameras and 10 – yes 10 – new camcorders. Surely with such a raft of products coming on to the market, there must be something for everyone, from the snapper to the professional? Well, let’s take a look and find out.

Canon-CES

Moving images first, and Canon’s collection of 10 camcorders. The professional videographer is catered for with the XA10, which promises full manual control and professional audio features, along with a price tag of just a smidge under two grand. But you’ve time to save up as it isn’t released until April. For enthusiasts with time and money (around £1,400) to spare, and who can wait for its release in March, the LEGRIA HF G10 has been created to offer features and technologies taken from the professional range of camcorders. All of these feature the Canon HD CMOS Pro sensor, offering better performance in low light and a wide dynamic range.

For anyone wanting to take video of friends and family, Canon has introduced the LEGRIA HF M41, M46 and M406 (from around £750-£600), which takes high-definition movies using a compact chassis. And you can get creative with the Cinema-Look Filters, Story Creator mode and Touch Decoration, which allows for in-camera manipulation. Story Creator suggests scenes for you to shoot under a number of subjects, such as travel or kids and pets. If you want to take HD movies but are on a budget, look out for the LEGRIA HF R28, R26 and R206 (with prices ranging from around £350-£480 and due February) , which are aimed at those just starting out in the world of HD video. And finally if you’re on a really tight budget, standard definition comes from the LEGRIA FS46 and FS406 (around £230-250 and due February).

For stills photography, meanwhile, Canon is plugging its PowerShot A-series as offering a compact camera for everyone. There are five new models just released, most of them powered by Canon’s DIGIC 4 image processor.

If you want to get creative, look for the A1200 and A2200, which both offer six creative filters for some fun experimentation. You can also benefit from Live View Control, which allows you to see how changing settings will alter the final picture before you actually take it. Tracking Auto-Focus ensures your subject remains sharp.

Looking for a first digital camera? Then set your sights on the affordable PowerShot A800, which keeps the button layout simple, offers intuitive shooting modes and Smart Auto technology. For a little more versatility, including a wide-angle lens, Blur Reduction and an optical viewfinder, which is great for more traditional photographers, check out the A1200.

The lithum-ion powered A2200 has a 4x optical zoom and a number of shooting functions, while coming in at the top of the range are the A3200 IS with its wide-angle 5x zoom lens, and the A3300, which boasts a 16Mp sensor (the highest-resolution sensor ever to be included in a Canon compact camera) and chic metal chassis.

The A3200 IS (£129), A3300 IS (£149), A1200 and A2200 all now offer 720p high-definition (HD) video capture.
The A2200 is released this month, the A800, A3200 IS, A3300 IS in February and the A1200 in March.

More at www.canon.co.uk

Make someone snap-happy this Christmas

Whatever your budget, you should be able to pick up some great gifts this Christmas for everyone from the keen amateur photographer to the kids.
Shop around online for some excellent prices.

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Compact cameras

For a point-and-shoot camera, you can’t go wrong with the Canon Powershot A300 IS. It delivers clear images (it has 12.1MP onboard) and will also be a good choice for anyone who is already familiar with Canon’s DSLRs. It doesn’t have loads of bells and whistles, but if you want a camera that is easy to use and delivers on results you can’t go far wrong. And you should be able to pick one up for less than £80.

High-end compact

If you’ve got more cash to spend, the higher price compacts boast more in the way of functionality and video facilities. The Sony Cyber-shot DSC W390 has a 14.1MP processor, a 24-90mm zoom, and its Sweep Panorama mode, which allows you to produce extra-wide panoramic pictures just by pressing the shutter and sweeping the camera across the scene. Great fun if you’re going to use it. Around £189.99.

Creative compacts

There are lots of keen photographers who love their DSLRs, but just find them too bulky to carry around al the time. The answer is a creative compact – they don’t come cheap, but they offer the kind of control previously only found on big cameras.

The Fujifilm FinePix HS10 is what’s called a superzoom camera – it offers a massive 30x zoom, which makes it ideal for wildlife and sports photography, and in many respects is just like a DSLR. So it could replace your DSLR, and with 1080p video recording, could also mean you don’t need to carry a video camera either. It was £375 on release, but a few months later, you can easily knock a hundred pounds off the price if you search online. Good luck!

For a smaller model, check out the Panasonic Lumix LX3. With raw capture, a Leica 24-60mm lens and HD video for around £380, as well as excellent image quality and good autofocus, along with a good build quality.

DSLR

Prices for DSLRs range from around £400 right up to the near-£2,000 mark.

If your budget’s tight and you can’t stretch to a Canon or Nikon (which we’ll get to in a minute), you could consider the Pentax K-r. Pentax has always been runner-up to the big names, but actually produces some decent cameras, and the K-r offers good image quality, and 720 HD video recording, although this has had some mixed reviews. Bear in mind that you won’t get the wide range of lenses on offer for Canons and Nikons, but it’s a decent entry-level camera all the same – for around £440.

If you love your loved one very much, splash out rather more on the Canon 60D (pictured), with 18Mp processor, Full HD video and a flip-out LCD screen. It remains quite compact and lightweight for a DSLR, and it comes in at around £800 for body only.

If you’ve got a couple of hundred quid more to splash out (and if so, can I give you my address?) you could go for a Nikon D300s, which has been praised both for image quality and the speed with which it an be adjusted to take the next shot. Excellent build quality as we’ve come to expect from Nikon, and 720p video recording also thrown in.

Get a new angle from the Canon EOS 60D DSLR

The Canon 60D is the third similar camera that Canon has released in the past year, so what makes it worth the £1,099 price tag?

Well, probably one of the most obvious new features is the articulated screen, which makes it easier for the photographer to be more creative with their angles, and which is also a bonus for filming video or when you’re waiting for that perfect shot when the camera is set up on a tripod.

Canon--EOS-60D

The screen itself is the 3:2 ratio high-res LCD that was found on the 550D, which puts it a step ahead of its older sibling the 7D.

You can capture 1920x1080p HD video with a variety of user-selectable frame rates, including 30, 25 and 24fps, as well as 720p video at 60 and 50fps. Video photography also has a new plus – with full manual control of both image and, unusually for a consumer DSLR – audio.

So how about getting creative with your stills images? In an interesting move, Canon is offering built-in filters to give effects such as Miniature, Soft Focus and Grainy, as well as customisable features offering you quick access to your favourite settings.

The 9-point, all cross-type autofocus (AF) system offers an extra-sensitive centre point for lenses faster than f/2.8, which aims to allow you to get artistic with shallow depth of field during portraiture or for more atmospheric shooting.

With an 18MP processor, the 60D, which will replace the Canon 50D when it is released in October, can capture 5.3 JPEG images a second at full resolution. It can also capture Raw images; good news for photographers who like to play around with their pictures after the fact.

Whether you’re saving stills or HD video, the 60D user will be able to capture them to SD memory card and the new SDXC format, which can offer up to a massive 2TB of storage.

Other changes from the 50D it replaces include Wireless Speedlight control and standard ISO range extended to 6400 (rather than 3200), which can be extended to a speedy 12800.

So is it worth an upgrade? Well, you have to consider whether the articulated screen and upswing in video capability is worth trading in your 550D for. But unless you’re desperate to upgrade from a somewhat older model, we suspect a lot of Canon fans will keep a hold of their cash and wait to see what else their favourite camera manufacturer comes up with.

Latest Gadgets’ alternative graduate gadget gift list

Spring has sprung and final exams are in full swing. Why not bribe reward your favourite graduate for achieving a stellar work/play balance over the last few years? They might have the latest offerings from Apple and other hip brands already, but here are a few alternative gadget gift ideas for budgets big and small.

Graduate-Gadgetsv

£50 and under
Orange Miami Touch Screen Phone – One of the cheapest touch screen phones on the market, the Orange Miami comes with a 2-megapixel camera, Bluetooth and video capabilities. With prices starting at £39, you can get a snazzy phone for a fraction of the cost of its competitors.

SoundMAGIC PL30 In-Ear Headphones – Retailing at £35, these value-for-money headphones offer a good, balanced sound and noise cancelling qualities without carrying a hefty price tag.

£100 and under
Canon Powershot A480 Digital Camera – Perfect for travelling to foreign climes or festivals, this light-weight camera produces excellent pictures without breaking the bank. The RRP is around £120 but websites like amazon.co.uk are pricing it between £60 and £70.

£500 and under
Cowon S9 MP3 Player – A serious competitor to the iPod, this high-tech player does almost everything except tap dance. As well as having the MP3 and video basics, it also works as an audio recorder, radio, and Flash player – and all for £170.

Nintendo DS – With different sizes, colours and more games than you can shake a stick at, the Nintendo DS is the only games console that caters for practically everyone. Perfect for whiling away those long commutes, the consoles retail between £120 and £150.

Samsung LE19B450C4 LCD TV – Available with either 19- or 33-inch screens, these HD ready TVs come with their own Freeview boxes and an HDMI 1.3 connection. The sets are priced at £177 and £300 respectively.

Over £500
Advent AIO-101 All-in-one Desktop – An all-purpose desktop that saves the usual set-up time and hassle. With an 18.4 inch screen, the integrated hard drive saves space and means no more messy cables. Complete with a built-in tuner, the computer also be used as an extra TV. Prices start at around £680.