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.


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.

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Low and slow: low-light and slow-mo shooting from Canon’s IXUS 300 HS

Canon has made an interesting move for its latest release – the Canon IXUS 300 HS – reducing its maximum resolution from previous models from 14mp to 10mp.

So what’s the reason? Well, the HS in the high-end compact camera’s name stands for ‘high sensitivity’, and the camera maker claims that its 10mp CMOS sensor, combined with fast DIGIC 4 processing, will perform better in ‘challenging’ situations – that is, low-light conditions or high-speed shooting. Canon did a similar thing with its PowerShot G10 to much the same ends.

Generally, higher resolution images are grainier in low-light conditions, so this seems like a sensible move, and as you really only need such high resolutions if you’re enlarging images, for the average user this is unlikely to be a problem.

And offering a full-resolution shooting mode of ISP 3200, rising to ISO 6400 if you’re happy to accept a 2.5mp resolution, it looks like being a good choice if you often take shots on nights out.

So what else does the Canon IXUS 300 HS offer for its admittedly high £379 price tag? The high-end compact has a 3.8x optical zoom, and is capable of capturing 720p HD footage or 240fps super-slow-motion video – great for action shots, whether it’s the kids jumping into the pool on holiday or friends throwing shapes at a party.

The lens’ wide maximum aperture (f2.0) and manually controlled iris will offer greater control over depth of field, a useful facility for taking portraits and macro shots. The IXUS 300 HS also boasts Canon’s acclaimed Image Stabilizer, allowing the user to take longer exposures with minimal blurring.

There are some fun effects to be had too – such as fish eye lens and Miniature Effect, which makes subjects appear like miniature-scale models (sometimes called tilt-shift photography. For examples that have been digitally manipulated check out this site ).

The Canon IXUS 300 HS will be available in silver and black, while Jessops will be exclusively stocking a white model and John Lewis a red version.