Canon PowerShot N review - Hands on
Posted on 9 Jan 2013 at 22:51, by
The Canon PowerShot N is easily the most intriguing-looking compact camera on the showfloor at this year's CES. Now, Canon aren't known for gimmicks and he PowerShot brand usually stands for staid reliability, so we were curious to see what the company was up to.
It stands out straight away thanks to its unconventional square design. We weren't quite sure how to hold it at first, especially as there's no traditional shutter button on top, nor the usual range of controls on the back that site under your thumb.
Instead you grasp it on one hand and rest your forefinger on the top of the zoom lens. There are two controls here, a zoom ring controls the 8x optical zoom and just behind this is a second ring that if pushed acts as a shutter button. It's a little awkward at first but you do get used to finding them with your finger - hand it to a friend though and they may struggle.
The reason for this strange arrangement is due to the titling 2.8in LCD screen. This comes out to 90 degrees, and so you can shoot lows shots, or by turning the camera over, shoot above your head. The zoom and shutter controls are equally accessible either way up, giving you a consistent set of controls however you hold the camera. The screen can also be used as a makeshift stand for taking self-portraits.
Image quality should be pretty good by compact camera standards. It has a high-sensitivity 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, with Canon's latest Digic 5 image processor and optical image stabilisation - and can also shoot 1080p video. Based on our rcent reviews of Canon's compact cameras we have no quality concerns. Testing on the showfloor in low light seemed to support this.
Settings can be adjusted via the capacitative touch screen, plus you can pick your focus point and use it as an alternative shutter. One fun mode takes any shot taken and applies a range of creative affects to it, so you can pick the ones you want to keep.
It comes in both white and black, but can be decorated using a range of clip-on half covers - such as the blue one pictured here as well as patterned versions. One concern with the design is the small 870mAh battery pack, though it is at least replaceable. The compact design also means it only takes micro SD cards, though at £13 for 32GB this isn't a huge problem and does allow you to easily move files from the camera to many smartphones or tablets.
Speaking of file transfer, the PowerShot N does come with built-in Wi-Fi - with a Mobile Device Connect Button on the camera for quick and easy setup. It includes all the usual functions for uploading videos and photos directly, or with the Android/iOS app you can take control of the camera from your smartphone.
Our first take is that this is a great little camera with a very clever design. We look forward to getting it in for a full test in the near future. It should be available in the UK from April priced around £250.
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