A slew of compact cameras were just announced yesterday, including successors to the Legria Mini and the prosumer Canon G1X. With many people eschewing compact cameras for their smartphones these days, it’s always interesting to see what the camera manufacturers come up with to keep their products fresh. Here are our picks of the crop:
Perhaps the most anticipated of all the compacts is the update to the well established PowerShot G1X that debuted in CES 2012 and reviewed by our in-house veteran in early 2012. Announced yesterday, the prosumer G1X Mark II features a brand new 12.8MP, 1.5-inch sensor with Digic 6 processor and a faster F2.0 - 3.9 lens that’s wider and reaches further (24-120mm range v.s. 28-112mm on the original). Image stabilization is built-in, and the minimum focusing distance now reaches down to 5cm, providing greater flexibility for users.
Bokeh is also improved, thanks to a new 9-blade aperture diaphragm. The new 31-point AiAF frame is a definite improvement (compared to 9 points in the original), and allows the G1X Mark II to focus more accurately. Gone are the optical viewfinder and swivel screen, (the touch screen now only tilts 180o up and 45o down), but the G1X II thankfully still keeps the hotshoe and built-in pop-up flash. Full HD video recording (1920 x 1080 pixels) at 15fps and 30fps, and the dedicated time lapse function is retained. ISO sensitivity stays at 100-12800.
New to the G1X Mark II, are twin control dials around the lens. One that spins smoothly for features like manual focus, and another that has click stops for controlling settings like aperture.
It's available now at all major retailers for S$1,099.
Building from the Legria Mini, the Mini X manages to maintain a similar form factor while packing in better support for audio, evidenced by the larger stereo microphones that hug the f2.8 ultra-wide angle lens (170o angle of view for still photography and 160o during video).
There’s also support for linear PCM audio recording (16-bit/48kHz), and videos are captured in Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels), with support for both AVCHD (1080/50i) and MP4 (1080/25p) video recording. The Mini X has a 12MP CMOS sensor matched with a Digic DV 4 image processor for better low light performance.
The Mini X also comes with Live Streaming abilities, so you can monitor and record shots through the Canon CameraAccess Plus app. (Available for free download from both iOS and Android devices via the Apple App store and Google Play respectively.)
While the concept of the Legria Mini X might be sound for interesting video captures, we were left wanting more from its display that's unable to show details or what's in focus with just a 230k-dot screen resolution. To make matters worse, while it supports touch tracking to aid videography, it doesn't support touch focus. Instead, it defaults to Pan Focus, which is another term for full area/screen focusing. So unlike many of Canon's cameras, the Legria Mini X lacks selective focusing.
Nevertheless, you should give the Legria Mini X and its companion CT-V1 Pan table a demo run at the store front to see if it fits your needs. They are available now at all major retailers for S$569, and $139 respectively.
Contrary to what we first believed, the N100 isn’t a successor to the PowerShot N. We’re told "N" stands for "new", so products in this line-up will showcase Canon’s latest innovations. Something to look out for as the product line develops perhaps?
The new PowerShot N100 shares the same the same 12MP 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor as the Powershot S120, and features a 24-120mm f/1.8-5.7 lens (five times optical zoom), 3-inch tilting touchscreen, built-in Wi-Fi and 330-shot battery life.
What’s unique about the N100 is how it tries to get the photographer into the picture too. It does this in two ways - Movie Digest under the Hybrid Auto mode, and Dual Capture mode, where the back-facing camera takes a photograph of the photographer every time he takes a shot. The idea being to capture the reactions of the photographer and overlay that with the picture he took so you get both perspectives in one shot. In a nutshell, you'll never ever be left out again if you're traveling alone or if you want to take a group photo but still be part of it. Movie Digest on the other hand, takes four seconds of video prior to the snapshot being taken and compiles these clips into one video that sums up the day.
NFC and Wi-Fi support have been built-in, so you can simply tap your smartphone to the side of the N100 to enable image sharing.
Pricing and availability to be advised.
Canon’s underwater compact now takes you all the way down to 25m, making it the world’s deepest underwater compact camera. The D30 is also shock proof up to 2m, and temperature resistant from -10C to 40C. At the heart of it is a 12.1MP high sensitivity CMOS sensor and a Digic 4 processor, evidence that Canon has given consideration to the lower light levels at those depths.
Other features include built-in GPS, HD video recording with a dedicated record button, and a screen that features Sunlight LCD mode, which reduces screen glare when above water, and stays bright under it.
Available now at all major retailers for S$399.