Just returned from a very nice long weekend break in Hong Kong (new Pro70 gallery coming soon), not that much happened in the digicam world while I was away apart from Canon's announcement of a revamped A5 Zoom with a new CCD (1.3 megapixels)... I bet anyone who bought the A5 Zoom is kicking themselves...

Canon PowerShot A50

"With the introduction of the PowerShot A50, Canon has reinforced its position as a major player in the digital photography market," said Ted Ando, vice president and general manager of Canon's Camera Division. "We expect that the PowerShot product line will set the standard for the digital still market, just as Canon cameras before it became the de facto standard for Advanced Photo System and other photographic technologies."

The PowerShot A50 features an elegant and sturdy all-metal body and is equipped with a superbly sharp 4.3-10.8mm f/2.6-4.0 zoom lens (equivalent to a 28-70mm in 35mm format) and a built-in flash. Measuring a scant 4.1 (W) x 2.7 (H) x 1.5 (D)-inches, it is small enough to fit in a shirt pocket, briefcase or purse, thus combining convenience with quality and ease of use. Other features include an optical viewfinder, a 2-inch LCD monitor for image preview and playback, auto white balance with manual override, video out and exposure compensation.

The PowerShot A50 incorporates a newly developed 1/2.7-inch, 1.31 million pixel CCD sensor that creates full-color, high-resolution images up to 1280 x 960 pixels. The camera also offers an optional 640 x 480 resolution setting that is ideal for on-screen applications such as Web sites and CD-ROMs while allowing more images to be recorded on a single CompactFlash memory card.

At either resolution, there are two JPEG compression settings: Fine Mode (approximately 7.5:l) for high quality, and Normal Mode (approximately 14:1) for maximum storage capacity. The PowerShot A50 also offers a "CCD Raw" recording mode that permits image data to be stored without compression (at 1280 x 960 resolution) when the captured image must be as true to the original scene as possible.

In addition, the A50 supports the newly-standardized Digital Print Order Format (DPOF), which allows the camera's built-in LCD monitor to be used for tagging individual images with printing instructions such as quantity and size. This feature, which is also supported by Eastman Kodak Company, Fuji Photo Film, Inc. and other manufacturers, is designed to streamline the process of obtaining high-quality color prints by minimizing or eliminating the need to fill in conventional paper order forms.

The new PowerShot A50 will be available at authorized Canon dealers in the second half of 1999. Estimated street price for the camera will be established closer to the availability date.

I also spotted a waterproof case for the same camera on the Japanese web site: