Pre-PMA 2005: The second Canon announcement of the day is the curvier, range-topping seven megapixel PowerShot SD500 (IXUS 700). The 'perpertual curve' is apparently designed to push compact camera design into new territories, Canon says. The SD500 is 8% lighter than its predecessor and features a new mode dial on the back of the camera rather than a switch. While the size of the viewfinder has been decreased there's a 2-inch LCD with QuickBright function, which maximises the brightness of the LCD for improved visibility outdoors. Other new features include the ability to zoom during movie capture and a new 'hold' function, which allows you to view images for longer immediately after they have been shot (also seen on the SD400). The SD500 is expected to be realeased next month, priced around €499 (approx $650).

US name: Canon PowerShot SD500
European name: Canon IXUS 700
Japanese name: Canon IXY Digital 600

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Press Release:

7 Megapixel Digital IXUS flagship sets new standards in style

Amstelveen, The Netherlands, 17 February 2005. Canon, a leader in photographic and imaging technology, today releases a new flagship to the IXUS range, the 7.1 Megapixel Digital IXUS 700. With a host of new features and a unique ‘Perpetual Curve’ contoured design, the brushed stainless steel ‘titanium grey’ Digital IXUS 700 continues the IXUS tradition of pushing compact camera design into new territories.

Driven by the same DIGIC II image processing architecture that propels Canon’s EOS-1 pro-series digital SLR cameras, the camera features a 3.0x optical zoom, large 2.0” LCD, high quality VGA video clips at 30fps up to the capacity of the memory card , Hi-Speed USB 2.0 connection, ‘My Colour’ in-camera colour editing and a Print/Share button for easy PictBridge direct printing and fast file uploads. Its 7.1 Megapixel sensor allows detailed enlargements greater than A3 size.

“Blending leading specifications and designer chic, this camera exemplifies our commitment to excellence," said Mogens Jensen, Head of Canon Consumer Imaging Europe. "The Digital IXUS 700 goes to the core of the IXUS philosophy of bringing together uncompromising build quality and new cutting-edge technologies in a celebration of miniaturisation and design".

New design
While still referencing original IXUS designer Yasushi Shiotani's 'box and circle' concept, the Digital IXUS 700 design represents a departure from the traditional rectangular IXUS. The silky finish and distinctive curves are designed to feel great in the hand, while rounded contours exaggerate an already slender body, 8% lighter than the previous top-of-range Digital IXUS 500.

The large 2.0” LCD screen features a QuickBright function that takes the screen temporarily to maximum brightness for improved visibility when shooting outdoors. A Night Display option improves LCD visibility for composition and framing in low light conditions. A sophisticated mode dial replaces the mode switch of previous models.

Blistering performance
Trusted by professional photographers and agencies such as Getty Images for its outstanding image rendering ability, DIGIC II assures superb image quality through improved colour gradation and white balance accuracy.

DIGIC II also delivers instant 0.8 second start up time, uninterrupted 2.0 frame per second shooting until the memory card fills, and the new USB 2.0 Hi-Speed interface for fast uploads. Processing power also supports a new high-speed image playback function, image jump function (with search facility) during in-camera review, fast image rotation and increased card writing speed. Auto focus speed is 55% faster than its predecessor, thanks to a more compact, redesigned 37-111mm zoom lens and it’s new rear focusing system, combined with DIGIC II processing.

Shooting features
To increase shoot-and-share enjoyment, a ‘Hold’ function now allows users to extend indefinitely the display of a newly shot image, and to delete it immediately if necessary without the requirement to switch to replay mode. The camera returns to shooting immediately when the shutter button is pressed again. A new My Colours menu gives users pre-capture control over image colours in stills and movies. Nine sophisticated colour editing features include Colour Accent - the ability to convert all but one chosen colour of an image to monochrome. Other My Colours functions allow favourite colours to be made more vivid and colours to be swapped – a feature designed for creative or fun purposes as well as practical applications, such as product design or interior decoration planning. Users can choose to save 2 copies of the image – with and without an effect applied.

For maximum versatility and ease of use, the Digital IXUS 700 has a total of 13 shooting modes. These include Auto, Manual, allowing more experienced or adventurous users to take control of settings such as white balance, exposure compensation and shutter speed, which extend from 15 sec. to 1/2000 sec. and stitch assist for creating panoramas. 9 Special Scene modes include portrait, snow and beach modes for simple set-up in popular shooting situations. A new more powerful flash features 6 modes and has a range of up to 4.8m at ISO Auto.

New movie features
The Digital IXUS 700 incorporates a number of new advanced video features. Digital zoom is now available while shooting video and users can record up to one minute at 60fps for smooth in-camera slow motion playback. Control over slow motion improves with more sensitive, five speed level adjustment, while white balance and exposure adjusts automatically when zooming during video capture. For recording clips suitable for email attachment, a ‘Compact’ mode provides for recording up to 3 minutes of 15fps, 160 x 120 resolution files.

Ergonomics
Despite successfully decreasing the size of the viewfinder, Canon’s engineers have maintained a 16mm eye relief, perfect for prescription spectacle wearers. The Intelligent Orientation Sensor not only rotates automatically images taken with the camera held vertically, it also improves auto white balance, auto focus and auto exposure by helping the Camera’s iSAPS ‘in-built photographer’s assistant’ to take into account likely positions of sky and foreground.

Extending creativity
An optional waterproof case allows users to capture exciting marine life stills and video down to 40m. The case includes a diffusion plate to counter the ‘snow’ effect produced by particles suspended in the water, and a double glass lens to prevent fogging. Optional buoyancy compensation weights prevent the camera from pulling to the surface during SCUBA or skin diving. A new optional High Power Flash accessory, the HF-DC1, further extends the options for night and indoor shooting. With a guide number of 18 (ISO 100, metres), the slave flash automatically fires in-sync with the camera’s in-built flash, ignoring any pre-flash. It can be adjusted to three power output settings based on the aperture value of the camera. The unit attaches to the camera with a supplied bracket that maintains the ability to mount both camera and flash on a tripod.

Print and share
For photo prints without first uploading to a computer, the Digital IXUS 700 supports full PictBridge functionality. When coupled with DIGIC II compact photo printers such as Canon’s new Compact Photo Printer SELPHY CP600, the camera/printer combination is capable of producing borderless photo prints in just 63 seconds. Wide (100 x 200mm) format landscape printing is also supported with these printers, images being automatically cropped to fit the wide format direct from the camera. Functions such as ID photo print, N-Up (Multi-image) printing and movie clip series printing are also supported. One-touch upload is available via the print/share button and now supports direct transfer to both Windows and Mac platforms.

Software and access to CANON iMAGE GATEWAY Software supplied includes ZoomBrowser EX (Windows) and ImageBrowser (Mac) for viewing, managing and archiving images. Other software includes PhotoStitch and PhotoRecord, plus photo manipulation software ArcSoft PhotoStudio. Drivers include TWAIN (Windows 98/2000) and WIA (Windows Me). Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) support allows the camera to connect to any Windows XP (SP1 – 2) and Mac OS X (v10.1.5 - 10.3) system without the requirement for a driver installation.

Camera ownership entitles the purchaser to register for 100MB storage space on the CANON iMAGE GATEWAY, an online gallery where images and movies can be stored in albums and shared to selected friends and family. New My Camera functions (such as shutter sounds and start up images) can also be downloaded to the camera from CANON iMAGE GATEWAY.

Canon SD500 specifications

Sensor

• 1/1.8" Type CCD
• 7.1 million effective pixels

Image sizes • 3072 x 2304
• 2592 x 1944
• 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 640 x 480
Movie clips

• 640 x 480 @ 30 / 15 fps
• 320 x 240 @ 60 / 30 / 15 fps
• 160 x 120 @ 15 fps
• Up to 1GB (640x480, 320x240, 30/15fps) (depending on memory card speed and capacity)
• Up to 3 mins (160x120) (depending on memory card speed and capacity)
• Up to 1 min (320x240, 60fps) (depending on memory card speed and capacity)

File formats

• Still: JPEG
• Movie: AVI (Moion JPEG and monoaural)
• Sound: WAV (monoaural)

Lens • 37 - 111 mm (35 mm equiv) 3x optical zoom
• F 2.8 - 4.9
Digital zoom Up to 4x
Focus TTL
AF area modes • 9-point AiAF
• 1-point AiAF (fixed)
AF assist lamp Yes
Focus distance Macro: 5cm
Metering • Evaluative
• Center-weighted
• Spot
ISO sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Exposure compensation • +/-2EV
• 1/3 steps
Shutter speed • 15 - 1/2000 sec
• Slow Shutter speeds of 1 sec. and more, available in Long Shutter Mode only
• Shutter speeds of 1.3 sec. and more operate with noise reduction
Scene modes • Auto
• Manual
• Digital Macro
• Portrait
• Foliage
• Snow
• Beach
• Fireworks
• Underwater
• Indoor
• Kids and pets
• Night snapshot
• Stitch assist
White balance

• Auto
• Daylight
• Cloudy
• Tungsten
• Fluorescent
• Fluorescent H
• Custom

Self timer

• 2 or 10 secs
• Custom

Continuous shooting 2 fps until memory card is full
Image parameters Vivid, neutral, low sharpening, black and white, my colors (9 settings)
Flash

• Built in
• Modes: Auto, on, off, red-eye reduction, slow sync, flash exposure lock
• Range: 50cm - 5 m (W) / 3 m (T)

Viewfinder Optical
LCD monitor • 2.0" TFT LCD
• 118,000 pixels
Connectivity • USB 2.0
• AV out
Print compliance • Exif
• DPOF
• PictBridge
Storage • SD card
• 32 MB card supplied
Power • Rechargeable lithium ion NB-3L battery
• Charger included
Weight (no batt) 170 g (x oz)
Dimensions 90 x 57 x 27 mm (Ai x Bi x Ci in)

Additional images