Canon has announced the PowerShot N, a compact camera designed specifically as a smartphone companion for the Instagram generation. The N is built around a tilting touch-screen, and its round-lens zoom controller and shutter release are designed to make it behave identically whether held right-way-up or upside-down. It offers a 'Creative Shot' mode that generates multiple versions of your image, so you get the shot you composed plus five alternatives with different crops and processing effects. Canon promises one-touch Wi-Fi connectivity to make it easier to upload images and video to your smartphone and the internet. To extend its capability beyond that of a smartphone, the N has a 28-224mm equivalent lens and a 12MP CMOS sensor that works with a Digic 5 processor.

Along with all the other camera makers, Canon is desperately trying to find a way to keep the compact camera relevant as more users conclude they're happy using their smartphones. So, while the 12MP sensor, 8x zoom lens and Digic 5 processor are all immediately familiar from existing Canon cameras, the company is trying to offer a shooting and connectivity experience that's more engaging than a conventional compact camera. It's become increasingly common for manufacturers to offer Wi-Fi capability and apps to allow communication with a smartphone, but the current implementations have been too awkward to be a compelling reason to buy.

Canon clearly hopes that making a small, fun-to-use, easy-to-connect camera will convince people that the PowerShot N is worth carrying alongside your smartphone. We had a chance to have a quick play with the camera, to get an idea about how well it succeeds. Click the link below to read our first impressions.

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Press Release:

Creativity with a twist; Canon unveils the PowerShot N

London, UK, 7 January 2013– Canon today unveils the PowerShot N- a totally new type of camera that offers a different approach to capturing creative, spontaneous photos and sharing them instantly with social networks. The unconventional square design, innovative zoom and shoot operation lens rings and tilting touch screen encourage people to capture their world from a fresh angle, whilst the new Creative Shot mode automatically generates a selection of unexpected creative treatments with every shot taken. The perfect smartphone companion, the PowerShot N has been designed to simplify image sharing with intuitive Wi-Fi connectivity allowing a new generation of high-quality, artistic images and Full HD videos to be shared in near real-time1.

Inject every shot with artistic flair

Thanks to the new Creative Shot mode, anyone can impress their friends and followers with unique, creative images that offer a different perspective on a typical scene or subject. When an image is captured in Creative Shot mode, the PowerShot N intelligently analyses the scene and determines which of a host of creative elements could enhance the scene or offer a different creative angle. Multiple variables including composition, exposure, point of focus, white balance, gradation and contrast are considered before five alternative versions of the original shot are automatically generated, which can then be shared at the touch of a button.

Alternatively, a creative edge can be added to a single shot with Canon's creative modes, including Miniature Effect, Soft Focus, Toy Camera Effect and Monochrome. Users can also add drama to a movie clip with Super Slow Motion Movie mode.

Combining creative flexibility with point-and-shoot ease of use, the PowerShot N features new Hybrid Auto mode which records the four seconds before every shot in 720p resolution, before using Canon's acclaimed Smart Auto technology to determine the best settings to capture the perfect shot. At the end of each day, the four-second clips are merged into one to tell the "behind-the-scenes" story of the day's images – perfect for adding new context to an online album.

Shoot and share in an instant

Making it the ultimate mobile companion, the PowerShot N features integrated Wi-Fi and one-touch connectivity to smartphones or tablets, thanks to the Mobile Device Connect Button. Users can upload images or movies to social networks such as Facebook ® and YouTube™ just moments after they've been captured, no matter where they may be. Once home, the best shots can be printed wirelessly or transferred to a PC thanks to the swift, reliable connection. The GPS via mobile feature, using the free Canon smartphone app, can also add location information from a GPS-enabled smartphone or tablet to an image, allowing users to share the exact location of their fun with friends.

Revolutionary design, 'Any Way Up' operation

The unusual, eye-catching design of the PowerShot N sets this model apart from every other – just like the images it captures. The compact, symmetrical design, tilting touch screen and an innovative system of lens rings - the twist lens ring can be turned in either direction to operate the zoom function, while a second ring is used as the shutter release - allow the camera to be used any way up, even upside-down, unleashing the ability to view the world from a completely different perspective.

The advanced capacitive 7.1 cm (2.8") touch screen also allows users to control essential functions, such as focus or the shutter, with a simple touch, and review their images with familiar, intuitive gestures. Available in white or black, the square, metal body is dominated by a 28mm, 8x optical zoom lens, making it easy to shoot groups and landscapes. Thanks to Canon's advanced ZoomPlus technology, which provides detailed, full-resolution shooting with up to 16x zoom, users can also get even closer to the action or frame a subject tightly for compositions with impact.

Measuring just 78.6 x 60.2 x 29.3 mm when the screen and lens are closed, the PowerShot N's extremely compact dimensions allow it to be slipped into any pocket and carried anywhere, so scenes, subjects and situations that might usually be missed can now be immortalised in the superb quality offered by Canon's advanced compact imaging technology. USB charging also provides added convenience, allowing the camera to be charged quickly and easily on the move.

Canon signature image quality

Despite its compact size, the PowerShot N inherits much of Canon's latest imaging technology to deliver superior, Canon-quality images and movies. Combining a high-sensitivity 12.1 Megapixel CMOS sensor and an advanced DIGIC 5 image processor, the HS System featured in this camera supports a maximum ISO of 6400 to produce sharp and clear images in challenging low-light conditions.

The powerful 8x optical zoom lens is supported by Intelligent IS, which automatically applies the most appropriate image stabilisation for smooth video and crisp stills. Complementing the artistic still images, Full HD video (1080p) can also be recorded.

PowerShot N key features:

  • Creative Shot
  • Unique design
  • 8x zoom, 28mm lens; Intelligent IS
  • HS System: 12.1 MP CMOS sensor, DIGIC 5
  • Wi-Fi; GPS via mobile
  • Mobile Device Connect Button
  • Any Way Up operation; Tilt-up touchscreen
  • Full HD video capture
  • Hybrid Auto; Smart Auto (58 scenes)

1 Internet connection permitting

Canon PowerShot N specifications

Body type
Body typeCompact
Sensor
Max resolution4000 x 2248
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels12 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors13 megapixels
Sensor size1/2.3" (6.17 x 4.55 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorDigic 5
Image
ISOAuto 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400
White balance presets5
Image stabilizationOptical
Uncompressed formatUnknown
File format
  • JPEG 2.3
Optics & Focus
Focal length (equiv.)28–224 mm
Optical zoom8×
Maximum apertureF3.0 - F5.9
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
Digital zoomYes (4x)
Macro focus range1 cm (0.39)
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDTilting
Screen size2.8
Screen dots461,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typePureColor II G touch
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeNone
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed15 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/2000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Auto
  • Hybrid Auto
  • Program
  • Creative Shot
  • Super Slow Motion Movie
Built-in flashYes (LED flash)
Continuous drive2 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 sec)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±2 (at 1/3 EV steps)
Videography features
Resolutions1920 x 1080 (24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30 fps), 640 x 480 (30, 120 fps), 320 x 240 ( 240 fps)
FormatH.264
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesmicroSD/microSDHC/microSDXC
Connectivity
USB USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
WirelessBuilt-In
Physical
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionLithium-Ion NB-9L rechargeable battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)200
Weight (inc. batteries)195 g (0.43 lb / 6.88 oz)
Dimensions79 x 60 x 29 mm (3.11 x 2.36 x 1.14)
Other features
GPSOptional
GPS notesvia Smartphone app

Additional images