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Just Posted: Canon PowerShot N first impressions

By dpreview staff on Jan 7, 2013 at 15:22 GMT

Canon's PowerShot N, with its 'either way up' design and Creative Shot processing filters, is one of the most unusual cameras we've seen for some time. Canon's talking about it as a companion to a smartphone, and to this end it includes Wi-Fi connectivity and the ability to upload photos and videos to social media. We've had the chance to handle one briefly, and have prepared a quick first impressions article to give an idea of how it works.

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Total comments: 29
By Banhmi (Jan 16, 2013)

I don't want this Powershot N 'smartphone companion'.

What I want are interchangeable "Ricoh GXR" components that can be slapped into the back of my Samsung Galaxy SIII phone.

1 upvote
Peter Kroll
By Peter Kroll (Jan 10, 2013)

Most hand phone users are happy with their instagram picture junk, and this is far not enough to entice the crowd. Canon has become a complacent company.
Peter Kroll, Singapore

By T3 (Jan 10, 2013)

"Instagram picture junk"...spoken like a true photo snob. In the real world, there's more to photography than just pixel peeping. There are moments, emotions, sentiments, memories, fun, sharing etc. behind photos. Unfortunately, all the technophiles care about is all the technical stuff and elitism.

Sure, people can take great, super-high-res photos with their DSLRs, and make a 50x60" print that maybe a couple dozen people might see. Heck, I love my DSLRs and they serve me well. But there's a whole other world of photography where images are taken, uploaded, shared, and seen by 100's, 1000's, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of people, throughout the world, in a matter of days.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
By Sordid (Jan 10, 2013)

Nonetheless, most Instajunk pictures look exactly the same.

By JavierDiaz (Jan 9, 2013)

Is this the best Canon can do at this year CES? Unless I missed something, they gotta be kidding....

By T3 (Jan 10, 2013)

The world of photography is changing. Connected cameras will be the future. Also, a break from the standard camera form factor is definitely a welcomed change. The whole notion that a shutter button and zoom toggle has to be at a specific spot on a camera is very archaic and limiting.

1 upvote
By Molenaar (Jan 9, 2013)

The only thing missing is a detachable LCd display,wireless between camera and display, and a release button on the display. Then you don't need an spacious hinge and get all the freedom in the world. Idea for N2

By ovatab (Jan 8, 2013)

'either way up' design requires square (6.17 x 6.17 mm) sensor.

Herman Dijkhuis
By Herman Dijkhuis (Jan 8, 2013)

What are the dimensions of this camera?

Andy Westlake
By Andy Westlake (Jan 8, 2013)

79 x 60 x 29 mm (3.11 x 2.36 x 1.14")

Comment edited 51 seconds after posting
Herman Dijkhuis
By Herman Dijkhuis (Jan 8, 2013)

Thanks Andy !

Donnie G
By Donnie G (Jan 8, 2013)

If this camera is even a minor hit among the Instagram crowd, then watch the other manufacturers copy it almost line for line, just like they did with the original Canon Elph, in six months or less.

1 upvote
By jj74e (Jan 8, 2013)

why canon came out with 10 new compacts this year is beyond me.

seriously, are they even making any money off these? it's like they're stuck in the cycle or clutching to the past.

just cause you make a camera smaller doesn't mean people are going to want to carry it around.

bigger sensors and zoom are the right decision- image quality is the only reason anybody's going to still buy a compact alongside a smartphone, along with the ability to zoom farther. smartphones have everything else and do it better (stupid scene modes vs actual apps? 3g connection w/out having to pay for an extra device?).

what companies need to figure out is how to advertise this information to consumers so they become educated about what's important and what's not.

1 upvote
By roblarosa (Jan 8, 2013)

Last March Pew did a survey and reported that 45% of cell phone owners said that their phone is a smartphone. So, yeah - I'm guessing that they still make money on compact cameras because many people still use them.

Comment edited 55 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Pavel Sokolov
By Pavel Sokolov (Jan 8, 2013)

You're really don't know how many regular people in the world who don't even know about quality or something else. Sister of my wife, just purchased a piece of crap(camera) after the cool compact that I bought to them(broken now). He is Ph.D (economics).

1 upvote
By 88SAL (Jan 9, 2013)

Have you seen smartphone quality? Its actually, except for a few premium models, incredibly sheet!

By SaltyCDogg (Jan 7, 2013)

This could have been a great camera for a teenage girl who wants a small camera to keep in her bag and take pics of herself and friends when she goes out and gets hammered. Instantly on facebook/instagram and no further.

Where it fails as a good camera for doing that is the tiny LED flash. Harsh horrible unflattering light. I don't know why no one has tried to do anything different in this area. Perhaps an LED ring around the lens or two flashes that pop out from either side.

A more limited zoom range and a fast lens.

I think it's great that canon are trying something new at least.

By thebiblioholic (Jan 8, 2013)

To take pictures of herself, a screen that tilts more than 90 degrees would have been useful... Dunno why they didn't hinge it like the other flip out screens that Canon makes.

By JEROME NOLAS (Jan 7, 2013)

So what is it good for?

1 upvote
Jan Kritzinger
By Jan Kritzinger (Jan 7, 2013)

Nex + Eye-fi is infinitely better than this.

Comment edited 13 seconds after posting
Nathaniel George Weir
By Nathaniel George Weir (Jan 8, 2013)

Hmmmm and a nex with an eye fi and lens = over a $1000 vs $299 hmmmmm...

Jan Kritzinger
By Jan Kritzinger (Jan 7, 2013)

I wish manufacturers wouldn't use clueless market researchers to determine camera specifications.

This camera, and many others (samsung galaxy camera) would have been much better if they had smaller zoom ranges and larger sensors. But because optical zoom is a key spec that the average consumer looks for, we have to be content with suboptimal products.

I wish sensor surface area was a spec listed on every camera, and every cellphone camera ever sold.

Cy Cheze
By Cy Cheze (Jan 7, 2013)

Cameras must appeal to buyers on terms they understand. Megapixels, zoom, and WiFi are all understood, at least vaguely. The sensor size nomenclature (ASP, etc) or odd-ball ratio calibrations are harder to explain. Sensor size, alone, does not guarantee anything but perhaps higher cost and confusion. Buyer: "Gimme a $200 pocket camera with a big sensor and 20X zoom!" Clerk: "It doesn't exist." Buyer: "Huh. You must be dumb. I'll try the next store."

By Cane (Jan 7, 2013)

Did it ever occur to you that sensor surface area doesn't really tell you that much, it's what they do with the sensor? If not, how is it that a camera of today with a smaller sensor can run circles around a camera of 5 years ago with a bigger one?

By jquagga (Jan 8, 2013)

If it has a sensor size less than 1" it's DOA anymore for an enthusiast's point and shoot.

However, for a toy camera like this one, I don't think the target demographic cares. It just has to be something they'll buy in addition to their cell phone camera. And I'm not seeing that with this thing. It's gimmicky for sure, but what does this have over the cell phone? A zoom lens? If it had a real flash that could be a boon. But it's another thing to charge and carry. And for the group their targeting, I'm not sure there's a market for point and shoots anymore. Most of the time when I go out with the "instagram generation" if they have a camera along with their phone it's a film camera ... How about releasing a $100 AE-1 MkII Canon?

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
By BingoCharlie (Jan 7, 2013)

How about a smart phone with a side-load SD card reader, instead? That way if I want to share a photo I can pop my card out of my camera and upload it from the SD card in the phone. A phone that was optimized to take advantage of this kind of functionality would be sweet and would work with any camera.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
1 upvote
By Panda89 (Jan 8, 2013)

Actually, you can connect your camera to some android smartphones with a USB host adapter. You can then copy your pictures to your phone like you want to. I use a small Lexar SD card reader with my galaxy S II so that I don't drain my camera's battery.

M Jesper
By M Jesper (Jan 7, 2013)

Nice to see something new. Reminds me of looking down into a Rolleiflex.

Too bad there's no way to properly hold this. So that's that.

By vroger1 (Jan 7, 2013)

Ludicrous- VRR

Total comments: 29