updated 12:45 am EDT, Thu August 19, 2010
Canon S95 and SD4500 IS intro as low light champs
Canon tonight launched a trio of higher-end compact cameras today highlighted by a refresh of its cult favorite low-light camera. The PowerShot S95 still thrives on a 10-megapixel high sensitivity CCD but improves its image quality further: it now builds in Hybrid IS from pro lenses that can compensate for angular and shifting shaking, theoretically producing more stable shots. Like Fujifilm, it now has a multi-shot high dynamic range mode and finally adds 720p video with HDMI out to a high-end Canon PowerShot.
Most features persist from the earlier camera, including its 3.8X, f2.0 wide aperture lens, a pop-up flash and the option of shooting in RAW with a customizable command dial around the lens. Canon is planning a surprise quick launch and expects to have the S95 in stores by the end of this month for $400.
A more mainstream alternative, the SD4500 IS, is also potentially more advanced. The ostensibly lower end camera touts a 10-megapixel CMOS sensor that can handle lower light and ultimately shoots faster. It can take continuous shots at up to 8.4FPS or slow-motion at 240FPS.
The SD4500 IS sheds Hybrid IS but gains a Dynamic IS mode that can correct shake even while moving in movie mode. Canon even claims a movie resolution advantage, as the compact is the first regular PowerShot to shoot at 1080p. While sporting a narrower aperture, it shoots a much longer-ranged 10X zoom.
Shipments of the SD4500 IS start slightly later, in early September, but will price it at $350.
One long-zoom camera joins the mix in the SX130 IS. A direct replacement for the SX120, it reaches out further to 12X zoom with a denser 12-megapixel sensor. While it caps out at ISO 1,600, the camera can shoot video at 720p and is the first SX to have multiple advanced creative modes, such as a tilt-shift effect Minature mode or a fisheye lens effect.
The SX130 IS should be ready at about the same time as the S95 for $250.