updated 08:35 am EDT, Tue August 23, 2011
Canon makes Elph 510 HS thinnest 12X camera
Canon as rumored brought out a trio of PowerShots and made their optical zoom the focus. The Elph 510 HS headlines the pack as the thinnest camera in the young series but still managing to zoom out to 12X and carry a 28mm equivalent minimum zoom that can produce wide angles. The 510 HS also brings in a new image stabilization system known as Intelligent IS: it chooses depending on the context, such as in the very sensitive conditions of a macro shot, the consistent movement of a panning shot or the low demands when sitting on a tripod.
The point-and-shoot still has a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor tuned to lower light as well as the long-serving Digic 4 processor. Video tops out at 1080p, and a special high-speed burst mode can record as quickly as 7.8 frames per second, although Canon hasn't said if this includes autofocus or needs a lower resolution. A touchscreen serves as the near-exclusive main interface, including tap-to-focus.
Also in tow is the Elph 310 HS, a more frugal alternative. Its lensing is less ambitious and tops out at 8X, but it still has the 12.1-megapixel sensor, 28mm minimum zoom, and 1080p video. Its bursting actually moves faster at 8.7FPS. Cost savings also come from a conventional directional pad instead of touch.
Both Elphs will come in multiple colors, including exotic shades of blue and green for the 310 HS, and will ship in early October. The 310 HS starts off at $260, while the extra reach of the 510 HS demands a $350 price.
One advanced hobbyist camera is arriving in the mix. The SX150 IS is limited to a less sensitive 14-megapixel CCD sensor and 720p video, but it includes a handful of semi-experienced features such as the full PASM (program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual) control range as well as a discreet mode for museums, wildlife photography, and other noise-sensitive moments. It shares the Intelligent IS system and a 12X, 28mm lens.
The SX150 IS will be the first to arrive and ships early September for $250.
In a surprise step, Canon is offering a complementary external flash, the HF-DC2. The bulb can boost the practical flash range to 30 feet when used in tandem with the built-in flash and can cover zooms as close as 24mm equivalent. It can either mount directly to the camera through a bracket or attach both to a tripod and held in the hand for side or bounce flash. It won't arrive until December but will be cheap for the category at $150.