A mere thirteen press releases from Canon yesterday to signal the launch of a mere 30 products, way off their 80 product best. As always with these monstrous launches it is impossible to cover everything so I pottered along, had a natter, snaffled some Buck’s Fizz (the drink, not the group) and cherry picked the more succulent offerings. So with the “Speed of the Puma, Puma, Puma,” as Braveheart (the cartoon, not the historically inept flick starting the anti-Semitic Australian) would say, we shall race through them.
Making perhaps the biggest splash was the EOS 400D. This 10 megapixel DSLR with nine point autofocus and enlarged 2.5in LCD is aimed firmly and squarely at entry point for this sector and packs in a 22.2 x 14.8mm CMOS with a 1.6x conversation ratio and wide ISO sensitivity range from 100 to 1600.
Intriguingly the sensor itself is ‘Self Cleaning’ shaking off dust using ultrasonic vibration which is rather a neat trick, though the DIGIC II processor at its core has been around for more than 18 months. Catch it in September for £649.
Hopping into the more traditional consumer space I stumbled into the A710, A630 and A640 (above in duplicate) PowerShots. These are 7.1, eight and 10MP cameras (yes, I know it’s counterintuitive) with a 6x optical zoom in the A710 and 4x in the other two. Image stabilisation technology also makes it into the A710 but the trio can all now safely swallow SDHC memory cards and shoot video at 30fps.
The teeny HDV1080i camcorder was the star of the video offerings. As the name reveals, it is capable of recording in HD at 1080i as well as capturing stills at three megapixels. In fact, you can even do both at the same time (though the still resolution drops down to 2MP). Again we’ve got anti blur and stabilising technology onboard and the 10x optical zoom is a real crowd/stalker pleaser. You’ll see it next month.
On the printer side there was no let up either with three new SELPHYs and two PIXMAs. Best amongst the SELPHYs is the ES1 a stylish flagship die sub which switches from the usual horizontal format of Canon’s printers to a vertical one. A slide out handle lets the printer be carried like Spode’s handbag and it can support printing over IrDA, Bluetooth (with the optional module) or Ixus wireless.
A 2.5in colour LCD is fitted along with a card reader and Canon claims an ultra low running cost of just 22p per print. An optional battery pack for portable use, automatic red eye correction, 100 year durability promise (who’s going to query it if shots fade after 98 years?) and protective coating combined with some of the best quality results I’ve seen make this a little gem. The downside is it costs as much as quite a few little gems at £189 RRP but at least you’ll have until the end of next month to save up.
As for the Pixmas, they have undergone something of a transition with all small form factor (SFF) models now being rebranded ‘Pixma Minis’. Top of the pile here was the Mini260 an Apple white printer with a rather iPodian scroll wheel installed to ease navigation. Prints from this inkjet were also strikingly good but the big downer is the lack of any applied protective coating. Some will be able to live with this, other – more fallible – beings like myself may be forced to steer clear. It is fair more affordable however at £119.
There was more, lots more, but I simply don’t have the time to write up page after page after page. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Canon makes some fantastic products and it does drive me bananas that it insists on releasing so many at once. Coverage compromises have to be made and quality devices slip through the cracks meaning – quite simply – the company doesn’t get the attention is deserves. Spreading them out would make far greater sense, but will Canon listen?
NB: The lighting did suck, but then again so does my highly battered and worn out six year old Canon Digital Ixus these days... hint, Canon, hint, hint...