Canon Powershot Zoom Preview

I have to admit for some strange reason this little digital camera caught my eye and I was lucky enough to get hold of one of the first, to have a play! If Apple made a Powershot I guess this is what they would make – it’s feel seems so inspired by them. The promise of a “wildlife” camera with the equivalent zoom (in 35mm terms) of a 100-400mm lens seemed good. I once owned a 100-400mm, Canon L series lens and that was brilliant – heavy but brilliant. This is just so neat.

Out of the box, the cameras built in battery was flat – no glimmer. Problem one, no charger! It is supplied with a USB-C to USB-C cable. Why? Now call me a grouch, I have two computers, I have two tablets, I work in a room with 5 computers, not one has a USB-C socket, to charge it. No worries I have a universal charger that has a USB port, so I found a USB – USB-C cable and plugged in – nothing! It needs a 9 volt supply apparently. So this retails at £299 and you can’t charge it! Are you kidding??

Eventually with the aid of a colleagues phone charger I had power. The good news is, if you don’t have a suitable charger, or a colleague with one, you can always just buy the one Canon make for it at £105 yes you read correctly.

I found out a MICRO SD card, popped it in, and was in business. The menu and operation is simple enough – just like using any simple compact. So I popped into town a took a couple of shots of my often used test.

Test at the “wide” end of 100mm equiv.
Test at the “tele” end of 400mm equiv
Test at the “tele” end of 400mm equiv, plus 2X Digital.

On a computer monitor these look OK, they seem to be lacking a bit of sharpness, something that could be corrected in photoshop I guess, A couple of “people” shots, that I won’t publish here, seem to highlight the lack of sharpness. I wonder if this is due to the “protection” filter/glass that covers the lens or the fact it’s only 12MP? Not that pixels are everything. If one were trying to identify birds in dark undergrowth for example this could be an issue. The image stabilization seems to work well – even at the 400mm end to give Canon their due.

My school report used to often say, of subjects that I had no interest in: “could do better with more effort” and that seems to sum up my thoughts here. £299 for a camera that you can’t charge out of the box or change the battery in when it fails – and fail it will. What will Canon charge to change it out? It has no tripod thread in it’s base either, so if you wanted to set it up to video something, or use remotely, as it has both WiFi and Bluetooth, I guess you just tape it to a stick? Come on Canon you have and can do better – much better.

For reference they manage to retail the Canon IXUS 185, with 8X Optical Zoom (28-224mm equiv) and 2x Digital zoom, 20 MP, with a separate charger and removeable battery. A camera that takes standard SD cards and even has a tripod socket in it’s base. The cost? £120.

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