April 2013

PowerShot N

A creative new model based on a completely original concept

Photo 1: PowerShot N

Photo 1: PowerShot N

This month's technical report brings you information on the concepts and features of the PowerShot N, which is loaded with a 12.10-megapixel CMOS sensor and an 8x zoom lens with a lens-shift image stabilizer (35mm-film equivalent focal length range: 28 - 224 mm).

Development objectives

The PowerShot N (Photo 1) enters the PowerShot series as a new communication camera for the social networking age that was developed from a fresh concept. To accomplish this, the design uses a nearly square symmetrical form and a zoom ring and shutter ring around the lens barrel to allow all kinds of novel shooting styles and stances. It also features a new Creative Shot shooting mode that creates surprising / unexpected photos and the Mobile Device Connect Button for easy connectivity with smartphones. The development aim of this new model is as follows.

Craft a digital camera that, while continuing the PowerShot series' tradition of high image quality and rich functionality, forges a new photo culture in tune with the social networking age

Feature 1 - Rich functionality

Figure 1: Creative Shot

Figure 1: Creative Shot

Creative Shot

Creative Shot is a new shooting mode that with one exposure records not only the original image but also five other generated images with different compositions, color / light effects, and out-of-focus effects. In this mode, the camera first analyzes the scene before the exposure and based on the analysis automatically selects either focus bracketing, AE bracketing, or continuous shooting when the shutter is released in order to take three successive exposures.

After taking the images, the camera processes the images with an optimal combination of defocusing, color effects, and composition cropping. Ultimately, the camera generates six images, including the original unaltered image, to give surprising, unique photos and photos full of artistic creativity (Figure 1).

Hybrid Auto

The Movie Digest mode, first introduced in 2011, provided a new form of excitement in being able to enjoy the memories of a day packed into one movie just by taking still images. The PowerShot N features the next evolution of this mode, Hybrid Auto. Hybrid Auto is a new shooting mode that consolidates the previous Auto mode and Movie Digest mode.

When taking still images, Hybrid Auto switches to the same specifications as the Auto mode; it automatically recognizes the shooting scene and optimizes the settings for the scene. (The camera can recognize 24 types of scenes.) The movie that Hybrid Auto generates has the same specifications as the current Movie Digest mode; namely, each time a still image is taken, it adds between two and four seconds of movie data, captured just before the still image, to a single movie file, thereby, eventually recording one day's worth of clips as one file on the memory card.

Figure 2: Eco mode

Figure 2: Eco mode

Eco mode

The Eco mode has been introduced to further conserve battery power (Figure 2). When in Eco mode, the LCD monitor will first be dimmed and then turned off if the camera is not operated for a certain amount of time while in a shooting mode. If three minutes pass without the camera being operated, the camera will turn off. Using the Eco mode can increase the number of shots per charge by about 40 percent.

Continuous AF shooting
Servo AF / Servo AE
Faster AF for a shorter release time lag
Smart Auto mode with 58 auto-detection scenes, and Smart Movie mode with 21 auto-detection scenes
Favorite tag for easier image searching and browsing

Feature 2 - Advanced image quality

Figure 3: Lens construction

Figure 3: Lens construction

8x zoom lens with superb image quality

We took the f/3.0 - f/5.9 8x zoom lens, with a 35mm-film equivalent focal length range of 28 - 224 mm, that was originally developed for the IXY 600F*1 and refined it for the PowerShot N. The lens is constructed with eight elements in seven groups, including one double-sided aspherical lens element, one single-sided aspherical UA lens element, and one single-sided aspherical lens element. The lens has four moving lens groups (Figure 3).

By balancing the refractive powers among the lens groups and optimizing the lens travel, we were able to fashion an extremely compact lens while delivering the magnification power for an 8x zoom.

*1. Japan: IXY 600F, Americas: PowerShot ELPH 310 HS, Europe/Asia/Oceania: IXUS 230 HS

DIGIC 5 imaging processor

The PowerShot N is equipped with the high-performance DIGIC 5 imaging processor. Linking the high-sensitivity CMOS sensor and the DIGIC 5 provides the following image improvements over the DIGIC 4:

  • Advanced HS System
  • Better shadow compensation performance
  • Higher max. ISO speed (from ISO 3200 to ISO 6400)
High-sensitivity CMOS sensor with 12.10 effective megapixels

The PowerShot N uses a back-illuminated CMOS sensor with a maximum image size of approximately 12.10 megapixels. A proven performer in use on other current PowerShot models, this CMOS sensor provides high sensitivity and rendering of stunning images as large as 4000 x 3000 pixels.

Lens-shift image stabilizer

The PowerShot N comes with a lens-shift image stabilizer to minimize the effects of camera shake on image quality while shooting. The image stabilizer offers the photographer as much as a 3.5-stop gain*2 in shutter speed. The Intelligent IS function obtains the optimal image stabilization benefit for any scene.

*2. Using Canon's measurement methods.

High-precision AE and AWB using iSAPS technology

Feature 3 - More comfortable operation

Figure 4: Shutter ring

Figure 4: Shutter ring

Shutter ring

The PowerShot N has a zoom ring positioned around the lens barrel in place of a zoom lever. And as a new control element, it replaces the shutter button with a shutter ring. The shutter ring is located in front of the zoom ring and operates by sliding up and down. The shutter is released by pushing the ring either up or down (Figure 4). Like conventional shutter buttons, the ring has a two-stage half-press/full-press action.

A problem with shutter buttons is pressing too hard will cause camera shake and blurring. Therefore, we designed a new switch for the ring that has been carefully tuned to give the ring an optimal control feel.

Figure 5: LCD monitor (tilt type)

Figure 5: LCD monitor (tilt type)

2.8-type LCD tilt-type vari-angle monitor with 461,000 dots (touch-screen panel)

The LCD monitor uses a 2.8-type capacitive touch-screen panel with approximately 461,000 dots. Its vari-angle mechanism is different from other vari-angle monitors in the PowerShot G series and SX series. The monitor is attached along the top of the camera body and can be tilted out to about 90 degrees (Figure 5).

Photographers can shoot from new perspectives and form new compositions because the monitor's tilt mechanism, along with the zoom ring and shutter ring, enables shooting stances not possible on previous models (Photo 2). Basic camera operations can be done just by touching the LCD monitor. And during playback, two fingers can be used to expand or reduce images on the monitor just like on a smartphone.

Photo 2: Shooting stance variations

Photo 2: Shooting stance variations

Special start-up screen

This model has a special start-up screen that is different from past PowerShot models.

On-screen instructions

Feature 4 - Enhanced printing options and digital communications

Enhanced Wi-Fi functionality

The PowerShot N adds or updates the following functions for more advanced Wi-Fi functionality.

  • Transfer via a server
  • Post to Facebook groups
  • Add comments to posted images
  • Wi-Fi connection history display (simple connections)
  • Revamped the Wi-Fi connection procedure (simple connections)
  • Play movies in MOV format (on smartphone app)
  • Mobile Device Connect Button settings
  • Disconnect from the smartphone app side
  • LCD monitor goes into low-power mode during Wi-Fi communications
Photo 3: Mobile Device Connect Button

Photo 3: Mobile Device Connect Button

Mobile Device Connect Button

The Mobile Device Connect Button (Photo 3) makes it even easier to use captured images. After registering your smartphone to this button, just press the button to connect to your smartphone anytime. Once connected, you can view and send images all from your smartphone. You can also turn the camera off from your smartphone.

Support for Wi-Fi PictBridge

The PowerShot N supports the DPS over IP standard, which was released in 2012. This means the camera can connect to printers over a Wi-Fi network*3 as well as using the normal USB connection.

*3. The printer must also support DPS over IP.

Select images for printing with DPOF

Feature 5 - Array of system accessories

Charge using the USB cable

The PowerShot N can be charged using the USB cable. The battery is automatically charged when the PowerShot N is connected to a computer with the supplied IFC-400PCU interface cable or when connected to the supplied CA-DC30 compact power adaptor. It takes approximately three hours to reach full charge.

Supports Exif 2.3

This concludes our look at the PowerShot N this month. Table 1 lists the main specifications of the PowerShot N.

  PowerShot N
Imaging sensor Approx. 12.10 effective megapixels (max. image size) (high-sensitivity CMOS), 1/2.3 type (approx. 12.80 total megapixels)
Color filter type RGB
Photographic lens
(35mm-film equivalent)
28 - 224 mm, f/3.0 (max. wide angle) - f/5.9 (max. telephoto angle), 8x zoom
Digital zoom Approx. 4.0x (approx. 32x max. zoom when combined with the optical zoom)
ZoomPlus: Approx. 16x when combined with the optical zoom (Large image size)
LCD viewfinder n/a
LCD monitor 2.8 type (TFT color LCD, approx. 461,000 dots, excellent color reproduction, and wide viewing angle), touch-screen panel (capacitive), brightness adjustment, vari-angle (tilt type)
Focusing modes Autofocus: Continuous AF, Servo AF (tracks Servo AE), Touch AF
AF frame: Face AiAF, 1 point*
*Only available with Touch AF and the shooting modes Fish-eye Effect and Miniature Effect
Focusing range 1 cm to infinity (max. wide angle) / 1.0 m to infinity (max. telephoto angle)
Shutter Mechanical shutter + electronic shutter
Shutter speeds 1/2000 to 1 sec. (total shutter speed range from all shooting modes)
Light metering methods Evaluative, Center-weighted average, Spot
Exposure compensation ±2 stops in 1/3-stop increments
ISO speeds
(Standard Output Sensitivity, Recommended Exposure Index)
When in P shooting mode: Auto, ISO 80 to ISO 6400 (in one-step increments)
Flash range 50 cm - 90 cm (max. wide angle), 10 cm - 50 cm (max. wide angle) when the scene is detected as Macro
White balance Auto, Day Light, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H
Shooting modes Creative Shot, Auto, Hybrid Auto, P, Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Slow Motion Movie
Continuous shooting Approx. 2.3 fps (when in P shooting mode)
• When the scene is bright enough that the flash does not automatically fire. Speed depends on the zoom position.
Recording pixels (still images)
(when set to a 4:3 aspect ratio)
Large: 4000 x 3000, Medium 1: 2816 x 2112, Medium 2: 1600 x 1200, Small: 640 x 480
Aspect ratios 16:9, 3:2, 4:3, 1:1
Compression (still images) Fine
Movies 1920 x 1080 (24 fps*1), 1280 x 720 (30 fps*2), 640 x 480 (30 fps*2)
Digest movies: 1280 x 720 (30 fps*2)
Super Slow Motion movies: 640 x 480 (120 fps), 320 x 240 (240 fps)
Miniature Effect movies*3: 1280 x 720 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps), 640 x 480 (recorded at 1.5, 3, or 6 fps)
*1. Actual frame rate is 23.976 fps
*2. Actual frame rate is 29.97 fps
*3. Played back at 29.97 fps
Wi-Fi Standard: IEEE 802.11 b / g / n* (*2.4 GHz band only)
Communication modes: Infrastructure mode, Ad-hoc mode, Camera access point mode
Security protocols: WEP, WPA-PSK (AES / TKIP), WPA2-PSK (AES / TKIP)
Recording media microSD memory cards, microSDHC memory cards, microSDXC memory cards
Color space Standard (sRGB)
File format Compliant with Design rule for Camera File system and DPOF
Data types Still images: Exif 2.3 (JPEG)
Movies: MOV (video: H.264, audio: Linear PCM (mono))
Power supply Rechargeable lithium-ion battery: NB-9L*
Compact power adaptor: CA-DC30 (supplied with camera)
AC adapter kit: ACK-DC70 (optional)
*Can be charged using the USB cable
(CIPA standard)
78.6 x 60.2 x 29.3 mm
(CIPA standard)
Approx. 195 grams (including battery and memory card) / Approx. 174 grams (body only)

Table 1: Main specifications of the PowerShot N