Form, Function and Fun
While the new line-leading 7.1 megapixel PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH camera with its sleek new curved metallic design and its 5.0 megapixel companion model PowerShot SD400 Digital ELPH camera continue Canon's tradition of providing top-tier imaging technology in a ultra- slim, ultra-compact, easy-to-use package, these two models heighten the photo fun factor as well.
"The Digital ELPH series remains the epitome of high-quality camera design in the consumer camera market, often imitated but never equaled," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the consumer imaging group at Canon U.S.A., Inc, a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ). "We know that though their sleek and slim styling consistently captures consumers' attention and affection, their fashionable form most assuredly follows one primary function: excellence in imaging. Ultimately, it is the high-quality pictures captured, printed and shared with near effortless ease that is the cornerstone of Digital ELPH cameras' appeal."
New Design Lines for the Top of the Line
At first glance, it is clear that PowerShot SD500 model is no ordinary Digital ELPH camera. Departing from the linear style that has characterized ELPH model cameras from their very beginning, the body lines of this new entry have not simply been refined, they have been redefined and redesigned.
Dubbed the "Perpetual Curve Design" by Canon engineers, the body shaping method reduces unevenness and tends to fit the hand more comfortably, all while accommodating the size demands of the camera's internal components. A gradual bulge from the grip side towards the flash side achieves a physically thin and visually slim appearance from the front, while the SD500 Digital ELPH camera's newly trimmed down side panels add to the camera's ultra thin appearance. The camera's stainless steel case is silver gray in color with a high-brightness coating applied to heighten the effect created by the elegant, continuous curve of the body.
The PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH Camera
Enabling the PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH camera's 7.1-megapixel resolution is a larger 1/1.8 inch type CCD image sensor (compared with the 5-megapixel 1/2.5-inch type CCD sensor of the PowerShot SD400 model). The SD500 Digital ELPH also features a retractable 3x optical/4x digital zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent focal length of up to 37-111 mm, making it ideally suitable for a wide range of photographic applications from landscapes and snapshots to portraits and macro at a working distance of under four inches from the subject. The camera's shutter speeds range from 15 up to 1/2000th of second, combined with a faster and more responsive 9-point AiAF "Smart" autofocus system. Adding to the power of this aptly named PowerShot camera is a new and more powerful built-in flash with six modes (auto/auto with red-eye reduction,/flash on with red-eye reduction, flash on/ flash off and slow synchro).
The PowerShot SD400 Digital ELPH Camera
Though the five megapixel PowerShot SD400 Digital ELPH camera retains much of the look and feel of its predecessors, it has more features in common with the 7.1 megapixel SD500 model. Chief among the differences is of course the number of megapixels on the camera's CCD imaging sensor. The SD400 model also has a 35-105mm lens (35mm equivalent) on its 3x optical/4x digital UA zoom lens, which is slightly shorter in focal length than its senior sibling and it has a shutter a top shutter speed of up to 1/1500th of a second compared to up to 1/2000th.
Both models also feature a wide variety of shooting modes to optimize the camera's performance based on user preferences or shooting conditions. These modes include Auto, Manual, Digital Macro, My Colors, Stitch Assist, Special Scene, and Movie. The Special Scene mode allows users of both cameras to achieve optimum results in popular picture-taking situations including Underwater, Indoor, Kids and Pets, and Night Snapshot. The SD500 model also includes individual settings for Foliage, Snow, Beach, and Fireworks. Optional accessories for the SD500 digital camera include Waterproof Case WP-DC70, rated to a depth of 40 meters (approximately 130 feet). All Weather Case AW-DC30, rated up to 3 meters (approximately 10 feet), is available for the SD400 digital camera.
Petite and Powerful
The PowerShot SD500 and PowerShot SD400 Digital ELPH cameras are also appointed with a full-range of movie features including a built-in microphone and speaker. Among the improvements is the ability to use the digital zoom while shooting movies in the high-resolution 640 x 480 30 fps VGA mode. Since the digital zoom does not involve any mechanical movement, zooming can be performed without creating any additional ambient noise that could be picked up by the cameras' built in microphone. The cameras also offer a "Fast Frame Rate" of 60 frames per second for a maximum of one-minute (at a resolution of up to 320 x 240 pixels), ideal for analyzing a golf swing or a tennis stroke using one of the supplied slow-motion playback settings. The compact movie mode - designed with e-mail attachments in mind - captures a maximum of three minutes of recording at 15 fps and a resolution of 160 x 120 pixels.
A new Night Display Function automatically brightens the subject in order to make framing a shot in dusk, night or other lowlight situations easier while the cameras' large 2-inch, 118,000 pixel LCD monitor features a backlight that combines lower power consumption with high brightness that improves the visibility of the LCD monitor even in bright surroundings. The monitor also incorporates a "quick bright LCD" function that temporarily boosts the brightness to its maximum level with nothing more than a one-second touch of the display button. Press the button a second time for one second and the monitor returns to its original brightness level.
DIGIC(R) II - Hi-Speed USB 2.0
True to the tradition of the Digital ELPH camera series, both the PowerShot SD500 and the PowerShot SD400 Digital ELPH cameras have many of the latest advances in Canon technology including the proprietary DIGIC II Imaging processor that enhances picture definition, vibrancy and quality, while helping increase the speed of the cameras' startup, autofocus, shutter response and playback as well as the image processing speed. The pace of image transfer is accelerated (when used with a USB 2.0 compatible computer, printer or other peripheral) thanks to the inclusion of a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port, the first time this feature has appeared in the PowerShot series. The USB 2.0 port is backwards compatible (at no increased speed) with computers featuring standard USB 1.1 connections.
Other New Features of Interest
Both new Digital ELPH cameras incorporate a host of improvements that contribute to their overall high quality level and functionality. For example, the Intelligent Orientation Sensor not only rotates vertical shots automatically, it now wakes up the cameras from sleep mode by detecting movement when the camera is picked up. A new Custom Timer function lets users shoot up to 10 consecutive frames automatically at the end of a preset delay, which can range from 1 to 30 seconds. The Review function has also been improved with the addition of several preset intervals plus a "Hold" function, and Playback mode now has the ability to locate captured images quickly according to shooting date or file type (JPEG or Movie).
In addition to the rich feature set both cameras have to offer they both also feature Canon's new "My Color" technology. Now even the most casual picture-taker can easily opt for verdant valleys of greener greens, juicy apples of redder red, skies and seas of bluer- blue and even add or reduce a little tan to the skin tone as they are shooting. Whether the desired effect is to make the color "more real" or surreal, these digital dynamos are capable of capturing and saving both the original still image and the enhanced color versions as separate files on the camera's SD Memory Card.
Both the PowerShot SD500 and SD400 Digital ELPH models support all current PictBridge functions. Established as the global industry standard for direct printing from any PictBridge compliant camera to any PictBridge compliant printer regardless of brand, these functions include single image prints, several selected images per print, as well as more advanced PictBridge setup features including print cropping, quantity selection, date imprinting, Layout print (fixed size), Layout print (N-up) and File Name imprinting.
Print and Share Function Plus Powerful New Software
The PowerShot SD500 and SD400 Digital ELPH models both feature Canon's popular Print and Share function, which enables one-touch direct printing or direct transfer via PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol) to compatible personal computers using the supplied USB interface cable. New in this generation of cameras is the ability to download images directly to Mac OS X (10.1.5 and higher) as well as Windows(R) XP operating systems. The new cameras are also supplied with the latest versions of Canon's powerful yet easy-to-use software applications, including ZoomBrowser EX 5.1 (for Windows) and ImageBrowser 5.1 (for Mac OS X), as well as PhotoRecord (Windows) for high-quality layout printing, and PhotoStitch (Windows/Mac) for panoramas. ArcSoft PhotoStudio is also supplied for advanced photo editing functions.
Pricing and Availability
The PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH and PowerShot SD400 Digital ELPH will be supplied with a wrist strap and interface cables for USB and A/V, as well as a 32MB or 16MB SD card respectively, a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack and charger, software, and user manuals. The PowerShot SD400 Digital ELPH Camera will be available in April and the PowerShot SD500 Digital ELPH will be available in March for estimated street prices of $399.99*, and $499.99* respectively.