Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Quirky design, but who's it for? The Canon Powershot N

It looks cute, there are some fun elements to it, but I'm not convinced that Canon has identified a workable target market for the square-shaped, touchscreen Powershot N. Let me explain.

There are some elements of the Powershot N that I like a lot: the lens rings for zooming and shutter release; the tiltable touch-screen that you use the control focus and image review; the 28mm lens with 8× optical zoom; the 12 megapixel sensor with DIGIC 5 processor, and sensitivity to ISO 6,400; the quirky design; and of course, the wi-fi connectivity.

There are some elements of the Powershot N to which I'm indifferent. Being able to apply creative filters in-camera is ubiquitous now. Creative Shot mode, which examines a picture, applies a series of enhancements according to its attributes, and then presents you with five different versions is a novel toy, but doesn't exactly float my photographic boat.

Then there are the elements that leave me going 'Wuh?' Why, exactly, would I want to compile the four seconds of focusing and fiddling before taking any picture in Hybrid Auto mode, so that I can watch some odd kind of meta filmshoot at the end of the day? Why would I want to piddle about taking a photo and then transfering it to my smartphone or tablet so that I can upload it to Flickr because there's no available wi-fi network, when I could just take the photo and apply a filter using my phone? It's a bit gimmicky and feels slightly half-baked. Afterall, there are Android-based 'smartcameras' out there now that provide a whole lot more functionality.

Canon, it looks very to me as if you've designed a camera that is meant to appeal to the Instagramming, filtering, uploading crowd. But the thing is - they've gone and they're not coming back. They love their smartphones and their instant connectivity. They already have the tools they need for the job they want to do. At £270 ($300), I can't see them rushing to buy one in a hurry. In fact, I'm not sure who will.

The fun design demonstrates that you are at least thinking creatively about the point-and-shoot market. Carry on - it needs this. But what you really need to think about are who still uses point-and-shoot cameras. Make cameras for them. With the Powershot N you've a camera that isn't sophisticated enough to be a smartcamera, isn't cheap enough to be a fun camera, and isn't serious enough to be regarded as a game-changer. It isn't even falling between two stools, but three.

Potentially, there are the beginnings of something here, but I'm not sure where you're going with it, Canon.

More recent news...

  1. Pentax brings out a serious compact - the MX-1 (7 January 2013)
  2. The 2012 round-up (31 December 2012)
  3. The weekly round-up (24 December 2012)
  4. The weekly round-up (17 December 2012)
  5. A much-needed update for Flickr's iOS app (12 December 2012)

© Daniela Bowker. This article has been licensed for use on Pixiq only. Please do not reproduce wholly or in part without a licence.

Source: http://www.pixiq.com/article/canon-powershot-n-announcement

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