Canon announced two new cameras Thursday morning as part of its PowerShot line of point-and-shoot cameras. The two models, the S100 and the SX40 HS, are upgrades for the S95 and the SX30 IS respectively and both cameras are seeing incremental upgrades rather than radical changes.
The most significant upgrade for both cameras is Canon's powerful new DIGIC V image processor which should improve the cameras' image quality over last year's models. Both cameras also feature a 12.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor that can shoot 1080p high-definition video.
The DIGIC V powers a new mode that Canon calls "High-speed Burst HQ". This new burst mode should allow both cameras to capture up to 8 images per second. That's a significant upgrade since the SX30's burst mode didn't even shoot at half that rate. Unlike previous high-speed burst modes that forced cameras to reduces image quality to achieve that kind of speed, Canon promises that the S100 and SX40 shoot in burst mode at a full 12 megapixels.
12.1 megapixels is actually a bit of a downgrade from the 14-megapixel sensor on the SX30 IS, but Canon promises the combination of a CMOS rather than a CCD sensor and a DIGIC V processor will still result in a sharp increase in image quality.
Other than the change in image sensor and processor, the SX40 mostly sticks to the same formula as its predecessor. In fact, the design of the SX40 is practically unchanged, with the same 35x wide-angle optical zoom and 2.7-inch LCD as the model that came before it. The biggest new software feature for the SX40 is its improved smart auto settings for 32 different shooting situations.
The S100, meanwhile, is a nice incremental upgrade from the already-impressive Canon PowerShot S95, and offers a welcome bump up from the 10 megapixel S95 and its 3.5x optical zoom. Canon says the S100 will shoot in both RAW and RAW+jpeg modes. It will also feature a wide-angle lens with 5x optical zoom along with a 3-inch wide LCD screen. The two cameras also come with a new intelligent image stabilization system to prevent motion blur. The IS system has six different specialized modes to keep your images steady during panning and macro shooting, among others. Canon also says that both cameras will also excel in low light conditions thanks to the company's HS (high sensitivity) system. The SX40 will be able to capture images up to ISO3200 while the S100's F/2.0 lens should grant it low light performance up to ISO6400, a significant improvement for both cameras from their predecessors. The S100 will be available in early November and the SX40 should be available later this month. Both cameras will retail for $429.99. We're looking forward to testing them out and seeing how they stack up against recently announced competitors in the point-and-shot category like Fujifilm's X10.