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Review: Canon PowerShot N is a pint-size powerhouse

Derrick Story | July 30, 2013
It's not much bigger than an iPhone, but the PowerShot N does everything better.

Movie capture
If you like taking video too, this camera presents some interesting options. It features a variety of resolutions ranging from full HD to standard definition, including 1920 by 1080 (24 fps), 1280 by 720 (30 fps), 640 by 480 (30, 120 fps), and 320 by 240 (240 fps). The 240-fps capture is labeled Super Slow Motion Movie; by recording the footage at an accelerated frame rate and then playing it back at 30 fps, you end up with a true slow-motion effect. Don't get too excited, however--remember that the resolution for this mode is only 320 by 240.

Another interesting video twist is Hybrid Auto mode. In this mode, the camera captures video bits during the course of a day's shooting, and then builds a digest movie recapping all of the activity.

Much as with Creative Shot mode, you're not exactly sure what you're going to get. I've used it on two occasions, however, and I've been quite impressed with the results. The audio snippets are as interesting as the accompanying video.

Image with a creative filter applied.

Other features
The PowerShot N provides 12 megapixels of resolution, three metering patterns, exposure compensation, fast autofocusing, shutter speed from 15 seconds to 1/2000 of a second, an LED flash, a 2.3-fps burst rate, and a self-timer. It saves images and video to a MicroSD card. And it has a built-in stereo microphone and a mono speaker.

Bottom line
Is the Canon PowerShot N worth carrying alongside your mobile device? At $299, the PowerShot N is an investment, both in dollars and in additional pocket space. Many casual snapshooters will probably be happy sticking with their smartphone for their daily candids. And serious enthusiasts might be turned off by the PowerShot N's lack of raw-image capture and limited manual controls.

So who is this camera for? I think it's for creative photographers who want a device that helps them produce uninhibited (and sometimes unpredictable) images that they can easily transfer to their mobile devices. Clearly, this isn't a camera for everyone. In the right hands, though, it can breathe new life into everyday imagery. And for that reason alone, it's worth keeping an eye on.

The view from the back.

Photos by Derrick Story. All rights reserved.


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