Designed for the creative person who likes a bit of adventure in their imagery, the Canon N enters the market as an extremely pocketable point-and-shoot. This tiny camera packs quite a bit into it's seriously small 3.09 x 2.37 x 1.15 inch body--a 12.1-megapixel 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, a 8x zoom lens with a 28-224 mm (equivalent), and a 2.8-inch TFT LCD screen--leaving very little room for anything else. If the size and shape of the camera don't have you taking a second look, the Creative Shot feature will. This feature is not your average creative mode. It's actually quite interesting and gives the user a total of six unique images including the original. But is the creative shot mode enough to have you purchasing the Canon N?
Build and Design
The Canon N is small...very small. The camera measures 3.09 x 2.37 x 1.15 inches and weighs 6.88 ounces. It is very portable and easy to take with you--fitting nicely into a pocket or wristlet. The camera has very little space for extras making a micro SD card (SDHC or SDXC) the only way to record your images.
Even though the camera is small, it still feels relatively solid. That being said, there is really no where for a finger grip or many other physical buttons. Those with large hands will feel a bit clumsy when operating this camera since finding a place for your fingers to rest gets a bit tricky.
Ergonomics and Controls
Although there are few physical controls, the ones that the camera does have do quite a bit. Around the zoom lens are two rings--one that controls the zoom of the lens and the other that releases the shutter. Of course, you can always use the touch screen to compose your image and tap the screen to shoot the picture.
Around the edge of the camera sits the on/off switch, the creative mode switch, the mobile device connect button, and the playback button. There is also a port for your mini USB for charging and off-loading your images.
As I stated, the N is not the easiest camera to hold. It lacks prime real estate for your fingers. It's odd design actually makes it nearly impossible to use with only one hand.
Menus and Modes
The Canon N is pretty simple to use. There are very few physical buttons. The majority of the camera's functions are controlled through the simple and direct user interface accessed though the touch screen. The menu consists of two pages--an image page and a tools page. The menu is intuitive and extremely easy to navigate. The camera offers the following shooting modes: Auto, Hybrid Auto, P, Creative Shot, Fisheye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Slow Motion Movie.
The Canon N lacks a viewfinder, but that is a non-issue with a camera of this size and price. The entire back of the camera is comprised of a 2.8-inch TFT LCD screen. The screen possesses 461k dots. Again, at this price point that is not bad, but it's also nothing to brag about. Looking at the screen in direct sunlight can be a bit if a problem. However, since it's is so small it is easy to cover the entire camera with your hand to view your images.
The LCD screen tilts into a tent shape, but falls very short of flipping 180 degrees (which would be preferable). The screen is responsive to the touch, but for image capture I favor using the rings around the lens.
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