We field a lot of questions in our forums from camera buyers who are drawn to the convenience of digital shooting, but simply can't or don't want to spend hundreds of dollars. At the same time, many are turned off by the thought of choosing from the horde of no-name compacts that have flooded discount stores recently. This is where the Canon PowerShot A470 and Nikon Coolpix L15 come in. In this month's edition of Head to Head, we'll take a side-by-side look to see which one of these budget-conscious digicams is worthy of a place in your pocket, your purse, or your glovebox.
For better or worse, this is it: the standard by which this year's entry-level DSLRs will be judged. Owing more than a little to its prevalence in electronics and discount stores (but also, in fairness, to extremely consistent performance from previous generations), Canon's Digital Rebel models have been at the center of the consumer-grade DSLR explosion of the last few years. For this reason, while there may have been more flashy or exciting releases this spring, the Canon Rebel XSi has been for many the most anticipated new model of the year.
In a surprise announcement this evening, Canon unveiled three new PowerShot SD models: the SD890 IS, the SD790 IS, and the SD770 IS. All three new 10-megapixel models build on trends seen throughout Canon's new models this year, coming equipped with Motion Detection and Optical Image Stabilization technologies, DIGIC III processing, and Face Detection. Notable lineup updates include the aggressive and angular SD790 and the SD890's addition of a 5x zoom model to the SD series.
Canon has lots of experience creating ultra-compact, feature-rich, easy-to-use digicams, but they really outdid themselves with last year's snazzy little SD1000 it was hands down the best digicam in its class. The retro-minimalist Canon PowerShot SD1000 got rave reviews from both professional camera reviewers and ordinary consumers because it delivered everything an ultra-compact digicam could reasonably be expected to provide. Updating a very popular digital camera like the Canon PowerShot SD1000 is an especially tough job, but the new Canon PowerShot SD1100 IS retains most of what made its predecessor one of the ultra-compact digicam sales leaders of 2007.
The Canon SD950 IS is the proverbial "800 pound gorilla" in the maker's SD series of point and shoots - sporting a 12.1 megapixel sensor, while its closest sibling weighs in with "only" 8MP. Packaged in a handsome titanium and chrome body that looks and feels as if it is solidly built, the 950 also features optical image stabilization, a normal ISO range to 1600, Canon's Digic III processor, and a 3.7x optical zoom lens that covers a 35mm equivalent range from 36-133mm.
How do you follow up on one of the most popular and bestselling gadgets of 2007? If you're Canon, maker of the highly successful PowerShot A570 IS compact, the answer is simple: offer a few key features upgrades, some styling improvements, and otherwise keep a working formula intact. In short, don't mess with a good thing. From all appearances, Canon's approach to the new PowerShot A590 IS, soon to be released successor to the A570, has been just that.
This month's "Head to Head" installment offers yet another take on the age-old Nikon versus Canon rivalry, pitting the popular Canon PowerShot SD870 IS against the much less well-represented Nikon Coolpix S700. In testing the S700 recently, we were curious about how it would stack up against its most obvious competition - the Canon SD cameras - given Canon's dominance in the ultracompact arena of late.
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