Canon PowerShot N Review

Review posted 07/18/2013

Quick Take
  • Interesting design gives the N a unique look
  • Image quality is better than many point-n-shoots
  • Response times are fast versus other beginner-level models
  • Touch screen LCD is very responsive
  • Can record images by touching the screen
  • LCD screen can tilt up to 90 degrees
  • PowerShot N is easy to use
  • Camera is very small
  • Built-in Wi-Fi capability has several different options for making a connection
  • Can use camera right-side up or upside down; screen orientation adjusts automatically
  • Price is too high
  • Images aren't sharp enough for creating large prints
  • Camera's operational design is awkward
  • Zoom ring design just doesn't work well for advancing 8x optical zoom
  • Shutter ring is too close to the camera body and too thin to use comfortably
  • On-screen menus should have been redesigned to take advantage of touch screen LCD
  • Included toggle switch isn't as useful as it could be
  • Battery life could be better
  • LCD is a little small at 2.8 inches
  • Tilt LCD would be more useful if it tilted full 180 degrees
  • Camera must use micro SD memory cards
  • Tiny built-in flash doesn't provide great results
  • Flash becomes almost useless if you're holding the camera upside down
  • Additional fun shooting modes or editing features would be nice to have
Bottom Line
While it's nice to see Canon take a chance with the PowerShot N's interesting camera design, the manufacturer seems to have missed the mark with this model. With its touch screen LCD, built-in Wi-Fi, and lack of control buttons, it needed a redesigned menu structure to make it a fun and efficient camera for the young photographers at which its aimed. That didn't happen. The tiny built-in flash and odd zoom ring control don't work well either. The N does have fast performance times and its image quality is good versus other point-n-shoots, but it has a much higher price tag than those models, too, which makes it tough to recommend this awkward camera. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
To kick off the start of CES 2013, Canon USA released one of the most unusual digicams we've ever seen. The PowerShot N is the first in a new line of simplistic cameras, and Canon explains that the N stands for "New", as in the way that you hold and shoot with this camera. They've taken some pretty common PowerShot features, mixed in some new additions, and stuffed them all into an extremely compact body that offers a minimalistic design; one that we can't help but think of the Instagram logo when we see it.

The first thing you'll notice when you look at the N is that there are pretty much no buttons on the exterior. Only the power button, a mode toggle switch, and mobile device connect button remain (more on that below). All of the other functions of the camera are controlled by the 2.8-inch tilting, touch screen LCD and unique rings mounted around the lens. These rings are used to both zoom the 8x lens, and to capture photos and video.

Core features include 12-megapixels of resolution, an 8x optical zoom lens, Full 1080p HD video capture, and enhanced Wi-Fi capabilities to name a few. The Wi-Fi function is also unique on the N. Canon included a handy mobile device button, which allows you to quickly connect the camera to your iOS or Android powered device (with the free Canon Camera Window app), as well as turn the camera into a Wi-Fi access point (with SSID). On top of allowing you to upload files to your favorite social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, the N also lets you post to specific groups and add unique comments (a first for a digicam). You can even upload directly to Canon's Gateway cloud service.

PowerShot N Features:
  • 12-megapixel HS CMOS sensor
  • DIGIC 5 processor
  • 8x optical zoom lens
  • Stylish, compact, minimalistic body design
  • Full 1080p HD video capture
  • ISO up to 6400
  • New Eco mode
  • Built-in, advanced Wi-Fi
  • Unique control rings mounted around the lens to control zoom and capture
  • New Hybrid Auto mode
  • 2.8-inch, tilting, touch screen LCD
  • Li-ion battery pack
The PowerShot N has a MSRP of $299.99 USD, ans comes in Black or White. Click our Buy button at the top right of this page for the most current online pricing.

What's in the box?:
  • PowerShot N camera body
  • Wrist Strap WS-800
  • Battery Pack NB-9L
  • Compact Power Adapter CA-DC30
  • Interface USB Cable IFC-400PCU
  • Digital Camera Solution CD-ROM

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