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Canon Powershot N Review

Canon Powershot N Review - The Powershot N has a square design and an unusual way of controlling the zoom. Daniel Bell reviews.

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Category : Compact Cameras
Product : Canon Powershot N
Price : £269
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Canon Powershot N 7

The Canon Powershot N features an 8x optical zoom lens, tilting touch screen and built-in Wi-Fi. Its square design makes it an unusual looking camera. The Powershot N is available in black & white and costs around £269.

Canon Powershot N 1

Canon Powershot N Features

The Canon Powershot N has built-in Wi-Fi for easy image sharing with your wireless network, printer and mobile devices. It has a 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor and an 8x optical zoom lens, which is a 35mm equivalent of 28-224mm. To help keep your images sharp there is lens-shift image stabilisation. The camera can record at 2.3 fps.
 
When shooting there is Smart Auto which automatically selects from 58 scenes and adjusts the camera settings. With Hybrid Auto the camera captures a 4 second movie clip before each shot and combines them in to a 720p HD movie. There are a number of creative modes, such as toy camera effect and miniature. There is also Creative Shot which lets you take a shot and then it creates five extra creative images using a variety of artistic ways. It chooses 5 effects randomly out of over 30.
 
Videos are recorded in full 1080p HD, with image stabilisation and optical zoom available. The Powershot N can also record super slow motion videos at 240 fps.
 
Canon Powershot N 6

Key Features

  • 12.1 megapixel CMOS sensor
  • 8x optical zoom lens (35mm equiv: 28-224mm)
  • Lens shift image stabilisation
  • 2.8 inch tilting 461k dot LCD touch screen
  • Built-in Wi-Fi
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 80-6400
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • Creative Shot
  • 2.3 fps continuous shooting
  • Available in black or white
Canon Powershot N 12

Canon Powershot N Handling

The Canon Powershot N has a metal body and a particularly unusual design. Firstly it's square as opposed to the rectangular design that's typical of compact cameras. The back of the camera rotates to 90° and has a 2.8 inch touch screen, which means there aren't many buttons. On one side of the camera is the on / off button and on the other side is a switch for Creative Shot mode, mobile device connect and playback buttons.

There are two rings on the front of the camera, the front one can be pressed up or down to release the shutter. The inner one turns to adjust the zoom. You can use the camera the other way round as the zoom and shutter have dual direction capabilities. It's different, and takes a little getting used to. You can also use the touch screen to set the focus and release the shutter. The LED flash isn't particularly large and powerful as it comes from the same round hole as the focus assist lamp.

To use the Wi-Fi you need to press the mobile device connect button on the side of the camera. You then need to use your mobile device to connect to the camera, firstly by joining its Wi-Fi network, then opening the Canon app. The Canon app is easy to use in order to download images and videos from the camera.

Canon Powershot N App Screenshot 2 Canon Powershot N App Screenshot 1 Canon Powershot N App Screenshot 5

Battery life is rated at just 200 shots according to CIPA test results, this is quite low, particularly if you want to use the Wi-Fi frequently. We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

Shutter Response   0.1 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.3 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.4 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   2.0 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   1.5 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   2.3 secs
Continuous Shooting   2.1 fps

Continuous shooting records at full 12.1 megapixel resolution.

Canon Powershot N 15

Canon Powershot N Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Canon Powershot N Sample Photos


Sample Photos - Images have excellent colour reproduction and are well exposed. Portrait skin tones are OK, with no red-eye present when using the flash.

Canon Powershot N Lens test images


Lens Performance - Image detail is good throughout at both ends of the lens, with very little sign of purple fringing in contrasting areas. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 1cm which allows for macro shots with a decent amount of detail.

Canon Powershot N ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO 80, 100 and 200. Images become a little softer at ISO 400 and again so at ISO 800. Again, images are a touch softer at ISO 1600. At ISO 3200 there is a little blurring in contrasting areas, this worsens at ISO 6400, but image quality is good at higher ISOs, particularly for sharing on the web.

Canon Powershot N White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Under the incandescent lights, the auto white balance (AWB) has a strong orange cast, with the incandescent preset performing well. The AWB performs much better under the fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent preset having a slight colour cast.

Creative Shot 1 | 1/800 sec | f/3.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 80
Creative Shot 1
Creative Shot 2 | 1/500 sec | f/3.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 80
Creative Shot 2
Creative Shot 3 | 1/1250 sec | f/3.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 80
Creative Shot 3
Creative Shot 4 | 1/800 sec | f/3.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 80
Creative Shot 4
Creative Shot 5 | 1/800 sec | f/3.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 80
Creative Shot 5

 
Creative Shot 6 | 1/800 sec | f/3.0 | 5.0 mm | ISO 80
Creative Shot 6
Fish Eye Effect | 1/80 sec | f/5.0 | 26.4 mm | ISO 1600
Fish Eye Effect
Monochrome | 1/80 sec | f/5.0 | 26.4 mm | ISO 1600
Monochrome
Soft Focus | 1/40 sec | f/5.0 | 26.4 mm | ISO 800
Soft Focus
Toy Camera Effect | 1/40 sec | f/5.0 | 26.4 mm | ISO 800
Toy Camera Effect
Miniature Effect | 1/500 sec | f/3.5 | 10.2 mm | ISO 80
Miniature Effect
 

Digital Filters - Above are example pictures taken using the Creative Shot mode, you get the original picture plus five shots that have been digitally enhanced automatically. There are other creative modes available, but not as many as Canon normally include on their digital cameras.

Video - Below is a video recorded in full 1080p resolution. Quality is good, you can also use the optical zoom during recording, an example can be seen on the ePHOTOzine Youtube page.



Value For Money

The Canon Powershot N is available for £270.00. If it's the design that attracts you to the camera, you'll struggle to find any alternatives, but if we look at cameras with Wi-Fi and a similar amount of zoom, there is the Nikon Coolpix S800c for £175, Canon IXUS 255 HS at £210, Sony Cybershot DSC-WX200 at £160, Panasonic Lumix DMC-SZ5 at £100 and Samsung WB30 at £120. All of these cameras have 10x optical zoom. When compared to these other cameras, the Powershot N looks quite expensive.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Canon Powershot N Verdict

The Canon Powershot N looks good and produces decent images, but it's just too expensive. You can spend much less and get more zoom and Wi-Fi, such as the Canon IXUS 255 HS. Canon have sacrificed the traditional zoom and shutter release, reduced the flash size considerably and the battery life is low. The other features, such as the touch screen and built-in Wi-Fi are good and image quality is as well, even at higher ISOs, so there's enough reasons to justify purchasing it, if you have the budget.

 

Canon Powershot N Pros

Good image quality
Decent performance at higher ISOs
Unique design
Built-in Wi-Fi
Tilting touch screen

Canon Powershot N Cons

The zoom control and shutter release won't be to everyone's liking
Expensive
Poor battery life
Very small flash

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Canon Powershot N Specifications

ManufacturerCanon
Lens
Max Aperturef/3 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent28mm - 224mm
Optical Zoom8x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels12.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4000
Pixels (H)3000
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3 inch
Sensor Size (width)No Data
Sensor Size (height)No Data
Aspect Ratio
  • 4:3
  • 3:2
  • 16:9
  • 1:1
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.8in
Screen resolution461k dots
Touch ScreenYes
Focusing
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
  • Centre
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest1sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Scene modes
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Spot
  • ESP Light Metering
ISO sensitivity80 - 6400
White balance
  • Auto
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting2.3fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
  • 640x480 VGA
Video FPS24fps
Stereo SoundNo
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationYes
Interface
HDMINo
USBUSB 2
Wi-FiYes
Storage
Card Type
  • Micro SD
  • Micro SDHC
File Type
  • JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion NB-9L
CIPA Rating200
Box Contents
Box ContentsDigital Camera PowerShot N, Wrist Strap WS-800, Battery Pack NB-9L, Compact Power Adapter CA-DC30E, AC Cable, Interface Cable IFC-400PCU (USB), User Manual Kit
Dimensions
Weight195g
Width78.6mm
Height60.2mm
Depth29.3mm

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Photographs taken using the Canon Powershot N

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