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Canon Powershot N2 Review

We review the new Canon Powershot N2 - a minimalist camera designed to be easy to use and connects to Wi-Fi for instant sharing.

| Canon Powershot N2 in Compact Cameras
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Canon Powershot N2 Review: Canon Powershot N2 (4)

The Canon Powershot N2 features an 8x optical zoom lens, tilting touch screen and built-in Wi-Fi and updates the Powershot N, with a 16.1 megapixel sensor and NFC. Its square design makes it an unusual looking camera. The Powershot N2 is available in black & white and costs around £269.

Canon Powershot N2 Features

Canon Powershot N2 Review: Canon Powershot N2 (1)
The Canon Powershot N2 has built-in Wi-Fi and NFC for easy image sharing with your wireless network, printer and mobile devices. It has a 16.1 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  shoots continuous shots at 2.7 fps.
Canon Powershot N2 Review: Canon Powershot N2 (6)
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 into 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. 
Canon Powershot N2 Review: Canon Powershot N2 (5)

Key Features

  • 16.1 megapixel BSI 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 and NFC
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • ISO 100-3200
  • 1cm minimum focusing distance
  • Creative Shot
  • 2.7fps continuous shooting
  • Available in black or white

Canon Powershot N2 Handling

Canon Powershot N2 Review: Canon Powershot N2 (8)

The Canon Powershot N2 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 touchscreen, which means there aren't many buttons. On one side of the camera is the on / off button and playback, and on the other side is a switch for Creative Shot mode, and mobile device connect.

Canon Powershot N2 Review: Canon Powershot N2 (11)

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. Alternatively you can use the NFC connection if your device supports it. The Canon app is easy to use in order to download images and videos from the camera.

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, although can be extended to 270 shots with Eco mode enabled. 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   <0.05 secs
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response   0.2 secs
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response   0.4 secs
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo   1.5 secs
Shot to Shot without Flash   0.9 secs
Shot to Shot with Flash   7.4fps for first 2 shots, then 2fps 
Continuous Shooting   6fps for first 2 shots, then 2fps

Continuous shooting records at full 16.1 megapixel resolution.

Canon Powershot N2 Review: Canon Powershot N2 (9)

Canon Powershot N2 Performance

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. 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 N2 Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Images have good colour reproduction and are well exposed. Portrait skin tones are OK, with no red-eye present when using the LED flash, although colour isn't good unless there is good light. The LED flash is quite bright, and can be painful to the subject. 

Canon Powershot N2 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, although occasionally it can be difficult to get the camera to focus on close subjects.

Canon Powershot N2 ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - Noise is low at ISO100 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, but image quality is good at higher ISOs, particularly for sharing on the web.

Canon Powershot N2 White-balance test images

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

Canon Powershot N2 Digital filters

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.

Value For Money

The Canon Powershot N2 is available for £250.00. 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 are a number of alternatives:

Nikon Coolpix S6900, 12x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, NFC, vari-angle screen, £149
Canon IXUS 265 HS, 12x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, NFC, £120
Sony Cyber-shot WX220, 10x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, NFC, £109
Panasonic Lumix SZ10, 12x optical zoom, Wi-Fi, £135

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 N2 Verdict

The Canon Powershot N2 looks good and produces decent images, but it's quite expensive. You can spend much less and get more zoom and Wi-Fi, such as the Canon IXUS 265 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 want a unique camera.


Canon Powershot N2 Pros

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

Canon Powershot N2 Cons

The zoom control and shutter release won't be to everyone's liking
Poor battery life
Small, but bright LED flash
Doesn't like to focus on macro subjects
No automatic panoramic mode


Canon Powershot N2 Specifications

Max Aperturef/3 - f/5.9
35mm equivalent28mm - 224mm
Optical Zoom8x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4608
Pixels (H)3456
Sensor TypeBack-lit CMOS (B.S.I.)
Sensor Size1/2.3
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 resolution461,000
Touch ScreenYes
Min Focus1cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Spot
  • Face Detection
  • Multi
  • Centre
  • Touch AF
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/2000sec
Shutter speeds longest1sec
Bulb modeNo
Exp modes
      ISO sensitivity100 - 3200
      White balance
        Exposure CompNo Data
        Shooting Options
        Continuous shooting2.7fps
        Movie modeYes
        Video Resolution
        • 1920x1080 FullHD
        Video FPS30
        Stereo SoundNo Data
        Optical Zoom with VideoYes
        Other Features
        Image StabilisationYes
        HDMINo Data
        USBUSB 2
        Card Type
        • Micro SD
        • Micro SDHC
        File Type
        • JPG
        Power Source
        Battery TypeLithium-Ion
        Battery Life (CIPA rating)200shots
        Box Contents
        Box ContentsDigital Camera PowerShot N2, Wrist Strap WS-800, Battery Pack NB-9L, Compact Power Adapter CA-DC30E, AC Cable, Interface USB Cable IFC-400PCU, User manual kit

        View Full Product Details


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