Of the three new compact cameras just announced by Canon, I think the pocket-sized Powershot SD4500 IS is the most exciting. This camera has me all giddy. In fact, I think it might have to be my next serious point-and-shoot camera. I just gave my favorite point-and-shoot ever, the Canon PowerShot SD950 IS, to my mom and I need a replacement. Besides being a Canon Digital Elph, which I think have the best image quality of all the point-and-shoot digital cameras, it has a 10x image-stabilized zoom lens, a 3-inch 460k LCD, an 8.4-FPS burst mode, a 10-megapixel “HS System” CMOS sensor and full-HD 1080p video. That’s right – 1920 x 1080 resolution video. It also has a 240 FPS Super Slow Motion Video Mode. And it will fit in my pocket. Yesssss – gimme!
The SD4500 IS features Canon’s “HS System,” developed last year for PowerShot G11 and S90 cameras. The HS System is intended to improve low light and overall image quality, reducing noise while retaining detail. And based on the photos I took last year with the S90, it works great. I think the S90 has the best image quality of any point-and-shoot I’ve ever used.
The SD4500 IS uses a new backlit CMOS sensor – the latest trend in high-end compact camera imaging. I need to dig into CMOS sensor tech some more. But basically, the CMOS sensor appears to be responsible for the speed of the new camera, making possible the 8.4 FPS burst rate, 1080p HD video, and the 240 FPS Super Slow Motion Video Mode. For reference, Panasonic recently announced two CMOS sensor cameras (Panasonic Lumix FX700 & Panasonic Lumix FZ100) with similarly impressive video and burst-rate specs; and the Sony TX5 waterproof camera I just reviewed has a CMOS sensor and a 10 FPS burst mode. Camera companies have been CMOS sensors in DSLRs for a few years but they’re only slowly finding their way into compact cameras. Based on the performance specs of the SD4500 IS and other CMOS-equipped compact cameras, it looks like CMOS sensors are the way to go.
To compliment the camera’s HD video, the SD4500 IS has stereo sound, a dedicated video button and a Dynamic IS mode, which “helps stabilize video capture while the photographer is in motion.” Canon mentions walking through a park as an example of a situation where the Dynamic IS mode would be useful. But I immediately thought about using it on my mountain bike or skis to smooth out the bumps. I just have to figure out a safe way to mount it so I don’t lose it in the snow.
The downside of the SD4500 IS, for me at least, is it only comes in brown. I’m not much for worrying about how things look. But c’mon Canon – brown? Who wants a brown camera? I guess I do. Maybe I can spray paint it.
The Canon PowerShot SD4500 IS will be available in the beginning of September for a suggested retail price of $349.99. You can get in line behind me.