On Saturday at the opening of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas
Canon launched the PowerShot Pro90 IS digital camera, which has a 2.6-megapixel resolution and a 10X zoom lens with image stabilization.
Similar to the SLR-like form factor of Canon’s older PowerShot Pro70, but with a sleeker, rounded body design, the PowerShot Pro90 IS features a large ergonomic handgrip, flip-out/swiveling color LCD viewscreen, and dual slots for CompactFlash (CF) Type I and II cards (including IBM Microdrives).
New features on the PowerShot Pro90 IS include: a USB port (there is an RS232C port but a serial cable is an option); shutter speeds from eight seconds to 1/1000 second; built-in flash with five settings; flash exposure compensation; three-shot auto-bracketing with a single press of the shutter button; and an “electronic” TTL viewfinder with dioptric correction.
Expected to ship this month for $1,299 (MSRP), the PowerShot Pro 90 IS sports a 3.34-megapixel CCD that captures1,856 x 1,392-pixel (2.6-megapixel) color and black-and-white photos, as well as images at 1,024 by 768 and 640 x 480 pixels. All files are captured at 10-bits per RGB color and output in a 24-bit RGB format.
Images at all three resolutions can be captured using three (Superfine, Fine and Normal) levels of JPEG compression. The 1,856 x 1,392-pixel images can also be recorded in Canon’s “RAW” file format, which features low compression and the ability to adjust white balance, contrast, sharpness and color saturation in the camera and apply the settings to images upon upload to a host Mac.
In addition to the camera’s higher resolution, the 10x (37-370mm equivalent) lens, which offers an f/2.8-3.5 aperture range (exposure sensitivity is equivalent to ISO 50-400), features13 elements in 10 groups, two aspherical elements to reduce size and weight, and an iris-type diaphragm to improve background blur.
The lens also incorporates a user-selectable optical image stabilization (IS) feature, which allows users to capture sharper images at shutter speeds up to two full steps slower than that achieved in normal “hand-held” shooting conditions.
The PowerShot Pro90 IS adds performance improvements such as a shot-to-shot speed of 2.5-seconds, and AF and AE functions that only take .7 seconds after the shutter is pressed down halfway. The camera also has manual controls to adjust shutter speed, aperture size, focus and light-meter patterning.
Automatic “program” modes provide pre-defined focus and aperture settings for portrait and outdoor photography. In Night Scene mode the camera correctly exposes a foreground subject with the flash while setting a slow shutter speed for properly exposed backgrounds. A Stitch Assist feature helps users create panoramic images by using the LCD monitor to align images during shooting.
For sequence shooting an internal memory buffer allows the camera to capture up to 10 consecutive 1,856 x 1,392-pixel images in Fine JPEG mode when the LCD monitor and flash are turned off. The PowerShot Pro90 IS can also capture 30-second, 320 x 240-pixel AVI video clips (at 15fps) with audio that can be viewed on the camera’s LCD, a TV, or a Mac using QuickTime 4.0 or higher.
The PowerShot Pro90 IS ships with a 16MB CF card, wireless remote control, lithium-ion battery that can be recharged in the camera, USB and AV cables, and an AC adapter. Accessories include a wide-angle (30-296mm equivalent) lens converter, lens hood, semi-hard camera case, and EX-series Speedlites — 220EX, 380EX, 420EX and 550EX models — that mount on the camera’s hot shoe.
Bundled software for the Mac includes Adobe PhotoShop 5.0 LE, Apple QuickTime 4.1, ImageBrowser 1.5 and PhotoStitch 3.1. In addition, a Mac connected to the camera via USB can use Canon’s RemoteCapture 1.2 application adjust camera settings and capture images directly to the hard drive.