In a major shift from what consumers have expected from point-and-shoot cameras, Canon’s newly-announced Powershot Zoom looks more like a golf rangefinder than it does a camera. But the change in design has its benefits: 100mm, 400mm, and 800mm telephoto zoom in a design that fits in the palm of your hand.
Originally announced for the Japanese market back in September, the Zoom is now poised for a North American launch.
Canon says it designed the PowerShot Zoom to appeal to hikers, birdwatchers, and anyone who enjoys “gazing” at nature. To do so, the company went in a totally different direction as far as physical construction for a camera: a monocular telephoto. It features a one-touch instant-zoom capability at the aforementioned multiple zoom lengths.
The PowerShot Zoom employs optical image stabilization to help reduce shake at those extreme zoom lengths.
The Zoom uses a small center portion of a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, giving it an effective image capture size of a 1/3-inch sensor. So while not large, the 12 megapixel files it can produce (as well as 1080 full HD videos at either 24 or 30 fps) are stored on a microSD card and can be sent to a mobile device using the Canon Connect app.
The Zoom features a scaled-back autofocus capability when compared to other Canon cameras, and offers only either 1-point AF or Face+Tracking. The 100mm and 400mm zooms use optical lenses, while the 800mm zoom employs a digital zoom. The camera charges via a USB-C terminal.
Canon releases the PowerShot Zoom into a market that has all but moved on from point-and-shoots. Since 2010, digital camera sales overall have fallen, with the fixed-lens (usually denotes point-and-shoot design) seeing the biggest collapse. Most manufacturers have dramatically scaled back or discontinued their fixed lens lines in response.
Cameras that now compete directly with cell phones have fallen off, but that doesn’t mean there is not still room for the once-beloved fixed lens camera. We have seen some success with niche products like the PowerShot Zoom. Nikon has seen its Coolpix P1000 find an audience thanks to its incredible zoom capability, but it’s large and bulky. With Canon offering a still-substantial 800mm of zoom in a much more compact package, perhaps there is still space to grow in the point and shoot category. It just might take some imagination.
the Canon PowerShot Zoom is only available in white and is scheduled to release in late November 2020 for an estimated retail price of $299.99, the same price it was originally offered at in its Japanese launch.