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Review: Canon PowerShot N

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When users think of camera maker Canon, what often comes to mind is the Company’s high-powered SLR models with interchangeable lenses and external battery packs – precisely what ITNewsAfica was thinking. However, when Canon delivered the PowerShot N, we were in for a surprise.

Canon's PowerShot N (image: Charlie Fripp)
Canon’s PowerShot N (image: Charlie Fripp)

What we like about it

The first thing that users will notice is its diminutive size – it measures only 78.6 x 60.2 x 29.3mm, making it perfect for popping in a pocket or taking to a locations where larger cameras will be obtrusive.

But within the small body it houses a powerful camera that will be able to keep up with the higher-end units from Canon. While not exactly on the same footing as their portfolio of SLR devices, the PowerShot N is well capable of carving out its own space in the small, compact camera market.

In terms of design, its operational buttons have been designed with ease of use in mind, as there are no complicated switches, settings or configuration buttons that users need to worry about. The unit makes use of Auto Focus, so all users have to do is zoom in or out with the outer ring, and then press the inner ring in any direction to take the image.

The operational buttons have been designed with ease of use in mind (image: Charlie Fripp)
The operational buttons have been designed with ease of use in mind (Image source: Charlie Fripp)

The sides of the unit houses the creative burst mode, reviewing images and the USB connection for connection to a PC and the On/Off button – all within easy reach. The back-end of the device is home to a 2.8-inch TFT Colour Tilt Capacitive Touch LCD screen, which can tilt up to 90 degrees for low shots.

On the business end of the PowerShot N, the device makes use of a 1/2.3-inch CMOS which produces 12.1 Megapixels. The lens is capable of 4-times digital zoom, while the optical zoom has a 35mm film equivalent focal length of 28 – 224 mm.

In terms of shooting modes, the unit has a number of creative functions for users to play around with. The Creative Burst Mode will take three images at a time, and apply six different filters to them.

For users who feel a bit more daring that the average pocket photographer, the PowerShot N has Hybrid Auto, P, Creative Shot, Fisheye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Soft Focus, Monochrome and Super Slow Motion Movie modes.

Naturally the unit is also capable of recording full HD videos – which is just as easy to initiate. On the display, all that users will have to do is press the red record button while in the camera mode, and the device will automatically start recording videos.

What we do not like about it

The small screen, while sufficient in size, also isn’t as responsive as it could be (image: Charlie Fripp)
The small screen, while sufficient in size, also isn’t as responsive as it could be (Image source: Charlie Fripp)

In general the camera is pretty easy to work with and takes stunning pictures with ease, but it does make use of a microSD card. This hinders the transfer of data a bit, as most laptops do not have card slots for a microSD. The unit ships with a data cable, but if the cable has been forgotten, it could be rather problematic to transfer images – and users do not necessarily have a spare microSD card available.

The device makes use of a single, rechargeable 870mAh battery, which is not much if users are planning to take a lot of images, and could run flat rather quickly after prolonged use. But with that said, the unit does make use of a power-saving mode, where it will reduce camera activity if the device is unused for a minute. The small screen, while sufficient in size, also isn’t as responsive as it could be.


Canon’s PowerShot N pocket camera is exactly that – a pocket camera. It is the perfect tool for quick photos and images that don’t require a lot of set-up. Once switched one, the unit takes a mere second to be ready for action – and that is exactly what the PowerShot N should be used for. With an image resolution of 4000 x 2248 it is capable of taking images in high detail, while not compromising on the quality.

It is really a great unit for users who want a camera that will be ready to shoot images and video in the blink of an eye, while still delivering on the quality that has made Canon famous.

For more gadget and gaming stories, click here.

Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor

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