Canon Powershot Pro 1 - 8MP digicam
Following close on the heels of Nikon, who announced their 8MP digicam a few days ago, Canon have countered with their own 8MP offering, now making a trio of options, the Sony F828, the Nikon 8700 and now the Canon Pro 1. All three sport super zoom lenses (focal length are 35mm full frame equivalents):
All three have 8.8 x6.6mm sensors and all three cost just under $1000. I guess we have triplets! The following information is from the Canon press release:
LAS VEGAS (PMA, BOOTH # E11), Feb. 9, 2004 Canon today unfurled the new top-of-the-line PowerShot digital camera, the new PowerShot Pro1 digital camera. Designed for discerning digital shooters, advanced amateurs and other photo enthusiasts seeking a versatile, high-resolution digital camera in a streamlined easy-to-use package, the PowerShot Pro1 digital camera offers the top-tier shooting options previously found only with digital SLRs and the optical excellence found only before with interchangeable SLR lenses.
"With the PowerShot Pro1 digital camera, we have successfully merged many of the most sought-after, high-quality SLR features into an all-in-one digital camera," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, senior vice president and general manager of the consumer imaging group at Canon U.S.A., Inc, a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE: CAJ). "With the optical brilliance of its L-series 28-200mm lens, the eight megapixel CCD imaging sensor, and its compact size, the Canon PowerShot Pro1 model is feature-packed and provides the ultimate combination of professional features and simplicity in a digital camera."
The eight megapixel, 2/3" size CCD imaging sensor provides the highest resolution 3264 x 2448 pixels of any PowerShot camera to date and is capable of generating file sizes of approximately 23MB when images are opened in image management programs such as Canon's ZoomBrowser EX. The camera's L-series 28-200mm equivalent f/2.4-3.5 7x zoom lens is among the fastest in its class and utilizes an Ultrasonic Motor for high-speed zooming operation (which can be activated at the twist of a ring on the lens).
As the world's leading lens manufacturer, Canon earns its legendary reputation day in and day out among professional photographers who depend on their EOS cameras and EF lenses to produce powerful images with outstanding sharpness, contrast and color fidelity. Within the EF lens line-up, Canon reserves the "L-series" designation for the very best quality in terms of optical as well as mechanical design.
The PowerShot Pro1 features the first L-series lens ever incorporated into a compact digital camera: a 28-200mm (35mm format equivalent) f/2.4-3.5, 7x optical zoom that produces unsurpassed image quality to match the Pro1's high-resolution eight megapixel CCD sensor. The 14-element lens features two aspherical elements, two UD-glass elements and significantly, one Fluorite crystal element (the first use of Fluorite in any compact digital camera lens). Canon's addition of Fluorite crystal and UD glass to the lens construction reduces the level of anomalous dispersion chromatic aberration in photo parlance compared to conventional optical glass, while the aspherical elements correct spherical aberration and allow the overall size and weight of the lens to be reduced. In short, the Fluorite and UD elements improve sharpness and color fidelity while the aspherical elements improve image quality and allow the lens construction to be more compact than comparable conventional zoom lenses.
The macro capabilities of the L-series 28-200mm lens allow for close focusing to 3.9 inches at full resolution while the "super macro mode" permits close-focus to 1.2 inches (at a moderately reduced five megapixel resolution). In addition to its 7x optical zoom, the PowerShot Pro1 digital camera also features a 3.2x digital zoom. For those seeking added lens flexibility and range, the camera accepts optional accessory converter lenses (attached with an optional conversion lens adapter) including a Tele Converter Lens that extends the range of the zoom to a maximum of 300mm, and the 58mm 500D Close-up lens. The camera's intuitive design features a menu-operated converter function that drives these converter lenses to their appropriate settings.
The PowerShot Pro1 digital camera's rugged metal body with its professional black finish, large comfortable rubberized grip and strategically placed controls clustered on the right hand side contribute to its go-anywhere, shoot anything versatility. What's more the camera features a sharp, clear, easy-to-read, high-resolution 235,000 pixel 2.0-inch LCD monitor with full tilt and 2700 swivel capability. Similarly, the camera's eye level electronic viewfinder is also 235,000 pixels (the highest resolution ever in any PowerShot viewfinder) and features a new power-saving "Display Off" mode that turns off the viewfinder or the monitor after a user-set time.
Fast Focus & Pro Features
Canon's new "hybrid" high-speed autofocus system for the PowerShot Pro1 digital camera uses both TTL contrast-detection AF (like other PowerShot cameras) and external "triangulation" AF (like high-end 35mm SureShot cameras) for fast, accurate focus assessments. The system also provides the option of Center-point AF or a moveable "FlexiZone" AF/AE system.
The camera offers an array of other features similar to those found on EOS digital SLRs including a mode dial with settings of P, Tv, Av, M, as well as a pair of user-adjustable Custom modes and fully automatic modes for Portraits, Landscapes, Night Scenes, Stitch Assist (panoramas) and Movies. The shutter speeds range from 15 seconds to 1/4000, the fastest ever in a PowerShot camera. Users can opt for RAW or JPEG recording formats as well as standard sRGB or Adobe RGB color space depending on personal preference, and have the added flexibility of Image Quality Adjustment settings for contrast, sharpness and saturation. In addition to the on-board flash, the PowerShot Pro1 is compatible with all EX-series Canon Speedlites and Macro Lites and permits flash exposure compensation of up to +/- 2 stops. In addition to all of these options, the new camera contains a wealth of other useful features that are similar in concept and variety to those found on the current PowerShot G5 model.
High-Resolution Movie Mode and Sound Memos
Adding to the PowerShot Pro1 digital camera's versatility is a high-resolution movie mode that captures 640 x 480 movies with sound at 15 frames per second for up to 30 seconds per clip. Users can also opt for lower res movie capture with sound at either 320 x 240 or 160 x 120 for movie clips of up to three minutes. Still photos can be annotated with sound clips up to 60 seconds in duration. The PowerShot Pro1 has a single slot for removable CompactFlash memory cards, Type I or II including Microdrives, and features USB connectivity, as well as, an A/V port for playback through a connected VCR or TV monitor.
The DIGIC Difference
Canon developed the proprietary DIGIC (Digital Imaging Integrated Circuit) image processor specifically for use with its line of digital cameras. The technology combines the jobs of image processing and camera function control into one chip. Because it was specifically designed for use in digital cameras, it is also capable of handling JPEG compression/expansion; memory card control; LCD/Video control and processing; gain control (control of CCD signal amplification); Auto Exposure; Auto Focus; Auto White Balance control and most other functions of the camera. The result is a product that offers faster and more powerful auto focus than ever before, faster image processing, better image quality and longer battery life.
Direct Printing Plus
Direct Printing significantly expands the appeal of the PowerShot Pro1 digital camera by making it simple, quick and convenient to produce high-quality photos without the need for a personal computer. Beyond its Direct Print capability with Canon's Card Photo Printers and acclaimed Canon Direct Photo Printers, the camera is also compatible with PictBridge, an industry-standard protocol that offers the flexibility of direct printing to other brands of compatible printers.
The PowerShot Pro1 digital camera supports Exif Print, a worldwide standard that transfers important camera settings and data from the camera to the printer ensuring the photos you print will look true to life. Moreover, DPOF 1.1 (Digital Print Order Format) lets users specify the images to be printed or execute batch printing of selected images.
In stores April, the Canon PowerShot Pro1 kit includes two dedicated software CDs, a rechargeable lithium ion battery pack and charger, a wireless remote controller, a lens hood and 58mm filter adapter, a neckstrap, USB and AV cables and a 64MB CompactFlash card, as well as, printed manuals and a Canon USA limited warranty card.