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Canon PowerShot ELPH 320 HS Preview

WiFi is the pocket camera's way of getting back at the smartphone, and Canon's ready with the smartly designed ELPH 320 HS, a camera designed to make uploading photos and videos easier than ever. Its 5x zoom covers a 24-120mm equivalent range, including a nice wide angle and a good telephoto reach in a small package. The Canon 320 HS is nearly button-free thanks to its 3.2-inch touchscreen LCD, another way to attract the smartphone crowd back to the fold.

No smartphone has a 5x lens, and none currently sports a 16-megapixel sensor either, so Canon's strategy is to use the Smartphone as a bridge to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube via WiFi. It's a good strategy, including an iOS app due by February 14, 2012 that will facilitate such uploads directly from the Canon 320 HS through a smartphone, to your favorite social network. The ELPH 320's WiFi also works through an access point, so if you haven't fallen for the latest smartphone, you're still able to benefit from Canon's latest tricks.

A 16.1-megapixel sensor works in tandem with the DIGIC 5 image processor to capture better images in low light, with ISO settings ranging from 100 to 3,200, and shutter speeds ranging from 15 seconds to 1/2,000 second.

The Canon ELPH 320 captures Full HD video via a dedicated Movie record button, and records stereo sound as well. You can even zoom optically while shooting video, and the Canon 320 HS keeps up with you. Later you can watch your video on your HDTV thanks to the mini-HDMI out jack, complete with CEC compatibility (which allows you to use your TV's remote to control the camera!).

Canon's also jumped into touch even more deeply than before, offering just one button on the back of the Canon 320 HS, to activate Playback. With touch, you can make settings, explore your images, and even set focus and fire, all with a touch of your finger. Smart Auto selects from among 58 predefined shooting situations and picks a mode that will handle that situation the best. Intelligent Image Stabilization also chooses from among six available IS modes to better handle the type of photographic situation at hand, generally with impressive results.

Available in blue, red, black, and silver, the Canon ELPH 320 HS is expected to ship in March 2012 for a price of US$280.