Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 HS Preview
by Roger Slavens
Succeeding the popular ELPH 320 HS, Canon's new PowerShot ELPH 330 HS touts double the optical zoom range, improved ISO sensitivity to capture better low-light shots, a new Hybrid AUTO mode and upgraded WiFi connectivity and features. Comparison shoppers may quickly note that the 330 HS has fewer pixels than its predecessor, moving from a 16.1-megapixel CMOS sensor down to a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor. But that may be a blessing in disguise, as the 1/2.3-inch sensor -- which is the same size as the one in the 320 HS -- won't be as crowded and could actually produce better images. (We here at IR often bemoan seeing megapixel creep on new pocket cameras since the sensors often stay the same size from year to year and the extra megapixels often only make the images muddier.)
Increasing the Canon ELPH 330 HS's reach to a 10x optical zoom (24-240mm equivalent) -- the previous model only had a 5x optical zoom -- will no doubt appeal to consumers who want their pocket camera to be more versatile. Max aperture ranges from f/3.0 at wide angle to f/6.9 at telephoto. The lens features Canon's image stabilization technology, and works in concert with the High-Sensitivity CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5 processor to maximize detail and sharpness. The ISO sensitivity has been improved on both sides of the range, increasing to 80-6400 on the ELPH 330 HS from 100-3200 on the ELPH 320 HS.
Design wise, the ELPH 330 HS seems a bit smaller than its predecessor, and features a slightly downsized 3-inch, 461,000-dot LCD screen, compared to the 3.2-inch display on the ELPH 320 HS. The trademark ELPH edges have been rounded off a little on the new model, and you'd expect the 10x lens dominates more of the camera's front. Otherwise, at first glance, the old and new models are near identical doppelgangers.
The biggest difference between the Canon ELPH 320 HS and 330 HS, according to Canon, is the souped-up built-in WiFi feature set. The manufacturer claims you can connect to either iOS or Android smartphones or tablets with a fast one-time setup, and the pairing of camera and device allows you to transfer your photos using Canon's free CameraWindow app. Additionally, ELPH 330 HS users can also quickly upload photos to social sites such as Facebook and Canon's iMAGE GATEWAY directly from the camera itself, and they can even type in captions and comments from the ELPH 330 HS. Canon says the new WiFi controls also works better with Facebook's controls, allowing you to determine the destination of your uploads, whether it's just with a few close friends or everyone. You can also print wireless from the ELPH 330 HS to any Canon wireless inkjet printers using Wireless PictBridge.
Other features on the Canon ELPH 330 HS include improved 1080p Full HD video recording capabilities, a built-in stereo microphone and a Movie Digest mode which allows you to record short HD clips every time you take a still photograph. Speaking of still shooting, Smart AUTO mode detects up to 58 different common shooting scenes, making it easier for casual photographers to get the right shot by letting the camera do most of the work. The Canon ELPH 330 HS can shoot High-Speed Burst images at up to 6.2 frames per second at high resolutions, and employs High Speed AF. Finally, the camera also employs a new ECO mode which helps prolong battery life.
The Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 HS will be available in black, silver and pink for US$229.99, and is expected to start shipping in March 2013.
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