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Canon ELPH 140 IS Review -- First Impressions

Preview posted

Even if you're on a tight budget, the Canon ELPH camera line is within reach thanks to cameras like the ELPH 140 IS. ELPH cameras usually sport compact bodies with approachable handling and attractive designs; this particular model also offers reasonably generous zoom reach and high resolution despite its low price-tag. And you can save a little more cost by ditching the image stabilization, if needed -- consider the ELPH 135 if that's the case.

At the heart of the Canon 140 IS is a 1/2.3-inch type CCD image sensor with an effective resolution of 16.0 megapixels. Compared to the CMOS chips used in most cameras these days, CCD sensors are rather slower, but they do save a little on cost.

The Canon 140's sensor sits behind a reasonably generous 8x optical zoom lens that covers everything from a 28mm-equivalent wide angle to a handy 224mm-equivalent telephoto. Maximum aperture isn't the brightest, though, started from f/3.2 at wide angle and falling to f/6.9 by the telephoto position.

Thankfully, an optical image stabilizer is included that helps to fight blur from camera shake. The lens can also offer up a 0.4 inch macro focusing distance.

And on the rear of the ELPH 140 IS is a 2.7-inch TFT LCD monitor. It's smaller and lower-resolution than average -- the total of 230,000 dots translates to just a 320 x 240 pixel array -- but not unreasonably so given the price.

Where the CCD sensor makes itself known is in the rather sedate burst-shooting performance. At full resolution, you'll manage just 0.8 frames per second, which may prove challenging with active subjects. Switch to low-light mode and you'll increase this to a somewhat more reasonable 3.3 fps. ISO sensitivity is also rather abbreviated, with a range of ISO 100 to 1600 equivalents on offer.

Not surprisingly, you won't find a great degree of manual control on offer here. The Canon ELPH 140 IS provides Program, Auto, and a variety of scene / effect shooting modes. Exposures are determined using evaluative, center-weighted or spot metering, and +/- 2.0 EV of exposure compensation is available in 1/3 EV steps. Shutter speeds range from 15 to 1/2,000 second, and seven white balance modes including Custom are available.

If you need to shed a little more light on your subject, a built-in flash is provided, covering everything from a 9.8-foot wide angle to a 4.9 foot telephoto.

You can also record high-definition movies at up to HD (1,280 x 720 pixel; 720p) resolution, albeit only at a rate of 25 frames per second. Movies are saved with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression in a .MOV container.

Images and movies are stored on Secure Digital cards, including the higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC types. Connectivity options include USB data and NTSC / PAL standard-definition composite video, with both types sharing a single, proprietary connector. Power comes courtesy of an NB-11LH lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack, rated as good for 210 shots on a charge, or 280 shots in ECO mode.

Available from February 2014 in gray or red, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 140 IS is priced at around US$130.