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Canon's PowerShot S230 digital camera. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Canon announces world's smallest 3mpix digicam
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Monday, September 16, 2002 - 00:01 EDT)

Canon U.S.A. Inc. has today announced what it says is the world's smallest 3 megapixel digital camera, the PowerShot S230.

Featuring a 3.2 megapixel CCD sensor in a compact body similar to the company's past ELPH, IXUS or IXY digital cameras (depending on where in the world you hail from), the new camera also incorporates Canon's new "DIGIC" technology. The company says that DIGIC improves image quality, increases processing and focusing speeds, and allows for better movie capabilities.

As well as DIGIC, the PowerShot S230 also features Canon's "Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space" (iSAPS) technology, which looks at the camera's focal length, as well as variations in brightness and tone across a scene, and compares these to a database of common photographic situations, allowing the focus exposure and white balance to be determined more quickly. Equally impressive in such a small camera is the S230's 9-point AiAF autofocusing system, which makes it easy to get the correct focus even when your subject isn't in the center of the picture.

The PowerShot S230 also features a 2x optical zoom lens, a built-in flash, spot metering capability, shutter speeds from 15 to 1/1500 seconds, ISO settings from 50 to 400, a variety of photo effects and a 10x playback zoom. The camera can record movies at 15 frames per second in VGA, QVGA, or 160x120 formats up to 3 minutes in length (or 30 seconds for VGA movies). As you'd expect, the camera is also compatible with direct printing to Canon's CP-10 / CP-100 Card Photo Printers, as well as the company's S830D and S530D Bubble Jet printers. Computer connectivity is via a USB connection compatible with Mac and Windows, and there's also video output for reviewing images on TV.

The Canon PowerShot S230 digital ELPH will ship in the USA next month at a price of US$499, including a 16MB CompactFlash card, battery and charger, cables, wrist strap and software bundle. Accessories such as a 100 foot underwater housing, AC adapter, etc. will be available.

Canon's PowerShot S230 digital camera. Courtesy of Canon, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Source: Canon U.S.A. Inc.

Original Source Press Release:

CANON INTRODUCES THE POWERSHOT S230: THE WORLD'S SMALLEST 3 MEGAPIXEL DIGITAL CAMERA*

New Image Processor, iSAPS Technology, Enhanced Movie Mode for up to 3 Minutes of Recording with Sound, 9-Point AiAF, and Direct Print Capabilities Make the New S230 the Most Feature-Laden Digital ELPH Yet

LAKE SUCCESS, N.Y., September 16, 2002 - Canon U.S.A., Inc., a subsidiary of Canon Inc. (NYSE: CAJ), continues to provide consumers with the most advanced and easy-to-use imaging devices with its introduction of the new PowerShot S230 digital ELPH camera. The new S230 incorporates a 3.2-megapixel CCD sensor while maintaining the same size and elegant design that has made Canon's line of digital ELPHs one of the best-selling digital camera series in the industry. In addition to its 3-megapixel sensor, the S230 includes a new Imaging Sensor called "DIGIC" to improve overall image quality, increase processing speed and further enhance other features including the camera's Movie Mode. Moreover, the new camera incorporates Canon's exclusive iSAPS technology to enhance the speed and performance of the camera's autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance functions; and a 9-point AiAF autofocus system makes focusing quick and easy, even with off-center subjects.

Other camera features incorporated into the new PowerShot S230 include a 2x optical / 3.2x digital / 6.4x combined zoom lens; Photo Effects mode; shutter speed range of 15 seconds to 1/1500 second; spot metering; selectable ISO settings from 50-400; built-in red-eye reduction light-guide flash; zoom playback up to 10x for convenient image review; and direct print capabilities with Canon's optional Card Photo Printer CP-100 as well as Bubble Jet Direct Photo Printers for making borderless prints up to 8.5 x 11-inches.
*Among digital cameras with optical zoom lens as of August, 2002

"The introduction of the PowerShot S230 camera is a great example of Canon's goal of providing the highest-quality imaging products at the most affordable prices," said Yukiaki Hashimoto, vice president and general manager, Photographic Products Group, Canon U.S.A. "Offering a 3.2 megapixel digital camera with new and improved features at a pricepoint comparable to its 2 megapixel predecessor is a clear indication that Canon is achieving its goal of making digital photography exciting and affordable", added Mr. Hashimoto.

DIGIC Image Processor
Canon has developed a new Image Processor called DIGIC (Digital Imaging Integrated Circuit) which helps achieve higher picture quality by improving the signal processing algorithms of Image Processors found in previous PowerShot models. Beyond providing higher picture quality, the new Image Processor also accounts for improved autofocus accuracy, overall improved processing speed and the ability for the camera to record 15 fps digital video up to 3 minutes per clip at resolutions up to 640 x 480 pixels.

iSAPS Technology
Over the past 60 years, Canon has accumulated a vast amount of photographic data and know-how and used it to create some of the most innovative camera products in the marketplace. Now, using that same data and know-how, Canon has developed a new technology called iSAPS (an acronym for Intelligent Scene Analysis based on Photographic Space) that can predict certain camera settings such as focusing distance, exposure and optimum white balance based on zoom focal length, overall light level and tonal distribution data. Canon refers to this collective data as "Photographic Space." By incorporating iSAPS technology into the PowerShot S230, the camera can analyze and calculate a scene just before the image is made and in doing so, increase the speed and precision of the camera's autofocus, auto exposure and auto white balance.

Movie Recording Up To 3-Minutes
The PowerShot S230 can record remarkably clear 15 fps movie clips with audio in three formats - VGA (640 x 480 pixels), QVGA (320 x 240 pixels) and Q2VGA (160 x 120 pixels). Using a method that writes images that are temporarily stored in the buffer to the CF card while recording, long continuous filming times are achieved, up to 30 seconds in VGA mode and up to 3 full minutes in the smaller formats.

Values for focus, exposure, white balance and zoom position determined at the beginning of filming are used throughout the movie recording segment. The elapsed time of each segment is displayed on the LCD panel. Movie files are saved in AVI format, and can be played back over a connected video monitor or downloaded to a compatible Mac or PC.

9-Point Autofocus
The same extra data processing power that enables other new features such as DIGIC and extended-duration movie mode has also enabled Canon to increase the number of autofocusing zones employed by the S230 to nine, compared to the 3-point focusing system used with the S330 and S200 Digital ELPHs. The new 9-point AiAF system covers a much larger percentage of the picture area and greatly improves the S230's ability to find and autofocus off-center subjects quickly. The S230 can also be set for 1-point central-area AF if desired.

Direct Print Capabilities
The S230 provides users with a simple and effective way of creating very high-quality prints without the need for a computer. The camera can be directly connected to optional Card Photo Printers CP-10 / CP-100 as well as Bubble Jet Direct Photo Printers S830D and S530D.

Image Management Software
The Canon PowerShot S230 is fully compatible with Windows XP and Mac OS X. It comes with Adobe PhotoShop 5.0 LE and Apple QuickTime 6.0, ZoomBrowser EX 4.0 (for Windows) and ImageBrowser 2.7 (for Mac); PhotoRecord 1.6 (Windows only); PhotoStitch 3.1, File Viewer Utility 1.0, and RemoteCapture 2.6 (for Windows and Mac). RemoteCapture enables a USB-connected Canon S230 camera to be controlled by a compatible personal computer. Many camera settings such as focal length, resolution, compression, flash mode, etc., can be adjusted and the images can be recorded directly to the PC. In addition to all of these software applications, the S230 is supplied with a TWAIN driver for Windows 98SE/2000 as well as a WIA driver for Windows XP/Me and a Plug-in Module as well as a USB Mounter for Mac OS 9.x. The WIA driver and USB mounter allow a compatible PC to mount the camera as a hard drive on the desktop and display thumbnails to facilitate simplified image data transfers.

Optional Accessories
The Canon PowerShot S230 Digital ELPH offers a number of additional accessories including an underwater housing capable of going to depths up to 100 feet. In addition, the new housing has a built-in flash diffusion plate designed to soften the flash when photographing close subjects. Other camera accessories include a Compact lithium-ion battery; compact battery charger; and a compact AC power adapter.

The new PowerShot S230 Digital ELPH will be available at authorized Canon dealers in October and have a suggested retail price of $499.

The PowerShot S230 Kit includes:

  • 16 MB Compact Flash Card
  • Lithium Ion Battery NB-1LH
  • Wrist Strap WS-110
  • AV Cable AVC-DC200
  • USB Interface Cable IFC-200PCU
  • Bundled Software
  • Battery Charger CB-2LS

Canon U.S.A., Inc. delivers consumer, business-to-business, and industrial imaging solutions. In 2001, the Company was listed as one of Fortune's Most Admired Companies in America, and was ranked #41 on the BusinessWeek list of "Top 100 Brands." Its parent company Canon Inc. (NYSE:CAJ) is a top patent-holder of technology, ranking third overall in the U.S. in 2001, with global revenues of $26 billion. Canon U.S.A. employs approximately 11,000 people at over 30 locations. For more information, visit www.usa.canon.com.

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