Canon PowerShot N review: Hands-on
Canon PowerShot NT3
The Canon PowerShot is an unsual digital compact camera, sporting a square shape that's designed for left- and right-handed users. But is it just too weird?
Announced at CES in Las Vegas, the Canon PowerShot N is an unusual beast as it's designed to be ambidextrous, thanks to its symmetrical shape.
The camera is square(ish) and lacks a traditional shutter button and zoom control - both of which are traditionally placed on the right. This means that the camera should be just as easy to use for lefties as it is for the right-handers. The camera also packs Wi-Fi, although we were unable to try this out on the Canon stand.
Canon PowerShot N: Controls
The decision to get rid of the usual shutter button is interesting, and instead, the PowerShot N includes a ring around the lens with a small textured area that can be pushed to take a picture. We found that it didn't feel very intuitive and the the ring was very thin, making it a little trickly to locate the right spot to press without looking.
If this system isn't for you, then you can also tweak the settings to enable you to take snaps using the touch screen. There are no buttons on the back of the camera, the the touchscreen is also used for navigating through the simple menus.
Likewise, the zoom control is also located on a right around the lens. This was relatively easy to use, but was tricky to operate smoothly.
There are a few 'hard' controls on the sides of the camera, including the power button, playback button, and a switch to enable the arty filter mode, which automatically produces five different versions of one shot, each with a different effect.
Canon PowerShot N: Screen
The 2.8-inch LCD is a tad on the small side for lining up shots, but at least that means that the camera keeps its compact dimensions. We found the touchscreen operation to be pretty decent although images look rather soft.
Canon PowerShot N: Picture quality
Compact digital cameras
The PowerShot N sports a 12.1MP 2.3-inch CMOS sensor along with a DIGIC 5 processor and picture looked reasonable enough on the relatively small screen, especially considering the dim lighting on the show floor. This is something we'll be looking at more closely in our full review.
Canon PowerShot N: Verdict
It's an interesting idea, and perhaps something that will genuinely appeal to the left-handers out there, but we found the camera to be quite uncomfortable to use, and we didn't really warm to the strange design even after a lengthy play. The jury's out on this one, but we look forward to taking a closer look in our full review...
Canon PowerShot N release date: April 2013
Canon PowerShot N price: $300
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