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Digital Life

Canon PowerShot N100: Take a photo and a selfie at the same time

Published on May 29, 2014 4:51 PM
Canon PowerShot N100

Canon calls the PowerShot N100 a new concept camera that lets users tell a story while being part of it.

N100 has a Story Highlights mode that automatically uses your pictures and videos shot to create video montages by choices of faces, themes or dates. It has a Dual Capture mode using a 0.3-megapixel rear camera (Story Camera) with a 25mm wide lens to capture a selfie every time you take a picture.

The Movie Digest feature in Hybrid Auto mode actually captures 4secs of video automatically before you take a shot.

If you are a purist, just roll your eyes and stop reading right here.

The N100 is clearly targeted at a different consumer, one that seeks quick and easy processing of photos and videos. It really is for the shutterbug who literally wants to be in the picture at all times.

Story Highlights mode is great for treasured moments, such as new parents documenting their newborn baby with still and moving images and letting the camera produce a video montage easily and quickly.

With Dual Capture and Hybrid Auto modes, the rear camera can capture the different expressions of the photographer as events unfold in front of him. This selfie image captured by the rear-facing camera will be juxtaposed against the main image simultaneously when photos or videos are taken, just like an iPhone FaceTime chat.

Personally, I think these are just gimmicks that users will tire of after a few tries. Story Highlights mode, I found, tends to use the same kind of photos if you let it do the job for you. It has a custom theme that lets you choose your own stills and videos.

But I fail to see the point of having a selfie superimposed on the picture that I am shooting.

For some reason, you cannot use the rear camera to take only a selfie. The tiltable touchscreen display can be flipped up to only 90 degrees, not 180 degrees, which would make it more convenient for a selfie.

Looking beyond the gimmicks, the N100 is actually a capable compact camera. Its 5x optical zoom lens has a nice range of 24-120mm, with a big aperture of f/1.8 at 24mm.

It is also quite fast. It starts up in about 1sec and shuts down in about 1.3sec, twice as fast as its peers.

Autofocusing (AF) is almost instantaneous and spot-on in good lighting. In darker conditions, it manages a focus in 1.5sec with AF assist light. On the downside, it cannot shoot faster than three frames per second.

Button layout is well thought out, with many dedicated function buttons: Story Highlight, Menu and Play. A quick switch at the back lets you toggle through Normal, Dual Capture and Hybrid Auto shooting modes quickly.

Image quality is not bad for a camera of this class, with accurate colours and sharp details. Noise performance is competent. There are no noise artefacts until ISO 800. Even at ISO 1,600, the images are still good for small prints or Web use.

Videos are sharp and crisp. While the videos do pick up a fair amount of ambient and wind audio, you cannot hear the sound of the lens zooming in and out.

Battery life is slightly above average. It takes around 330 frames on a full charge, compared with around 300 frames of its peers.

  • The Canon PowerShot N100 is a good compact camera even if you do not buy its “story telling” concept. But all the gimmicky bells and whistles that Canon has added may actually deter some people from buying the camera.


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Price: $449

Image sensor: 12.1 megapixels 1/1.7-inch CMOS

Lens: 24-120mm f/1.8-f/5.7

Display: 3-inch tiltable touchscreen LCD with 922,000 dots

Sensitivity: ISO 80 to 6,400

Shooting speed: Up to 3 frames per second

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication

Weight: 289g (with battery and memory card)


Features 4/5

Design 3/5

Performance 3/5

Value for money 3/5

Battery life 3/5

Overall 3/5