A Stroll Through Canon CES Booth's Consumer Camera Aisle

Canon's CES booth had its usual layout of tables with exhibits, and rows of cameras with EOS lens systems attached, for photographers to go eyes- and hands-on. As expected from a market leader, Canon's booth was crowded business. The booth had its share of interesting products which tell us a little bit on where the market leader stands on recent advancements in consumer photography, such as the emergence of networking-enabled "smart" cameras, usually driven by Google's Android software.

To begin with, Canon isn't buying into the hype surrounding cameras running Android. There's no need for a camera to sport features like navigation and contacts. Instead, the company innovated the best feature of those devices -- network connectivity -- by including an 802.11 b/g/n controller on its new consumer offering, the PowerShot N. This camera packs WiFi, a one-touch smartphone connect button which adhoc-connects it to an iOS or Android-based device that has its app installed, and lets you upload or edit pictures from the camera on the device of your choice, instead.

The camera can even place the contents of its memory card up as a network share, if you want to access it the old fashioned way. The PowerShot N features a 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen suspended on a hinge, that gives you access to all its controls; a Creative Shot mode that adds live pre-processing, a 12.1-megapixel "high-sensitivity" CMOS sensor (not quite BSI or full-frame, but close), backed by Canon's powerful DIGIC 5 processor. Its built-in optics give you a 28 mm wide-angle lens that delivers 8x optical zoom. It's available in white and black.

Along the way, we came across the PowerShot S110, which packs the same innards as the PowerShot N -- 12.1-megapixel "high-sensitivity" CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5 processor, albeit with a leaner software feature-set, and slimmer optics that deliver 5x optical zoom (f/2.0), with 24 mm wide-angle shooting. It features similar WiFi-enabled features, including one-touch Mobile Device Connect.

The PowerShot G1X is gives you interchangeable lens, letting you quickly toss out its 4x optical zoom lens for something better. It features a beefier 14.8-megapixel sensor, 14-bit RAW output, and is backed by the trusty DIGIC 5.

In our next article, we'll brush through Canon's big guns (DSLRs, lenses) on display.