Canon Powershot N review

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Canon Powershot N is a somewhat unusual camera at the first glance. It consists of lens in the front, a touch-screen at the back and that’s it. There is no grip and very few buttons. Compact camera market is disappearing a bit by bit every day and manufacturers are trying everything they can to keep customers. This can seen by ultra-zoom flood in the last two or three years and many advanced models like Sony RX100, Nikon Coolpix A and many others. With Powershot N, Canon tried a bit different approach, making it different than almost any other camera on the market.


  • Announced: 2013.
  • Type: Compact
  • Dimensions: 79 x 60 x 29 mm
  • Weight: 195 g
  • Sensor: CMOS 12MP (4000 x 3000 pixels)
  • Lens: 5 – 40mm (28-224 in 35mm), F/3-5.9, optical image stabilization
  • ISO range: 80 – 6,400
  • Dust and moisture protection: No
  • Flash: No
  • LCD screen: 2.8″, 461,000 dots, tilt up to 90°
  • Memory card: Micro SD
  • Battery: Li-Ion NB-9L
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 (24fps), 1280 x 720 (30fps), 640 x 480 (30, 120fps), 320 x 240 (240fps)
  • Connectors: USB 2.0


Canon has decided to try something new with this model and I think it succeeded. Minimalistic design makes this camera very attractive and stands out in the crowd among other traditionally designed compact cameras. Sales figures will show if it is a good concept, but I think it is very good Canon tried unorthodox approach to design. After all, compact cameras lose a bit of market share every day due to smart phones becoming quite advanced image takers.

Powershot N is built from nice and quality plastic. LCD has a firm tilt mechanism. Only basic functions buttons are available. Zoom is controlled via rotating ring around the lens. I didn’t like this solution since it is hard to obtain a grip at the ring anywhere but top and bottom side where it has detents. Shutter is also operated with a ring around the lens, but I found it easier to use touch-LCD interface.

I am used to any large(ish) camera with proper grip and buttons, so holding and operating Powershot N posed a bit of a challenge for me. Probably the best way to use it is holding the camera in front with both hands and take shots via touch LCD. With LCD open, I couldn’t find a natural way to hold it firmly, operate zoom at the front and LCD above… but maybe I just have a mindset fixed at ergonomically shaped DSLR cameras. Amateur users who are the target audience for this model will probably like it as is.


Canon Powershot N has a 2.8 inch LCD with tilt option. Sadly, it goes only 90° upward and I believe it would be much more useful if it could rotate to 180° for self-portrait shots. Viewing angles are very good as is the resolution and colors.


All the options on this camera are adjusted using touch-screen interface. Major settings like WB, drive mode, ISO etc are set using quick menu. Main menu is similar to that of any other Powershot model. Touch screen is very sensitive and allows easy usage.

There is no option to turn digital zoom off, so I often accidentally went beyond optical and into “bad” digital magnification range, but I don’t think this will bother most buyers.


Canon Powershot N does not have a traditional flash unit. This is somehow expected due to small camera size, but my opinion is there should have been one built-in. This way, Powershot N has limitations for low light use. There is a little LED light at the upper left corner, but its range is 90cm which is way too short for anything than close person shot.

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