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CES 2011 Wrap-Up: Canon Debuts Top-Notch Entry-Level A3300 IS, Viewfinder-Equipped A1200

Last updated on 01/18/2013

Canon announced four new A-Series entry-level point-and-shoots at CES 2011, including A3300 IS with Digic 4 processor, and A1200 with optical viewfinder.
By Liam McCabe

Canon had a low-key CES for new camera announcements, only debuting four A-series entry-level point-and-shoots. It may not have been as glamorous as some of the high-profile showings from Olympus or Samsung, but we'll bet that more folks end up buying Canon's new models.

Sure to be popular in 2011 is the A3300 IS, which replaces the A3100 IS (currently one of the top-five most popular cameras on DCHQ). Nothing too flashy, but it does sport some above-average specs like a 5x optical zoom and optical image stabilization, as well as a 3-inch LCD and 720p HD video. Not too shabby. Most impressive, it has the Digic 4 processor, which powers many high-end Canon compacts like the Canon SD4000, SD4500, and even S95. Don't expect the A3300 IS to match that image quality, but it'll certainly be one of the top point-and-shoots of the year.

We don't usually get excited about $100 cameras, but the Canon A1200 is exactly what we wanted to see in at least one cheap compact this year. Old-school shooters, rejoice: The A1200 has an optical viewfinder and AA-battery power, the magic combination for many folks. Two years ago, in the wake of cheap lithium-ion batteries and large LCDs, nobody thought that viewfinders and AAs would matter again. But LCDs are terrible in sunlight, and proprietary lithium batteries are worthless away from outlets; heaps and heaps of casual users would pay extra money for a viewfinder and AA power. Kudos to Canon for taking a step backward and giving them a camera they can get excited about. The lack of optical image stabilization is a let-down, but otherwise, this might be the choice for anybody who demands a viewfinder.

Canon also released the A2200, a 4x zoomer with 720p video but no optical image stabilization, as well as the low-end A800, Canon's first digital camera with a sub-$100 price tag -- $89, to be specific.

These new shooters should be available in late February/early March. Canon also told us that there will be some new ELPH announcements soon -- they were mum on exact dates, but judging by last year's announcement schedule, we should be hearing about some new SD and SX models in early-mid February.

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