Canon has unveiled four new entries to its affordable PowerShot A series: the A3100 IS and A495, and exclusive to Argos the A3000 IS and A495. They're the first cameras announced that support super-high-capacity SDXC memory cards, meaning you can keep on snapping for up to a whopping 2 terabytes of pictures -- when someone actually makes a 2TB card, that is.
The A490 and A495 replace the PowerShot A480. They boast 10-megapixel sensors and 3.3x optical zoom lenses. Both sport 62mm (2.5-inch) LCD screens.
The PowerShot A495, pictured above, is available in silver, red and blue.
The PowerShot A490, pictured above, comes in silver.
The A3100 IS and A3000 IS both pack a 67mm (2.7-inch) LCD screen, 4x zoom and optical image stabilisation. They replace the PowerShot A1100 IS. They're the first of the budget A range to run off rechargeable lithium-ion batteries instead of shop-bought AA batteries.
The A3100 IS, pictured above, packs 12.1 megapixels and is available in blue, red and silver.
The A3000 IS, pictured above, packs just 10 megapixels, and comes in silver with black trim.
All the new A series cameras include Smart Auto mode, with Scene Detection to work out what kind of environment and conditions you're snapping in. They recognise up to 18 different scenes -- the A490 only does 13 -- and adjust settings accordingly. i-Contrast technology goes a step further, working out the exposure and dynamic range needed to keep detail in darker areas of the picture without blowing out lighter areas. Smart Flash Exposure automatically fires fill-in flash to avoid harsh shadows on bright days, and cuts the flash power while shooting macro images to avoid over-exposed close-ups.
The new cameras pack the obligatory face detection and can lock on to and follow a selected face. All but the A490 also include face self-timer, which lets you set up a group shot and waits until one more face -- hopefully yours -- enters the frame and fires the shot two seconds later.
All the new cameras shoot VGA video, which is fine for YouTube but not very exciting in our whizzy high-definition world. They're among the first compact cameras to support the new super-roomy SDXC card, announced at last year's CES. In theory that'll give you a whopping 2TB of storage, but as yet SDXC cards are mainly in the 64GB range. Fear not if you have a drawerful of memory cards, as the A series still support SDHC.
All four cameras hit the shops in February, with the A490 and A3000 IS exclusive to Argos. The A495 will set you back £139, and the A3100 IS on sale for £189.