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Canon updates high-end Elphs

Canon has announced two new Digital Elph cameras, the SD950 IS and SD870 IS.

Canon's new PowerShot SD950 IS has a titanium body.
Canon's new PowerShot SD950 IS has a titanium body. Canon

Some folk might not think that a simple refresh of Canon's top SD-series cameras is as exciting as its dSLR news. But as some of the top-selling cameras on the market, Canon's Digital Elph models hold a special place among compact cameras. The latest pair, called the PowerShot SD870 IS and the PowerShot SD950 IS, both include Canon's Digic III procesor, optical image stabilization, and face detection. Canon's latest version of face detection can spot up to nine faces and use them to determine autofocus and exposure.

The SD950 IS sports a 12.1-megapixel CCD imaging sensor, a 3.7X 35-133mm f/2.8-5.8 optical zoom lens, and a 2.5-inch 230,000-pixel LCD. Like all of Canon's SD-series cameras, you won't find any manual exposure controls, but the SD950 IS does include the usual array of scene modes, as well as exposure compensation, and even flash compensation to help keep the flash from overpowering your images. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 80 to ISO 1,600, and the camera can capture Motion JPEG AVI video at up to 1024 X 768-pixels at 15 frames per second, or 640 X 480-pixel at 30fps. Unlike many compact cameras, the SD950 IS has an optical viewfinder for those moments when framing on the LCD just isn't convenient.

Canon's new 8MP PowerShot SD870 IS.
Canon's new 8MP PowerShot SD870 IS. Canon

Stepping down the line to the SD870 IS, you get an 8-megapixel CCD sensor, 3.8X 28-105mm f/2.8-5.8 optical zoom lens, and a 3-inch 230,000-pixel LCD. It too lacks manual exposure controls but has a handful of scene modes. However, it doesn't include its pricier cousin's flash compensation, and has no optical viewfinder. While the ISO range is the same, the SD870 IS tops out at 640 X 480-pixel, 30fps video when recording its Motion JPEG AVI clips.

Canon says that both cameras will hit stores this September. The SD950 IS is expected to cost about $450, while the SD870 IS should cost about $400.