New Canon Elph 510 HS grows to 12X zoom (310 HS with 8X)
If this is not a sign of the impact of the "war" between cameras and cameraphones, then I don't know what is. The compact Canon Elphs (Ixus, Ixy, Pixie, Kissie, and who knows what other real and made-up names they have) once upon a time had a 2X optical zoom lens. Then they grew to 3X, 4X, and fast-forward to now, the brand new Canon Elph 510 HS pinocchios (verb) to a 12X optical zoom lens. Match that camera-phones ;-)
Canon Elph 510 HS (aka 1100HS)
Unlike the new SX150 IS, the new Elph 510 HS has a 12mp 1/2.3" CMOS sensor, thus the "HS" in its name. Spec-wise the lens a 12x optical zoom (28-336mm eq) with optical image stabilization, with this spec matching the SX150 IS. But no PASM luxuries here, Program and Scenes and such only. Other features include 1080p video, 3.2" touch-screen that is almost the whole back of the camera, and such. It goes by the name of 1100HS in some markets because Canon likes to confuse consumers on a global basis ;-)
The camera is available for pre-order in your choice of black, red or silver for $350.
Canon Elph 310 HS (aka 230HS)
The Canon Elph 310 HS features a 8X optical zoom lens, which is still quite the zoom ratio for a compact camera of the Elphen (Elven?) variety. The 8X optical zoom lens (28-224mm eq) has optical image stabilization. The 12mp 1/2.3" CMOS sensor gives it the "HS" name and 1080p video. Unlike the 510HS, this one has a regular non-touchscren LCD display, with the old familiar specs of 3-inches and 461 kilo dots (don't convert it to pounds!). The camera goes by the name of 230HS in some markets.
It is available for pre-order for $260 in five delicious summer flavors. It is made with Stevia so it is almost calorie-free ;-)
Year So Far
These three new Canons increase the number of new cameras in 2011 to 159. Of those, 44 of them have a zoom lens with a zoom ratio of 10X or more. That's about 28% of all new cameras by major manufacturers. If we deduct the 13 interchangeable lens cameras from the total, that's 30% of the fixed lens cameras.