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Canon Debuts Ultra-Zoom Powershot

Lake Success, N.Y. — Canon announced today its first ultra-zoom digital camera with built-in multimode optical image stabilization and the ability to record 16-bit audio.

The 5-megapixel PowerShot S2 IS will ship in June for an estimated $499.99. It features a 12x optical/4x digital zoom lens that retracts into the camera when powered down. The lens features an ultrasonic motor to reduce noise while zooming and multimode image stabilization with three settings: continuous, panning and shoot-only.

The new camera is equipped with 16-bit audio recording at sampling rates adjustable up to 44 kHz. Microphone recording levels are adjustable in five steps with a built-in wind filter.

The S2 IS features a 1.8-inch variable angle LCD screen, a 2.4 frames per second (fps) continuous shooting mode, shutter/aperture priority and manual shooting modes, in addition to 18 scene modes and macro and super-macro focusing. The camera supports PictBridge and offers a USB 2.0 high-speed port for PC connectivity.

The camera can record VGA movies at 30 fps to the capacity of an SD card. It can also optically and digitally zoom, manually focus and employ photo effects modes while recording video.

In a riff on current camcorder technology, the camera offers a “MovieSnap” feature that can capture 5-megapixel still images while simultaneously recording video. Movies can be edited in-camera and viewed with a five-mode slow motion replay.

The new Powershot features the recently introduced “My Color” mode for capturing images with enhanced colors along with an un-enhanced version simultaneously as separate files on the memory card.

The camera is powered by four AA batteries and can take 130 photos on two pairs of alkaline batteries and 550 shots using NiMH AA-size batteries.