Canon has updated its best-selling Digital Ixus camera adding an improved zoom and movie recording function.
Launch of the new camera comes less than a month after rival Kyocera unveiled its Finecam S3 that challenged the Ixy's position as Japan's smallest, lightest and coolest digital still camera - a market sector which is getting increasingly competitive with the arrival of other companies such as Sony.
The Digital Ixus 300 packs a three times optical zoom, better than the two times zoom on the previous model, although this has come at the expense of size and weight. While keen users might notice the extra few millimeters that have been added to the height, width and depth, the most noticeable change comes in the weight which is increased from 190 grams to 240 grams.
Canon has also taken the primary colour filter used on its Powershot G1 camera and put it into the Digital Ixus 300. The new filter replaces a CYMK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) filter used on the previous model and means better colour reproduction is possible, said Canon. An improved noise reduction system has also been added.
The movie recording mode, an increasingly popular function on digital still cameras, allows for short movies to be recorded in low quality. Canon has also not tampered with the stylish stainless steel design and other major specifications, such as the 2.11 million pixel 1/2.7 inch CCD (charge-coupled device) pick-up and 3.8-inch colour TFT (thin-film transistor) LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor, remain the same.
At the same time it announced the new camera, Canon also unveiled a portable photo printer. The Card Photo Printer CP-10 links directly to the new Ixy and other new Canon cameras and allows users to print out photos without using a personal computer. Print settings are controlled from the camera and a credit-card sized print (86-x-54 millimeters) can be produced at 256-colour resolution and 300 dpi (dots per inch) in 56 seconds.
The camera will go on sale in Japan in early April at around £500. Canon is planning sales in Europe from May this year. The card photo printer is scheduled to ship later in the year.