By Calvin Palmer
Canon today announced a raft of compact digital cameras, among them the Powershot S90 — Canon’s answer to the Panasonic LX3 and its grossly overpriced Leica counterpart, the D-Lux 4.
It seems Canon has decided to end the megapixel chase and settled for what many photographers seek, namely better image quality and particularly improved noise reduction.
Panasonic and Leica achieved this goal by using the same number of megapixels as the previous LX2 and D-Lux 3 models respectively but on a larger sensor. The results have been sensational and one of the reasons why it is hard to get hold of one of these cameras.
The Powershot S90 goes for 10 million megapixels on a 1/1.7in. sensor and, coupled with a fast f/2.0 lens (the 35mm equivalent of 28-105mm) and RAW capability, it should give the Panasonic and Leica models a good run for their money.
The specifications certainly look impressive and aroused my interest but, like with most things, the bottom line is price.
New York retailer B&H Photo was quick off the blocks. Its Web site is featuring the S90 at $429.95.
British photography magazine What Digital Camera also announced the release of this high end compact, obviously aimed at enthusiasts rather than the point and shoot brigade.
What Digital Camera ended its report by saying, “The Canon Powershot S90 will be available from October at a UK RRP of £449.”
Just a minute, did they just say £449?
Followers of exchange rates will read that twice and be appalled.
B&H Photo’s New York price of $429.95 translates into £260.23, according to the XE.com currency converter Web site. Put another way, the London price of £449 equates to $741.73.
It is inconceivable that the $300 difference is accounted for by shipping costs and UK import duties.
Whichever way you look at it, the British public is yet again getting ripped off. I seem to recall that Tony Blair’s Labour government planned to get rid of this price gouging by global corporations, putting an end to CDs and DVDs and other consumer products costing more in Britain than the rest of the world.
That’s politicians for you – big on promises, not quite so big on delivering them.
While it may be true Briton’s enjoy five weeks of paid vacation and a healthcare system that will not bankrupt you if you happen to fall victim to a serious illness, they do seem to pay over the odds for many consumer products, particularly must-have electronic devices.
Questions should be asked in the House of Commons when it reconvenes after its summer recess.