Canon Announces Four Budget Cameras, Including Its Cheapest Model Ever, the $109 A490

Canon SD3100 ISSaving its meatier developments for later in 2010, Canon played it safe for this year’s 2010, debuting just four point-and-shoot cameras, all of which cost less than $180. These models offer some new in-camera special effects and, true to Canon form, they’re cute as a button.

The Powershots SD3000 IS ($179) and SD3100 IS ($149) have 12.1- and 10-megapixel resolution, respectively, and both pack 4X optical zoom, optical image stabilzation, a 2.7-inch LCD, and Canon’s Smart Auto Mode.  With the SD3100 IS available in red, blue, and silver, and the SD3000 IS available in a two-tone black-and-silver, these are the kind of cute, capable cameras you’d buy if you’re on a budget and can do without features such as high-definition movie recording.

Even lower on the price scale, there are the Powershots A495 ($129) and the A490 ($109), which is Canon least expensive camera to date. Both have 10-megapixel resolution, 3.3X optical zoom, digital image stabilization, 2.5-inch screens, a new Low Light mode, and software that makes it easy to upload VGA videos to YouTube. The A495, though, also has in-camera special effects, called Poster Mode and Super Vivid, which essentially exaggerate the hue and saturation of colors.

All four cameras will be available in late February.

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