Canon’s weird-looking new PowerShot Zoom is for the birds. Or lions, or elephants…

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Canon has always been a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to camera tech. It’s still fond of the DSLR, its designs are variations of what works (in several recognisable guises) and there don’t tend to be any surprises. So to see the newly-announced Canon PowerShot Zoom turn up… that’s even more surprising than usual.

And that’s because… well, just look at it. Looking a little like one of those monoculars you see on Takealot’s Daily Deals page and a tiny bit like a golf rangefinder, and also a little like the TomTom Bandit, it’s… well, it’s hard to believe that Canon made this thing. But they did. And then crowdfunded it in Japan.

This Canon is now canon

It looks like a little telescope because the PowerShot Zoom basically is a little telescope. One with three zoom levels — a 100mm, 400mm and “digitally extended” (i.e. less attractive than the first two levels) 800mm option, with a 12MP camera sensor at the back of it for taking photos of the things you’re staring at. The lens is a 1/3in f/5.6 – 6.3 effort, designed for use outside. In daylight. You’re not going to get much stargazing out of it.

Instead, the Canon PowerShot Zoom is intended for stuff like birdwatching or wildlife. Want to take photos of lions but don’t feel like getting close enough to get mauled? This 145g one-handed camera… thingy… will let you snap snaps from a distance. The company’s included optical image stabilisation, because they bloody well had to, their DIGIC 8 image processor in inside, and there are five physical buttons and a simplified menu so you can control it with a single hand. The Zoom grabs images with a 10fps burst mode and records in 1080p at up to 30fps. Its internal battery charges via USB-C and will give users up to 70 minutes of use before returning to the power brick or wall socket.

South African pricing hasn’t been announced (yet) but we do know what our American friends will be paying. The PowerShot Zoom launches in late November for $300 — or about R5,000. We’d expect it to cost a little more here at home but it’ll be a small price to pay to get your bird-watching skills right up there.

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