Previous reports already indicated that the PowerShot PICK would be a camera capable of surveying a scene and automatically taking pictures, how it does that as well as other features were revealed in more detail today as part of the campaign launch on the Japanese crowdfunding site, Makuake.
The camera is able to survey a scene, find people’s faces, and track them for changes. It then will automatically determine when the ideal moment to take a photo occurs and capture the photo.
“Small and light, this camera is designed to blend in with your family’s circle so that you can forget about it, so you can stay close to your family at home or out,” Canon writes.
The company argues that letting AI handle photography has a couple of advantages. For example, in addition to freeing up a parent who would normally be responsible for taking images, the nature of the camera is to be small and forgotten which leads to more “real” photos instead of posed ones. This mimics the advantages of hiring a photographer to document a day, but brings that advantage to any situation.
“PowerShot PICK will capture natural and emotional facial expressions as a member of your family,” the camera’s designer writes.
The artificial intelligence of the camera is supposedly programmed for three specific tasks: find, understand, and shoot. It first has the ability to automatically search for a subject, followed by the AI ability to authenticate a face, and finally, it will wait for the ideal time to take a photo.
Visualization of the PowerShot PICK’s ability to “locate” subjects.
Visualization of the PowerShot PICK able to “understand” and “shoot” photos in a given scene.
Based on Canon’s unique know-how, ‘good scenes’ are judged from facial expressions and composition, and shooting is performed automatically. Even if the number of people increases, the face will be recognized immediately and PowerShot PICK will automatically adjust the angle of view. In addition, the camera will voluntarily determine the shooting content, such as switching to a short movie for moving scenes. Since it also has a built-in image stabilization mechanism, the video is very smooth.
The camera’s sensor is a 1/2.3 inch 12-megapixel CMOS behind a 19-57mm variable aperture zoom (wide open at f/2.8). Thanks to its pan/tilt head, it has a 170-degree pan in both directions combined with a 110-degree tilt, making the camera’s field of view a full 360-degrees.
The Japanese price for the PowerShot PICK is 42,900 yen, or roughly $390. Canon has set aside just 2090 total units for the crowdfunding campaign, broken into two categories. One option, which is already sold out, was limited to 600 units and included a tripod while the remaining 1,490 units only include the camera and a charging cable.
Canon anticipates delivering finished PowerShot PICK cameras to backers by the end of July 2021. While there is clearly a demand for the camera (which, as mentioned, as vastly exceeded the crowdfunding campaign goals), there is no mention of the product entering general availability.
Canon has publicly stated that while it plans to wind down its production of traditional fixed-lens cameras and focus on its interchangeable lens camera development, the company also says that it plans to double-down on its concept cameras and make devices that can live side-by-side with cell phones. The PowerShot PICK is the third concept camera that falls into this description behind the PowerShot ZOOM and the IVY Rec (known as the iNSPiC REC in Japan), a carabiner-style clip-on camera.