The 4K-capable vlogging and streaming camera is designed to be easy to use. But it looks limiting to all but the earliest beginners, who are likely to just use a smartphone.
Canon is finally stepping into the vlogging camera arena, and it’s doing so with a quirky new point-and-shoot geared toward a mindless “set-it-and-forget-it” crowd I’m not sure exists. The $429.99 Canon PowerShot V10 is an adorable little camera about the size of an extra-thick deck of cards that packs a fixed 19mm equivalent f/2.8 lens and marries it to a 20.9-megapixel one-inch-type sensor.
It records 4K at up to 30 fps and is geared toward filming yourself with an articulating screen, front and rear record buttons, stereo mics with a 3.5mm mic jack, a Micro HDMI port, digital image stabilization, and a kickstand for propping it up. It’s expected to launch in June.
What makes the V10 interesting is its throwback design, which reminds me a little of those ancient Flip Video cameras. And like those long-dead cameras, when held upright, it films horizontally, which makes it seem more suited for YouTube content creation than TikTok or Instagram Reels. You can turn it sideways for vertical recording, of course, but the built-in kickstand isn’t really designed to hold it up that way.
The PowerShot V10 does not have many buttons, as it partially relies on touch controls using its postage stamp of a two-inch 3:2 LCD. Its simplistic offering of controls echoes the V10’s approach to entry-level content creation. It’s not a camera designed to offer control over every little setting, which is unfortunate since that can be helpful for beginners to grow and learn with.
For example, its ISO range of 125 to 12,800 in stills mode is not even manually selectable, and the camera doesn’t support any kind of manual focusing. Perhaps those are fine if someone is only taking on-the-go videos, but the V10’s limitations remind me of the bad old days of digital point-and-shoot cameras — where settings are limited because you’re not to be trusted or respected enough to use them correctly. That ISO range, by the way, gets cut down to a maximum of 3200 for 4K filming and 6400 in 1080p. Also, the 20.9-megapixel sensor is only using an effective 13.1 megapixels for video and 15.2 megapixels for stills. Oh, but don’t worry, it’s got five levels of software skin smoothing.
Since the V10 is video-focused, it’s got some convenient features like a built-in neutral density filter, and its contrast-based autofocus supports face detection that can sense when you’re holding up a product to focus on it. But there’s no eye detection to speak of and no log recording or raw capture for photos, either. You’re limited to 8-bit recording in Rec.709 color with MP4 files. And the V10’s small stature (which weighs just 211 grams) means it only supports microSD cards, with a built-in 1,250mAh battery that recharges via USB-C and tops out at an estimated 55 minutes of 4K video recording.
The V10’s restrictions and omissions may not be deal-breakers if you use the camera for portable vlogging and simple livestreaming and barely ever worry about fine-tuned controls. But content creators, even beginners, are not stupid. Many of these creators are already filming on their very capable phones, which does offer some room to grow if you opt for third-party accessories like a gimbal or apps like Halide, and making the jump to a dedicated camera needs to respect their capabilities and show more upside than just a larger sensor to record on.
But since this is the start of a new line for Canon, perhaps it’s just the first peek at what’s to come. When I asked Canon if we can assume more vlog-centric cameras are still to come, Drew MacCallum, senior manager of camera product planning for Canon USA, said “absolutely.” With this new line, Canon seems aware that vlogging is one of the last vestiges for dedicated point-and-shoot cameras, so here’s to hoping future models don’t endlessly slip into the same PowerShot trappings of old. There’s a reason most of those types of point-and-shoots died off.