If you can’t think of someone better in your family or amongst friends to take a half-decent photograph, then chances are, YOU are the unfortunate soul who always has to interrupt your meal to help someone take a picture for whatever reason. I’m pretty sure this is one scenario Canon had in mind when it came up with the Powershot PICK.
In a nutshell, the PICK is a regular camera with one impressive party trick – it’s powered by AI and can recognise faces and automatically take photographs and videos that are properly framed.
How it works
Cameras in recent years are fairly competent at picking out faces, but Canon’s solution goes one further. When you turn on the camera, the PICK will search for people and register them automatically. You can then assign a name to the registered people via the smartphone app and you can prioritise them as well.
From there, you can program the camera to take photos of these people automatically. You can assign search or zoom range preferences, specify to capture only still photos or both still photos and Full HD videos, and shooting period priority versus shooting frequency priority, for example.
What’s crucial here is the Pan, Tilt and Zoom (PTZ mechanism) mechanism designed around Canon’s Nano Ultra Sonic Motor (USM, the same tech its uses in its DSLR lens). The idea is that the motors are silent and speedy enough to keep up with tracking moving faces and keeping them in the frame. The PTZ also offers a wide range of movement with the ability to pan 340 degrees across and 110 degrees vertically. Coupled with the 19mm (35mm film equivalent) wide-angle lens with up to 12x hybrid zoom (3x optical and 4x digital), the PICK can cover a lot of ground from one static position.
With the AI, PICK can pick out people who are smiling, and take pictures of them in a variety of compositions. This also means the camera can also be a handy tool for professional photographers and videographers to shoot behind-the-scenes (BTS) footage and pictures without too much overstretching themselves. It supports up to SDXC (supports UHS-1) cards, so you need not worry about being bound to onboard storage.
The small and lightweight camera measures no more than 9 by 6 centimetres and weighs approximately 170 grams, so you can always have it in your bag for these occasions and use it in a variety of situations like mounted on a bicycle. The battery provides up to five hours of video recording and it can be easily charged via USB-C.
The software is what makes the PICK tick, with many additional features that help make the camera easier to use. The app can recommend scenes so you don’t have to sieve through all the photos to pick one so you can save time and effort. The iOS version is also able to generate highlight videos.
One potentially killer feature is the ability to operate the camera via voice commands for four functions without the need for an external controller: still photo shooting, changing subjects, starting of video recording, and stopping the automatic shooting mode.
The PICK can also be used as a webcam, though you need a PC-only app called Wireless Webcam Utility for Mini PTZ Cam (yes, it has built-in WiFi too). You can also transfer files from the camera to your designated PC easily through this software, or tweak the automated tracking settings.
On second thought, maybe it’s not a good idea to let your friends and relatives know that you have such a camera on hand…
Pricing and Availability
The PowerShot PICK is priced at $649 and will be available from November 2021 at Canon authorised dealers.