Canon's newest connected cameras: when a smartphone still won't do

You know the drill: Smartphones are making compact cameras obsolete, killing the category and yada yada. But still! Camera makers launch a seemingly endless number of new models at CES, and Canon is a great example of that this year. It just unveiled no fewer than eight compact, superzoom and video cameras in the PowerShot, ELPH and VIXIA lines, along with a Pixma photo printer. The common thread among them is wireless connectivity: Each features WiFi and NFC (other than the ELPHs and VIXIA HF R600), letting you get social with your smartphone sans the optical drawbacks. The wireless aspect also provides connectivity with peripherals like Canon's Connection Station CS100 or the new Pixma MX492 photo printer.

The top dog is the PowerShot SX530 HS (shown above, in black only), with a 50x optical zoom lens (24-1,200mm, 35mm equivalent), optical image stabilization and a 16-megapixel sensor. It's also packing 1080p HD video, high-speed autofocus and zoom framing assist to help identify the shot's subject. The one drawback is the $430 price tag, which may steer some folks toward an interchangeable model like the Olympus Pen E-P1, unless they need a big zoom. Canon also launched the PowerShot SX710 HS and SX610 HS, with 30x and 18x optical zooms for $350 and $250 each, respectively. All the SX models have WiFi and NFC smartphone connectivity.

For those with lighter budgets, Canon also revealed the PowerShot $150 ELPH 170 IS and $120 ELPH 160 compact models. Both offer 20-megapixel CCDs, 12x optical zoom lenses and 720p video, with the ELPH 170 IS adding optical stabilization. As for the VIXIA video cameras, all have full 1080p HD, a 57x optical zoom lens and optical image stabilization. The difference between the three models is down to the details: The $450 VIXIA HF R62 has a higher-capacity battery than the $400 VIXIA R60, though both are otherwise identical and include WiFi and NFC connectivity. The $300 VIXIA HFR600, meanwhile, has no wireless capability and a smaller battery.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Canon has launched a new Pixma photo printer, the MX492. Canon says the compact-sized model can spit out color prints at 4.4 images per minute and directly connect to cameras or computers via WiFi. It'll be available soon for $100.

Edgar Alvarez contributed to this report.