Canon has opted to tackle the Ultra Zoom market with as much gusto as its tackled the entry level DSLR market with the announcement of the PowerShot S2 IS.

Packing a whopping 12x optical zoom the follow on from the S1 will feature 5 megapixels and cost £469 when it goes on sale in June.

To cope with the large zoom length - 36 - 432mm equivalent, the camera uses anoptical Image Stabiliser. Powered by the same DIGIC II processor found in Canon's pro-series D-SLR cameras, the S2 IS features a 2.4 fps shooting, start up times and auto focus speeds almost twice as quick as that of its predecessor. The camera also features 18 shooting modes and shutter speeds to 1/3200 of a second.

The camera is also trying to push its movie credentials and supports VGA fine (640 x 480) mode at either 30 or 15 fps. A new Photo-in-Movie feature will also let users capture a maximum resolution still image whilst shooting a movie by simply pressing the shutter release. Movie recording is temporarily interrupted whilst the still image is captured, continuing thereafter until the user chooses to stop. The video footage and still image are saved separately and the fragmented sequence can be stitched back together with a special edit menu option in the supplied ZoomBrowser EX 5.2/ImageBrowser 5.1 software. Images can be transfered from the camera to a computer via a USB 2.0 Hi-speed connection.