Simplicity had provided the solution to a design challenge and would once again translate to cutting edge elegance. In May 2000, some four years after Canon debuted its first consumer-targeted PowerShot digital camera, they introduced the PowerShot S100 Digital ELPH, the world's smallest and lightest digital camera (for its time). At 2.1 megapixels with a 2.0x optical zoom lens, the inaugural Digital ELPH camera soared to the head of its class, convincingly capturing purchasing preferences, and selling 800,000 units globally . Canon's position as the number one camera manufacturer in the world remained secure.
From Geek Chic to Tech Couture
In the beginning, maintaining an au courant fashion focus for an unconventional accessory such as a digital camera required a delicate balance of form and function. While early adopters, camera buffs and gadget geeks easily embraced the impressive, cutting-edge technology and quality packed into these digital dynamos, the fashionistas, the club crowd and the celebrity social set employed a more stylin' criteria for what to use to capture their oh so now party pictures. It was decidedly not enough for a camera to take great pictures. The camera had to make them look great taking the pictures. As a fashion accessory, the PowerShot Digital ELPH camera assumed the mantle of “tech couture”…decidedly not haute but definitely hot .
Capitalizing on the trend to minimize, digitize and accessorize with an ELPH, Canon introduced the PowerShot SD10 Digital ELPH camera in 2003 just in time for New York 's legendary Fall Fashion week. Reaffirming the old adage that there is no such thing as being too thin, the SD10 model was the world's smallest four megapixel digital camera to that point, weighing in at a mere 3.5 ounces and measuring a scant 3.6 x 1.9 x 0.7 inches.
Adding to the allure of this fashion model, Canon offered the PowerShot SD10 Digital ELPH camera in four art deco-tech colors that could attractively accent an outfit or subtly blend with it, depending on the mood and moment. Those feeling formal could select the lacquer-“esque” shine of grand piano black or the pearl-like shimmer of iridescent white. For those who preferred their four megapixels to maintain a classic metallic motif, Canon also offered the SD10 model in a satin bronze patina and a platinum/silver finish.
Ensuring that the Canon-Couture connection was not lost on the savvy, style-conscious public, these four color-keyed renditions of the SD10 Digital ELPH made their debut on the Fashion Week catwalk of designer and star costumer, Patricia Field. Since then, Canon reprised its color-cased Digital ELPH design three times with new color schemes. The most recent iteration of this colorful camera is the just released, 7.1 megapixel PowerShot SD40 Digital ELPH offered in Twilight Sepia, a dark rich brown with gold accents; Precious Rose, a blushing pink attention getter; Noble Blue, a shade worthy of the finest designer navy suit and finally, the soft yet solid sophistication of Olive Grey.
33 Million ELPH Fans Can't Be Wrong
The breakthrough year for the mass adoption of digital “point-and-shoot” cameras was 2004 with sales totaling just under 20-million units in the United States alone (a staggering 32 percent increase over 2003's unit sales). Not coincidentally, in 2004 Canon sold 12.7 million digital point and shoot cameras taking over the number one sales position and capturing the number one market share both in the United States and worldwide. It is a position that Canon Compact Digital cameras retain to this day.
To be sure, Canon's 2004 sales successes were helped in a big way by the PowerShot SD400 Digital ELPH model. Introduced in October 2004, just in time for the holiday buying season, this five-megapixel Digital ELPH camera is the line's most popular model to date, selling more than 2-million units worldwide.
By 2005, the industry sold 24 million cameras in the US market – an increase of approximately 21 percent over 2004 – and, as 2006 winds down, the industry forecasts that annual sales of compact digital cameras in the U.S. will exceed 26-million units. Additionally, while the rate of increasing sales is slowing (due in large part to industry-wide sales of more than 70-million digital point-and shoot-cameras in the United States in the last three years alone), and it is expected that by the close of 2006, fully 61 percent of US households will have at least one digital camera.
Today, as cell phones, PDAs and MP3 players all compete for fashion accessory of the week status and imitation ELPH cameras are a staple in virtually every camera manufacturers digital camera line, the original celebrates its tenth birthday and remains unsurpassed in the public's estimation and affection. The camera line that set the fashion-tech tone continues to innovate, energize and excite the imagination and continues to produce pictures of impressive quality and clarity. Not surprisingly, Canon has sold more than 22-million Digital ELPH cameras worldwide, bringing the total sales count of all ELPH cameras to some 33-million units and counting.