With the advanced features of Canon's PowerShot range, combined with a price tag which catches the eye, the PowerShot SX150 IS is full of promise. The question is - how does it perform when put to the WDC test? Read on to find out...
Canon PowerShot SX150IS review – Features and design
Canon’s PowerShot range has long offered the promise of full manual control and good image quality, although often at price points above the consumer level. The PowerShot SX150IS, however, arrives with all these characteristic traits but with a price tag that will please those on a tighter budget.
The SX150 IS’s headline feature is its zoom. A 12x optical zoom is present and features a wide angle of 28mm, following through to 336mm at the tele-end. Those concerned about sharp images at such a long focal range will have their concerns allayed by the presence of intelligent image stabilisation. A 14MP CCD sensor takes care of the imaging side of things, along with Canon’s DIGIC 4 processor and iSAPS technology to deliver the promised image quality. Although the screen on the rear of the camera is large, measuring in at some 3in, the resolution of 230k-dots is a sign of the camera’s more affordable angle.
The LCD screen is probably the only element of the specification at which costs have been cut – the SX150IS still features HD movie capture at a resolution of 720p, as well as a host of creative filter and effects for those wanting to experiment with their images. As for the basic image capture aspects, the SX150IS caters for both those wanting to let the camera do the work and those wanting more control over imaging – a Smart Auto mode features, offering intelligent scene selection, as does an ‘Easy’ mode, while full PASM manual shooting controls also feature.
The SX150 IS is no doubt a bulky compact, undoubtedly in no small part thanks to its use of two AA batteries for power. As a result, the body is more the size of your average bridge camera than a compact camera. The AA batteries also add to the camera’s weight as well – at around 300g it won’t sit lightly in the pocket. Having said that, the layout of controls and general stylings have echoes of some of the more advanced PowerShot models – a dedicated mode dial sits on the model’s top plate, while on the rear of the camera are buttons offering access to basic shooting controls, as well as a control wheel for both accessing menus and controlling shutter speed and aperture.
Performance, Image Quality and Verdict
Canon PowerShot SX150IS review – Performance, image quality and verdict
The Canon PowerShot SX150IS features the kind of performance with which the PowerShot name has come to symbolise. The camera’s shot to shot speed is generally good, and is supported by focusing speed and accuracy which is itself impressively prompt. One point of note is that the compact’s battery life isn’t as impressive as some of it’s peers – this is no doubt due to the combination of the specification of a serious shooter along with the use of two AA batteries. The model’s bulk may not be to everyone’s take, and it does present some issues in use. Gaining a steady hold on the camera isn’t as easy as with smaller models, although luckily the image stabilisation present on the SX150IS performs well to counter any camera shake.
Images produced by the SX150IS also demonstrate reliability. High ISO noise is well controlled, while colours exhibit a natural palette, and the balance between shadows and highlights is evenly met. One area in which some issues are noted is with the model’s 12x optical zoom. A slight softening is noticeable towards the frame edges, while a slight vignette is observable at the wide angle of the focal range, worsening towards the tele end of the zoom. The lens does perform well, however, in terms of chromatic aberration and distortion, both of which are kept to a minimum.
There’s a lot to like about the Canon PowerShot SX150IS. The compact offers a wide range of controls over image capture, including full manual control for those wanting to more advanced shooting alterations. The higher-end PowerShot control layout means that altering these controls is a breeze, and the general shooting experience is pleasing on the whole. There are, however, misgivings – the design is rather bulky and, although AA batteries are the preferred power option for some photographers, the decision to employ the on the SX150IS is to the camera’s detriment. Add to that the slight issues with the model’s lens, and things are starting to look negative. However, on the whole, the SX150IS has more than enough about it to recommend as a sensible purchase.