Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Reviewing Canon Powershot SX150 IS

Canon Powershot SX150 IS Review

The travel zoom digital cameras are finding more and more takers because of the extensive features they provide over a conventional point and shoot camera. But majority of such high zoom cameras cost around 300- 400$ which not all can afford therefore Canon has come up with a budget Travel Zoom camera which is the Powershot SX150 IS. Such high zoom cameras are preferred because of the extensive Optical Zoom they provide, which is in the range of 10x-20x. This makes such cameras the perfect companion while traveling outdoors and hence capturing even far of images. Although Canon Powershot SX150 IS is a budget camera but it has all the features of a high end cameras such as true manual modes, 12x optical zoom, image stabilization.

There are areas where cost cutting is evident such as the battery department. This camera uses AA Alkaline batteries instead of Canon’s proprietary lithium iron battery. Therefore the number of shots this camera can achieve is far less than its counterparts. It comes with a 14.1 megapixel image sensor along with a 12x optical zoom. The focal length is 28 - 336mm. Macro shots can be taken from 1-50 cm. away. This camera makes use of Canons proprietary DIGIC 4 image processing technology. It uses a 3 inch TFT 230K dots screen which is quite good for such a budget camera. ISO can be selected from 80 to 1600. The aperture range is f/3.4 - f/8.0 which makes this camera little slow and therefore the light entering the lens is slightly less.  As usual the shooting modes are auto, aperture priority, shutter priority and full manual where you can specifically control both the shutter as well as aperture.

Canon Powershot SX150 IS offers a combined zoom of 56x which is 12x optical added with 4x digital. Instead of the regular travel zoom cameras which use CMOS censors this one makes use of an older CCD sensor, therefore video recording is limited to 720p at 30 fps which is not bad for a budget camera. At 306g this camera is slightly heavy to operate. The AA Alkaline batteries are rated at 110 images so it is better to keep spare batteries to not miss the perfect shot. Image quality is an issue with all current digital cameras because of the high megapixel packed into the tiny sensors. But Canon Powershot SX150 IS delivers good image quality outdoors in bright light whereas indoors the image quality may deteriorate. 

Pros:  12x zoom, good Image Quality, full manual controls, value for money.

Cons:  DIGIC 4 is outdated, only 720p video recording, low light IQ, battery good enough for only 120 shots.

Verdict:   Overall Canon Powershot SX150 IS is a very versatile budget camera and at a cost of $150 it’s really hard to find a budget travel zoom competitor for this one. Additionally for those who want to learn manual controls before switching to Digital SLR’s this makes a perfect choice. Therefore my opinion for Canon Powershot SX150 IS is a must buy.

Canon PowerShot SX150 IS specifications

Type 1/2.3 type CCD
Effective Pixels Approx. 14.1M
Colour Filter Type Primary Colour
Type DIGIC 4 with iSAPS technology
Focal Length 5.0 - 60.0 mm (35 mm equivalent: 28 - 336 mm)
Zoom Optical 12x. Digital Approx. 4x (with Digital Tele-Converter Approx. 1.7x or 2.1x and Safety Zoom¹). Combined Approx. 48x
Maximum f/number f/3.4 - f/5.6
Construction 11 elements in 9 groups (1 UD lens, 1 double-sided aspherical lens)
Image Stabilisation Yes (lens shift-type), 4-stop, Intelligent IS
Type TTL
AF System/ Points Face Detection, 1-point AF (fixed to centre)
AF Modes Single, Continuous (only available in Smart Auto mode), Servo AF/AE¹, Tracking AF
AF Point Selection Size (Normal, Small)
AF Lock On/Off Selectable
AF Assist Beam Yes
Manual Focus Yes
Closest Focusing Distance 1 cm (W) from front of lens in macro
Metering modes Evaluative (linked to Face Detection AF frame), Centre-weighted average, Spot (Centre)
AE Lock On/Off Selectable
Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments.
Enhanced i-Contrast for automatic dynamic range correction
ISO sensitivity* AUTO, 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600
Speed 1 - 1/2500 sec. (factory default)
15 - 1/2500 sec. (total range - varies by shooting mode)
Type TTL
Settings Auto (including Face Detection WB), Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Fluorescent H, Custom
Monitor 7.5 cm (3.0”) TFT, Approx. 230,000 dots
Coverage Approx. 100%
Brightness Adjustable to one of five levels
Modes Auto, Manual Flash On / Off, Slow Synchro
Slow Sync Speed Yes. Fastest speed 1/2000 sec.
Red-Eye Reduction Yes
Flash Exposure Compensation +/- 2 EV in 1/3 stop increments. Face Detection FE. Safety FE.
Flash Exposure Lock Yes
Manual Power Adjustment 3 levels with internal flash
Built-in Flash Range 50 cm - 3.0 m (W) / 1.0 m - 2.0 m (T)
External Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1,
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2
Modes Smart Auto (32 scenes detected), Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual, Easy, SCN (Portrait, Landscape, Kids & Pets, Smart Shutter (Smile, Wink Self-Timer, FaceSelf-Timer), Low Light (2.0MP), Beach, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks), Creative Filters (Fish-eye Effect, Miniature Effect, Toy Camera Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap), Discreet, Movie
Modes in Movie Smart Auto (21 scenes detected), Standard, iFrame Movie, Program AE, Portrait, Landscape, Beach, Foliage, Snow, Fireworks, Miniature Effect, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster Effect, Color Accent, Color Swap
Photo Effects My Colors (My Colors Off, Vivid, Neutral, Sepia, Black & White, Positive Film, Lighter Skin Tone, Darker Skin Tone, Vivid Blue, Vivid Green, Vivid Red)
Drive modes Single, Continuous, Continuous with AF, Self-Timer
Continuous Shooting Approx. 0.9 shots/sec. AF: Approx. 0.6 shots/sec. LV: Approx. 0.6 shots/sec.(until memory card becomes full)¹²
Image Size (L) 4320 x 3240, (M1) 3072 x 2304, (M2) 1600 x 1200, (S) 640 x 480, (W) 3744 x 2104. Resize in playback (M2, S, 320 x 240)
Compression Fine, Normal
Movies (HD) 1280 x 720, 30 fps, (L) 640 x 480, 30 fps
Miniature Effect (HD, L) 6fps, 3fps, 1.5 fps
iFrame Movie (HD)
Movie Length (HD) Up to 4 GB or 29 min. 59 sec.¹
(L) Up to 4 GB or 1 hour²
Still Image Type JPEG compression, (Exif 2.3 [Exif Print] compliant) / Design rule for Camera File system, Digital Print Order Format [DPOF] Version 1.1 compliant
Movies MOV [H.264 + Linear PCM (stereo)]
Canon Printers Canon SELPHY Compact Photo Printers and Canon Inkjet Printers supporting PictBridge (ID Photo Print, Fixed Size Print and Movie Print supported on SELPHY CP & ES printers only)
PictBridge Yes
Red-Eye Correction Yes, during shooting and playback
My Camera / My Menu Start-up image and camera sounds customisation
My Category Image tagging feature
Intelligent Orientation Sensor Yes
Histogram Yes
Playback zoom Approx. 2x - 10x
Self Timer Approx. 2 or 10 sec., Custom
Menu Languages English, German, French, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Italian, Norwegian, Swedish, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Chinese (traditional), Japanese, Russian, Portuguese, Korean, Greek, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Turkish, Thai, Arabic, Ukrainian, Romanian, Farsi, Hindi
Computer Hi-Speed USB (MTP, PTP) dedicated connector (Mini-B compatible)
Other 3.5 mm jack A/V output: unified type (PAL/NTSC, stereo)
PC & Macintosh Windows 7 / 7 SP1 / Vista SP2 / XP SP3
Mac OS X v10.5 - 10.6
Browsing & Printing ZoomBrowser EX / ImageBrowser
Other PhotoStitch, Movie Uploader for YouTube, CameraWindow
Batteries 2x Size-AA Alkaline or Ni-MH Batteries (NB-3AH) (Alkalines supplied)
Battery life Approx.110 shots (with supplied batteries)
Approx. 320 shots (with optional Canon NB-3AH batteries)
Approx. 420 min. playback (with supplied batteries)
Approx. 540 min. playback (with Canon NB-3AH batteries
A/C Power Supply Optional, AC Adapter Kit ACK800
Cases / Straps Soft Case DCC-750
Flash Canon High Power Flash HF-DC1,
Canon High Power Flash HF-DC2
Power Supply & Battery Chargers AC Adapter Kit ACK800, Battery Charger Kit CBK4-300, Ni-MH Batteries NB-3AH
Operating Environment 0 - 40 °C¹, 10 - 90% humidity
Dimensions (WxHxD) 113.3 x 73.2 x 45.8 mm
Weight Approx. 306 g (including battery/batteries and memory card)

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